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Ram “Long Hauler” Concept for serious road trips

by Bill Cawthon on

The Ram Long-Hauler concept was designed for those who have a trailer to tow and a long distance to travel, but don’t want to move up to a Class 6 truck. Based on the Class 5 Ram 5500 Chassis Cab, the Ram Long-Hauler has a six-cylinder 6.7-liter high output Cummins turbodiesel engine rated at 800 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a reliable six-speed Aisin AS68RC automatic transmission. Four wheel drive is handled via a transfer case coupled to a 4.88 Dana 110 axle with dual rear wheels.

The Class 5 Ram Crew Cab has been converted to a Mega Cab configuration, with an 8-foot box. A mid-ship fuel tank was combined with a second frame-mounted tank and a third bed-mounted tool box/auxiliary tank, giving the Long-Hauler a total fuel capacity of 170 gallons. At the national average price of diesel (time of launch), a fill-up would cost over $706 for a fill-up — but one fuel stop is all the truck may need for a coast-to-coast trip.

The Long Hauler has a 197.4–inch wheelbase and 37,500 Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), taking it beyond the capability of traditional Class 3 or Class 4 trucks. Overall length of the Ram Long-Hauler is 288 inches, so parallel parking is an issue unless two spaces happen to be available. The Long Hauler is 79.1 inches tall and tips the scales at an estimated 9,300 lbs. It may seem like an extravagance in times of rising fuel prices, but by avoiding the purchase of a heavier, less economical truck, it can actually be a fuel saver for its target audience.

To improve the ride and handling, the Long Hauler has full Kelderman Air Suspension front and rear and 19.5-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels. The folks at Ram claim the ride is like a 3/4 ton truck. The suspension is self-leveling and has a kneel feature.

Trailer hook-ups are aided by a fifth-wheel hitch and a setup that allows hook-ups without opening the tailgate. There’s also a camera to help line up with a trailer.

The Ram Long Hauler concept is finished in brilliant black paint accented by white gold metallic lower two-tone including body side moldings and wide wheel flares at the front and rear. Up front, there’s a full-width bull bar.

Inside, noise levels have been reduced by upgraded NVH package. Four leather seats include a higher-comfort driver’s seat. Rear passengers get power-adjustable footrests and a rear center console with a refrigerator, cup holders and tray tables. Front and rear 115V and 12V outlets are available and with the interior Wi-Fi enabled, passengers can use laptop computers during long drives. Rear seat passengers can opt for a movie on the DVD system with overhead screen; there’s also a laptop storage area and a safe for valuables. The rear seats and console also fold flat for additional storage or as a berth for resting.

Ram sees the potential market for a Class 5 pickup, including race car teams, car haulers, RV owners, ranchers and rodeo competitors, boaters and commercial expediting operations.

The Ram Long-Hauler Concept will be seen across the country in the next eight months to help gauge public opinion. Tentative show schedule for the Ram Long-Hauler is:

Kentucky Derby, Louisville, Kentucky. 5/05 – 5/07

Turbo Diesel Register Rally, Columbus, Indiana – 6/10 – 6/11

Rodeo Circuit, July/August

Farm Progress Show, Decatur, Illinois, 8/31 – 9/02

Husker Harvest, Grand Island, Nebraska – 9/13 – 9/15

NTEA New Product Conference, Dearborn, Michigan – 9/19 – 9/19

Sunbelt Expo, Moultrie, Georgia – 10/18 – 10/20

National R.V. Show, Louisville, Kentucky – 11/29- 12/1

Thanks to 440NewYorker for the tip!

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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