2012 Ram Trucks Receive New Six-Speed Transmissions

2012 Ram Trucks Receive New Six-Speed Transmissions

The Ram truck brand is increasing the number of gears available for its 2012 light- and heavy-duty pickups with the introduction of two six-speed transmissions.

Light-Duty Ram Transmission Changes

The 2012 Ram 1500 half-ton sees the previously offered 545RFE five-speed automatic gearbox recalibrated and upgraded to take full advantage of the split 2nd gear, so all six speeds are available to the driver in a newly available "Electronic Range Select" mode.

The 545RFE transmission was unique. Even though it was identified as a five-speed transmission, 2nd gear was split into two cogs, depending on whether you were upshifting or downshifting. On the way up, it was 1.67, but there was a 1.50 "kickdown" ratio on the 3-2 downshift to smooth out what would otherwise be a large gap between the gears. Fourth and 5th gears were overdrives for improved highway performance and fuel economy.

Electronic Range Select mode lets the driver manually limit the highest available transmission gear, allowing manual upshifts and downshifts based on road speed and engine speed. It's especially useful for towing through hill country when the climbs and descents are closely spaced together.

The recalibrated 545RFE in the Ram 1500 is now called the 65RFE automatic six-speed.

In full auto-shift mode, the 65RFE behaves the same as the old 545RFE, keeping the split 2nd gear and kickdown behavior. Also added is a new torque converter that's expected to marginally improve fuel economy, but not enough to boost EPA mileage ratings.

The 65RFE is standard with the 4.7-liter V-8 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gas engines.

Heavy-Duty Ram Transmission Changes

The 2012 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup also gets a new six-speed automatic transmission, called the 66RFE. It replaces the previous Hemi V-8 gasser's 545RFE gearbox, which was shared with the light-duty Ram.

The 66RFE transmission is a hybrid of sorts. It combines the internals of the 68RFE heavy-duty six-speed automatic (including the gear ratios) that's paired with the 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder diesel engine and repackages them in the 545RFE's case.

Like the 65RFE, the 66RFE offers Electronic Range Select to lock out gears on demand.

The 66RFE is standard with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 on all Ram 2500 models.


all the fords from 88-99 there tranys need rebuilt every 100,000miles just people that own dodge diesel know its got the cummins in them and pull freakin 20,000lbs+ floring it up the hill we have a 91 dodge power ram 250 4x4 cummins 700,000miles on it still works great,and not one trany repair to it not one,my dad bought it new,the only thing that has happend to it is we hit a stup in the front hog head broke it our faule doe,we pull 2000lbs goose neck horse trailer with it following the fairs pluse 6 1200lbs horses,and sattles and riding gear,still no trany problems its amazing truck my dad says be nice to your trucks and it will be there when ya need it the most,we did own a 2000 ford f-250,7.3 powerjoke that engine sucked heard the new 6.7 powerstrokes aint to great neither,anyways we had to repair the trany the ford 2 with in 5 years finally sold it after the engine blew up,fords engine have always sucks cant pull worth a crap,if your goin to own a gass truck go with ram hemi or a chevy,if your goin for a diesel truck and want speed,power,pull andthing go with a dodhe cummins,want a ok puller andspeed lots power go with chevy durmax want a truck to break down and be built for the repair shop go with a ford ford sucks chevy and dodge all the way,own a chevy 1500 its nice 243,000miles nice truck well took cear of to,our dodge and chevy is nice trucks were thinkin about buying a 2011 dodge 1500 but idk our old dodge still aint quit!!!!our chevy aint neither our ford didnt last two years,after all ford does mean found on road dead ford sucks dodge and chevy about even but dodge does have better engines!


