Preview: 2014 Ram Chassis Cab trucks designed for easy upfits

Windsor, ON – For 2014, Ram Chassis Cabs will pack a bigger punch with the introduction of a new 6.4-litre V8 gasoline engine.

Ram Chassis Cab engineers design trucks for upfits and develop unique features to ease installation of multiple systems and bodies without interference or difficult relocation of components, including:

• Industry-standard frame lengths 1524 mm (60-inch), 2133 mm (84-inch), 2743 mm (108-inch) and 3048 mm (120-inch)

• No components or lines above the rear frame rails

• Through-the-frame plumbing and electrical

• DEF refill port is conveniently located at the rear of the cab on the driver’s side to ensure easy access at pump stations

Engineering

For 2014, Ram engineers have enhanced the 3500 Chassis Cab model with a new three-link front suspension that provides greater load-carrying capability and best-in-class towing.

Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs have received upgrades as well. Both models are now rated at 3175 kg (7,000 lb.) of front Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) on 6.4-litre gas engine-equipped models and 3288 kg (7,250 lb.) GAWR on 6.7-litre Cummins Turbo Diesel models.

Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) for Ram 3500 models equipped with single rear wheels have been raised, now ranging from 4763 kg (10,500 lb.) to 5443 kg (12,000 lb.). Ram also features an available 4536 kg (10,000 lb.) GVWR model that falls below certain provincial truck-weight restrictions.

Front suspension springs handle heavier loads while maintaining front ride height and improving overall roll stiffness. Greater roll stiffness, also known as body roll, is an important characteristic in taller vehicles, especially trucks with heavy payloads. An advanced five-link front suspension on Class 4 and 5 Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks helps provide good ride and handling for a higher GVWR and for use with heavy front loads, including snow plows. The Hotchkiss rear leaf spring suspension not only provides a minimum of zero degrees rake angle at max load, it also maintains objectives for ride and handling.

With upfits in mind, the 2014 Ram Chassis Cab trucks feature frames built with high-strength 50,000 psi steel, including eight separate cross-member construction. Designing the frames for upfits creates a competitive advantage, improves durability and reduces warranty costs from unapproved modifications.

Steering

The drag link is positioned over the track bar to reduce roll oversteer and to improve tracking at highway speeds. Also, the drag link is attached directly to the knuckle, offering improved efficiency for driver input. The caster and track are engineered for more wheel-aligning torque, which improves return-to-centre at the steering wheel. A ball joint alignment feature and sealing method improves alignment and service for lower total cost of ownership. This design results in enhanced and precise on-centre feel, despite the vehicle’s impressive towing and payload capacities.

Body

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab comes equipped with engine, transmission and body mounts for noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control.

Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab commercial trucks are available with an engineering-approved, upfitter-friendly solution for customers who require back panel removal on regular cab trucks. Because the instructions were created and approved by Ram Commercial truck engineers, the cutaway design retains the structural integrity of the truck.

Electrical

As the Ram Chassis Cab continues to offer more featured content, it created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The Powernet system allows both high- and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers.

A majority of the commercial truck customers need to tie into the electrical system, and certain fleet customers require access to vehicle information. A best-in-class vehicle system interface module (VSIM) is capable of communicating between aftermarket modules and various Chassis Cab control modules. The class-exclusive module acts as a secure gateway to the vehicle’s electrical systems and data bus architecture to enable safe, secure plug-and-play connectivity for up-fitter use.

An optional dual 220-amp alternator system (440 amps total) on the diesel-equipped Ram Chassis Cab provides best-in-class electrical capability for the higher electrical loads required in select upfits such as emergency lighting and electric clutch pumps. The new 6.4-litre gasoline powertrain gets a dual-alternator option, pairing a 220-amp unit with a 160-amp, for a total of 380 amps.

Operating costs are of great consideration for owner’s who use their trucks for work. The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab claims class-leading features in extended maintenance cycle (up to 24,000-kilometre oil change, fuel filter life); brake life with advanced engine exhaust brake; and upfit integration.

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab comes with a five-year/160,000-kilometre diesel and five-year/100,000 gasoline Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labour needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage on to the new owner. The standard three-year/60,000-kilometre Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Chassis Cab, from the body to the electrical system.

Powertrain

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab 3500, 4500 and 5500 come standard with the new 6.4-litre HEMI V8 gasoline engine — the first implementation of a gasoline engine for the Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab models. The Chassis Cab version of the 6.4L HEMI is similar by design but is engineered for a different duty cycle, when compared to the version offered in the Ram 2500 and 3500. The all-new powerplant provides a worthy gas-powered option to the segment’s overall standard-bearer – the 6.7-litre Cummins Turbo Diesel.

The new 16-valve engine provides an estimated up to 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm (4,660 rpm for Aisin in 4500/5500) and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm. Ram’s new 6.4-litre V8 gasoline engine is the first of its kind for Class 4 and 5 Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks.

