The Ram pickup (formerly the Dodge Ram pickup)
is a full-size pickup truck manufactured by FCA US LLC (formerly
Chrysler Group LLC) and marketed as of 2011 onwards under the Ram Trucks brand.
Previously, Ram was part of the Dodge line of
light trucks. The name Ram was first used in 1932-1954 Dodge Trucks,
then returned on the redesigned 1981 Ram and Power Ram, following the retiring
and rebadging of the Dodge D Series pickup trucks as well as
Ram trucks have been named Motor
Trend magazine's Truck
of the Year five times; the second-generation Ram won the award in
1994, the third-generation Ram Heavy Duty won the award in 2003, the
fourth-generation Ram Heavy Duty won in 2010 and the current Ram 1500 won in
2013 and 2014. The Ram is manufactured at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant
in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico and Warren Truck Assembly in Warren,
Michigan, United States.
The first-generation Ram Trucks & Vans introduced in
1981 featured a Ram hood ornament first used on Dodge vehicles from 1932 to
not all of the first-generation trucks have this ornament and is most commonly
seen on four wheel drive models. Dodge kept the previous generation's model
designations: "D" or Ram indicated two-wheel
drive while "W" or Power Ram indicated four-wheel
drive. Just like Ford, Dodge used 150 to indicate a half-ton truck,
250 for a three-quarter-ton truck, and 350 for a one-ton truck. The truck
models were offered in standard cab, "Club" extended cab, and crew
cab configurations. They also were offered along with 6.5 ft (2.0 m)
and 8 ft (2.4 m) bed lengths and "Utiline" and
"Sweptline" styled boxes along with standard boxes. Externally, the
first-generation Rams were facelifted versions of the previous generation Dodge
D-Series pickups introduced in 1972. The new model introduced larger wraparound tail lamps, dual rectangular headlamps, and
squared-off body lines. Engine choices were pared down to the 225 Slant-6 and 318 and 360 V8s. The interior was updated and included a
new bench seat and a completely new dashboard and instrument cluster with an
optional three-pod design - a speedometer in the center, with the two side pods
containing an ammeter on the top left, a temperature gauge bottom left, a fuel
gauge on the top right and an oil pressure gauge bottom right. Models without
the full gauge package had only indicator lights in the place of the
temperature and oil pressure gauges. Among the options offered on the Ram were
front bumper guards, a sliding rear cab window, air-conditioning, cruise
control, tilt steering column, power door locks and windows, AM/FM stereo with
cassette tape player, styled road wheels, aluminum turbine-style mag wheels,
special paint and stripe packages, two-tone paint, and a plow package for
four-wheel-drive models (referred to as the Sno Commander).
The "Club Cab" was dropped from the lineup after
1982, but Dodge kept the tooling and re-introduced nearly a decade later in the
1991 models. The four-door crew cab and Utiline beds were dropped after the
1985 model year, to make room on the assembly line for the upcoming 1987 Dodge
Dakota, and were never reintroduced in this generation.
Basic Ram 100 models were reintroduced for 1984, replacing
the previous "Miser" trim level available on the Ram 150. A
"Ram-Trac" shift-on-the-fly transfer case was added for the 1985's Power
Rams, and both the crew cab and Utiline flared bed were dropped for 1986. In
1988 the Slant-6 engine was replaced by a 3.9 L
(240 cu in) fuel-injected V6 engine. The 5.2 L
(318 cu in) engine also received electronic fuel injection in 1988.
Because of a new computer controlled fuel injection, ignition and ABS system,
more vehicle information needed to be displayed through any warning or
notification lights; so inside the cab where a small compartment was once
located on the dash, a new "message center" with four small
rectangular light spots, contained the check engine light and other tell-tales including one for the
parking brake and the ABS if the truck was so equipped. The
message center later included "Wait to Start" and "Water in
Fuel" lights on diesel models. Diagnostic fault codes were stored in the
computer's memory, and cycling the ignition key three times would allow the
computer to flash the trouble codes through the check-engine light for
diagnosis of some problems. Rear ABS became standard equipment in
The Ram 100 model designation was dropped and these models
folded back into the 150 range for 1990, due to the introduction and sales
success of the Dodge Dakota pickup. Additionally, the instrument
cluster was slightly revised; the ammeter was
replaced by a voltmeter while maintaining the 3-pod arrangement of
the speedometer and gauges. Also in 1990, Dodge reintroduced the Club Cab,
equipped with fold-out jump seats for the 1991-1993 models. Entry was made
through the passenger or driver's doors, as there were no rear doors for this
These trucks, though popular with fleets, sold poorly
compared to the Ford F-Series and the General
Motors C/K Trucks, with just under 100,000 units sold most years of their
production. Part of this was due to the dated cab and chassis design which had
been in production since 1972, the fact that there was no powerful diesel
option until 1989, and there was no big-block gas V8 option. Additionally, the
interior had been given few updates since 1981.