Childish name calling still doesnt change the fact that the Ram and the 5 speed are still very competitive. The 8 speed will be a great addition, but when the HEMI still outperforms 90% of the other engines on the maket, whats the point.

lmao, dodge doesint even make it, itsa Japanese company makeing the tranny for dodge or something, and im sure the NV 4500 Isint a dodge tranny either, ford will be first with the 8 speed design, ford actully makes thee tranny unline gm and dodge, ford was the first with 6 speed

@ desert cat, ford had a 6 speed before the tundra, and that thing is a pile of crap, @ram ahahhahaha

Ford did NOT have a 6 speed automatic before Toyota in their pickups.
Ford's '5' speed automatic was in reality a 3 speed automatic + overdrive. This supposed '6th' gear was overdrive on the 2nd gear of the 3 speed automatic. It was only used at extreme cold temperatures (Ford claimed a durability improvement), when it was used the 3rd gear of the 3 speed automatic (1:1) was omitted.
It can not be rightly called a 6 speed automatic.

Ford licensed ZF's 6 speed automatic design and has since made it their own (by implementing an overrunning clutch for the 1-2 shift) slightly different ratios in SuperDuty.

The 2005 Lincoln Navigator used the ZF 6 speed automatic.
The 2007 Tundra used a 6 speed automatic with the 5.7 V8. It wasn't until the 2010 MY that the middle engine (new 4.6 replacing old 4.7) received a 6 speed automatic.
The 2009 F-150 used a 6 speed automatic. It wasn't until 2011 MY that the engine lineup became 'good'.

This new transmission in the Ram will probably a direct swap, in that the axle ratios need not be changed.
So there is a marginal improvement:
If 1st gear went to 45mph, now it only goes to 40mph.
If 2nd gear went to 80mph, now it only goes to 70mph.
If the old 3rd gear was the top speed gear (1:1), 3rd gear goes to 100mph. The new 4th gear is the top speed gear (1:1)
5th is now slightly shorter than the previous 4th. 6th is now slightly taller than the previous 5th.

Why didn't Chrysler do this a few years ago?

@ 12 speed/Ram Tec or what ever name you have. LMFAO.
I didn't know that criticizing a Dodge Grand Caravan would be so traumatic to a person.
I like what Fiat is doing for Ram/Chrysler.
Who'd a thought that a spagetti diet would be good for you;)
I do love the Power Wagon.
I almost bought one like the one in the picture, but it was too much money and I didn't need a 3/4 ton.

I love Ram and if this 6 speed solves the tall 1st gear problem it will give me something to think about because I have saved up for the trd supercharger or will I use the money as down payment on new 5.7L Hemi Ram.

The info below tells you all you need to know about who put a 6 speed in a pickup 1st and how well it did.


Please educate yourself before you post gibberish, it makes my head hurt reading such ignorance.

Chrysler makes the 68RFE in there Kokomo Transmission plant, they have since 2007. The 6 speed in the 3500, 4500, and 5500 are made by Asian, which is a Japanese company, but the updated 68RFE can handle more torque then the Asian 6, so I don't see Chrysler using it much longer.

The 8 speed will is starting to be implemented in Chrysler's line up NOW (both Charger and 300 will be getting them this year), unlike Ford, which just announced it has a FWD 8 speed developed. If you want a FWD Ford pickup, be my guest.

This will be alot better! No, it's not a perfect set of ratios, but now if you are 3.92 and 17" tires you will be low 50s, mph @ the 4000 rpm max torque. And a bit more mileage. I think they need to atleast have 4.10 gears as an option or for max tow rated 4x4s. They would still be a lower rpm in 6th about 3% lower than 3.92s and 545 five speed. It would work here in these hills, I don't drive everday on some interstate @ 70 +. Sure CAFE has alot to do with it. As for the 545, atleast it's smooth, doesn't have a nasty rough 1-2 up or downshift issue as another product does. And older dodges trannies aint so bad. They (Dodges, Fords, and Chevies) all had issues and have all broke when they first had overdrives. I know my friends 91 Ford F-250 4x4 broke hauling about 7,000 pounds or racecar and trailer between Seattle and Colorado Springs. On the other hand my 83 Dodge W150 318 four barrel four speed (manual) moved the same from Co Springs to Salt Lake and back no issues. But hey, thats a 91 or so model. My step bro has seen alot of the Chevy 4 speeds previous to the current 6 speeds come through his tranny shop 9over 30 years of business) I asked him about current Dodge trans he thought I was talking the older ones, guess he hadn't seen the 545. as for Dodges 4 speed, the one in my step moms 97 or 98 Ram 1500 5.9 is doing fine, at 85,000 or so miles, most from gooseneck horse trailer, travel trailer and hay trailer use, even moved the small tractor a few times. this is in the hills. Very steep ones not even 2 miles from the house. However her trans in the Caravan only made 70,000 plus miles before it died, I think 04 model or so, oh well, after 4 vans the last had one issue.