The new, big gasoline engine offers a number of features important to the hard, working, heavy- and medium-duty segments, including the dual-alternator option and a programmable idle shut-down timer. Additionally, the engine features Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation operation under normal driving and during PTO mode to improve efficiency.

The new 6.4-litre HEMI is available with the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission or the AS66RC six-speed automatic transmission with segment exclusive, gasoline engine left- or right-side PTO capability.

The 3500 Chassis Cab also is available with the legendary 5.7-litre HEMI V8 gasoline engine. The engine produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lb.-ft. at 3,950 rpm. Mated to the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission, the HEMI features enhanced fuel efficiency and power output, thanks to the incorporation of variable-valve timing (VVT) and a compression ratio of 10.5:1. Refinements and other applied technologies provide the latest-generation HEMI with performance and fuel economy improvements to rival multi-valve V8 offerings.

Unlike the competition, Ram offers two engine variants based on the 6.7-litre Cummins for diesel supremacy in the segment.

The first version features 320 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 rpm. The engine is paired with Ram’s segment-exclusive six-speed manual transmission, which features a wear-compensating clutch for consistent performance and a dual-trunion shift tower to accommodate a compact shift pattern.

A second high-output diesel delivers 325 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and generates best-in-class torque of 750 lb.-ft. at 1,600 rpm. The engine is paired with an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission (AS69RC).

The Aisin AS69RC transmission features robust components and impressive shift performance, transmission efficiency and drivability when compared to the competition. The transmission is designed for high engine ratings and enables a left- and right-side PTO option, as well as allowing for a split shaft PTO configuration (diesel). Fire pumpers, dump beds, aerial buckets, cranes and onboard compressor/generators are typical PTO based upfits.

New for 2014, Ram 3500 Chassis Cab 4×4 trucks are equipped with a front-axle disconnect for greater fuel efficiency.

All Ram Chassis Cab diesels benefit from an advanced cooling system. A high-efficiency fan, dual radiators, dual transmission coolers and charge air cooler provide impressive heat-rejection capacity to align with Best-in-Class GCWR. Low operating temperatures deliver unsurpassed performance, durability and low operating costs.

These Ram models offer the industry-exclusive Ram Active Air intake system, activated by monitoring capabilities in the engine controller. When the exclusive 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 ingestion.

A new, dual fuel tank option combines 197-litre and 83-litre tanks for 280 litres of extended, integrated onboard fuel range for low operating costs. A mid-ship 83 litre tank is now an option for gasoline-powered Chassis Cabs, as well.

Emissions performance

The Cummins power plants utilize a large exhaust-gas recirculation cooler, which complements the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and accommodates a best-in-class oil-change interval of up to 24,000 kilometres. Oil life is longer by reducing soot production and reducing fuel dilution of the oil.

When needed, the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is injected into the exhaust to reduce NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) emissions coming out of the tail pipe. Unlike the competition, the Ram Chassis Cab maintains full power when fluid is low. The state-of-the art DEF system applied on the Ram Chassis Cab features an electric heater in the DEF tank to ensure the fluid is available in a liquid state regardless of climate. The result is a less complex system for enhanced durability.

Competitive designs have used a network of glycol-circulated cooling/heating lines. The DEF refill port is conveniently located at the rear of the cab on the driver’s side of the vehicle, and clear of upfit zones, a configuration that ensures easy access at fuel stations when compared to the competition.

Combined with an improvement in fuel economy, due in part to the engines’ high-pressure common-rail fuel system, SCR provides a net reduction in Ram Chassis Cab operating costs.

The SCR-equipped Cummins engines also operate cleaner by lowering greenhouse-gas emissions and better managing soot production than Lean NOx Trap (LNT) technology.

Exterior design

Ram Chassis Cab trucks are available in ST, SLT and Laramie trim levels.

Three grille designs are available on the 2014 Ram Chassis Cabs, and a premium headlamp features bi-functional halogen projectors and LEDs for park/turn and side markers. The LED light housings are functional hardware with appeal and durability over incandescent bulbs.

Ram 3500 Chassis Cab single rear wheel models get three new 18-inch wheels: steel (ST), chrome-clad steel (standard on SLT, optional on ST) and polished aluminum (standard on Laramie, optional on ST and SLT).

An exclusive, backup camera is available and delivered with factory wiring and multipurpose mount for easy installation by the upfitter. The camera provides a view of the rear with high definition and dynamic imaging in the available 5.0-inch and 8.4-inch radio display or 1.7 x 3-inch display in the rearview mirror.

Exterior door and fender badges are located in a portrait style format providing usable real estate on the door for a commercial customer’s logos and graphics.

Ram Chassis Cab offers 12 different colours, including Black, Black Gold Pearl, Blue Streak Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, Bright White, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl, Flame Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie Pearl, True Blue Pearl and Western Brown Pearl.