For 1989, the 5.9 L V8 received throttle-body fuel
injection for a 20 hp (15 kW) gain. Additionally, Dodge
introduced a new overdrive automatic transmission for reduced fuel
consumption. This light-duty transmission was designated the A500, and was
offered with the 3.9 L V6 and 5.2 L V8. An "O/D Off"
pushbutton switch to lock out the overdrive 4th gear was added to the message
center. The A727 automatic saw continued use for some 5.2 L
engines, all 5.9 L engines, and heavy-duty applications.
The grille was redesigned for 1991 but kept the large rectangular headlamps and
crossbar appearance. The engines were substantially upgraded for 1992 (3.9 L and
5.2 L) 1993 and 1994 (5.9 L) with multi-port fuel injection, new
manifolds, and higher-compression cylinder heads for noticeably higher output.
These newly-revised engines were marketed under the "Magnum" name. A
heavy-duty automatic transmission with overdrive called the A518 was offered with the 5.2 L and 5.9 L
engines. As part of Chrysler's overhaul of corporate transmission nomenclature,
the A500 and A518 were redesignated 42RH and 46RH, respectively, in 1992. The
initial "4" signified a 4-speed transmission, the second digit
identified the transmission's relative torque capacity, the letter
"R" in the third position denoted a rear-wheel-drive transmission,
and the final letter "H" signified hydraulic shift control. The
3-speed automatic remained available; the A727 was redesignated 36RH, and the
A904, A998, and A999 became the 30RH, 31RH, and 32RH, respectively.
1993 W250 Club Cab. Pre-1994 Cummins-engined Dodge pickups
are often termed a "1st Gen Cummins"
A Cummins B Series engine was also added
to the engine lineup and, for the first time, Dodge saw sales go up. The
Cummins can be coupled with a heavier-duty version of the A727
automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission and is available on
250 and 350 pickups and pickup-based chassis-cab trucks. This diesel engine
option is drastically different from Ford and GM diesel engines that were
optioned at the time. The Cummins features direct injection, whereas the Ford
and GM diesels feature indirect injection; this also means that the
Cummins doesn't have to rely on glowplugs. The
Cummins is a straight-six engine, whereas the GM and Ford
diesel engines are V8 engines. Additionally, the Cummins is turbocharged,
while the 6.2 L GM/DDC and 7.3 IDI Ford/IH are naturally aspirated. This
was not the first engine to appear in Dodge pickup trucks as a diesel option.
The 1978 and 1979 D-Series models were available with a Mitsubishi
naturally-aspirated diesel, but it was seldom ordered.
The Ram line was redesigned for the 1994 model year.
Development on a second generation began in 1986, ending in late 1992. A more
conventional design was originally scheduled for a 1991 production; when Bob
Lutz showed it to the new styling designers, chief designer Phillip E. Payne
told him, "It looks like nothing more than a rehash of everybody else's
truck." At that, Lutz told him he had six months to come up with something
exterior styling of the truck that was eventually released was the result of
design concepts by Payne during 1988-1990. A review by the Dodge pick-up truck
studio designers felt that modern pick-ups looked "too flat and sedan
like", while the early 50's Studebaker pick-up and
the semi-trailer trucks had just the right
"macho" look to them. The
design featured a big-rig-looking front end and a large grille that was
nothing like the current Ford or Chevy/GMC pickups in design. The Dodge Ram
Pick-up was selected as "Truck of the Year" for 1994.
The redesigned 1994 Ram was a sales success, with sales
rocketing from 95,542 units in 1993 to 232,092 in 1994, 410,000 in 1995, and
411,000 by 1996. That year, it was prominently featured as the hero vehicle in
the film Twister. Sales of this generation peaked at
just over 400,000 in 1999 before declining against the redesigned Ford and GM trucks.
By 2001, Ram sales figures were below those of Ford and Chevy trucks.
