Dodge Class 3 Chassis Cabs: Medium-Duty Dodge Ram 3500
The Dodge medium-duty trucks and chassis: 2009 and 2010 changes
The 2009 Ram Chassis Cab 3500 got a variable-valve-timing Hemi, with horsepower ratings unreleased at press time but expected to be 355 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque; new optional axle ratios of 3.42 (manual transmission) and 3.73 (automatic) were added for better gas mileage. New brakes extended service intervals and cut stopping distances while improving gas mileages, while the GCWR rose to class leading 24,000 pounds. A new ambulance prep package was added, while the PTO pump rating increased 55%; the PTO prep package was extended to Laramie trucks. A new tailpipe and resonator was added to the Hemi, cruise was made standard (with an optional delete), and the Cummins 6.7/automatic got an optional remote start.
Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cabs
This was a new chassis cab, an up-fit friendly design no longer requiring expensive re-engineering for body installations. The market was, in 2006, dominated by General Motors, which between the Chevy and GMC lines had a 53% share; then Ford took most of the rest, with a 40% share. Sales in this segment were about 140,000 per year, forecasted to grow. In 2007, Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cabs gained a 29% market share, exceeding Ford in four of the last six months of the year; most buyers chose the lowest trim level, ST, which was still well outfitted. Roughly 40% of the trucks were used in construction and 30% in landscaping and nurseries.
The key difference between these vehicles and pickups was a standard-shape chassis which made it relatively easy and inexpensive to build a motor home, garbage truck, van, tow truck, etc. off the platform. Aftermarket builders could fit their bodies onto the basic chassis without having to reengineer completely for different brands or model years. As Dodge put it, “The 2007 Ram Chassis Cab conforms completely to the industry standard, providing 34-inch, flat-surface frame rail spacing on a one-piece C-channel rear frame constructed of 50,000-psi steel... ”
Dodge was bringing back an older marketing term, “Job Rated,” which meant that the vehicle was designed, engineered, tested, and built to meet the standards of commercial truck buyers. This worked well with the existing Trail Rated designation for Jeep.
Just as the early Ram had the best brakes in its class, the Dodge chassis cab had the largest brakes in Class 3- 53mm; also best in class was the standard 52 gallon gas tank and interior cab room (121.6 cu ft for Quad cab, 65.2 for regular cab). A 22 gallon tank was optional.
There would be two axle lengths, 60 and 84 inches. The single rear wheel design was only 60 inches. Electric-shift and manual-shift 4x4 transfer cases were optional.
Power was delivered from a choice of two powerful engines, a 6.7 liter Cummins turbodiesel with 305 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque, featuring an optional factory-installed diesel exhaust brake. The base engine was the 5.7 liter Hemi with 330 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. (The Cummins engine produced the same power as the 5.9 liter version in Dodge trucks, unless there was a misprint in the official specifications).
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) was best in class for the single-wheel version at 10,200 pounds; the dual-wheel can handle 12,500 pounds. The gross combined weight rating (GCWR, vehicle plus payload and trailer) with the Cummins was 23,000 pounds, 15% more than the standard heavy duty Ram. The Hemi brought the GCWR down to 17,000 lb. Payload was up to 6,700 lb; towing was up to 16,500 lb.
(redriderbob wrote regarding power curves and peak power ratings: “Chevrolet/GMC's Silverado/Sierra make 360 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, but their Kodiak/TopKick models make 300 horsepower and 520/605 lb.-ft. of torque. It's similar to why the Ram 3500's 5.7L V-8 has 330 horsepower instead of 345 like the 2500 model. Its all about useable power.”)
2008 gas mileage figures from the independent Transportation Research Center showed that the diesels achieved 20.2 mpg and the gas models achieved 15.2 mpg in the bigger Class 4 trucks. The 3.92:1 axle ratio was standard on diesels for better gas mileage.
The base transmission was a manual 6-speed G56 with PTO capability, available with both engines, with an optional Aisin six-speed automatic with PTO capability available as an option with the diesel, and the 545RFE Chrysler automatic (first seen on the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 1999) available on the Hemi.
The frame was a one-piece C-channel, with industry-standard 34" frame spacing with clean frame rail mounting surface. A 220 amp alternator is optional. There was a fold flat load area in the rear seat area, and four-wheel anti-lock disk brakes (ABS).
The Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 became available in 2007 and raced to the top of the sales charts.
For 2008, the Dodge chassis cabs were certified as having up to 1,172 pounds more payload capacity than the Ford F-450 and F-550 chassis cabs; the power take off pump ratings for all Dodge Ram chassis cabs increased 55%, and a PTO prep package became available with the Laramie trim.
