2011-2012 Dodge Ram Chassis Cabs: Ram 3500, Ram 4500, Ram 5500
For 2011, the Ram Chassis Cabs gained new styling and interiors. A new full sized crew cab was launched; polished aluninum wheels were optional on all models; and upfit capability remained the same.
The Ram 3500 gained a 2011-model-year best-in-class 26,000 pound GCWR and 13,000 pound GVWR. Ram 3500 was the only chassis cab with a gasoline-engine option; all can have the proven Cummins diesel engine. The gas engine is the most powerful in its class, while the diesel uses an NOx Adsorber Catalyst that provides 2010 emissions compliance without a urea/DEF injection system. (There are rumors that, in pursuit of higher gas mileage, Dodge might adopt urea/DEF though they do not legally need to).
Thanks partly to a new six-speed transmission, chassis cab gas mileage has been best in Class 4 and Class 5 — 14% better than Ford F-550 and 23% better than GMC C5500. Still, the 2011 Dodge Ram will have the largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons).
2011 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty
The Ram Heavy Duty is aimed at commercial and fleet users, buyers of serious, diesel-powered chassis cabs; upfitter friendliness and maintenance costs are best in class. Lowering maintenance costs and increasing stopping power, the Ram 4500/5500 has the largest front brake rotors (390 mm) and calipers (66 mm) in its class, with a standard diesel exhaust brake. The standard diesel 24,000 lb. Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) and optional 26,000 lb. GCWR package are both best-in-class on 3500.
The 2011 Dodge Ram chassis cabs will continue to use the previous generation’s proven chassis and frame, but with more comfort, higher capabilities, and more body options, including a crew cab.
The ride was greatly improved through re-tuned suspension components; handling under a full load was also beefed up. Fluid-filled hydro-mounts under the cab reduce beaming and bounce over rough surfaces. (What are fluid-filled hydro-mounts? Here’s what Dodge said: “C-pillar hydro mounts were added to improve damping through the frame-bending mode frequency in order to better manage shake and after-shake response. The result is reduced shake and improved ride.”)
The 6.7 Cummins turbodiesel will be essentially unchanged, but with a new particulate feature that slashes nitrides of oxygen by 90%; in the pickups, the engine produces 350 hp at 3,000 rpm, and 650 lb-ft of torque at a stunning 1,500 rpm, just off idle (automatic transmission). With the G56 manual transmission, the Cummins puts out 350 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque; with the chassis cabs, 305 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque.
Maintenance for the Cummins engine includes 7,500 mile oil changes and overhauls at 350,000 miles (100,000 miles more than Ford or GM). It includes an exhaust brake, a major safety feature and unique in this segment; and a B20 (biodiesel 20%) version for fleet buyers. Power-wise, the Cummins engine has the same ratings as the Ford Super Duty diesel (though peak torque comes in earlier), while the Silverado’s Isuzu-boosted Duramax diesel has 15 more horsepower and 10 lb-ft more torque.
In chassis-cab service, the engine meets 2010.5 emissions standards in 50 states, thanks to diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injection based on urea injection Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) technology. The standard diesel has a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty, the best in its class. The base alternator increased from 136 to 180 amps.
Ram Chassis Cabs come with a proven six-speed Aisin automatic transmission (with 3-year/180,000-mile warranty) or a six-speed manual transmission. The commercial-grade six-speed automatic is electronically controlled, with excellent shift quality (using advanced electro-hydraulic clutch-to-clutch control) and close gear ratios with both static and mobile PTO capability. With more control, the six-speed manual transmission achieves a high-ratio sixth gear for longer highway cruising.
The Aisin torque converter now locks up in PTO mode for better fuel economy and speed control while using aerial lifts and air compressors; customers also have the ability to program a precise engine RPM that is activated immediately when the PTO is engaged. This eliminates the need to toggle up to the desired engine RPM.
4x4s get one of two transfer cases: the manual NV271 unit (ST and Power Wagon) or the electric, shift-on-the-fly NV273 case. Axle ratios are 3.42, 3.73, 4.10 or 4.56.
The interior was naturally upgraded, with optional heated/ventilated front seats; heated rear-seats and steering wheel; automatic temperature control; two-tone upholstery; memory seats, radio and mirrors; navigation; adjustable pedals and numerous infotainment options including Backseat TV(tm) with three channels of programming, uconnect tunes with a 30-gigabyte hard drive, and a first-in-segment 10-speaker surround-sound system. Numerous storage options include in-floor storage.
