Trucks, Jeeps

2011-2012 Dodge Ram Chassis Cabs: Ram 3500, Ram 4500, Ram 5500

2010
compressor chassis cab

For 2011, the Ram Chassis Cabs gained new styling and interiors. A new full sized crew cab was launched, and polished aluminum wheels were optional on all models.

2013-2017 chassis cabs

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, but any chassis cab could be specified with the proven Cummins diesel engine.

cummins power charts

The gas engine was the most powerful in its class; the diesel used an NOx adsorber catalyst for 2010 emissions compliance, without an exhaust fluid injection system.

A new six-speed transmission helped to keep chassis cab gas mileage at best in Class 4 and Class 5 — 14% better than Ford F-550 and 23% better than GMC C5500. Still, the 2011 Dodge Ram had the largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons).

Upfitter friendliness and maintenance costs were designed to be best in class. The Ram 4500/5500 had the largest front brake rotors (390 mm) and calipers (66 mm) in its class, with a standard diesel exhaust brake. The standard diesel’s 24,000 lb. Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) and optional 26,000 lb. GCWR package were both best-in-class on 3500.

2010 dodge ram chassis
cab

The 2011 Dodge Ram chassis cabs used the previous generation’s chassis and frame, adding a crew cab body option.

The ride was improved by returning suspension components; handling under a full load was also beefed up. Fluid-filled hydro-mounts under the cab reduced beaming and bounce over rough surfaces.

cummins diesel engine

The 6.7 Cummins turbodiesel was mostly unchanged, but had a new particulate feature that slashed nitrides of oxygen by 90%; in the pickups, the engine produces 350 hp at 3,000 rpm, and 650 lb-ft of torque at 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, unique in the 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.

2007 Cummins turbodiesel

In chassis-cab service, the engine met 2010.5 emissions standards in 50 states, thanks to diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injection. The standard diesel had a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty, the best in its class. The base alternator increased from 136 to 180 amps.

Ram logo

Ram Chassis Cabs came with a six-speed Aisin automatic (with 3-year/180,000-mile warranty) or a six-speed manual. The automatic used electro-hydraulic clutch-to-clutch control, with both static and mobile PTO capability. The six-speed manual transmission had a high-ratio sixth gear for longer highway cruising.

cutaway Ram

The Aisin torque converter now locked 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.

2010 Dodge Ram heavy duty chassis cab crane

The interior was 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 a 30-gigabyte hard drive and a 10-speaker surround-sound system. Numerous storage options include in-floor storage.

ram
chassis cab frame

The 2011 Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs gained four upfitter switches in the instrument panel, each linked to a Power Distribution Center (PDC) under the hood, with one fused 20-amp battery feed and one 20-amp fused relay controlled by the ignition. Two switches were ignition-fed and the remaining two were either battery or ignition. Switch outputs were under the hood. A seven-circuit trailer harness and a special upfitter jumper cable were both standard.

A rear ground stud was rated for 50 amps. All models had a heavy-duty cooling system to meet the extra heat loads from PTO upfits and/or extreme hauling.

A capped auxiliary fuel line on the fuel tank makes it easier to use auxiliary equipment running on fuel. Both standard and optional fuel tanks use a through-the-frame fuel filler for upfits without additional modification. The urea system was out of the way and under the cab.

ram 4500 chassis cab
interior

Suspension

The internal friction of the recirculating-ball steering systems was reduced, improving the response and on-center steering feel.

chassis cab dash

The chassis cabs had 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 had two-stage leaf springs for load-carrying capability and better ride with light loads.

Rear axle ratios on Ram 3500 were 3.42, 3.73, and 4.10:1; rear axles for Ram 4500 were 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 started at 7,599 lb (4x2) and rose to 8,655 lb (Crew Cab 4x4); the 5500 weights were similar. Maximum GCWR on both 4500 and 5500 was 26,000 lb, while GVWR ranged 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.

Dimensions Regular Cab Crew Cab
Headroom 40.3 41.0/39.9
Legroom 41.0 41.0/43.1
Shoulder room 66.0 66.0/65.7

Aerodynamics

An optional back-up camera aided trailer hook-ups, with a lift-assist feature for one-handed operation. Bedrail protection was included with both cargo boxes. Boxes gained feature bedrail caps.

