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2009 Dodge Ram pickup trucks - Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, Axles

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A hybrid-electric version was expected by the 2010 model year; it was nearly identical to the Hemi hybrid setup used on the Durango and Aspen hybrids.

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The manual transmission has been dropped, according to a Chrysler representative. Gas mileage with the Ram Hemi was said to be 23 mpg on the highway, a 10% increase - despite the 40-hp power boost.

The fastest 2009 Ram pickup would do 0-60 in a remarkable six seconds or less (2009 Dodge Ram R/T regular-cab 4x2 with short bed and 4:10 gears - Motor Trend achieved 0-60 in 5.7 seconds with a 14.4 second quarter mile) - with a normal V8 available on most models. Gas mileage increased along with power (except on the V6). Still rumored was the Ram R/T which, according to Mr. Source, would have an upgraded 5.7 HEMI, beefed-up suspension and steering, and a 4.10:1 axle.

Ram engines5.7 Hemi4.7 V83.7 V6
Horsepower390 bhp (291 kW)
@ 5,600 rpm
310 bhp (231 kW)
@ 5,650 rpm
215 bhp (160 kW)
@ 5,200 rpm
Torque407 lb.-ft. (548 N•m)
@ 4,000 rpm
330 lb.-ft. (447 N•m)
@ 3,950 rpm
235 lb.-ft. (319 N•m)
@ 4,000 rpm
Redline5,800 rpm6,000 rpm6,000 rpm
Fuel 89 octane recommended,
87 acceptable
87 octane;
E85 OK (FFV)
87 octane
EPA mpg (2WD)13/1913/1914/20 (automatic)
EPA mpg (4WD)13/1818/18 (misprint?)
EmissionsSULEV 1 / Tier 2 Bin 10CLEV 1 / Tier 2, Bin 10A

A hybrid-electric version was expected by the 2010 model year.

2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck engines

A revised Powertrain Control Module (PCM) included Smart Start control, which prevented starter operation if the engine was running, and automatically disengaged the starter when the engine reached operating speed to prevent excessive starter overrun. Engine choices were a V6 (rear drive only), 4.7 V8, Hemi V8, and, starting in 2010, a Cummins turbodiesel. All but the V6 came with a five-speed automatic transmission (the transmission for the diesel was not yet known).

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Hemi engine updates: 390 hp / 407 lb-ft

40% of Ram buyers opted for the Hemi, which had gas mileage similar to the 4.7 liter V8 but much more power. For 2008, the Hemi was revised to improve engine breathing and gas mileage, with the addition of variable cam timing; a higher compression ratio; higher-flowing heads, intake, and exhaust; and an active intake manifold that switches from long runners to short runners, to optimize the engine for either better high-end horsepower or better low-end torque.

In addition, the MDS system was updated so the engine would spend more time in four-cylinder mode, saving fuel. Numerous other hardware upgrades were implemented to build on the quality, reliability and durability reputation of the HEMI engine, including crankshaft structural upgrades, a dual-mass crankshaft damper, floating pin piston design, valve spring design, and oil pump capacity increase.

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The results of all this work were a 10% boost in power to 390 hp (291 kW) and 407 lb-ft of torque (548 Nm), up from 345 hp and 375 lb-ft. At the same time, gas mileage increased by nearly 5%. The Dodge Ram R/T rear-wheel-drive model, with a short bed, regular cab, and 4.10:1 gears, could reach 60 mph in a mere 7 seconds, making it faster than the PT Cruiser GT or V6 Dodge Charger.

The variable cam timing (VCT) reduced the engine's pumping work by closing the intake valve later, and increased the expansion process of the combustion event. This allowed more work to be transferred to the crankshaft instead of being rejected out of the exhaust port as heat. VCT improved engine breathing, which improved engine efficiency and power.

The MDS system, which shut off or restored four cylinders in a small fraction of a second, had, according to Chrysler estimates, saved nearly 100 million gallons of gasoline since 2005, along with reduced carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions of close to a million metric tons.
When MDS was operating, it was indicated by a "Fuel Saver" readout in the 2009 Dodge Ram's Electronic Vehicle Information Center.

Other engines

The 4.7-liter V-8 was boosted to a 310 horsepower (231 kW) and 330 lb.-ft. (447 N·m) of torque with increased fuel economy; that put it close to the outgoing Hemi's horsepower. It had two spark plugs per cylinder, a higher compression ratio, better head port flow, and a new slant/squish combustion system. This engine was also compatible with E85 fuel.

