World Exclusive: Ram 5500 Long-Hauler Drive

Long-Hauler fillup 1 II

We’ll make the announcement right here: Move over Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch, there is a new Supreme Hauling Champion in town. The only problem is this new king of all things towing may not become a reality — that is, if Ram Truck makes a horrible mistake. 

When Ram Truck gave us the chance to get behind the wheel of the magnificently large Ram Long-Hauler along with a 15,000-pound trailer, we jumped at the chance, and asked if there was any mileage limit to our time with the combination. Ram officials said no, so we said good.  

The Test Truck
For those who may not have seen this before, this was a custom concept vehicle produced by Ram Truck engineers in a secret location. Their job? To produce the ultimate tow vehicle with their existing parts bin. That meant taking a MegaCab from a Ram HD and grafting it on a 5500 chassis cab with a 197.4-inch wheelbase.  

The Long-Hauler uses the Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder turbodiesel that’s down-rated to 305 horsepower and 610 pounds-feet of torque like other commercial haulers (3500/4500/5500) and the Aisin AS68RC six-speed transmission running through a Dana S111 axles with 4.88:1 gears. The truck rides on a custom heavy-duty Kelderman airbag suspension and offers 170 gallons of fuel through three separate tanks. That means, theoretically, the fuel tanks would be able to hold out much longer than our bladders (and we’re known for big bladders — just ask my daughters). 

The route we chose was one of the easiest decisions we’ve made in a while, opting to duplicate the Heavy-Duty Hurt Locker Shootout drive route we took with the three one-ton truck turbodiesels. As you might recall, we ran several tests on that king of the hill outing, and if there ever was a king of the hill contestant, this Ram 5500 Long-Hauler was it. 

Long-Hauler front bags II
Naturally, we understand this isn’t an exact apple-to-apples comparison with those one-ton dually diesel 4x4s, but it’s pretty close. To start, we wanted to make sure we got all the weights as close as possible to our Hurt Locker comparison. To do that, we first weighed our Long-Hauler by itself with the fuel tanks topped off. 

As you might imagine, filling the tanks took quite a while, especially when you factor in that our credit card’s auto shutoff limit was quickly hit. We had to call the credit card company to let them know exactly what we were doing (and we had to explain it to them several times). Add to that the need to fill up the DEF tank, which on the Ram 5500 necessitates filling the seven-gallon exhaust fluid tank. More than $650 in fuel and over $30 in DEF later, we were ready to weigh our tow vehicle on the scales. The total? A whopping 11,400 pounds when empty, which left us with a comfortable 8,100 pounds of payload. Ram tells us this concept truck has a gross vehicle weight rating of 19,500 pounds. 

Next, we had to hook the trailer up and weigh the pair. That totaled just over 25,500 pounds, meaning our trailer, which was equipped with a one-off concept Jeep loaded in back along with several monster 4x4 tire and wheel options (and repair gear), weighed about 14,000 pounds. To get us to a similar on-the-road total weight as we had for our Hurt Locker Shootout, we needed to add about 2,000 pounds to the trailer. 

We bought 52 bags of rock salt at Home Depot and evenly distributed the sacks over the trailer’s axles and the gooseneck. Our driving weight for the 2,200-mile trip would be just under 28,000 pounds yet well below the GCWR of the truck and trailer of 30,000 pounds. That’s the number Ram gave us, but we expect the true number is closer to 37,000 pounds. 

The Test Route
Once our total weight was sorted, it was north on Interstate 15 out of Los Angeles, through the gauntlet of Las Vegas and further north through St. George, Utah, until we hit Interstate 70, heading east. Once in Colorado, we started to hit some fierce weather at the higher altitudes, but eventually made it to the Eisenhower Tunnel (underneath the Loveland Pass). That’s where we hit the really bad weather, as well as spring break traffic headed to the local ski areas.  It was not a good situation to try to get some steep elevation mountain climb data from Dillon to the summit.

After a few attempts to duplicate our “full-pull” runs up the Dillon-side of I-70, we had to call it undoable because of all the snow near the top of the 11,000-foot summit. At each attempt, we had to proceed cautiously since the lanes were covered in snow and ice and we searched for the best traction. We even had to navigate around quite a few big-rigs who were having trouble pulling their loads — some with chains, some without. Local authorities weren’t requiring chains, but the changing weather was beginning to make it a close call. 