I don't have any idea what you are talking about. I didn't bring up the Caravan here. Nobody is interested in what you "almost" bought. Why don't you comment on the specific topic which is 2012 Ram Trucks Receives New Six-Speed Transmissions?

Hahahahah people actually get mad. Unreal!

@Dodge Tech - You mentioned my name specifically 4 times before I had posted a single thing. Since you stated - quote " I didn't bring up the Caravan here. Nobody is interested in what you "almost" bought."
You obviously know what my comment was refering to. Unless there is another Dodge Tec out their that was offended, way back when Ram decided to gut a Grand Caravan, and call it a work van, and make a big deal about it at a truck show.

I did comment specifically on the story:
quote "I like what Fiat is doing for Ram/Chrysler.
Who'd a thought that a spagetti diet would be good for you;)"

I also commented on the picture of the Power Wagon
quote " I do love the Power Wagon.
I almost bought one like the one in the picture, but it was too much money and I didn't need a 3/4 ton."


I find it extremely amusing that I cause you so much angst.
Ohhh, nooo. Lou is lurking out there in cyberspace waiting to pounce on me.

You are getting way too defensive. I was trying to have a conversation with you about the tranny and you're taking it too far and making it personal once again. Goodbye.

I am puzzled by a few things.
1. 545RFE five-speed automatic gearbox recalibrated and upgraded to take full advantage of the split 2nd gear, so all six speeds are available to the driver in a newly available "Electronic Range Select" mode.
It is a transmission recallibration - so by definition, that is NOT a new transmission, or am I missing something?

2. The 66RFE transmission is a hybrid of sorts. It combines the internals of the 68RFE heavy-duty six-speed automatic (including the gear ratios) that's paired with the 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder diesel engine and repackages them in the 545RFE's case.

If you take the guts out of one transmission and fit them into the casing of another transmission - so by definition, that is NOT a new transmission, or am I missing something?

Ram tec - your turn ;)

I do agree that we shouldn't mention Grand Caravans again. Why talk about them. They aren't even remotely close to being considered a truck or any kind of reliable work appliance.

The Ram 2500 Power Wagon shown above will still feature the 5.7L Hemi, via a 5-speed auto transmission.

Ram will still be using 5 speeds in gas Heavy Duty trucks.

Isn't that right?

"The Ram 2500 Power Wagon shown above will be back for 2012 but it will still exclusively feature the 5.7L Hemi, sending 383 horsepower to all four wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission."


@Pasta tec - thanks for the entertainment. You and Bob(s) are awesome.

Guys, I can tell you that my 2006 F150 did not have a six-speed. And anything that brings Dodge up to date, like a 6-speed auto, is welcome news. One of my neighbors traded TWO RAM 1500s (of different model years) for a 2010 Tundra 5.7 4Dr 4X4 Limited, about a year before I bought my 2011 Tundra 5.7 DC SR5, and he continues to love it. We have to keep in mind here that innovation, any innovation, often results in improvement of the breed and we, the customer, benefit from this, albeit at a price. So if you can afford it, you buy it. If not, you do without and keep the old clunker running a little while longer. Frankly, I'd like to see that magnificent LS460 8-speed adapted for a half-ton class truck like the Tundra. Wouldn't that be something? An all-aluminum DOHC 32-valve 5.7L V8 coupled to an 8-speed auto, with shift paddles? Brings a whole new meaning to pickup trucks. Don't it?


