Dodge / Ram
Thanks to J.P. Joans
In 1969, Chrysler Corporation was a full line manufacturer, making boats, house/business air conditioners, school buses, tanks, missiles, rockets, and motor homes. The company was a leader in using computers for engineering, largely thanks to the Huntsville electronics center. It should come as no surprise, then, that Dodge also made heavy duty trucks, with separate lines produced for North America and Europe (the latter engineered by Commer).
There were three truck lines for 1969 — the C series, L series, and D series. They were named by letter for series, the letter T if they had tandem rear wheels, and a number for class or capacity (e.g. CT700).
The L series (such as the LN-1000) were tilt cabs, designed in cooperation with owners, drivers, and mechanics. It could make tight turns, with a 50° turning angle. Key areas were galvanized, and the engine and transmission were easy to reach; owners could do some servicing without tilting the cab. There were sleeper and non-sleeper models, full carpeting, and high-end trim.
Now five years old (it had been launched in February 1964), the L-series started with the L600 and L700 medium-duty trucks, for 24,000 to 50,000 gross weight; the heavy duty L-1000 series (in LN, LNT, LV, and LVT forms) could carry much more.
The D series were essentially heavier-duty versions of the company’s standard pickups.
C-series trucks had come out in 1960; often referred to as “LCF” (low cab forward, since they had a relatively low cab and the engine was under a traditional hood), they ranged from the C500 to the CNT900.
The C800, CT100, CT800, and D800 had vacuum-hydraulic brakes; air brakes were optional on these and standard on other trucks. They also had a drive-shaft-mounted, Orscheln-lever parking brake (C1000 and CT900 had a Berg-Shure parking and emergency brake). Diesels all had full air brakes with a 12-cublc-foot compressor and the Berg-Shure spring-loaded, air-actuated parking and emergency brake system.
Dodge used a variable-rate suspension, with cam brackets on single-axle models, which theoretically gave a softer ride when traveling light, and increased resistance to weight and road shock as it was loaded down. The assembly also had only one lubrication point, and had a separate radius leaf to absorb driving and braking forces, leaving the spring free to cushion the load.
For comfort, the diesel tilt cab used fiberglass, Ensolite, and Celotex insulation, a tinted windshield, and ventilation through a two-way vent in the roof, large vent wings in the door windows, the heater inlet, and a vent in the left door for feet. They had a heater, dual mirrors, air-actuated windshield wipers, windshield washer, map light, cigar lighter, dual sun visors, dispatch case, coat hooks, and a low air/oil warning light and buzzer.
For durability, the truck used box-section braced aluminum construction with “top-quality hosing, clamps, and electrical connections throughout.” For serviceability, the cab tilted hydraulically to 55°, revealing a large engine access area; there were also access doors for tiltless maintenance or repair.
Dodge LCFs were reinforced with heavy-gauge steel and box-section beams; the cabs rode on rubber-insulated cab mounts to snub out vibrations. The steering wheel had a double-jointed column which also absorbed road shock.
Standard equipment included full-width, 6-way-adjustable seat (gasoline models) or Viking T-bar suspension seat (diesel models); heavy-duty instrument cluster; heater/defroster; windshield washers; dual long-arm mirrors; push-button door locks; and 5-way ventilation.
The Dodge D800 conventional cab had box-section strengtheners, heavy-duty door hinges, thick rubber cab mounts to lower vibration, and a durable coil spring seat.
GVWs on this Dodge went from 20,000 to 29,000 lbs. with GCWs up to 55,000 lbs.
Standard features included a 6-way adjustable seat, color-keyed interiors, two seat belts, padded left sun visor, left and right armrests, push-button door locks, high-level ventilation, dome light, coat hook, rubber mat-cab floor, Orscheln-lever hand brake, two-speed electric windshield wipers, windshield washers, fresh air heater/defroster, and exterior lighting. A heated driver’s seat was optional
Also see the Dodge 100 Series and Dodge 500 Series commercial trucks, engineered and built in Europe; and the current Dodge Class 3 and Classes 4 and 5 Ram trucks.
Cummins heavy-duty diesel engines were used in cab forward trucks (a choice of two) and high-tonnage tilts (four were available). The Cummins diesels had direct injection fuel systems, a cast-iron block and head, aluminum alloy pistons, chrome-plated top piston rings, dual Silchrome steel intake valves, and dual Stellite-faced exhaust valves.
The Detroit Diesel 8V-71N engine was sold in three versions, with the main difference being the fuel injector; buyers could vary power and economy by ordering the 318 hp, 290 hp, or 260 hp version (the latter was standard on LV and LVT trucks). Detroit Diesel used cast iron block and heads, malleable iron pistons, a counterbalanced chrome-alloy steel crankshaft, chrome plated steel piston rings, 18 oval intake ports, and 4 poppet-type exhaust valves per cylinder.
There were also Chrysler-built gasoline V8s (two 361s and two 413s). These truck engines were specially assembled, tested, and inspected with the pan down before installation. Their intake valves were made of Slichrome XB steel; exhaust valves were sodium-filled, Stellite-faced, and all had rotating caps. The engine also had trimetal main and connecting rod bearings; induction-hardened crankshaft journals; shot-peened, drop-forged crankshafts; chrome-alloy, cast-iron blocks; chrome-plated top compression rings with cast iron ring groove inserts; water-heated intake manifolds; and hydraulic valve lifters.
The air cleaner was a heavy-duty, one-quart oil bath unit, and oil filters were two quarts in size; the 413 included an oil cooler. The top engine, the 413-3, included a 4-barrel carburetor. Automatic aluminum radiator shutters were standard on Models C1000 and CT900, optional on all other LCF models, for engine temperature control.
Gasoline engines used five-speed transmissions (New Process 541 or Spicer 5652A); options were a short-fourth NP541 or five-speed Spicer 6352A. Tandems and C1000 trucks got three-speed auxiliary Spicer 7231D and four-speed auxiliary Spicer 6041 transmissions, with an optional six-speed Allison automatic on CT800.
Diesel transmissions included a Spicer five-speed with short-fourth; the LV1000 and LVT1000 had a Fuller 5-speed transmission with short-fourth instead. Optionals were Fuller or Spicer transmissions with five, ten, twelve, or sixteen gears; the CN900 and CNT900 could get the Spicer 83410 auxiliary transmission. Rockwell and Eaton supplied rear axles.
Tandems used a Hendrickson suspension, with equalizing beams and torque rods to distribute the load evenly between the two rear axles, and to transfer torque reactions to the frame. An interaxle differential let one set of wheels travel faster than the other if needed.
Heavy-duty gasoline trucks used 13-inch double-plate and 14-inch single-plate clutches, hydraulically actuated; diesels used double-plate 14-inch Spicer clutches were standard, air-hydraulically actuated.
LCF (Cab Forward) Dual-Drive Tandem Axle
Brakes, were 100% air, with covered area varying by axle capacity. The clutch was a two-plate, 14” model (424 square inches). The wheels were cast-spoke ten-stud disc or ten-stud high-tensile disc.
The following used a one-quart oil bath air cleaner, and a 12-volt alternator (37, 46, or 60 amps). Service brakes were all hydraulic. Brakes, were 100% air, with covered area varying by axle capacity. The clutch was a two-plate, 14” model (424 square inches). The wheels were cast-spoke six or ten stud disc, or ten-stud high-tensile disc.
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