Engine offerings continued over from the first-generation
Ram and were the 3.9 L V6, 5.2 L V8, 5.9 L V8, and
5.9 L I6 Cummins turbo diesel. Added to the line
up was a new 488 cubic inch 8.0L V10 engine designed as an alternative for
those who wanted superior pulling power but did not want a diesel. The
new V10 and
Cummins turbo diesel could only be had in the 2500 and higher designation
models. Models were now the 1500 half-ton, 2500 three-quarter-ton, and 3500
dual-rear-wheel one-ton in both 2- and 4-wheel drive. 1500 Rams offered both
6.5- and 8-foot (2 and 2.4 m, respectively) boxes. 2500 Rams offered 6.5-foot
(2.0 m) boxes with club or quad Cabs.
Dodge offered the 2500 series in two different
gross-vehicle-weight ratings for the first few years, but this was later
dropped. The purpose of the difference between the light-duty and heavy-duty
2500 trucks was for the heavy-duty 2500 to take the place of the discontinued
one-ton single-rear-wheel trucks. Rear axles for the light-duty 2500 trucks
were semi-floating, while the heavy-duty 2500 rear axles were full-floating.
On the inside, special attention was paid to in-cab storage
features, with a large glovebox, a center armrest storage area, and extra
storage space behind the seat. The dash and gauge cluster were a far cry from
the previous model Ram and were far more modern as well. A redesign of the
dashboard and instrument cluster was introduced in 1998 along with the
introduction of the quad cab, and rounded black plastic side-view mirrors
replaced the previous rectangular design.
In 1998, Dodge introduced the "Quad Cab", which
uses smaller, "suicide" doors directly behind the main doors. This
was offered as an option on the "Club Cab" for this model year. Other
changes for 1998 included rounded mirrors replacing the classic square ones, a
revised interior, dual airbags, a chime replacing the buzzer for seat
belts/door ajar/headlights/ and a digital odometer.
The OBD II System
was also standard, with a computer port near the driver's-side footwell and a
code-checking system via the new digital odometer readout.
In late 1998 Dodge introduced a revised front end for the
1999 model year Sport models with a restyled bumper, quad-beam clear-lens headlamps, and
body-color grille. A 6-speed manual transmission was made optional for diesel
variants in late 2000 for the 2001 model year. A small percentage of the diesel
engines for 1999 and 2000 model years were subject to problems within the water
jackets and fuel injectors. The most problematic was the "53" stamped
engine block which had a defect that would cause fracturing in the structure of
the block itself. The 2000 models became optional with heated leather seats.
The braking system was upgraded to dual-piston calipers in the front. An
Offroad Edition was offered as a package with a 2-inch lift accomplished with
stiffer front springs and rear lift blocks, unique 17x8 rims, 275/70/17 all
terrain tires, 4.10 gears, trussed Dana 44 in the front, limited slip
differential, and skid plates. The
Offroad Edition models are also distinguishable with an additional decal on the
tailgate under the 4x4 decal that says "Offroad."
Although Dodge introduced a new Ram 1500 for 2002, the old second-generation
style Ram was carried over for the 2002 model year heavy-duty 2500 and 3500
trucks. The new third-generation Ram would not appear in the 2500/3500 variants
until 2002 as 2003 models. Part of this delay was due to the then new
5.7 L Hemi engine not being ready for production.
In development from 1996 (styling by Cliff Wilkins finalized
in 1998), the third-generation Ram was unveiled on February 7, 2001 at
the 2001 Chicago Auto Show, and
debuted for 2002 model year on 1500 models and 2003 on 2500 and 3500 models.
This was a major update including an all new frame, suspension, powertrains,
interiors, and sheet metal. The crew cab models for this generation were
actually Quad Cab trucks that had conventional-opening rear doors. The
four-wheel-drive light trucks (1500 series) lost their live axles in
favor of an independent front suspension, but the 2500
and 3500 series retained the live axles for maximum longevity and durability.
This body style drew heavily from the previous generation.
The redesigned trucks bolstered sales, with 400,000 sold
during 2001-2002 and nearly 450,000 sold during 2002-2003, a new high point for
the Ram name. At the same time, both Ford and GM trucks
were increasing in sales from a 2001 peak over 850,000 to the 900,000 range. But
with 400,543 Rams sold that year, the Ram's sales could not keep up with the
eleventh-generation F-150 in 2004.
The Dodge Ram was updated for the 2006 model year. One
notable addition was the "Mega Cab", featuring a 6.25-foot (2 m)
cargo box and 22 inches (560 mm) of extra cab space, allowing seating for
six with rear recliners, a full screen mapping in-dash navigation system became
an option, and the headlamps were redesigned to a more modern design.
