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by David Zatz
Designed for those who want to drive a trailer long, long distances, without getting a class six truck, the Ram Long-Hauler concept combined a Ram 5500 Chassis Cab with a four-door cab, a long bed, and a large gas tank.
Easy trailer towing was provided by the Cummins diesel engine, mated to a six-speed Aisin AS68RC automatic transmission, with four wheel drive. Trailers were supported by a 4.88 Dana 110 axle with dual rear wheels.
Instead of the usual chassis-cab cabin, the Long Hauler had a “Mega Cab” from the pickup line; the standard fuel tank was combined with a frame-mounted tank and a bed-mounted tool box/auxiliary tank, for a total fuel capacity of 170 gallons. One fuel stop could, in theory, take the Long-Hauler from coast to coast. Still, 170 gallons seems excessive, weighing in at around 1,215 pounds, which must hurt gas mileage a bit; and buyers will still need bathroom breaks.
Reader JTE wrote: “The Mega Cab was proposed to upper management by a group of engineers, designers, and technicians. I found Dieter Zetsche and Wolfgang Bernhard receptive to innovation and a certain amount of risk taking. “We knew the only way to sell it was to keep as much common with existing components. The 160" wheelbase was the longest that could make a sharp turn on the Saltillo assembly line. Change made to the line for the medium duty trucks have open up the potential for the Long Hauler. “Once the Mega Cab became an official program, some seating and stowage ideas were lost to the lowest bidder, such as folding the back and base of the seat up and pushing them to the back for an open floor, lower to the ground, for taller items (big TVs). It would also fold to give a larger cargo area (sleeper), higher off the ground.”
The Ram Long Hauler concept truck has a 197.4-inch wheelbase and 37,500 Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), well beyond class 3 or 4 pickups (such as the Ford F-450 and Ram 3500). The overall length of the Ram Long-Hauler was 288 inches, so parallel parking was only really possible with two back to back spaces. The Long-Hauler ran to an estimated 9,300 pounds.
While an extravagance for those who don’t need to tow heavy trailers for hundreds or thousands of miles, it can actually be economical for the target market by replacing a Class 6 vehicle. (That market included racing teams, car haulers, RV owners, ranchers, rodeo competitors, boaters, and commercial expediting operations).
The Long-Hauler used a Kelderman air suspension, front and rear, with 19.5-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels; the folks at Ram told us that the ride is like that of the Ram 2500. The suspension is self-leveling, and has a kneel feature.
Trailer hook-ups were aided by a fifth-wheel hitch and a setup that allowed hook-ups without opening the tailgate, aided by a camera facing the hitch.
The concept pickup’s black paint was accented by “white gold metallic” lower paint.
Inside, noise levels were cut down by upgraded insulation; seats were done up in leather, with the driver’s seat made extra comfortable. Rear passengers had power-adjustable footrests and a center console with a refrigerator, cup holders, and tray tables. Alternating-current (115V) and direct-current (12V) outlets made both front and rear gadget-friendly; interior Wi-Fi made it easier for passengers with laptops to stay occupied, though they could also watch a movie on the overhead screen. For safer pit stops, Ram supplied a laptop storage area and a safe. The rear seats and console folded flat for additional storage, or as a berth for resting.
Chrysler 1904-2018 •
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