Good find, it would be cool to see a PW with a 6.4L/6spd. However, it is still a solid truck.

lets all welcome Dodge to the 20th century, this should've been done 4 years ago.

Is this a joke.

How can they call this a 6 speed auto, when the 6 gears are only available in manual mode??? I'm I missing something here. Also, the spit 2nd gear is too close to really make a difference in my opinion.

Mike, the current manufacturer's struggle to increase half ton gas mileage reminds me of the late 1970's. As I recall they all had de-contented interiors, changed transmission ratios and axle ratios, base 6 cylinder engines and smaller wheels and tires. Some had lowered payload ratings. As I recall, the Dodge model was called the "Miser" and it sold very well. Are you aware of any such plans by the domestics now?

In the 1500s the trans is the same (5 foward gears and one kickdown), it just has a different name. In the HDs the trans is NEW. It will have 6 forward gears, all of which will be used.

Please name the number of trucks that had a 6 speed 4 years ago. Dodge did not need a 6 speed then.

Lou wrote: "Allpar = rumor
PUTC = fact" with regard to eight speed transmission torque capacity.

In fact, Allpar's statement regarding the eight speed automatic is straight from ZF. Unfortunately it's very easy to slam good sources.

@Dave - true. The problem with the internet is sorting out who is reliable and trustworthy.
I said that because generally speaking, anything from a manufacture press release is hard to trust unless verified by a 3rd party.

@Dave: Allpar has an awesome and enviable batting record when it comes to Chrysler/Mopar rumors. No doubt!

better late than never

The Dodge Ram has had a 6-speed automatic (545RFE) transmission since 2003. Just because the two second gears are not used in succession does not take away from the six separate ratios. The two different second-gears are used as needed.
The 6-speed manual (G56) transmission has a first-gear that is not used during normal (unloaded) driving. First-gear (Low) is primarily used only during heavy towing, from a stop. Most of the time only the five higher gears are used. Does that make this transmission a 5-speed?

I really have no complaint with the transmission that was in my 05 Hemi Ram. I ran a 100 shot of nitrous and had a racing cam. Never got beat by a truck, even modded Cummins Rams. Lots of towing heavy trailers. She had 146,000 miles when I sold her, not 1 problem.

I have a 2008 3500 ram 6.7 with 6 sp auto that blew her valve body,dealer says you buy valve body and pump as a matched unit at just over $2000.00 this has a 180,000mi , warranty or 3 yrs I have 75000mi and 3yrs 9mths with labor its $3200.00 this sucks and is not right who do I write 2 bitch 2

They are still keeping the manual on the 650 torque cummins, right? i needs me a manny tranny!


Yes, you can still get the manual transmission. Just not with a gas motor or the H.O. diesel.

I don't understand...

I'm in Israel right now but i swear my 2010 sport 4x4 is a 4speed with lockup, unless i put it in manual mode and row through the gears that way... I do like the 2-3 split in manual mode, truck really pulls hard to almost 100. And while towing my boat it is a good split.

But if memory serves me right i've got a 5sp with lock up only in manual, auto is 4sp with lockup...

The new diesel engine coupled with the 6 speed auto is 800ft lbs torque and shifts smoothly and attains a better high end shift pattern,it also has a gear selection mode to manually shift up or down in combination with the standard jake brake.I get 17 on up fuel economy with a 3.73 rear end and love this truck.3500 srw laramie crew 2012

According to the Ram company website, the Power Wagon is matched to the 6-Speed Automatic 66RFE Transmission.


The 545RFE was probably one of the best transmissions ever built. I owned a transmission shop for 36 years and besides the valve body plate blowing off it was bullet proof.

