Departure Date: August 2011Current Mileage: 40,848 milesMonths in Fleet: 16 monthsAverage Fuel Economy: 14 mpgAverage Range: 476 milesService: $1198Normal Wear: $0Repair: $0
Pickup sales space a well-known indicator that housing-market health, but the residents of the house that Walter P. Chrysler developed were worrying around other procedures of fiscal fitness at the time this heavy-duty lamb was introduced. Between the truck’s an initial public appearance at the February 2009 Chicago auto show and its launch nine months later, Chrysler filed for and also emerged native bankruptcy. During that exact same time, new housing construction hit its low inflection point.
Fortunately, things are improving: Post-bankruptcy Chrysler is now regulated by Fiat and also has rehabbed many of its ailing lineup, and truck sales are increasing as the real estate market gradually rebounds. Our long-term Ram to be a witness come the latter in much more ways than one: when the truck was under ours care, eight staffers supplied the heavy-duty hauler to relocate to a new dwelling, with another handful assisting friends with relocation. We should have stocked the truck’s facility console through U.S. Postal company change-of-address packets.
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Quieting the Skeptics v Volume
Before the arrival, some among us wondered whether together a behemoth would be too much vehicle for our needs, especially after having finished a successful 40,000-mile stint in a small-by-comparison 2009 Dodge lamb 1500.Turns out they needn’t have worried: What we finished up v was—to quote ourselves—“one that the baddest-ass off-road executive limos” we’d however encountered. The spec- and options-sheet highlights: 2010 lamb 2500 Mega Cab, electronic parttime four-wheel drive, the then-top-spec Laramie trim (since eclipsed by the Laramie Longhorn), a Cummins diesel inline-six hooked to a six-speed automatic, monochromatic black repaint outside, black color leather inside. A complete rundown can be uncovered in the truck’s long-term development story, however suffice it come say that the thing was loaded. Stocked with almost every obtainable option, the last bill involved $54,650, or the price of a foreclosed home in a quite neighborhood.
Moving on Up
The van we made decision made a priority the interior an are over bed length, as the extra-huge Mega Cab forces a palliation in box dimension from eight feet to six feet 4 inches. The behind legroom was coveted, both because that people and also as a weatherproof and also lockable pseudo-trunk in i m sorry to save valuables prefer engine blocks and also beer kegs. With the seat folded, the behind compartment to be able to residence SUV amounts of detritus, as long as item fit with the behind doors. In addition to the aforementioned, entirety living-room sets and also about fifty percent a car’s precious of sheetmetal to be transported indoors.
Still, return the inner load floor was nice and flat, part complained the it was too high off the ground, because the Mega Cab’s seats wrinkles forward ~ above the cabin floor. (In contrast, the seat bottoms in club Cab Rams flip up to the bulkhead onto which they’re mounted.) The bed’s load elevation came under comparable fire for its loftiness.
“The interior décor to represent a nice middle ground between the too-subtle GM HD twins and also the overwrought Ford supervisor Duty,” noted one logbook entry. The cabin’s complete work wasn’t uniformly perfect, though, v some pieces not quite lining up through others, consisting of some speaker grilles and also dash panels. The dealer fixed a vibrating center-console lid when we got tired of leaning on that or silencing it through folded-paper shims.
The Laramie’s chair coolers (included with our optional bucket seats) turned out to be a safety attribute for at the very least one driver who “found the end you have the right to actually do yourself so uncomfortably cold the it is difficult to nod off while driving. I’m joking. A little.” We normally liked the nav system, which displayed none of the freeze or hiccups of a similar unit in our permanent half-ton Ram. The navigating still controlled to frustrate, however; throughout one operation to the public City, the device was seemingly puzzled by a live present of info on construction and also traffic, Chicagoland’s two main ingredients. “It called me to leave the highway in post-Apocalyptic Indiana and couldn’t decide on a course without recalculating again and also again,” wrote the driver. And some discovered it hard to struggle the touchscreen’s digital buttons—the display controls radio tuning, and also most other functions—while the truck to be bounding follow me without just stabbing and also praying they struggle the best one.
Torque, Traction, Towing
The carry-over Cummins diesel six-cylinder suited our needs, giving 350 hp and 650 lb-ft the torque to the behind wheels many of the moment or to all 4 with the revolve of a knob. To store pace through its Ford and GM competitors, Ram introduced a high-output variation of the engine through 800 lb-ft of torque for 2011.