Screen Shot 2012-03-01 at 1.42.27 PM
Once we realized we weren’t going to get any test runs done to compare with our winning GMC Sierra 3500 HD run (or the Ram 3500 HD for that matter), we headed straight to Davis Dam -- just two states away in Arizona -- to try to get a few test runs in there. It’s worth noting the exhaust brake on the detuned Cummins Long-Hauler worked exceptionally well with the truck-and-trailer combination down the mountain’s backside. If we didn’t know better, we’d say the Aisin transmission computer was even smarter than the powertrain setup we tested in the Ram HD Hurt Locker test, which also did very well. 

Our trip west on I-70 brought us to U.S. Highway 191 in Utah, where we turned south, headed through Moab, eventually getting into Arizona and through Kayenta, Tuba City and finally to Flagstaff. Our final destination was Kingman, where the turn to Bullhead City and the Davis Dam grade were impatiently waiting for us. Once finished with our unobstructed test runs up the grades (details later in story), we headed south again, eventually meeting up with Interstate 40 and heading west to meet up with the I-15 once again. That brought us back to our original starting point. 

The route and tests took four full days and another half-day of prep work during the test’s pick-up and drop-off phases. We wouldn’t recommend it for amateurs, but it did allow us quite a bit of uninterrupted pulling time in the truck — more than enough to glean a few impressions. 

Our Favorite Parts
We know this is a concept truck, which means this was a custom-built one-off with features that may never see the light of day. If we could have just one wish, it would be to make sure the heavy-duty Kelderman air suspension system makes it to production somewhere (and preferably everywhere) into the Ram HD lineup. We cannot overstate how well-dialed in and comfortable this Class 5 truck’s ride was with this setup. The truth is, we’ve driven our fair share of Class 4, 5 and 6 trucks and we know what they’re built for and how they ride as a consequence. Because of that, we weren’t looking forward to spending so much time – it turned out about 800 miles a day -- in a 5500. But we were wrong, and it didn’t take long to figure that out. 

Long-Hauler rear link bag II
Only on the worst sections of expansion joints, cracked pavement and construction zones did the big axles have trouble settling the vibrations. The system also had a special “dump” feature that allowed us to drop the rear axle onto the bump stops and pull the trailer right out from underneath without having to extend the gooseneck too high. The system also worked well when hooking up the trailer and lifting the ball into the gooseneck receiver instead of the other way around. It’s not foolproof -- I proved that once -- but it did make dropping and hooking up the trailer a fairly simple one-man operation. 

You might know that there is no MegaCab-chassis cab model in the Ram HD 3500/4500/5500 lineup of work trucks, so that meant Ram Truck had to create this one from scratch. No surprise there. What may surprise you is how much time the truckmaker must have spent creating the custom Long Horn interior, how comfortable the custom rear reclining bucket seats were and how clever the design team was with hidden extras like the center console fridge, Wi-Fi hotspot, electronic readouts for each of the three fuel tanks. It even had a gun safe. Other standout features we liked were the front and rear bumper air compressor hookups, custom fifth-wheel cutout tailgate and 19.5-inch big-rig-style alloy wheels. 

Our Least Favorite
The Long-Hauler came equipped with a standard-looking Long Horn Ram HD dash and gauge cluster, complete with navigation screen and satellite radio; unfortunately, neither worked for this outing. Thankfully we knew exactly where we were going and our memory was full of childhood sing-a-long songs and nursery rhymes from when our kids were little. The only other problem encountered along the way was the fuel gauge seemed to wander a bit in cold weather; it had letting us know exactly how much fuel was in each tank. 

Long-Hauler tank readout II
Each of the three tanks (100, 38, 32) had separate sending units that monitored fuel levels and pumps to keep all the tanks as evenly filled as possible. We’re guessing somewhere in those electronics a connection or two didn’t like some of the extreme temperatures we saw during out high-altitude drive section and started to give us faulty readings.

Just outside of Dillon, Colo., on the wrong side of midnight, we saw our vehicle temperature reading in the single digits with our console-mounted digital readouts swinging from 58 gallons to 12 gallons and back in the course of minutes. That meant we needed to get to a comfortable bed in a town with plenty of fuel choices, just in case.  

Once we made it to the lower elevations, closer to Grand Junction, Colo., our tank sensors stabilized.  

Testing the Long-Hauler
For the Hurt Locker Shootout, we took each of our combatants up the 11.17-mile uphill grade on Ariz. Highway 68, starting at McCormick Boulevard and finishing at the Union Pass summit at 3,571 feet above sea level (the run’s base has an elevation of 565 feet). Over the course of our 11-mile run, we rolled up and down steeper and gentler grades (averaging a 5% grade over the 3,000-foot elevation climb), finishing our run on a cool-down glide over the backside of the Highway 68, headed to Kingman, Ariz. 