2003 3500 5.7 hd 5-45rfe going on trans 3 with 115 thou with half ton loads or air never had a truck or car with a 50 thou mile trans and dealer mantained only good truck if you own a transmission shop

like i said if you own a transmission shop 4-45rfe is a good one i can only go by my truck which i got new and has had it very easy for a 1 ton . trans one 52000 whet low pressure and poof on leaks it suddered at 20000 and hesitaded in rev a few times from day 3 now 2nd trans every now and again it would sound like angry birds lots of bad shifts and an shutter half lock ups and all kinds of things neer did shift correcty and now with 115 thou the pressure is going with wind weak solonid 3 and more.not a dodge hater owed super bee 1970 vans gtx power wagan etc

Just purchased a 2012 Ram 1500 with a "six" speed automatic. The truck looks freakin awesome: black with black 20s - dropped 1.5" in the front and 4" at the rear with air bags - Flowmaster muffler - tinted windows - Love the truck, its comfortable, rides great, lots of room and a great price compared to the competition! Only one HUGE problem, the 5.5 speed transmission!!! It goes 50 mph in first gear, hits second, then skips second and half gear to fourth, then fifth and sixth after 100mph, so they are good for freeway speeds.

Its sad because I didn't count the gears when I went on a test drive. I can't believe Dodge claims that this truck has a six speed tranny...what a joke! I am not an engineer, but it seems that this truck would be way better with SIX actual gears with a lower first gear with a top speed of 30 mph, a second that would go to 55, a REAL third gear to go 75, and then you have three more to bring the rpm down to get some MPGs. This would mean better acceleration - better pulling power - and it would let the 400hp hemi come alive out of the hole. So, I wonder if 2013s have a 7.5 speed???

This is a lie from Chrysler to decieve you. It's the same 545rfe with a reprogramed pcm to use second prime as a gear. The problem is it's so close to second it's useless for anything other than down shifting to help slow you while goinbg downhill or to help uphill trailering....that's it. You can manually do the same thing with the 545rfe using the shift buttons. The real 6 speed is the 66rfe that comes only in a heavy duty truck. It's not alailable in the 1500 series.

I have a 2012 Ram Laredo 4x4. The transmission slips when taking off when it is cold. Has this happened to anyone else. I have had it in twice. They are saying adjustments. I say bull.

For the losers talking about tyranny issues and repairs.Thats what the six year power train warranties all about. Get it fixed before warranty is up. Duh.and if you didn't know dodge has always been known for that. learn about cars and quit preaching about what low balll mechanics cry

The 48 Re: transmission recently took a crap in my 2006 3500 Dodge duly. I have constantly hauled a 4500 pound cab over camper. this transmission failed after only 54,000 miles. That is not acceptable to me, I am questioning whether I will buy a Nother new Dodge at the moment. The week link in this transmission is the single clutch torque converter. This is what failed in mine causing me to need to rebuild it at a cost of $4500. $1500 of this cost was for the new triple clutch Borg Warner locking torque converter that the transmission shop recommended. I just read somewhere that one of the new trainees has a double clutch locking torque converter. Forgot which one. I would love to have a new 5500 Dooley with all the options. although they do not make it yet with the mega cab which is my first choice. I am now doing research on the Japanese transmission known as the ASC 69RC which is what comes in the 2013 and newer Dodge heavy duty trucks with the 850 foot pounds of torque

In 08 bought a 05 F250SD 6.0, $32,000. Stranded me 7 times costing +$18,000 in emergency repairs. Got rid of it, lost my ask!

Just bought a 2012 Ram 3500 dually. $36k dollars 100,000 miles. One trip with the RV, transmission is gone. My money does not buy much anymore!

Guess I'll look for a Allison conversion and rid myself of another domestic truck's failure to produce reliable transportation.

I have 2015 3500 Ram 6.4 hemi 6 speed auto. Plenti of power but trans will not allow usage of the power. It sucks.

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