- Ram 3500 Heavy Duty’s maximum trailer weight of 30,000 pounds far surpasses closest competitor’s 23,100-pound max
- 850 lb.-ft. Cummins Turbo Diesel is tops for torque
- 37,600-pound Gross Combined Weight Rating leads all heavy-duty pickups
- Ram 2500 leads all ¾-ton pickups
- Ram Chassis Cab trucks also deliver best-in-class towing
In the quest to build the most capable trucks available, Ram officially released class-leading towing and weight ratings for its 2013 line of Ram Heavy Duty pickups and Chassis Cab trucks.
The Ram 3500 Heavy Duty pickup will claim a 30,000-pound trailer capacity thanks to a new class-exclusive 50,000 pounds-per-square-inch, high-strength steel frame, improved transfer case, higher-load transmission, an upgraded 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine with a best-in-class 850 lb.-ft. of torque and other significant driveline upgrades.
Ram’s closest competitor is limited to a 23,100-pound maximum trailer.
“Ram Heavy Duty pickups deliver the attributes most important to H.D. pickup customers,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO — Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. “Towing capability, reliability and engine performance are ranked first through third, respectively. The 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks deliver all those things, as well as a low total cost of ownership. These are the most capable trucks we’ve ever built.”
The Ram 3500’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) — which is defined by the maximum combined weight of the truck, payload and trailer — has been raised to 37,600 pounds, which again far surpasses the closest competitor’s 30,500-pound GCWR.
Ram has increased the capability in its other truck models as well.
For 2013, the Ram 2500 will also benefit from increased towing and GCWR. At 18,350 and 25,000, Ram 2500’s towing and GCW ratings are also best among ¾-ton pickups.
Ram Chassis Cab trucks also deliver maximum capability with best-in-class towing and GCWR figures 29,600 pounds and 37,500 pounds, respectively (5500 model).
Ram Heavy Duty adds a number of new features for 2013, including a factory-integrated fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch mount, a 17,000-pound Class V hitch with 1,800 pounds of tongue weight, class-exclusive electronic stability control (ESC) for dual-rear-wheels and a new Center High-Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL) –positioned camera, the first of its kind in the heavy-duty pickup category, to provide a full view of the bed for easier hook-up of fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailers as well as monitoring cargo.
For 2013, all Ram Heavy Duty diesels benefit from an all-new cooling system. A high-efficiency fan, dual radiators, dual transmission coolers and low-slung charge air cooler afford 25 percent more heat-rejection capacity. Lower operating temperatures deliver improved performance, durability and lower operating costs. Cummins Turbo Diesel-equipped Ram trucks also provide best-in-class 15,000-mile oil change intervals.
Ram is also introducing an industry-exclusive Ram Active Air intake system. When the intake system senses extreme heat, it draws cooler 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 under-hood inlet, clear from snow packing and water.
Also among the upgrades for 2013, Ram Heavy Duty front drive shafts and U-joints are sized larger to align with the truck’s new Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR).
To handle the best-in-class towing capability of the new Ram Heavy Duty, a new front and rear suspension system with advanced geometry builds upon the chassis improvements and greatly improves overall roll stiffness. 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.
Venture questions: We have a 2002 Chevrolet Venture Van with less than 54,000 miles on it. We have had the oil changed every 3,000 miles or less and had it serviced faithfully at the Chevrolet dealership. How often should we have all the belts and hoses replaced? Thanks! Liz
Mike: Liz, great questions! Your main serpentine belt runs all of your accessories.(ac, alternator, water pump, power steering, etc) And it is automatically adjusted (kept tight) by a big spring loaded pulley that is called the automatic belt tensioner. You should replace the tensioner and belt every 60-70k miles, if it shows signs of cracking, or it is 6-7 years old.
The same with your hoses. Sure, you don’t have many miles, but you have TIME working against you. I would change my coolant every 2-3 years (30k miles) and the hoses every 7-8 years. If you have kept your coolant changed regularly, then you can go 8 years on hoses. The dealer is caught between GM telling them that things last forever, (like coolant lasting 5 years…HAH!) and the customers needs in our severe climate. A political tightrope.
A Sinking Pedal?
Harley Writes: I have a 2003 Nissan Frontier truck with brake problems. When I sit at a light, the brake pedal sinks to the floor sometimes. My husband drove it and it didn’t do it for him. It was acting up about once a day, now it happens more often. Could it be My imagination?
Mike: Harley, what you have is a brake master cylinder that is bypassing. The internal hydraulics are failing and it should be replaced as soon as possible. It will completely fail sooner than later. When replacing the master cylinder it is a good time to have your brake system flushed. Only buy a new one by the way, not rebuilt, or remanufactured.
Should I Coat It? Angie writes: I am purchasing a new Civic next week and was wondering if I should have it undercoated. I have heard pros and cons, but would like your input.
Mike: As a former tech, I hate undercoating because it makes it hard to work on anything that has been sprayed. It also adds unnecessary weight to the vehicle and that makes fuel economy suffer. New cars have great corrosion protection and a corrosion warranty from the factory. You don’t need it. There is no way I’d undercoat any of my vehicles.
Here is a tip: It is back to school time and time to have your student’s vehicles checked over before they have to use them every day. This is a good time to have the oil changed and a good looking over. Also, it they are going away to college, do your homework and find them a local service shop they can go to in an emergency.
If you like this column, you can hear more of the same on my Saturday morning radio program. “In Wheel Time” airs from 9:00-Noon on 1560 “The Game.” You can also listen or watch streaming video live on our website: www.inwheeltime.com. I also encourage you to “like” us on facebook (www.facebook.com/inwheeltime)
Mike is a ASE Certified Technician and auto shop owner for 31 years. If you have questions or comments, E mail me: email@example.com or go to www.inwheeltime.com to read more articles.
At the recent Houston Auto Show, Texas Auto Writers President Mike Herzing awarded the coveted SUV of Texas Trophy to Jim Morrison, Director of the Jeep brand. This is the second year in a row that the Jeep Grand Cherokee has won the award. The Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV in history.