We easily made execute without the extra grunt, and also our towing aficionados—largely ours resident race-car owners—hogged the lamb on many summer weekends. Lock praised the engine-exhaust brake’s teamwork with the transmission’s tow/haul mode, which noted aggressive downshifts. The truck’s cruise manage kept pace even when towing on hills, and we it was observed no propensity to hover on freeway hauls. The incorporated brake controller had actually its fans, and the brake pedal’s initial softness avoided lurching stop with heavy loads, although that required much more pressure later to come to a finish halt. (The pedal’s lengthy travel and slop did do for some anxious stops when the truck was unburdened, however.) “An fantastic tow rig,” listed technical editor Michael Austin, “but because that the price the had better be.” Stability control was only noteworthy by its lack on the spec sheet, not since we let go it; the is now standard for all 2012 HD Rams, however, and also this readjust brings the ram in line with the rest of the full-size-truck market. Ours truck’s only traction assist was that extra-cost limited-slip behind differential.
Although the suspension was quite stiff, the Ram’s long, 160.0-inch wheelbase delivered a smoother-than-expected drive while towing or unladen, with only heavily pocked pavement sending big judders v the cabin. This is the longest truck lamb offers, but the black monster to be (relatively) simple to maneuver, even taking into account its quite massive turning circle. Slow however accurate steering aided in this regard—and in moving the straight-line stability we discussed earlier—as twitchiness isn’t other you desire in the helm of miscellaneous this large. The truck’s acceleration remained constant over the test, with 8.4- and 8.5-second 0-to-60-mph times being taped in initial and final testing, respectively.
The huge diesel did match our ahead 1500 in one surprising way: fuel economy. Burn diesel rather than the smaller truck’s gas, the much heavier 2500 (7260 pounds matches 5680) average the very same 14 mpg. We experienced as high as 17 mpg in highway driving v nothing hooked to the earlier and in between 12 and 15 v a trailer. We average 476 miles in between fill-ups and saw a high that 516. When we did need to stop, the nav setup’s listing of organization stations through diesel fuel verified handy.
Lots that Oil, Let there Be Light
Service prices were around on par v those of the previous irreversible Ram. The difference was accounted because that by the quantity of oil the diesel requires: 12 quarts. Each of 7 oil changes, performed in ~ the onboard computer’s request, ran about $110. Otherwise, this Ram got by with an easy maintenance: two fuel filters, 2 air filters, and also several tires rotations and also inspections. Between mileage-interval-based services and oil alters (some the which, thankfully, overlapped), the lamb went in 11 times for regular maintenance. 2 unscheduled organization appointments were required—the an initial to replace a key-fob transmitter gone haywire and also the 2nd to replace an O2 sensor—both of which were covered under warranty. When the truck remained in for one more service, the dealer replaced the power-steering-reservoir cap together a an outcome of a recall; the power-steering pump offers the press for brake boost, and the cap might vent improperly and also cause a slow-moving return that the brake pedal. The truck’s original tires it is long the expression of the test, and for once, us didn’t rest anything.
We did do an advancement to the truck, one we wish we’d believed of previously in that is stay. Like those of ours 1500, this Ram’s headlights demonstrated inadequate illumination abilities. We fixed the difficulty with a set of Sylvania SilverStar Ultra bulbs because that the high- and low-beams (about $100 for all four) and recommend the modest invest to anyone buying a brand-new Ram.
Was that too much truck because that day-to-day driving? Opinions to be mixed, although the lamb had complete support as an occasional-use vehicle. A smaller truck or also one v fewer amenities would achieve most tasks, as would a rental, but for who with frequent needs, a loaded 2500 like ours has actually its ar in the market. Technical editor K.C. Colwell may have put the best: “I’m not sure why anyone this next of a livestock rancher would buy a truck favor this—but God bless ’Murika.” What’s the market like because that ranches these days, anyway?
Date: March 2011Current Mileage: 31,716 milesMonths in Fleet: 11 monthsAverage Fuel Economy: 14 mpgAverage Range: 476 milesService: $888Normal Wear: $0Repair: $0
As we’re nearing the finish of our irreversible test of a diesel-equipped Ram heavy Duty, designers have gone and also extracted much more torque from the Cummins engine—150 much more lb-ft, to it is in precise, many thanks to a brand-new computer calibration because that 2011. Unequal buyers the early-2011 Ford at sight Duty trucks with the strength Stroke diesel, existing Ram owner won’t be able to get a straightforward reflash to the rating the 800 lb-ft, since the Ram upgrade is accompanied by a stouter talk converter. Replacing our talk converter is doable however would void the warranty. How are we acquiring on without that extra output? simply fine.
