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. Wider front frame rails (approximately one inch per side; two inches overall) enable front suspension springs to be positioned slightly outboard, an enabler for generating more positive roll stiffness. A new front suspension cross member is now a two-piece welded component between the front axle and oil pan.
Center frame rail sections are roll-formed, an efficient means for maintaining consistent strength in less complex longitudinal sections. 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.
To handle the best-in-class towing and payload 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.
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.
Dominating the power charts, 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 segment exclusive 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), leaving no doubt to Ram Heavy Duty’s capability. 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 percent gain in transmission efficiency and improved driveability when compared to the previous design.
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.