For those with excellent memories, you’ll recall the GMC Sierra 3500 HD pulled up the hill with its 27,540-pound combined weight in 11 minutes, 11 seconds. The Ford F-350 had a GCW of 27,820 pounds and ran the route in 11 minutes, 51 seconds. The slowest of our trio was the Ram 3500 HD, pulling its 27,440-pound truck and trailer load up the route in 12 minutes, 54 seconds. Clearly, that particular test had a lot to do with how impressed our judges were with the GMC, and it ultimately helped us declare the GM HD the winner of our Heavy Duty Hurt Locker Shootout. 

Long-Hauler tailgate II
For exhaust-brake testing, we duplicated the Hurt Locker test. We came from the opposite direction on Highway 68 (heading toward Laughlin), making sure to have the truck and trailer at 55 mph at the Union Pass summit and then let gravity take over. With an exhaust-brake button (or not in the Super Duty’s case) engaged, we ran each of the trucks downhill to our finish line. If the vehicle’s speed reached 60 mph, we’d slow the truck down to approximately 48 mph and let the cycle begin again. During our Hurt Locker Shootout, the Ram HD won that particular test with only two brake touches in the 11-mile stretch, while the GMC had four and the Ford five. 

Long-Hauler Results
For our wide-open throttle runs with the Long-Hauler up the hill, we got some interesting results. With our 27,460-pound (right inside the range of the Hurt Locker test) Long-Hauler 5500 Ram HD truck and trailer combination, we got a best run up the course of 12 minutes, 49 seconds, beating the Ram 3500 HD by just five seconds but not coming close to the Ford or GMC trucks. 

During the exhaust-brake test, duplicating the exact procedures, the Long-Hauler beat the Hurt Locker competitors without a single touch of the brakes warranted down the Davis Dam grade. We expect the much deeper 4.88:1 ring and pinion, a slightly detuned Cummins engine and unique transmission mapping were probably the main reasons behind the performance. Still, the control and confidence the Long-Hauler showed up and down the hill was impressive to experience. 

As to other types of performance testing we conducted with Long-Hauler, we also tried to duplicate the zero to 50 mph pulls, as well as pulling the best 30 to 50 mph times. Both times were calculated with truck and trailer attached. 

In the zero to 50 mph pulls, our Long-Hauler ran 18.57 seconds, with a best 30 to 50 mph run at 9.95 seconds (Hurt Locker numbers: Ford -- 21.05/12.64; GMC -- 20.60/11.39; Ram HD -- 23.09/13.90). You can see that the best time for the Long-Hauler was a good bit better than each of the Hurt Locker competitors. We should note here that the testing was not done at the same Arizona Proving Ground facility and did benefit from a slight tailwind. Still, it’s worth noting that whereas our Hurt Locker trucks were at 92% and 94% of their GCW, the Long-Hauler was somewhere more realistically in the 75% to 80% range. 

Long-Hauler gooseneck II
In duplicate zero to 60 mph runs (without the trailer), the Ram 5500’s strength off-the-line was not nearly as pronounced. Our best zero to 60 mph time was 12.85 seconds, with a best 30 to 60 mph time of 8.04 seconds (Hurt Locker numbers: Ford -- 9.53/5.76; GMC -- 9.23/5.37; Ram HD -- 10.40/6.46). We’d be guessing, but there might be something in the transmission shift logic or traction control that is able to know when more power is needed and better traction is possible. 

Final Thoughts
Our final test number collected on the 2,300-mile tour of the most Hurt-Locker-friendly Western states was to complete our fuel-economy data. By the end of the trip, we bought almost 300 gallons of diesel fuel, five gallons of DEF fluid and too many truck-stop beef jerky packets to count. Overall, we averaged 7.8 mpg, with our best stretch of 300 miles registering just over 10 mpg. We tried to keep our speeds between 65 and 70 mph and used the cruise control as much as possible. We didn’t do this to get great fuel economy while pulling a good load. We wanted to see how this 5500 HD concept truck could handle the same course and tests we used for our ultimate heavy-duty shootout — and we think it passed with flying colors. 

Is there a place for a vehicle like this in the world of personal-use heavy haulers? We think as long as this air suspension is part of the deal (and Ram Truck sure seems to be interested in airbag suspensions lately), this could be the new towing-and-hauling king for those with monster camper trailers or gooseneck horse trailers or high-dollar car-hauler companies. 