For our purposes, we’ve never discovered this truck doing not have for grunt. Granted, us haven’t yet bumped up against its 12,350-pound towing capacity, yet we’re told a 2011 truck identical to our single-rear-wheel 2500 won’t have a higher tow rating anyway. Beyond load lugging, we appreciate the Ram’s torque because that its capability to spin ours truck’s behind wheels and also reorient it, the lengthy wheelbase making this activity particularly easy to control.
With winter keeping road trips and trailer-tugging junk-car acquisitions to a minimum, the Ram has actually mostly excellent commuter duty this past couple of months. The longest pilgrimage was with an elderly online editor Jared Gall, that went on an ice-fishing expedition to Minnesota the conveniently synchronized with this year’s much-hyped “snowmageddon.” One of few places in the Midwest the storm completely lived as much as expectations (or fears) was Chicago, a hard-to-bypass waypoint top top the method to the fishing hole. V a pair of shovels and a tow-strap in the bed—Gall wasn’t certain whether he pack them to aid the ram or other motorists—he and his fellow fishermen went for it. Happily for them, the highways with Chicago were cleared by the moment they arrived much less than half a work after the snow had stopped (not the situation for the visible surface streets), and the ram capably regulated what slop they walk encounter.
Sensing a Problem
It turns out weather to be the the very least of their worries. As soon as they arrived in Minneapolis, the check-engine light came on, causing an aggravating afternoon at a dealer there. Halfway through a full reset that the truck’s computer to address a TSB maybe related come the CEL, the dealer’s computer system network crashed, acquisition the truck’s mind with it. In the indigenous of the organization manager, this left our lamb “thinking that
The pilgrimage did illuminate one various other problem: illumination. The truck’s low-beams don’t actors a huge light net, and also “the high don’t perform much beyond make the small patch of light the lows illuminate brighter—they don’t extend the visible area to an appreciable degree, back they might widen the a smidge,” gall noted. He experiment the lights by driving v the high-beams on and waiting for oncoming vehicle drivers to notice and flash your lights back. It took a while.
Have You viewed Oil prices Lately?
Average mileage between oil changes: 5924. Since the critical update, the ram has remained in for its 22,500-mile service (tire rotation and also inspection, $19); a stand-alone oil-and-filter change ($109); and also the 30,000-mile service, which synchronized with the truck’s request for an oil adjust ($226, consisting of a brand-new fuel filter).
At this rate, we’ll probably visit the dealer only as soon as or twice an ext for booked maintenance and oil swappage. The lamb has around 8000 miles left that its allotted 40K, which has some staffers—the ones through trailers and race car to put in or on castle come summer—looking for ways to keep the mileage down and keep our favorite tow vehicle around a bit longer. Either way, we’ll complete the rig’s ax and administer the full report in the next few months.
Date: December 2010Current Mileage: 23,232 milesMonths in Fleet: 8 monthsAverage Fuel Economy: 14 mpgAverage Range: 476 milesService: $662Normal Wear: $0Repair: $0
Our lamb 2500’s irreversible stay is much more than halfway over, and now it’s time because that the truck’s true test: winter. We’ll keep towing and hauling in a more minimal capacity in the next few months, but the Ram’s main mission will certainly entail driving v messy Midwestern weather. It’s going to be cold, there will certainly be snow, and rear-wheel traction might be intermittently lost. Top top purpose.
No Traction Control? No Problem
The lamb is the only remaining heavy-duty truck that doesn’t have traction or stability control, rather relying ~ above the driver’s steering-wheel and also pedal inputs to number out where to walk (imagine that!). Yet that fact, linked with the Ram’s non-winter-specific rubber, method lots of rear-wheel spinning when the roads obtain slick. Luckily, convert to four-wheel journey requires only a twisted of the dash-mounted knob. No one has had actually to click end one an ext setting to the 4WD system’s low range yet, although our propensity to throw the Ram right into lurid drifts could readjust that, were we to end up in a snow bank or ditch. Yet when the rear end does effort to capture up to the front, the truck’s super-long wheelbase means there’s lot of of time because that driver correction, therefore if one of our drivers ends up in a ditch, it’ll most likely be to extract other vehicles.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
The remote-start duty has to be our dear, dear girlfriend these past couple of weeks. The diesel bring away a small while to warmth up—cycling 12 quarts that oil will have actually that effect—so it’s an excellent to have the ability to get things toasty prior to we brave the arctic chill. Doing so not only warms the engine, and therefore the HVAC system, but also turns on the driver’s chair heater (passengers just have actually to deal with cold keisters) and the boil steering wheel. The wheel’s rim it s okay plenty warm, but we would certainly like much more uniform performance from the cook seat. The seat bottom’s seam division the warmth right into two areas, which method your mid-thigh continues to be unheated. This, people, is what’s well-known as a travesty.