Upfitter friendliness continues partly by using the existing commercial-grade frame and suspension system with best-in-class (for 3500) frame steel strength (50,000-psi). Maintaining its common architecture for commercial applications, the one-piece C-channel rear-frame rail’s riveted crossmembers provide more durability than traditional welds or bolts. In addition, rivets allow for easy removal and/or replacement of components during upfits and modifications; and using industry standard 34-inch spacing without raised surfaces allows for easy adaptation of add-ons designed for other trucks. All chassis components are below the frame surface.
The one-piece C-channel frame, sheer plate or u-bolt access along the length of the frame, and shear plate mounting locations identified along the frame contribute to upfitter friendliness, as do commercial-grade service and support with Body Builder Guides and hotline support from the engineering team.
The 2011 Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs now feature four upfitter switches integrated on the instrument panel; each is linked to an auxiliary Power Distribution Center (PDC) under the hood which includes one fused 20-amp battery feed and one 20-amp fused relay controlled by the ignition. Two switches are ignition-fed and the remaining two are either battery or ignition. Switch outputs are under the hood. A seven-circuit trailer harness and a special upfitter jumper cable are both standard.
Incorporated into the design is a rear ground stud rated for 50 amps. Electrical connections are user-friendly thanks to one fused battery feed and one fused ignition feed routed into the cab and to the rear of the chassis. With built-in PTO capability, all models feature a heavy-duty cooling system in order to meet additional heat loads that are often generated from PTO upfits and/or extreme hauling.
A capped auxiliary fuel line on the fuel tank facilitates the use of auxiliary equipment running on fuel. Fuel and brake lines are routed together on the frame’s driver side to make better use of space along the frame. Both standard and optional fuel tanks feature a through-the-frame fuel filler (external on the mid-ship tank) allowing virtually any upfit without the need for additional modification. The new urea system is placed in unused space, out of the way and under the cab for added upfitter convenience.
The internal friction of the recirculating-ball steering systems was reduced, improving the response and on-center steering feel.
The chassis cabs have solid front and rear axles, and a five-link, coil-spring front suspension with solid axle, a front and rear link-type sway bar and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers. The rear suspension on two- and four-wheel-drive models has leaf springs and includes standard two-stage springs as part of the design for greater load-carrying capability and better ride with light loads.
Rear axle ratios on Ram 3500 are 3.42, 3.73, and 4.10:1; rear axles for Ram 4500 are 4.10, 4.44, and 4.88; while the Ram 5500 only has 4.44:1 and 4.88:1. Base weight for the Ram 4500 starts at 7,599 lb (4x2) and rises to 8,655 lb (Crew Cab 4x4); the 5500 weights are similar. Maximum GCWR on both 4500 and 5500 is 26,000 lb, while GVWR ranges from 15,000 to 16,500 on Ram 4500 and from 18,750 to 19,500 on Ram 5500.
Cab to axle lengths on Ram 3500 are 60 and 84 inches (just 60 on crew cab); 60, 84, 108, and 120 on Ram 4500/5500 regular cab, and 60 and 84 on Ram 4500/5500 crew cab.
|Interior Specifications||Regular Cab||Crew Cab|
Styling followed both aesthetics and aerodynamics. The tailgate is sculpted for better air flow, incorporating a spoiler in the upper part of the sheet metal. This tailgate also accommodates an available back-up camera for convenient trailer hook-ups and includes a lift-assist feature that makes raising and lowering a one-hand operation. Standard bedrail protection is included with both the 6-foot-4-inch. and 8-foot cargo boxes. The boxes now feature bedrail caps that protect sheet metal from dents and scratching.
External mirrors are sculpted to produce a more useable area, with aerodynamic benefit and less noise. Mirrors are equipped with turn-signal indicators, memory function, puddle lamps and adjustable convex mirrors. Depending on trim level, mirrors are finished in black, or black and chrome. The larger 7-in. x 11-in. mirror for trailer towing is standard on 3500 models and available on 2500 pickups. These mirrors flip up and out into a vertical configuration for trailer-tow use. Front fenders and headlamps of the new 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 are shared with light-duty pickup models.
|2011 engines||5.7 Hemi||Cummins Diesel|
|Horsepower||383 @ 5,600||305 @ 2,900|
|Torque||400 @ 4,000||610 @ 1,600|
|Bore x Stroke||3.92 x 3.58 (V8)||4.21 x 4.88 (I6)|
|Features||Active intake, VVT||Variable
Integrated exhaust brake
The new grille includes a chromed surround with either black center bullets (ST, SLT and Power Wagon models) or chromed center billets (Laramie, Big Horn and Lone Star models).
