2014-2016 Ram Heavy Duty Pickups: 2500 and 3500
2016 Ram Heavy Duty Pickups
oh2o predicted the start of the 2016 model year heavy duty pickups in July 2015.
The big news is a boost in diesel power from 865 to 900 pound-feet of torque, coupled with an increase in the peak towing capacity from 30,000 to 31,320 pounds. The former is a record for a production vehicle, the latter is best in class. To achieve this, Ram moved from 12 to 16 hardened bolts on the rear axle ring gear (for all trucks with the 11.8-inch axle), and used stronger materials in the differential case.
The Ram 3500 has the highest payload in a pickup — 7,390 pounds (6.4 engine). The Ram 2500 has class-leading towing of 17,980 pounds. All Ram towing figures are based on SAE J2807 standards.
Aside from the controversially styled Laramie Limited, they have cross-hair grilles.
Ram 2500 has a unique five-link coil rear suspension, with an optional air suspension system that replaces the coil springs and adds load-levelling capability. The Ram 3500 keeps a standard rear Hotchkiss leaf spring setup, with an optional supplemental air suspension system that also levels the load, increases ride quality, and improves stability, without reducing the maximum towing capacity.
oh2o correctly predicted a new center console layout, new 18 inch aluminum wheels on Big Horn, Lone Star, and Outdoorsman, and new pickup box lighting on some pickups, along with the paint changes.
There is a new compressed natural gas (CNG) option on Crew Cab / long-bed in rear wheel drive, and regular cab models in rear and four wheel drive. Ram continues to have the only factory-upfitted CNG option, not using an aftermarket solution.
Some models will get optional front and rear parking assistance (standard on Laramie and higher trimlines). The rear camera can toggle between a cargo view and the backup camera; the cargo view camera is packaged in the Convenience Group with rain-sensing wipers and automatic-beam headlamps.
Finally, the usual paint changes are going to be made, with red pearl replacing deep cherry red, “Luxury Brown” replacing “Western brown,” and a new pearl white option on higher-level trucks starting with September production.
The first 2016 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty with the retuned diesel, a Laramie Longhorn Mega Cab, rolled off the line on July 22, 2015. All 2016 Ram 3500 “duallies” (having four rear wheels, two on each side) with a Cummins diesel and Aisin automatic transmission can tow 30,000 pounds or more, using SAE J2807 criteria.
2015 Ram 3500 and Ram 2500 Pickup Changes
Ram its upgraded Cummins-powered, Aisin-transmission pickups to 865 lb. ft., with Ram 3500 increasing its payload to 7,390 pounds. Cummins and Ram worked together on a “more aggressive fuel delivery and turbo boost calibration” to push an extra 15 lb-ft of torque out of the 6.7-liter straight-6 diesel.
|5.7 Hemi||66RFE automatic||383 @ 5,600||400 @ 4,000|
|6.4 Hemi||Automatic||410 @ 5,600||429 @ 4,000|
|6.7 Diesel||Manual||350 @ 2,800||660 @ 1,400|
|6.7 Diesel||68RFE automatic||370 @ 2,800||800 @ 1,600|
|6.7 Diesel||Aisin AS69RC auto||385 @ 2,800||865 @ 1,700|
The new pickups will maintain their class-leading maximum tow rating of 30,000 pounds, backed by SAE J2807 testing criteria. Ram is the only maker of three-quarter and one-ton pickups to use the SAE standard testing system. Unlike its domestic competitors, Ram does not remove its spare tire, radio, console, or bumper to bolster its payload figures. Ram claims to have the greatest towing, payload, and power in the segment.
The Ram 3500 pickup with the 6.4 liter Hemi V8 engine gained 100 pounds in its gross vehicle weight, and is now weighing in at 13,800 pounds, including radio, console, and bumpers.
There are three versions of the Cummins diesel engine, calibrated to match the limits of their transmissions — including the only remaining manual heavy-duty-pickup transmission in America. Every 2015 heavy duty Ram pickup has a six speed transmission.
The Ram 3500 continues to use a rear Hotchkiss leaf spring system, but will, with late availability, have a supplemental air suspension system which allowed softer leaf springs — allowing for more unladed suspension movement, even with a 30,000-lb. trailer.
Ram heavy duty trucks have a five year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, extended oil change interval (15,000 miles on diesels), the largest brakes in the segment, and a diesel exhaust brake. The full truck is covered by a five year, 36,000 mile warranty.
The 2014 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickups both get a new 6.4 liter V8 engine producing 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque.
SRT cars use a 6.4 liter Hemi rated at 470 horsepower; the truck engine, though, was designed for long-term durability under heavier constant load conditions. It includes an active runner intake, for both low end torque and high end power, and has best in class power ratings.