For 2009, the Class 3 Dodge Ram 3500 increased its gross combined weight rating to a class-leading 24,000 pounds; it also got an upgraded brake system for better service life and quicker stops, and an optional 3.42:1 axle ratio for better gas mileage. Other changes included a remote start feature with the Cummins automatic, and variable valve timing on the 5.7 liter Hemi. No horsepower rating was announced for the gas engine, but it was rated at 380 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque on the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500.
Dodge gained sales dominance in the Class 3 segment starting in July 2007, and continued to be the best-selling brand through the end of the year. Dodge was the sixth largest commercial truck manufacturer, with 33,500 vehicles sold in 2007 (nearly three times as many as in 2003), according to Dodge.
Dodge chassis cab packages
ST/SLT/Laramie: ST was the basic work oriented truck. LPO for power equipment package in process, SLT added cloth, 40/20/40 seat, air conditioning, tilt, cruise, carpet, 4 speakers, etc., and Laramie adds the usual premium features.
The chassis designation was DC (other Rams were the DR / 1500, DH / 2500, and D1 / 3500).
Class 3 was designated as 10,001-14,000 pounds GVWR. Class 4 was 14,001-16,000 and Class 5 was 16,001-19,500.
Pricing was expected to be in line with Ford.
The Dodge medium-duty truck origins
“ccox” wrote (edited):
The truck is a dual badge unit- Dodge and Sterling. It uses Dodge sheet metal and a Dodge cab. The frame is Sterling (Freightliner) engineered and built. The Cummins "B" 6.7 liter engine (already in production, with cleaner emissions than the current 5.9 used by Dodge) provides motorvation. Styling is definitely Ram-based. Eventually, a Mercedes diesel and the Chrysler automated manual transmission may be added. Sterling is also getting a rebadged (Mitsubishi) Fuso; and Freightliner is preparing a replacement for the Sprinter, the MT35, designed to fill the Sprinter’s role but engineered for American needs and whims.
We also heard from “bobthebuilder” who added:
I went to my dealer (I own a large local construction company) and he said they are built with custom frames at a Freightliner facility (the frames themselves are from Freightliner, the new M2 class).
Pricing and such
The base MSRP for the 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab Hemi was $22,535, which included destination; with the 6.7 liter Cummins turbodiesel, it’s $28,090. The truck was due to show up in October. Four wheel drive and the Quad Cab added about $3,000 each.
Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab boasted numerous class-leading attributes including the highest single-rear-wheel Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,200 lbs., best-in-class rear frame steel strength (50,000 psi), largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons), best-in-class standard V-8 power (HEMI with 330 horsepower), and best-in-class interior cab room of 121.7 cubic feet for Quad Cab models. All chassis components were below the top of the frame surface - a segment exclusive - providing versatility for virtually any upfit application.
The Chassis Cab was available in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, two available cab-axle lengths (60 inches and 84 inches), single-rear-wheel and dual-rear-wheel versions, regular cab and Quad Cab configurations, and three trim lines - ST, SLT and Laramie.
The ST (with a six-speed manual transmission and Hemi V8) included an argent front bumper, grille, and steel wheels, four-wheel anti-lock brake system, black bezel instrument panel, tilt wheel, trailer tow wiring (seven wires), two speakers, vinyl floor covering, 40/20/40 vinyl seats, and 7x10-inch manual exterior mirrors. The Cummins and six-speed automatic and a five-speed automatic were optional, along with a 22-gallon mid-ship fuel tank, 220-amp alternator, an exhaust brake option, Power Take Off (PTO) capability, snow plow prep package, spare tire and tools, vinyl seats and flooring (SLT only), and Limited Production Options (LPO) that included passenger air bag delete, radio delete, power window/lock/mirror option with ST, and unique exterior paint colors.
The SLT added air conditioning, carpet, floor mats, four speakers, bright chrome grille with black inserts, keyless entry, power-heated mirrors, power windows and locks, Sentry Key Engine Immobilizer, speed control, bright skins/chrome center cap wheels, 17-inch chromed-clad steel wheels, and 40/20/40 cloth seats. Options included adjustable pedals, AM/FM radio with six-disc CD player, leather bucket seats, satellite radio, six-way power driver seat, hands-free communication system, and 17-inch chromed-clad aluminum wheels. The SLT started at $25,905.
The Laramie added AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD player and Infinity speaker system, satellite radio, dual-zone temperature control, fog lamps, glove box,
ashtray, under-the-hood lamp, chromed grille with chromed inserts, leather
power-heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-sliding rear
window, security alarm, steering wheel-mounted radio controls, and
wood-grain instrument panel bezel. Options included bucket seats, navigation radio and UConnect
hands-free wireless communication system. Laramie started at $33,280 and was only available with a Quad Cab.