The new 2013 Ram Heavy Duty line features best-in-class towing and best-in-class Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), according to a Chrysler announcement Sept. 27. Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks also add new features, including an all-new interior, next-generation Uconnect Access, Powernet, new frames and new suspension.
For 2013, Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature new frames built with high-strength 50 KSI steel, including eight separate cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails for optimal strength and mass efficiency. In the rear portion of the new frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails and a factory-installed rear axle cross member with provisions for 5th-wheel and gooseneck hitches.
A new conventional trailer hitch system is upgraded to Class 5 with a 17,000-lb. load capability and 1,800 pounds of tongue weight for use with 2-inch or 2.5-inch receiver hitches.
An advanced three-link front suspension on the Ram 3500 is necessary for the vehicle’s higher GVWR and for use with heavy front loads, including snow plows. Additionally, a newly designed Hotchkiss leaf spring rear suspension on the Ram 3500 offers improved ride and handling while delivering higher towing and payload capability, according to Chrysler.
A number of body improvements have been made to enhance overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The new truck comes equipped with an updated engine, transmission and body mounts, including hydro-mounts at C-pillar positions for class-leading NVH characteristics despite the truck’s aptitude for higher payloads and towing.
A new capless fuel filler on diesel applications is a space-saving initiative that enables side-by-side fuel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) port configuration.
The Ram 3500 features a factory-installed trailer tow connector in the truck bed, included with the optional 5th wheel or gooseneck tow prep package. New structural support is designed into the body to support the payload increase and improve durability performance. Additionally, new reinforced tie-down points with enhanced strength are designed for heavier loads.
The new Ram Heavy Duty now features the Powernet electrical architecture system allowing both high and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers.
A new vehicle system interface module (VSIM) is capable of communicating between aftermarket modules and various factory control modules. The VSIM up-fitter interface module features a total of 72 inputs and outputs, including lighting controls, door position and throttle and transmission position. The class exclusive module acts as a secure gateway to the vehicles’ electrical system.
New for 2013, central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking all exterior doors and storage with one push of a button. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps also find their way into the feature availability list of the new 2013 Ram Heavy Duty.
For 2013, the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 makes its debut in Ram 3500 Heavy Duty pickup as standard equipment (single rear wheel). Also standard in the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty, the engine produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lb.-ft. at 3,950 rpm. The HEMI V-8 is mated to a 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission.
The renowned 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel I-6 is now available in three versions:
- The first version is paired with Ram’s six-speed manual transmission, which features a wear-compensating clutch for lifetime “like-new” performance and a dual-trunion shift tower to accommodate a compact shift pattern. This combination delivers 350 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 660 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 rpm — a significant boost from the 2012 model-year maximum of 600 lb.-ft.
- The second option matches the Cummins to the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel engine cranks out 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm with an unsurpassed in ¾-ton trucks 800 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm.
- Finally, an upgraded 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel I-6 for Ram 3500 is paired with a new Aisin six-speed automatic transmission (AS69RC). In addition to 385 horsepower at 2,800 rpm, the most powerful Cummins generates best-in-class torque of 850 lb.-ft. at 1,600 rpm. The new AS69RC transmission features wide gear ratios that contribute to upgraded shift performance, an approximate 1% gain in transmission efficiency and improved driveability when compared to the previous design.
For 2013, all Ram Heavy Duty diesels benefit from an all-new cooling system. A high-efficiency fan, dual radiators, dual transmission coolers and charge air cooler afford 25% more heat-rejection capacity. Lower operating temperatures deliver improved performance, durability and lower operating costs.
Diesel-equipped Ram Heavy Duty pickups feature an industry-exclusive Ram Active Air intake system, activated by new monitoring capabilities added to the engine controller. When the intake system senses extreme heat, it draws cool air from the front of the vehicle — a function that also engages at high altitudes for superior throttle response in low oxygen environments. When conditions are wet from snow, ice or water-fording, the system pulls air from an underhood inlet clear from snow packing and water ingestion.
The Cummins powerplants benefit from a larger exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) cooler, which complements the debut of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and accommodates a best-in-class oil-change interval of 15,000 miles. Oil life is increased by reducing soot production and reducing fuel dilution of the oil.