To accommodate cooling requirements of the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, the new 2011 Dodge Ram chassis cab grille opening is larger than the light-duty grille. The larger grille requires a taller hood that incorporates louvers on each side. Access to the front winch (on Power Wagon models) and tow hooks led to the unique front-bumper design.
Front and rear doors follow the style pioneered by the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 — a design that places the door cut to the side of the truck, rather than into the roof, in order to reduce wind noise and weight.
- Advanced antilock brakes modulate the four brakes individually
- Load-limiting retractors have a two-stage system to limit maximum force on the seat belts
- Steering columns have two hydroformed coaxial tubes that move relative to each other in order to allow the column to move forward for enhanced energy-absorption during an impact
- In an accident, the interior lights are turned on and doors unlocked for rescue people
- Front seat belts are height adjustable
- New pillars are designed to limit head impact force
- Power adjustable pedals to avoid accidents
2011 Ram Chassis Cab Pricing: All prices include $950 for destination.
|ST 4x2|| 143.5"
| 173.4" $40,760
| 144.5" $43,395
| 173.4" $47,445
|Laramie 4x2||$42,480|| 173.4"
|ST 4x4||143.5” $31,465
|SLT 4x4||143.5” $35,540
|Laramie 4x4||$45,580|| 173.4"
The rumor mill: who got it right?
oh20 had predicted the crew cab with an eight foot bed; the upgraded interiors and creature comforts (right down to heated steering wheel and ventilated seats); and audiophile option. He also predicted active head restraints, turn signals in the mirrors, and blind spot detection; we don't know about these yet. We'd expected the new smaller Cummins diesels, but those were officially delayed.
2012 Dodge Ram Chassis Cabs
In 2012, Ram 4500 and 5500 medium-duty (Class 4 and 5) Chassis Cab commercial trucks will be available with an optional 30,000-lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR), an increase from 26,000 lbs. The new Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cab GCWR upgrade is part of an optional “Max Tow” package, and is available on both regular and crew cab models and in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.
The Ram Max Tow package includes a new transfer case gear set and chain and sprocket upgrades, recalibrated transmission software and an enhanced collection of thermal management devices. Max Tow is available on Ram Chassis Cab trucks equipped with the optional, commercial-grade Aisin six-speed automatic transmission and 4.88 rear-axle ratio. A 4.44 axle is standard on 4500 models and not available with the Max Tow package. A class-exclusive six-speed manual transmission is standard on Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab models.
Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks will come equipped with the proven, commercial-grade 305 horsepower (228 kW) @ 2,900 rpm and 610 lb.-ft. (827 N•m) @ 1,600 rpm 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine.
The 30,000-lb. GCWR gives the Ram Chassis Cab a 4,000-lb. increase in trailer-towing capabilities, up to a maximum of 22,300 lbs. on a Ram 4500 or 5500 Chassis Cab equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.
In 2012, a new six-speed automatic transmission that will increase GCWR to 20,000 lbs. – a 3,000-lb. increase – will be added to Ram 3500 Chassis Cab trucks powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8. An increase in fuel economy will also be added. The Ram 3500 Chassis Cab will have a standard 383 horsepower, 400 lb.-ft. of torque, and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. The Cummins Turbo Diesel is available as an option on Ram 3500 Chassis Cab trucks.
Ram has also upgraded the trailer brake controller on Chassis Cab trucks to include electric over hydraulic capability, to further enhance its towing ability.
Ram Truck will offer the following special low-volume paint color options for 2500 through 5500 models: Black, Bright Red, Dark Brown, Detonator Yellow, Light Cream, Light Green, Omaha Orange, School Bus Yellow, Timberline Green Pearl, Yellow and National Fire Safety Lime Yellow.
For 2012, the Ram Chassis Cab will have a customer-selectable maximum speed. Ram Chassis Cabs can be ordered from the factory with or programmed by a Ram Truck dealer at no charge with either 55, 60, 65, 70 or 75 mph speed limits. Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks have a best-in-class standard 87 mph top speed, an important feature for fire, ambulance and other safety and rescue roles. A five-minute shutdown timer is also available.
Keith K. wrote that the circuit board in the door of the Ram — the passenger door module, which handles power locks/mirrors/windows, is bolted right behind the door panel. On the 2010-2011 chassis cabs, a few driver’s door modules have issues with water leaking in and directly onto the connectors of the door module, and killing the interior (CAN.-IHS) bus. The repair is a new door harness and module, then sealing the connectors so they don’t corrode again. “I think it affects chassis cabs mainly cause the windows are left rolled down a lot while the driver is out of the truck (truck idling) in the rain.”