The standard engine remains the 5.7 liter Hemi, pushing out 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, with a 10.5:1 compression ratio; 89 octane fuel is recommended. The 6.4 has a 10:1 compression ratio and the same midgrade fuel requirement.
The 6.7 liter Cummins diesel continues, with three versions depending on the transmission..
Link/Coil or Hotchkiss suspensions
A new five-link/coil suspension on Ram 2500 provides far better handling and ride, with better articulation over obstacles, according to Ram representatives. A load-leveling airbag-type rear air suspension is optional, as is a gooseneck hitch (fifth wheel capability). Ram Director of Engineering Mike Cairns told Allpar:
Link-coil design went into [XJ] Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and then Wrangler years ago. Vehicles that needed to be very tough, very off-road-capable, that get worked really hard, we saw the success of that in Ram. ... The only real downside is cost. It costs a little bit more money than leaf spring. There’s actually a weight save, because leaf springs are heavy. So there’s a weight save, huge ride and handling benefits, and no compromise to durability, payload, or towing capability.
On the heavy duty [Ram 2500], we increased the payload. Yes, it’s coil spring. You make it as big and heavy as you want. You can get any spring rate you want, within some reason. It certainly doesn’t limit payload. We pick the payloads for out trucks to gain the balance of fuel economy, ride handling, etc.
With leaf springs, [there is a stick-slip due to friction]. You load up and it’s pushing back, pushing back, and all of a sudden it’ll slip. It’s not smooth. It’s busy, where a coil is just smooth, constant spring force, so you can much better tune a coil spring suspension. We take advantage of that. We’ve got about 18 different [types of] rear shocks on a Ram 2500 [depending on model and powertrain] because we specifically tune each one. On our old leaf spring, I think we only had four because it didn’t make that much difference. [Now] we’re able to fine-tune more.
Ram 3500 keeps the familiar Hotchkiss leaf spring system, with a supplemental air suspension on SRW and DRW trucks, to avoid giving up the trucks’ best in class payload, gross weight rating, or towing capacity (Ram 3500 can tow up to 30,000 pounds and has up to a 7,320 pound payload, with a peak GCWR of 37,600 lb).
Up front, both Rams have an advanced three-link suspension with greater roll stiffness, avoiding body roll.
2015 Ram Power Wagon
The updated Ram Power Wagon had a modified version of the front suspension, with high-movement links for better flexibility and axle articulation.
The American Axle Manufacturing (AAM) axles’s ring gear was 9.25 inches in the front and 11.5 inches in the rear (increased from 10.5 inches), with a 4.10:1 ring and pinion ratio. Rear axle shafts were upgraded to 38 mm (the front stayed at 35 mm); 33 inch tires were used. The segment-exclusive front axle disconnect system was kept. The front pinion was 98.3 mm, the rear 121.3 mm.
The unique suspension system, had Bilstein shocks at all four corners, special control arms and spring rates, and more than two inches of lift over the ordinary Ram 2500. The three-link suspension system was modified for Power Wagon, and dubbed “Ram Articulink;” it included high movement joints at the control-arm-to-axle mount, for flexibility and axle articulation. More suspension flex was gained via the class-exclusive electronic disconnecting sway bar, so the front axle can move more independently of the truck’s frame.
|(All are 2015 4x4|
or AWD models)
|Ram Power Wagon||Ram 2500|
|2500 Crew Cab|| 2500|
|Jeep Wrangler Rubicon||Jeep Cherokee|
|Box length||6.4 foot||8 foot||6.4 foot||8 foot||6.4 foot||n/a||n/a|
|Ground clearance||14.5”||12.0” (?)|
|Suspension or axle to |
|Ramp travel index||510 (26”)||not listed||not listed||not listed||not listed||not listed||not listed|
|Water crossing||30”||not listed||not listed||not listed||not listed||20’|
The rear suspension was similar to other Ram 2500s, with Jeep’s five-link coil design, providing a payload up to 1,490 pounds and towing capacity up to 10,810 pounds.
Fore-aft bars bring together the transfer case and fuel tank skid plates, resulting in armor that minimizes underside damage and rock wedging. There are now three trim levels: Tradesman, SLT, and Laramie.
Four Wheeler compared four 2015 pickups, and found that Power Wagon easily dominated Chevy and Toyota models (it also had the top interior and exterior ratings, by a large margin on both):
|Power Wagon||Colorado Z71||Tacoma TRD Pro||Tundra TRD Pro|
Story of the Mega Cab
The Ram Mega Cab returned for 2014. Former employee “JTE” wrote about how the original came to be:
Texas truck dealers requested a truck with larger interior accommodations. My department took on the job of designing and building a prototype to sell to management. The only way it would fly was by using as many existing components as possible and having it fit on the line. At that point in time Saltillo had a max wheelbase limit of 160 inches (8 foot box Quad Cab). We used an existing short box rear frame section and an existing Quad Cab front frame section, added a box section center frame to bring the wheelbase to 160”, and added two new cab mounts and propshaft supports.
