Chicago 2011: Ram Heavy Duty Updates Bring Class-Leading Torque, Towing

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

Chrysler’s new Ram brand is looking to get on top in the truck segment, announcing today at the Chicago Auto Show a new high-output Cummins diesel engine that will deliver best-in-class torque. The new 6.7-liter diesel engine will also deliver several other class-topping statistics, which Ram will exploit under a new ‘strength in numbers’ marketing campaign.

With a total of 800 lb-ft of torque on tap, the new Ram 2500 and 3500 diesel models get a 23 percent boost in power. The result is a 30,000 lb gross combined vehicle weight rating, as well as a 22,700 max trailer tow rating. And to help get everything down a hill safely, the truck features a beefed-up exhaust brake which is touted to be the most powerful in the business.

Perhaps more important than all these big numbers is one very small number. Actually, it’s so small it’s nonexistent. Yup: zero. That’s how much ‘urea’ or Diesel Exhaust Fluid is required by the Cummins powerplant to meet increasingly strict emissions standards. Unlike both the Chevy and Ford, the Cummins diesel engine doesn’t require owners to worry about filling up yet another tank.

Full details of the engine aren’t yet available, but at the press conference company execs claimed the new Ram HD will be competitive in all aspects, from reliability to fuel economy. The new trucks are set to go on sale in the second quarter of this year.


Official release after the jump:

Ram Heavy Duty Upgrades Deliver Class-Leading Torque and Towing

  • High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel now rated at 800 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Ram is only heavy-duty diesel pickup that doesn’t require Diesel Exhaust Fluid
  • 22,700-lb. maximum trailer tow weight leads the segment
  • Gross Combined Weight Rating increased to 30,000 lbs.
  • Cummins-equipped Ram Trucks offer class-leading diesel exhaust brake

February 9, 2011 , Chicago – Ram Truck today announced a series of upgrades to its Heavy Duty truck line up that will give it outright class supremacy in trailer towing.

Now boasting the ability to pull a segment-leading 22,700-lb. maximum trailer weight, the one-ton Ram 3500 Heavy Duty will get a performance boost to its 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine that will increase its torque by 23 percent to 800 lb.-ft. and be upfitted with a package of components that will increase its gross combined weight rating (GCWR) to 30,000 lbs.

“A Ram Heavy Duty truck owner’s most important concern is towing capability – 79 percent of them rate towing as extremely important,” said Fred Diaz, Ram Truck Brand President and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC. “Reliability and engine performance are tied for second – named as extremely important by 73 percent of owners. This 800 lb.-ft. performance upgrade — combined with Ram Truck’s unsurpassed 5-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and Cummins’ proven reputation for reliability – are a direct response to our customers’ high expectations. We stand behind our commitment to build great trucks that are best in class.”

800 lb.-ft. of High-Output Torque
A new powertrain control module (PCM) with revised performance calibration allows the High-Output 6.7-liter, six-cylinder Cummins Turbo Diesel to reach peak torque at 1,600 rpm and exceed the previous model’s output from 1,200 through 2,800 rpm. While peak horsepower remains unchanged (350 @ 3,000 rpm), the engine’s new calibration delivers more than 40 additional horsepower at typical highway cruising speeds.

Behind the powerful, High-Output Cummins lies a new higher-rated torque converter. The Ram’s new torque converter improves engine/transmission integration for better towing capability on grades and optimizes engine performance.

In addition to the new PCM and torque converter, the 800 lb.-ft. High Output Cummins-powered Ram Heavy Duty trucks receive a new crankshaft damper, reducing engine noise and vibration (NVH).

Ram Trucks with the uprated 800 lb.-ft. Cummins will feature a special “High Output Cummins” badge on their tailgates.

Ram Exclusive: No Diesel Exhaust Fluid Required
Cummins Turbo Diesel-equipped Ram pickups are the only heavy-duty pickups to meet 2010 EPA emissions regulations with an engine and aftertreatment system that has been proven in more than 250,000 customer trucks since 2007 and without the need for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

Best-in-Class Maximum Towing
When equipped with the “Max Tow” towing-optimization package, the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty maximum trailer weight is rated up to 22,700 lbs., the highest trailer weight in its class.

Since the launch of the new Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty for the 2010 model year, towing capability has been the trucks’ strong suit, with a long list of towing features including the most powerful standard exhaust brake in the segment (diesel-equipped models). This feature reduces brake fade, prolongs brake life and provides unmatched confidence and safety when hauling heavy loads on downhill grades.

Ram has the largest brakes of any heavy duty pickup; 14.17-in.x1.54-in. front and 14.09-in.x1.34-in. rear with an integrated anti-lock brake system (ABS) that increases brake life and braking stability.

Tow ratings for the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty meet 100 percent of 2013 model year SAE testing standards.

30,000 lbs. GCWR
Dual-rear-wheel-equipped Ram 3500 Heavy Duty pickups with the Max Tow package are now rated at 30,000 lbs. GCWR – up from 24,500 lbs.

For maximum towing, Chrysler Group Powertrain engineers gave the Ram 3500 an improved dual-rear wheel axle with a 4.10 gear ratio, new rear-axle pinion, new helical gears, upgraded bearings and a heat-dissipating, finned aluminum differential cover.

As part of the Max Tow upgrade to the Ram 3500, the truck will also get a new engine-mounted, oil-to-coolant transmission cooler to moderate operating temperatures during trailer towing.

All Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups will also get upgraded power steering oil coolers to manage the larger loads.

Cummins Turbo Diesel
If you looked up “bulletproof” in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of the Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. With its inline-six architecture and cast iron block and head, this engine has been providing decades of reliable service in everything from agriculture and construction equipment to over-the-road heavy trucks.

Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks powered by Cummins diesel engines have been the benchmark of power, durability, reliability and fuel economy since 1989, the first model year that Ram offered the Cummins engine. This partnership is defined by more than two decades of long-lasting, hard-working history – more than any other diesel pickup combination in the marketplace.

The one-ton Ram 3500 Heavy Duty comes standard with the Cummins Turbo Diesel.

Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickups equipped with the optional 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel and automatic transmission (5.7-liter HEMI engine is standard) also get the 800 lb.-ft. performance upgrade. Because it uses a single rear-wheel axle, Ram 2500 GCWR remains unchanged at 22,000 lbs. Manual transmission-equipped Ram Heavy Duty pickups retain their 350 hp./610 lb.-ft. of torque performance ratings. Max Tow is available for regular and crew cab Ram 3500s only.

High Output Cummins-equipped Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups and the 30,000 GCWR Max Tow package will go on sale in the second quarter 2011.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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2 of 10 comments
  • Hayward richards Hayward richards on Mar 15, 2011

    can we get the upgrades on the 2011 that are 650lb ft of torg

  • Chris Chris on Mar 29, 2011

    Gah! Why can't I have the manual with all the torque? As for the criticisms above about the numbers war, ok, fine. My trailer GTW is 13,500 and my current truck tow rating is 13,500. I figure the better ratings on the new trucks will just mean it will pull my trailer all that much better. And with 4.10 gears I can add a gear vendors and have the best of both worlds.