A small Rattle, a the majority of Service
Okay, for this reason we’re detect minor things to fault. Regarding actual faults, us have however one slight failure to report. The truck’s facility console squeaks, and its center armrest/lid rattles. A well-placed elbow will certainly quell the tremors, however we fashioned a shim out of the fast-food napkins we knew we conserved for a factor (thanks, Wendy’s!). We’ll questioning the dealer to cinch points up ~ above our following visit.
And offered the Ram’s track record, a dealer visit is most likely not far off. We’ve had only one unscheduled visit—a key-fob replacement us told you around last time—but six compelled stops therefore far. The frequent visits are as result of the engine computer’s requesting one oil readjust whenever it’s needed—not at set intervals—and the truck’s required check-ups every 7500 miles; one oil adjust and scheduled service only overlapped ~ above one occasion. The $553 organization total for this quarter shows three oil changes ($109 a pop), 3 tire rotations, and fuel- and air-filter replace instead replace (a lining $175 v parts and labor).
Date: August 2010Current Mileage: 10,066 Months in Fleet: 4 Average Fuel Economy: 13 mpg Average Range: 442 mile Service: $123 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
The lowish mileage full might belie it, but our Dodge ram 2500 has ongoing to it is in the highest-demand weekend ride about the C/D office. Towing and hauling have so far been confined come the Ann Arbor area, which accounts for the truck being slightly behind schedule for a one-year, 40,000-mile stay. A expedition to Iowa planned for the coming weekend will be the Ram’s longest sojourn come date, giving it a opportunity to stretch its foot on straight-as-an-arrow I-80.
We’ve had actually one issue: The Ram started flashing its revolve signals and the headlights come on while it was parked. We interpreted the light display as one SOS and also eventually figured out that the communiqué’s resource was the remote key. It was repeatedly sending the unlock command to the truck, staying clear of us native leaving the lamb secured and causing the flashing. Taking the an essential apart—which it is designed for, to allow battery replacement—and putting it back together appeared to have actually fixed the problem, however we asked ours dealer because that a brand-new one simply to it is in safe. The vital (a $200 item) was changed under warranty, no inquiries asked.
The engine will speak to out for oil changes as it sees fit, independent of the 7500-mile business interval. Our truck started nagging us prior to we hit 7500 miles, however we waited so we can roll the oil change in v the remainder of the Ram’s very first service. It turned out that the rest of the company was merely a tires rotation, but due to the fact that the Cummins diesel take away 12 quarts the oil, the bill totaled $123. At that price, us wish the same 7500-mile interval stated for the truck’s continual checkups used to oil transforms as well.
Save the Owner’s Manuals!
While we were at the dealership, we asked for a paper copy the the owner’s manual. Chrysler no longer has them in automobile purchases but instead fall a quick-reference overview into the gloves box and gives buyers a CD-based manual. We uncovered the computerized literary works to it is in lacking and also its interface woefully outdated and also inscrutable. Us weren’t able to find any kind of info around the exhaust brake, because that instance, and also there were few mentions of our truck’s optional diesel engine. Luckily, the file copy (free if you ask) consists of a supplemental publication with diesel-specific info.
Editors Gillies, Swan, and Yanca have each provided our large Ram to tow or to draw items for weekend motorsports activities, v all unanimously praising the Cummins engine’s ample power. One of the three (who shall continue to be nameless, lest he it is in banned native future ram use) even wrote that the HD lamb “is more truck than we need.” Sounds like a challenge.
As the mile count climbs, we’ll view about much better testing the truck’s limits. If we can uncover a 12,350-pound trailer and also 2100 pounds of something to throw right into the bed, we’ll run on the opportunity. Because that now, we’ll shot to setup some longer excursions and keep on truckin’ towards the 40,000-mile goal.