Combined with a 10% improvement in fuel economy due in part to the engines’ high-pressure common-rail fuel system, SCR promises a net reduction in Ram Heavy Duty operating costs. The SCR-equipped diesels, which can run on B-20 biofuel, also operate cleaner by lowering greenhouse-gas emissions and better managing soot production than Lean NOx Trap (LNT) technology.
From behind the wheel, the diesels deliver improved cold-start performance and refinement from innovations such as the new smart exhaust brake system. Enabled by Cummins’ unique, proprietary sliding-nozzle turbine design, the feature electronically manages best-in-class exhaust braking for smoother downhill driving, regardless of vehicle load.
Cummins’ variable-geometry turbocharger also affords more effortless operation at higher altitudes, greater management of EGR flow rates and improved control over exhaust temperatures to accommodate de-sooting.
The 2013 Ram 3500 boasts a best-in-class GCWR, according to Chrysler. A contributor is the 11.8-inch rear axle matched with the diesel engine boasting a 300-mm hypoid gear set, a 4-pinion helical differential and an aluminum ring-gear cover for optimal cooling — and improved aesthetics.
The Ram Heavy Duty also features a segment-exclusive front axle disconnecting system. When conditions warrant, select drivetrain components are disconnected, improving overall efficiency and enabling a gain in fuel efficiency of up to 1 mpg.
Aligning with all-new grilles, the 2013 Ram Heavy Duty quad headlamp design has improved light spread, pattern consistency and distance. An all-new premium headlamp and lighting system features bi-functional halogen projectors and LEDs for park/turn and tail lamps.
New power folding 6x9-inch outside mirrors help to monitor traffic and obstacles on the side of the truck and allow a better view of the trailer when towing.
A tailgate handle-mounted rear camera back-up system has been upgraded for 2013 with higher definition and dynamic imaging in the 8.4-inch display. Also, a new center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) camera provides a view of the bed for easier 5th wheel or gooseneck trailers as well as monitoring bed loads.
Ram 3500 models feature new, crafted 18-inch and 20-inch wheel designs that incorporate trim level themes.
Exterior door and fender badges are relocated to a portrait style format from the current landscape format, yielding not only a cleaner appearance but more usable real estate on the door for a commercial customer’s signs and graphics.
The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. The top row is for functional features and includes exhaust brake, tow/haul and electronic stability control (ESC). The bottom row is for comfort controls and includes heated steering wheel, heated seats and ventilated seats. The bottom row also can be optioned as an auxiliary switch bank for all five spots.
Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly. The new console center stack includes a 115-volt outlet and new drawer at the base of the stack with a tool box-slide action. The new drawer features 12-volt outlets on either side and an optional powered USB on the driver’s side.
All Ram Heavy Duty trucks continue to use a column shifter for the automatic transmission. Electronic Range Select (ERS) is now located on the face of the steering wheel, right side, allowing individual gear selection. Diesel models offer a manual six-speed transmission, the only manual transmission offering in the segment.
The center consoles for both the bucket and 40-20-40 bench seat configurations are all-new. The new bucket seat console uses the extra space as additional storage.
Safety and Security
Ram Heavy Duty trucks offer more than 45 active and passive safety and security features, including standard front air bags and seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System, knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert and ParkView rear back-up camera system. The 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks also include standard electronic stability control (ESC), a segment exclusive on 3500 Heavy Duty. ESC hosts a number of technologies including all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist and anti-lock brake system (ABS).
The new 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks now offer Keyless Enter ’n Go technology, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the truck to be started without having to touch the key fob. Also new for 2013, remote central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate powerlocks, creating a convenient solution for locking down the truck with the push of a button. An available remote start feature allows a driver to start their truck from up to 300 feet away. Door controls, illuminated entry, engine immobilizer and panic alert are standard features with the Keyless Enter ’n Go system. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam also are new offerings, adding to a long list of content.
Manufacturing and Warranty
Start of production of the 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013 at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.
The 2013 Ram Heavy Duty is backed with a 5-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage onto the new owner. The standard 3-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Heavy Duty, from the body to the electrical system.