Chrysler’s upcoming 6.4-liter V-8 gasoline engine will only be available for the company’s high-performance SRT vehicles and not Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks unless substantial changes can be made, execs say.
“I’d love to have a 6.4-liter engine [for trucks],” said Joe Veltri, Chrysler vice president of product planning, at the 2010 NTEA Work Truck Show. “But it’s designed for performance, not low-end torque. It’s designed for off-the-line 0-to-60 times.”
The 6.4-liter V-8 was officially confirmed last year at Chrysler’s 2010-14 business plan presentation after earlier rumors about the engine’s development.
Fred Diaz, president and CEO of the Ram brand, said then that Ram Heavy Duty pickups could receive the engine.
"We anticipate the 6.4-liter engine will go into the Heavy Duty Ram," Diaz said then. "It's an appropriate engine for our trucks."
But engineering challenges appear to have stymied the effort.
“We’ve talked to the powertrain guys,” Veltri said. “It’s a struggle to recrank that engine to make it a truck engine.”
Still, Chrysler does see demand for a gas engine with more power than the current 383 horsepower, 400 pounds-feet of torque 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that’s available in current Ram Heavy Duty pickups.
Veltri said the engine mix in the heavy-duty segment between gasoline and diesel engines has shifted from 75 percent diesel/25 percent gas to 70/30 today and that it’s likely to shift as far as 60/40 in the future.
“Every emission cycle is going to cause the price of the [diesel] trucks to go up,” Veltri said. “That’s why you’re seeing that shift. Diesel engines have gotten very expensive -- $8,000 and going north.”
“I’ve got a 5.7-liter Hemi that I could certainly bore and stroke out” for better power and lower cost than a diesel, though it wouldn’t be as capable.