For 2006, the steering
wheel design was changed to one from the Dodge
Dakota and Dodge Durango. Bluetooth U Connect was now available as
an option, and a front facelift was given to all Ram models. SIRIUS Satellite Radio was available,
as well was a rear seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones.
The SRT model, with the
8.3 L V10 engine from the Dodge
Viper SRT/10, was discontinued after the 2006 model year.
For 2007, Dodge changed the tail lights.
In 2007, a 3500 Chassis Cab model was introduced with
industry-standard rear frame width and wiring to accommodate outfitters. In
addition to the 5.7 L (345 cu in), a Cummins6.7 L
(408 cu in) diesel rated at 350 hp (260 kW) and
650 lb·ft (880 N·m) was also available. Automatic
transmissions used were the 545RFE with the 5.7 L
(345 cu in) the AS68RCwith the 6.7 L
(408 cu in). The G56 transmission was the only manual transmission
For 2008, Dodge introduced two more Chassis Cab models, the 4500
and 5500. These were Class-4 and Class-5 trucks with a gross weight of
16,500 lb (7,500 kg) and 19,500 lb (8,800 kg),
respectively. Both trucks came equipped with the same version of the Cummins 6.7 L
(408 cu in) diesel as the 3500 chassis-cab model. Sterling,
who worked with Dodge in development, had their own version, called the Sterling
Bullet with a unique grille. Sterling is a division of Freightliner
LLC which, like Dodge, was owned by the former DaimlerChrysler. Sterling
Trucks was licensed to sell Dodge Ram 4500 series trucks as the
Sterling Bullet. When the Sterlingbrand
was phased out by Chrysler Corporation, the Bullet was
Changes to the Ram for 2018 included the addition of HD Radio to
all U Connect 8.4 infotainment systems, as well as a new 4G LTE wireless hot-spot provided
by AT&T Wireless, an AT&T Wireless 4G LTE
in-vehicle modem (both the AT&T Wireless 4G LTE modem and 4G LTE mobile
hot-spot replace the Sprint 3G CDMA modem and 3G
CDMA mobile hot-spot offered on previous Ram models), Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration for the U
Connect 8.4 infotainment systems, and the SiriusXM Guardian service replacing
the U Connect ACCESS service offered on previous RAM models for the U Connect
8.4 infotainment systems. In addition, all U Connect 8.4 infotainment systems
get a new User Interface design for easier navigation of
menus and applications.
The VM Motori-produced 3.0 L EcoDiesel V6
turbodiesel engine returned in early 2018 for the RAM 1500, as it has been
re-certified by the EPA after
allegations of emissions cheating in 2017.
Most upper trim levels of the RAM 1500 (Sport, Rebel,
Laramie Longhorn, and Limited) get the new RAM front grille introduced for
2016, as well as a large 'RAM' emblem on the rear tailgate. Lower to mid trim
levels of the RAM 1500 (Tradesman, Express, Big Horn, Lone Star, and Laramie)
retain the standard RAM "Cross-Hair" front grille.
The Night Edition and Lone Star Silver Edition trim levels
For 2018, there are two new special editions:
The Harvest Edition (also available on the Ram 2500 and
3500), are based on the Big Horn and Lone Star models. Available in only four
paint colors, two of which are unique to the Harvest Edition (Case IH Red, New
Holland Blue, two-tone Black Clear Coat and Bright Silver Metallic, or Bright
White Clear Coat). Aimed at farmers, the Harvest Edition adds features that are
otherwise optional on the Big Horn and Lone Star, such as seventeen-inch
chrome-clad aluminum-alloy wheels with all-terrain tires on 4X4 models, the U
Connect 8.4 infotainment system with GPS navigation, SiriusXM Travel
Link with five years of service included and one year of SiriusXM Guardian
service, a trailer tow package with integrated trailer brake control, rear-mounted
tow hitch, and trailer tow side mirrors. Also included are front bucket seats
with power front driver's seat trimmed in premium cloth, chrome side steps,
chrome side mirror covers, chrome door handles, and chrome front tow hooks. It
is available as either a Quad Cab or a Crew Cab.
The Laramie Longhorn Southfork Edition Package, available on
1500, 2500, and 3500 Laramie Longhorn models, adds even more luxury features to
the already luxurious truck, such as unique twenty-inch polished aluminum-alloy
wheels, unique real wood interior trim, and a unique two-tone blue-and-beige
interior color scheme.