Check out the new Ram's refreshed 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel power and its all-new body and chassis.
Hitting the 1000-lb-ft measurement right on the head in its high-output configuration, it enables a Ram 3500 regular cab 4x2 long-box dually equipped with the Max Tow package to tug a ridiculous 35,100 pounds and carry a 6570-pound payload. But there's more to the story than just raw grunt.
The truck is fundamentally new from the ground up, built on a new frame that utilizes extensive high-strength steel—98.5 percent, according to Ram—for improved rigidity and weight savings, with six cross members and fully boxed rear sections.
A pair of Active-Tuned Mass Modules similar to those used on the 2019 Ram 1500 help dampens vibration.
Suspension upgrades include new, stronger and lighter front and rear axles, plus progressive springs and upgraded bushings.
The 3500 one-ton has rear leaf springs, while the 2500 three-quarter-ton pickup retains the five-link coil-spring setup.
Three modes of operation control the air springs: Normal/Payload automatically detects the load and adjusts the springs accordingly, Trailer Mode allows the bed to lower about an inch to maintain a level relationship with the trailer, and Bed Mode permits lowering of the bed to simplify trailer hookup.
Riding atop that frame is a freshly restyled body that features an increased amount of high-strength steel, which, combined with an aluminum hood and other weight-saving measures, contributes to a 143-pound overall weight reduction.
Engineers strived for a sleeker profile and managed to come out of the wind tunnel with a 0.41 coefficient of drag, the lowest ever for a Ram HD.
As usual, Ram will offer its HD pickup in Power Wagon form. Based on the Heavy Duty 2500 4x4 Crew Cab, it brings a distinct suspension with factory lift, locking front and rear differentials with 4.10:1 gears, disconnecting sway-bar links, and a Warn Zeon 12 winch with a kink-resistant synthetic line that weighs in at 28 pounds less than a comparable steel line.
It's also still possible to order the Power Wagon content on the base Tradesman model while retaining the Tradesman design elements.
Extensive revisions were also made to the electrical system, including two available dual alternator setups to make sure all of the latest tech features, instrumentation, and accessories function correctly and to ensure plenty of power and junction points for upfitters who reconfigure the Ram chassis for commercial and emergency-vehicle use.
Looking deeper into the powertrain, the lineup starts with a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter Hemi gasoline V-8 as standard.
Rated at 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, the 6.4 sends its output to the maker's fully electronic TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission made by ZF.
Beefed up for HD duty with additional pinion gears for two of the gearsets, extra torque-converter brazing, and a heavy-duty park system, it uses sixth gear as direct drive and seventh and eighth as overdrives.
Interestingly, the Ram HD's maximum payload figure of 7680 pounds is earned by a regular-cab long-box 3500 dually model equipped with the 6.4 gasoline Hemi V-8.
Revisions to the Cummins turbo-diesel 6.7-liter six-cylinder engine are significant. Ram claims the new engine is 60 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
New pistons, said to be lighter and stronger, utilize low friction rings and ride on new forged connecting rods in a new block made from compacted graphite iron. The new cast-iron cylinder head is home to new rocker arms, exhaust valves, and springs.
The improved variable-geometry turbo mounts to a new exhaust manifold and is capable of delivering boost up to 33 psi; the intercooler has been enlarged to the point where Ram calls it the largest ever fitted to its diesel pickups.
The interior continues the brand-wide uptick in quality and refinement started by the recently redesigned Ram 1500, emphasizing a new instrument panel, upscale materials, and a revised HVAC system that moves a higher volume of air while simultaneously reducing noise.
Combined with new engine mounts, hydraulic body mounts at the C-pillars, active noise cancellation, new exhaust components, and the aforementioned vibration dampeners, Ram says it has lowered the ambient interior sound level by 10 decibels, making this the quietest HD to date.
Shifting duties for the standard-output 6.7-liter diesel fall to an upgraded version of the six-speed automatic transmission used previously. Shift quality is said to be improved by the use of variable-force solenoid controls for the torque-convertor clutch, and a new reverse accumulator improves shift feel when going from park to reverse.
A 5.0-inch screen is standard; an 8.4-inches is optional, as is a fully configurable 12-inch screen with unique graphics keyed to individual Ram models.
The redesigned center console provides enough storage area to put a 15-inch laptop out of sight and offers three USB ports in front and two in the back for a total of five; three of them, including one in back, communicate with the Uconnect infotainment system.
Electric heating elements on diesel models speed up the delivery of warm air on cold mornings.
Six trim levels fill out the 2019 HD lineup: Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Power Wagon, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited.
In addition to the usual smorgasbord of tech, luxury, and utility options available a la carte, buyers can select from numerous body configurations including a regular cab with a 169.1-inch wheelbase and an 8.0-foot box, a crew cab available in either a 149.1-inch wheelbase with a 6.4-foot box or a 169.1 wheelbase with an 8.0-foot box, and Mega Cab models with a 160.2-inch wheelbase with a 6.4-foot box.
The full-size truck segment lives and dies by the numbers, and when you're talking diesel, it's torque that gets the headlines. No matter that most casual owners will never come close to exploiting the maximum capability of the 1000-lb-ft beast, this is Ram's time in the spotlight. No doubt Ford and Chevrolet are already plotting strategies to knock it off its perch.