Date: June 2010Months in Fleet: 2 monthsCurrent Mileage: 5128 milesAverage Fuel Economy: 13 mpgRange: 442 milesService: $0Normal Wear: $0Repair: $0
Unable to walk without a tow car for much more than 5 minutes, us lined up an additional hauler to succeed the 2009 Dodge ram 1500 that newly left our long-term fleet. Its replacement as resident permanent Ram is this all-black 2010 don’t-call-it-Dodge (even though us still do) ram 2500 Laramie Mega Cab 4x4 through the optional Cummins diesel. The surname is as long as the truck, but, in short, it hauls.
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To be honest, a couple of of united state were dreaming of other a tiny bigger—namely, a 3500 dualie similar to the two-tone beauty, beauty you could have seen in current Ram HD ads. And a pair of united state wanted a manual transmission. And also your writer wanted a front bench seat. But it’s great that the less-insane among us won out, because this point is serious huge; the dualie wouldn’t have actually fit in numerous staffers’ driveways.
What we finished up with, though, is easily one the the baddest-ass off-road executive limos possible. Everyone is happy with the Mega Cab’s vast back seat, an ext for its capability to swallow an SUV-equivalent quantity of cargo 보다 for the extra legroom. (Most trips so much have been one- or two-up.) The truth that we’re left through a six-foot-four-inch bed rather of the regular- or crew cab’s eight-footer has gone mostly unnoticed.
A Mover, however Not a Shaker
And we’ve already thoroughly experiment the Ram’s capability to carry inanimate objects; in simply two months, it has actually helped 3 editors relocate to brand-new dwellings, towed our not-yet-completed project Mazdaspeed 5 to finishing school, and lugged one editor’s Spec Miata and also its assorted race-weekend accouterments to several track events. The ram hasn’t satellite idle because that long since it arrived in April.
Whether unladen, filled come the headliner with relocating boxes, or saddled with a trailer, the HD Ram has proved surprisingly comfortable. Ride was a worry when us spec’d out this truck, provided that the HDs ditch the 1500’s coil springs—fitted in the name of increased comfort—for a collection of burlier sheet springs. But although it’s not fairly as coddling as the coil-sprung 1500, the bigger truck is amongst the most comfortable heavy-duty rigs we’ve driven. Yes, the ride deserve to be a little bit choppy indigenous time to time, however it’s never ever unacceptably harsh, and this is a freaking truck, ~ all; the ain’t gonna ride like an S-class.
Our high level that comfort likewise owes to the Laramie finery with which the truck is outfitted, plus several of the options. Yet first, let’s gain the truly useful add-ons the end of the way. The abovementioned Cummins diesel costs $7615, yet that’s prior to the $1170 credit for the base hands-on transmission. We went for the six-speed automatic, i beg your pardon cancels the credit and adds one more $405. Other functional options were a limited-slip rear diff ($325) and also an combined trailer-brake controller ($230).
To the Laramie’s leather-lined cabin we included bucket front seat ($500) through power adjust, heat, and ventilation; ordering this option also nabs a 115-volt AC outlet and also rear-seat heaters. An upgrade from continuous all-seasons come all-terrain tires cost $100, a rearview camera was $200, a drop-in bedliner expense $245, clearance lights to be $80, a skid plate because that the transfer instance rung up in ~ a mere $50, and a far starter to be $185. Friend might call us lazy for adding that last one, but we’ve uncovered it shortens startup times by offering the cylinders the forced moment come preheat prior to we climb up right into the cab and absentmindedly twisted the key. (On 2nd thought, you have the right to go ahead and also call united state lazy.) our truck had a solved rear home window with a defroster rather of the sliding glass; this added an $85 credit. Our single-color repaint job deletes the fender flares, saving second $100.
Our total: $54,650, i beg your pardon is certainly a lot because that a pickup, but our optioned lamb is some 3 grand cheaper than the base price that the poshest diesel 2011 Ford F-250, the King Ranch. The Ford’s strength Stroke V-8, however, walk deliver an additional 40 hp and 85 lb-ft the torque end our Ram’s 350-horse inline-six with 650 lb-ft that torque. A lamb 2500 SLT Mega Cab with the Cummins and six-speed auto starts at $48,150.
Thus far, there have actually been no organization visits or difficulties to report. The Cummins diesel has netted a 13-mpg average, i m sorry is fair considering the lot of towing the truck has actually been doing and also its prodigious poundage. Empty, ours truck tips the scale at practically four tons, a full 1940 much more pounds than our recent irreversible Ram 1500. We’re to crawl to uncover out if ours affection hold up end the following 35,000 miles’ worth of road trips, hauling sprees, and also towing adventures.