Competition improves choices: when I think of the trucks I had in the seventies and how often I changed alternators, starters, clutches, u-joints etc. verses my truck now that I just change oil, I’m glad we have a strong rivalry between truck manufactures. This is why we have integrated trailer brake controllers, factory exhaust brake and factory gooseneck hitches in our new trucks right off the assembly line.
Dodge/Ram came in third for years. The big contest was between Ford and Chevy. Now Ram with Cummins diesel keeps raising the bar making the big battle between Ram and Ford in the heavy duty market. Ram diesel came out with 800 torque, then 850, then 865 and now Ram announced for 2016 Ram HD High Output will have 900 lb.- ft. of torque. Of course that means Ram towing capacity has gone up. A 2016 Ram 3500 with the High Output Cummins diesel will have a gooseneck rating of 31, 210 lbs. That’s 10 pounds more that Ford’s 2015 F450 at 31,200 lbs of trailer capacity. Which also means Ram will have to offer a 3 inch gooseneck ball to achieve that rating. Ford has 3 inch balls in the 2015 F450, which is the standard size for gooseneck hitches in Australia.
To raise the additional 35 lb.-ft. of torque over the 2015 Ram, the 2016 Ram 6.7L diesel Cummins has increased fuel delivery and turbo boost calibration. Ram engineers beefed up the rear axle ring gear hardware from 12 to 16 bolts on all trucks equipped with the 11.8-inch axle.
Ram 3500 HD review for 2015
Most noticeable for 2015 HD Ram is power fold trailer mirrors and 15 more lb. ft. of torque. Trucks are not fun at parking lots or drive through windows, but having a power folding trailer mirror does make it easier. 865 torque over last years 850 torque on the High-Output Cummins 6.7L diesel makes Ram the power leader in heavy duty class 3 and 4 trucks for 2015.
The Ram I recently reviewed was a 3500 dually Laramie Longhorn crew cab 4×4 long bed. With a 4.10 rear axle ratio, towing capacity was a whopping 29,000 lbs.in 4×4. $69,915 MSRP, explained why both rows of seats were heated, cooled front seats with remote start, 18 in wheels and a remote locking tailgate. Also included spray-in bedliner, which is the first thing I put in a new truck and the second a 5th-wheel gooseneck towing prep group. The Cummins 6.7L High Output with Aisin 6-speed automatic is over $11,000 as an option.
I’m still not use to the factory gooseneck hitches that Ram and Ford have. You have to take the greasy ball out of the bed hole, put it in a baggy and put that in a bag to store under your seat. And the safety chains hook on pucks that you have to take out and store. All that to get the truck bed back to a flat usable floor. I miss the aftermarket hitches like Popup or B&W that flip over out of the way and the safety chain U-bolts drop down level with the floor ribs. But that’s what focus groups do for you.
I like the Laramie Longhorn package, a cowboy theme that America’s in love with. Why not call it the John Wayne package. I think Mr. Wayne would like the heated wood steering wheel, barb wire trimmed floor mats and saddle bags on the seat backs. Ram does have the Big Rig feel, the purr of the Cummins diesel and the rumble of the exhaust brake.
Ram 3500 as good visibility up front, but with giant rear fenders you need big towing mirrors. Ram towing mirrors have more reach but less glass. Ram diesel torque comes in the lowest at 1400 RPM, which gives you full power just past idle. And they seam to run better, the bigger the trailer. That weight keeps the RPM’s higher in the peak horsepower range. Grade shifting in Tow/Haul mode works well, best at slower speeds, while the exhaust brake works better at higher speeds. The exhaust brake has two settings, one automatic for smoother slowing down and a full exhaust brake.
Not sure why Ram fuel tank is down to just 32 gallons since they switched to using DEF. Big trucks that tow trailers need all the fuel capacity we can get. The DEF tank fill is in the fuel door where it should be. In the floor storage and folding shelf under the rear seat are very useful. I’m a big fan of the cab mounted camera for hooking up to a gooseneck trailer and keeping an eye on cargo. The dual wheels need the push thru valve stem extension since the wheel holes are too small for a hand.