We depose Ram’s tech team on all things heavy
After the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty truck‘s dramatic unveiling and the announcement of all those superlative capability numbers that must surely have rival truck designers sharpening their pencils, we got the engineers talking to fill in details about their new baby.
Not a 1500 Body
The new HD shares little or no cab or box sheetmetal with the Ram 1500. Much of the sheetmetal carries over from the previous HD models (which were also not directly shared with 1500s). And sure, lots of the interior parts are shared, and the HVAC system is largely shared with 1500, but the big stuff is all modified to mount to the different sheetmetal. The 1500’s headlight units don’t fit flanking the much larger grille. The largely carryover box integrates new hardware for tying items down and the power locking/releasing tailgate with damped lowering and a ducktail that contributes to the truck’s 0.409 drag coefficient.
Ate up with Features
Ram claims the HD boasts 35 new features, 21 of which are class exclusives, including adaptive cruise control that will slow the truck to a stop and start back up again if traffic moves within 3 seconds. And it will do this with a 35,100-pound (15,921-kg) trailer attached, using the exhaust brake while slowing (if that feature is enabled). Limited and Longhorn models get LED headlights that aim the beam 15 degrees (inboard lamp into the turn) or 7 degrees (outboard lamp into the turn).
The new heavies can be optioned with up to six extra tire monitors and additional cameras to monitor the outside and/or inside of a trailer. The tire sensors communicate via radio frequency to a receiver mounted at the very back of the truck. The camera gets hardwired and connects via a new 12-pin trailer connector. The automatic emergency braking system acclimates to the trailer’s brake and tire condition quickly, automatically adjusting the trailer brake gain.
Two rear air suspensions are offered—2500 models get solo rear air springs; 3500 models get air helper springs. Their cool party trick is their ability to lower the rear of the truck as you line up with your trailer hitch, then elevate to engage it. For this to work in a 3500, you need to have sufficient load onboard to compress the leaf springs enough to clear the trailer hitch, as the helpers can’t be overridden to rise above normal ride height.
No Automatic Trailer Steering
Ram product planners apparently reckon steering a truck and trailer rig with a knob is for sissies. At least the suite of onboard and available trailer cameras—especially when viewed on the center stack’s optional big-screen TV—make the job a whole lot easier.
New 6.7-Liter Cummins Diesel With 1,000 Lb-Ft of Torque
Sure, the bore, stroke, and essential architecture are the same, but in order to achieve that kilo-pound-foot torque rating, this engine is all new from the compacted-graphite-iron (CGI) block on up, which contributed heavily toward an overall weight reduction of 60 pounds (27 kg). Weight was also saved by machining a hollow steel billet camshaft and replacing non-structural things like brackets with alloy materials. The crank is strengthened and now connects to the flywheel with 10 bolts, and the rods are made of a stronger alloy and feature larger wrist pins bearings. Compression increases from 16.2:1 to 19.0:1, and fuel injection pressure increases to 29,000 psi. Hydraulic lash-adjusting lifters are added to the 12 pushrods actuating the 24 valves.