And then there’s the exhaust side of this Cummins masterpiece. A redesigned manifold supports a new variable-geometry turbocharger, which supplies up to 33 pounds of boost.
For customers that don’t want the expense or complexity of diesel, an upgraded 6.4-liter gasoline-burning Hemi V8 is standard. Augmented by cylinder deactivation and variable camshaft timing it’s good for 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 429 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm.
Three transmissions are offered in the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty. Hemi V8 engines are paired with a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic. The standard-output Cummins bolts to a newly upgraded 68RFE six-speed self-shifter while the alpha-dog diesel gets a heavy-duty Aisin automatic.
As for fuel economy, these new trucks should dramatically outperform their predecessors. With enhanced aerodynamics, reduced weight and plenty of other tweaks, they could be up to 20 percent more economical, a huge improvement.
Something aftermarket upfitters are sure to love, either engine can be had with a dual-alternator electrical system. So equipped, trucks powered by the Hemi V8 get one delivering 220 amps and another that’s good 160, totaling 380 amps of best-in-class output. If there’s a Cummins under the hood you get to 220-amp alternators, good for a whopping 440 amps of juice.
A Strong Foundation
Supporting all that capability are brand-new underpinnings. This Ram’s frame has been completely redesigned and is now made of 98.5 percent high-strength steel. It features six separate crossmembers, fully boxed rear rails and even hydroformed main sections. It should provide the highest torsional rigidity in the segment. Like its smaller brother, the Ram 1500, these new heavy-duty models can be fitted with frame-mounted tuned-mass modules that cancel out unwanted vibrations for a smoother more comfortable ride.
Smart engineering, including the use of higher grades of steel in the frame and an aluminum hood have helped the high-volume version of this truck family shed up to 143 pounds, an admirable figure considering how capable the range is.
Even though this new Ram can tow a Kilimanjaro’s worth of weight, it offers loads of extra refinement and is likely even more polished and comfortable than heavy-duty trucks from GM and Ford.
Ultra-capable 3500 models soldier on with a more traditional Hotchkiss rear suspension with parallel leaf springs.
For even greater capability and refinement, both 2500 and 3500 models can be equipped with rear airbags, an exclusive feature in this pickup segment.
As one might expect, that available air suspension has a number of tricks up its sleeve. For starters, it automatically levels the truck based on the load it’s carrying. You can also put it in a trailering mode that lowers the pickup’s rear by about an inch to keep things on an even keel between the truck and trailer. There’s even a low setting that drops the backend for easier access to the bed or to simplify trailer hookups.
Further improving refinement are advanced Frequency Response Damping shock absorbers, hydraulic cab mounts at the C-pillars, new suspension bushings and even active noise cancellation. The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty’s steering is hydraulically powered and of the old-school recirculating-ball variety.
Bringing some welcome amenities to the heavy-duty segment, these new Ram pickups offer advanced driver-assistance technology not found in rival models. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking are all on the menu. There’s a new 360-degree surround-view camera with trailer reverse guidance, mirror-mounted spotlights, tire-pressure monitoring for trailers and even a handy payload camera.
Turning night into day, three different headlamp assemblies are available on these trucks. The top offering is a full-LED adaptive setup.