The cab was stock to the B-pillar; rear doors, roof, rear floor, and C-pillars were new, mating to the existing cab back. It was important to have a flat rear floor and we had to add stiffness that was lost when removing the hump. We tried carryover standard cab C-pillars but the doors were way too long.
The interior was fun, we did many varieties of folding, sliding, tumbling, reclining, sleeper, and flipping seats, only to lose to the lowest bidder. By using so many existing components and processes, the pitch to the VP went quite well.
2014 Ram Engines
The engine has a cooled EGR system for greater efficiency, cylinder deactivation for economy, PVC integrated into the intake, and a floating pin on the systems. Sodium filled exhaust valves and tough valve seat material, stainless steel exhaust gaskets and fasteners, and oil jets for cooling the pistons add to durability. The engine has a cast iron block and forged steel crank. (For more details, see our 6.4 Hemi engines page.)
The Cummins returns, in three power levels as in 2013, with a new smart exhaust brake (using Cummins’ unique sliding-nozzle turbine) for a smoother ride, and better performance and durability from a new cooling system. The diesel has a variable-geometry turbocharger, building on Chrysler-Garrett work from the 1980s.
Electronics and upfitting
A best-in-class interface module (VSIM) communicates between aftermarket and factory modules. The VSIM upfitter interface module has 53 circuits, including lighting controls, door position, and throttle and transmission position. The class-exclusive module is a secure gateway to the vehicles’ electrical systems and data bus, for safe, secure connectivity.
Both heavy duty 2014 Dodge Rams have an in-box connection junction and standard class 4 or 5 receiver hitch with a four or seven pin connector on the bumper. A tailgate handle-mounted, rear high-definition camera backup system is available with dynamic imaging in the 8.4-inch display.
Ram Heavy Duty uses four-channel electronic stability control for dual rear-wheel Ram 3500, the first such application on a “duallie” in its class; stability control is standard across all 2500 and 3500 pickups.
Rams with the 6.4 V8 have an optional dual alternator system, the first gasoline driven one of its kind in either class, combining 220 and 160 amp units for a total of 380 amps; Cummins diesels pair two 220 amp alternators for 440 amps of output.
Other Dodge Ram heavy duty pickup truck changes
The segment-exclusive front axle disconnect system is now available on Ram 2500, raising 4x4 gas mileage by up to 1 mpg.
The gross combination weight rating has been boosted to 37,600 pounds (on Ram 3500 diesel), thanks partly to the 11.8 inch rear axle; it has a 300mm hypoid gear set, four pinion helical differential, and cooling-fin-equipped aluminum differential cover.
Both part-time transfer cases are supplied by Borg Warner, and both have rear drive, 4x4 high and low (2.64:1), and neutral positions; one (44-46) is electric and one (44-47) is manually operated. They have a front-rear locking differential.
2014 Heavy duty Ram pickups have an optional air suspension setup.
The 2014 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty starts at $29,600, plus $1,095 destination. The 6.4-liter Hemi option is $1,495. The Ram Heavy Duty has an unsurpassed five year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty with gas or diesel engines, including, if needed, free towing to the nearest dealership.
For much more, see our 2013 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup page.
|68RFE||3.23||1.84||1.41||1.00||0.82||0.63||4.44||3.42, 3.83, 4.10|
|AS69RC||3.75||2.0||1.34||1.00||0.77||0.63||3.43||3.42, 3.73, 4.10|
The rumor mill
Dom had said in June 2012 that there would be a 6.4 Hemi option for the Ram heavy duty trucks. The 6.4 runs on regular gas (87 octane) and is hooked up to a six-speed automatic only (66RFE, with an optional Aisin); like the SRT version, it includes cylinder deactivation. We had written, “We do not expect horsepower ratings to be anywhere near SRT’s 470 horspower, but it should break 400.”
The Long Hauler concept used a Kelderman air suspension in front and rear, for higher capacity with a smoother ride; that model was based on the Ram 5500, which has a leaf-spring rear suspension. The Long Hauler now appears to be a “go” for production.
oh20 wrote: “Dodge is currently working on a plan that would make the Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs available to all Ram dealers.”
Commercial heavy-duty trucks (e.g. tractors, class 7-8) might be planned, though they could be Ivecos, and aren't expected until 2015 at the earliest. Update: These were discussed, and the expertise is available from Iveco, but leaders decided that they did not know the market well enough to field and sell a credible entry. The decision was made to wait until the end of the Five Year Plan (calendar year 2014) and then revisit the question.
Also see 2013-14 Ram 1500, Ram 2500/3500 test drives, and Ram chassis cabs