Ram Chassis Cab models are also available in an additional 18 specialty paint options, including Midnight Blue, Case Construction Power Tan, Case IH Red, New Holland Construction Yellow, New Holland Agriculture Blue and Robin Egg Blue.

Interior design

In four-door models, rear-seat occupants enjoy the same quality, fit and finish as the driver. With points of contact a priority, premium, durable materials are on all four doors.

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab features the available next generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system. The centre stack includes matching materials found throughout the interior. To complement the range of Chassis Cab models, the interior design team created individualized themes with different colours and materials.

The HVAC controls feature simple function meeting the highest Human Machine Interface (HMI) standards. The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. Below the HVAC arrangement is a switch bank with easy-to-use controls for a number of features depending on vehicle models and options. The top row is for functional features and includes exhaust brake, tow/haul and electronic stability control (ESC). Five instrument-panel mounted auxiliary switches are standard on all Chassis Cab models. The fifth switch becomes a PTO on/off switch when equipped. The bottom row comes standard as an auxiliary switch bank for all five spots with a power take-off (PTO) option when equipped.

Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly. The console centre stack includes one 115-volt and two 12-volt outlets on either side with an optional powered USB port on the driver’s side.

All Ram Chassis Cab trucks continue to use a column shifter for the automatic transmission. Electronic Range Select (ERS) is located on the column. Diesel models offer an exclusive manual six-speed transmission, the only manual transmission offering in the segment. On all models, the transfer case retains full capability with a rotary e-shift to control “4WD Auto,” “4WD Lock,” “4WD Low,” “2WD” and “Neutral”.

The 3.5-inch vehicle information centre screen is a standard feature. The premium 7-inch reconfigurable in-cluster display is available on SLT and Laramie models. The 7-inch screen features fully customizable function and configurability giving the owner a variety of systems to monitor from transmission temperature to navigation.

Chassis Cab trucks with bucket seats offer additional storage capacity in the center console. Six-passenger capability is available with the 40-20-40 bench-seat configuration.

The centre consoles for both the bucket and 40-20-40 bench-seat configurations keep efficient storage in mind. The bucket seat console uses the extra space as additional storage. The bench seat design includes three cup holders built into the console lid that features a washable rubber bellow lining allowing storage for most cup sizes as well as other personal items. Folding back the centre console and centre front seat base reveals a large storage bin that houses an optional CD player. Both versions of the console feature two tiers of storage and are available with a multimedia port with USB, SD card and auxiliary inputs in the upper tier. Additionally, a 2.5-amp USB power port and 12-volt outlet are available to meet device-charging needs.

Uconnect

Building upon base radio capability, two Uconnect systems are offered to provide Ram customers with a range of features and connectivity options. The Uconnect 8.4A and 8.4AN provide Ram truck owners with a high resolution touch screen and available GPS capability.

Available hands-free communications with Bluetooth allows drivers to control their mobile phone, music and navigation system while staying focused on driving. The phone book within a compatible phone is automatically downloaded, synchronizing as many as 1,000 phone book entries, which can then be selected by simply saying a contact name. The feature also allows drivers to switch radio modes, tune to AM/FM and SiriusXM Radio stations.

Uconnect supports Bluetooth-equipped cell phones with message access profile (MAP) advanced text messaging. This voice recognition uses the embedded connectivity to access cloud-based voice-recognition and enable advanced text messaging, which converts the spoken word into verbatim text messages. Communication is limited only by the user’s vocabulary.

Filling the gauge cluster in front of the driver is an available premium 7-inch, full-colour, premium multiview display, featuring a reconfigurable function that enables Ram customers to personalize information inside the instrument cluster. Ram’s information display is designed to visually communicate information, using graphics and text, quickly and easily. The multiview display offers drivers a wide range of customization options, from a basic digital speed read out to specific vehicle status information. Operation of the display is clearly communicated to users with easy-to-understand icons and instructions.

Safety and security

Ram Chassis Cab trucks offer more than 45 active and passive safety and security features, including standard front air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS), knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert and ParkView rear backup camera system.

A segment exclusive selective tire pressure display is standard for both single- and dual-rear-wheel 3500 models.

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab models include standard electronic stability control (ESC), a segment exclusive on Class 3, 4 and 5 Chassis Cabs over 4536 kg (10,000 lb.) GVWR. ESC hosts a number of technologies including all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist (HAS) and anti-lock brake system (ABS).

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab also offers Keyless Enter ’n Go technology, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the truck to be started without having to touch the key fob. An available remote start feature allows a driver to start their truck from up to 91 metres (300 feet) away. Door controls, illuminated entry, engine immobilizer and panic alert are standard features with the Keyless Enter ’n Go system. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps also are offered, adding to a long list of content.

Manufacturing

Start of production of the 2014 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014 at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.

For more information, visit www.ramtruck.ca.

TruckTest! is a sister website to CarTest! Both were created by award-winning Editor and Writer Bill Roebuck to help anyone in the market for a new vehicle to make the best decisions.

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