External mirrors were made larger, but with less drag, and could be purchased with turn signals and puddle lamps. The big 7 x 11 mirror was standard on 3500 and available on 2500 pickups; they flipped up and out for towing. The front fenders and headlamps of the 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 were shared with light-duty pickups.

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 Integrated exhaust brake

The new grille included a chromed surround with either black center bullets (ST, SLT and Power Wagon) or chromed center billets (Laramie, Big Horn and Lone Star).

The chassis cab grille opening was larger than the light-duty grille to allow for diesel cooling; that meant a taller hood. The unique front bumper was created to provide access to the winch (on Power Wagon) and tow hooks. The door cuts were to the side of the truck, rather than into the roof, to reduce wind noise and weight.

Safety features

  • Two-stage seat belt retractors to limit maximum force
  • Energy absorbing steering columns
  • In an accident, the interior lights are turned on and doors unlocked for rescue people
  • Front seat belts are height adjustable
  • New pillars designed to limit head impact force

Pricing

2011 Ram Chassis Cab Pricing: All prices include $950 for destination.

  Ram 3500
Reg. Cab
Ram 3500
Crew Cab
Ram 4500
Reg Cab
Ram 4500
Crew Cab

Ram 5500
Reg Cab

Ram 5500
Crew Cab
ST 4x2 143.5" $28,550
167.5" $28,740
$31,760 144.5" $37,265
168.5" $37,950
192.5" $38,055
204.5" $38,325
173.4" $40,760
197.4" $40,915
144.5" $38,975
168.5" $39,160
192.5" $39,265
204.5" $39,335
173.4" $42,175
197.4" $42,330
SLT 4x2

143.5" $32,545
167.5" $32,735

$36,920 144.5" $40,845
168.5" $41,030
192.5" $41,135
204.5" $41,205
173.4" $45,200
197.4" $45,355
144.5" $43,395
168.5" $43,580
192.5" $43,685
204.5" $43,755
173.4" $47,445
197.4" $47,600
Laramie 4x2   $42,480   173.4" $50,180
197.4" $50,335
  173.4" $52,430
197.4" $52,585
ST 4x4 143.5” $31,465
167.5" $31,665
$34,670
144.5" $40,975
168.5" $41,160
192.5" $41,265
204.5" $41,335

173.4" $44,475
197.4" $44,630
144.5" $42,685
168.5" $42,870
192.5" $42,975
204.5" $43,050
$45,890
$46,045
SLT 4x4 143.5” $35,540
167.5" $35,730
$39,900 144.5" $44,630
168.5" $44,815
192.5" $44,920
204.5" $44,990

173.4" $48,975
197.4" $49,130
144.5" $47,150
168.5" $47,335
192.5" $47,440
204.5" $47,515
$51,220
$51,375
Laramie 4x4   $45,580   173.4" $54,065
197.4" $54,220
  $56,300
$56,455

The rumor mill: who got it right?

oh20 had predicted the crew cab with an eight foot bed; the upgraded interiors and creature comforts including heated steering wheel and ventilated seats; an audiophile option; and turn signals in the mirrors. We'd expected the new smaller Cummins diesels, but they never came.

2010 dodge ram heavy duty crew cab

2012 Dodge Ram Chassis Cabs

In 2012, Ram 4500 and 5500 medium-duty (Class 4 and 5) Chassis Cab commercial trucks had an optional 30,000-lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR), up from 26,000 lbs, part of an optional “Max Tow” package on regular and crew cabs and in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.

The Ram Max Tow package had an upgraded transfer case, recalibrated transmission software, and enhanced thermal management; it was sold with the Aisin six-speed automatic transmission and 4.88 rear-axle ratio.

Ram 3500 chassis cabs could be ordered with a new six-speed automatic to increase GCWR by 3,000 pounds, to 20,000 pounds, with the V-8.

Ram also upgraded the trailer brake controller on all Chassis Cabs to include electric over hydraulic capability.

The 2012 chassis cabs also had a customer-selectable maximum speed, programmed at the factory or by a dealer, from 55 to 75 mph (in 5 mph increments). The top speed of the Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab was a best-in-class 87 mph.

Issues

Keith K. wrote that the circuit board in the passenger door, 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.”

We make no guarantees regarding validity or accuracy of information, predictions, or advice — see the terms of use and privacy policy. Copyright © 1994-2000, David Zatz; copyright © 2001-2017, Allpar LLC (except as noted, and press/publicity materials); all rights reserved. Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, and Mopar are trademarks of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


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