Standard on 2009 Dodge Ram two-wheel-drive regular cab and Quad Cab® models was a 3.7-liter Magnum V-6 engine, generating 215 horsepower (160 kW) and 235 lb.-ft. (319 N·m) of torque. Similar to the 4.7-liter and 5.7-liter V-8s, the 3.7-liter V-6 was equipped with Electronic Throttle Control, which provided engine torque control while compensating for changes in engine load caused by the air conditioning compressor, alternator and power steering pump. The 3.7 liter engine had best-in-class gas mileage.

The big news would be a new turbodiesel from Cummins, showing up in 2010; it would greatly increase low-end torque while slashing gas usage by nearly a third and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, compared to a similar gas engine. The Cummins diesel would meet 50-state emissions standards for 2010.

The Ram Hybrid was on the way, with gas mileage rivalling mid-size sedans.


The 545RFE five-speed automatic transmission was standard on 2009 Dodge Ram pickups equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI and optional on Ram pickups equipped with the 4.7-liter V-8. It was a fully electronically controlled transmission containing three planetary gear sets that provided a wide ratio capability for optimum performance. It had a tow-haul mode that balanced engine speed and load conditions which improved performance and fuel economy.

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The 545RFE five-speed automatic included a new Electronic Range Select (ERS), which enabled the driver to manually limit the highest available transmission gear, allowing manual upshifts and downshifts based on road speed and engine speed. Also new was an optional floor-mounted automatic shifter - available in the Dodge Ram for the first time.

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2009 Dodge Ram models with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine (two-wheel drive only) got the 42RLE four-speed, a multi-range, electronically controlled transmission with an electronically modulated converter clutch that increased fuel economy by engaging the torque converter clutch at a lower engine speed. ERS was also included in the four-speed automatic, as was tow-haul mode.

Dropped from 2009 Ram plans was the Getrag 238 six-speed manual, which was to be encased in a two-piece, die-cast aluminum housing; it featured hard-finished gears and shift rails supported with ball bearings and Teflon bushings.

2009 Dodge Ram transfer cases

Two transfer cases were available: the NVG 243, which enabled part-time four-wheel drive operation with a two-speed gear system; and the NVG 246, which enabled an on-demand four-wheel drive system, also with a two-speed gear system. Both transfer cases were engaged with a dash-mounted switch.

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The part-time transfer case provided three operating ranges - 2HI (two-wheel drive), 4HI (four-wheel drive) and 4LO (low-range reduction four-wheel drive) - plus a neutral position. 2HI was designed for any road surface at any time. 4HI and 4LO were for off-road use. Operating mode may be switched between 2HI and 4HI while the vehicle was in motion, but the vehicle's transmission must be in neutral to engage 4LO. The low-range reduction ratio for 4LO is 2.72:1, which provided increased low-speed torque capability for pulling power in off-road conditions.

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The on-demand transfer case provided four operating ranges: auto, 2HI, 4HI and 4LO. The auto range provided optimum versatility by engaging two- or four-wheel drive depending on road conditions. 2HI, 4HI and 4LO function the same as in the part-time transfer case.

Driveshafts were upgraded for increased quality, durability and reliability. The 2009 Dodge Ram's driveshafts now incorporated 1350 series universal joints, two-piece thrust washers with triple-lip seals, and improved journal cross strength.


Four-wheel drive 2009 Dodge Ram pickups used a front axle incorporating half-shafts that drive front hubs. The axle had a disconnect system that automatically disengages the axle when four-wheel drive mode was disengaged, for increased fuel economy. 3.55 and 3.92 gear ratios were available.

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The rear axle used a new multi-link mounting design to facilitate a new coil-spring setup, with forward-facing shock absorber brackets. (The previous Dodge Ram incorporated a Hotchkiss leaf-spring design and staggered shock brackets.) Four gear ratios were available: 3.21, 3.55, 3.92 and 4.10. Standard on all 2009 Dodge Ram rear axles were an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which helped drivers maintain directional stability by applying selective braking and engine control to keep the vehicle on course.

Four-wheel disc brakes were standard on all 2009 Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Front rotors measured 13.2 inches (336 mm) in diameter and were clamped with dual-piston calipers, while rear rotors were 13.8 inches (352 mm) and utilize single-piston calipers.

An optional helical-gear limited-slip rear axle instantly divided torque between the rear wheels in proportion to the traction available to each wheel. It was consistently smooth when turning corners because it responded only to variations in traction.

The rear axle was constructed of stronger materials for added durability, yet weighed only 15 pounds more.

For more information

We have more details on the development and features of the 2009 Dodge Ram in our Industria Show page.

Main 2009 Ram pageMain Dodge Ram page2009 Ram Test DriveFeatures, Interior, and StylingSuspension


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