To be honest, we’ve driven half-ton pickups with suspensions much more punishing than this. We don’t know what magic Kelderman was able to do for this Long-Hauler concept, but it works. Ram would be stupid not to green-light this project right away. They won’t sell tens of thousands of them, but we’re guessing there’s a good market of Class 4, 5 and 6 drivers out there that want this type of high-lux work truck. We know this because they kept walking up to us every time we stopped the Long-Hauler.  

Long-Hauler fillup II

Long-Hauler backseat view II

Long-Hauler engine II

Long-Hauler trailer II

Long-Hauler self port 2 II

 

Comments

Edit above: 5.0 L V8 under the hood, not a V6.

@Vulpine,

Just a observation here. When someone deliberately uses the wrong terminology/stats/facts etc..., then all that does is diminish and negate whatever idea(s) that poster was attempting to convey.

As far as that truck being oversized and overpriced, that is a subjective viewpoint. For the most truck buyers this is true. But for the segment of the market that actually uses trucks for that specific purpose then it becomes a viable product.

Regards,

It is more than just subjective. It is his viewpoint as well as the viewpoint of most others here.

Ram is looking for feedback. Who best to get that from than pickuptrucks.com readers?

Anyone can go out and say there is a viable market for the Long Hauler, but is there? Where are the numbers to back up that statement? The segment has to be large enough or they are not going to make it because it won't be a viable.

While I agree that this concept is way more than most truck buyers need, it's existence doesn't take away from any of the other pickups offered. In fact, if this truck does go into production, it could be used as a test bed for advanced, expensive towing technologies, resulting in the trickle-down effect seen in motorsports. If Chrysler thinks they can make any money off this truck I see no reason not to put it into production.

@ Alex
Why should I go to the prius forums? Because I think 7 mpg in a time where diesel is $4-$5 is a loser of an idea?


@ DenverMike

You're mistaken about that.
People that haul for a living are being eaten alive by gas prices.
And they're not going to be able to make money with this truck when other drivers with just as capable or even better trucks with better MPG and lower CoO are able to charge less.

And as I already pointed out, large travel trailers is a dwindling market.

So when you start building vehicles that nobody buys, you end up with huge financial problems and thousands of workers laid off, entire communities depressed and bailouts.

Thats why I cant stand Fiat's slimey leadership. It's the same losing strategy that has kept them in last place for decades.

@ Maxx

When the offerings from other companies like International, Freightliner, and Kenworth get between 3-5 mpg, I would say getting between 6-10 mpg with this Ram that has a vastly better interior and wouldnt take anything to get used to driving going from a pickup to another pickup vs a truck, more than likely would be a godsend. This is a Ram 5500 (2 ton) that is built like a tank for longevity, hence the 4.88 gearing, Dana S111 rear end, 170 gallon fuel capacity, air ride, 19.5 inch wheels with 14-ply tires, detuned engine, and most comfortable cab Chrysler offers to accomodate those buyers who will purchase this PURPOSE-BUILT vehicle for the PURPOSE which it was BUILT for. Therefore your logic of criticizing it from a 1/2 ton stance is flawed. It weighs 11,400, which I would guess is at least twice the weight of the very most top-shelf F-150 built.. so lets see.. weighs almost 6 tons, about 24 feet long, has 4.88 gears, built as a towing machine.. 6-10mpg sounds pretty damned good to me, especially while moving 28,000 pounds through elevation testing!

Side note: Payload capacity is enough to put an F-350 in the box and then some!

@shop cat

couldnt of said that better my self...

@ Maxx
Hmm, Fiat's slimey leadership? Just from an objective viewpoint, it appears that Chrysler's recovery under Fiat's slimey leadership has embarrassed GM's recovery under the government's leadership.. oh, and I almost forgot.. Chrysler's government loans are already paid back and the government has a 0% ownership! I stand by that Chrysler was loaned out ($6 billion at 20% interest) and GM was bailed out ($8.1 billion at 7% interest).. and the government still holds 61% of GM...

@tj - all the guys I know who work for a living with or "out of the cab" of pickups and buy them with their own cash drive Ford or Ram HD's. My friends (and family) who drive HD fleet trucks including the Chevy say the same thing - if it were my money I'd be in a Ford or Ram HD. Those 2 brands don't eat dust from Chevy or GM because road queens don't kick up dust. On the subject of dust, I should do like Johnny Dose and post some pics of my brother's GM work truck. Mud gets up through the bottom door sills as well as dust (since you like dust - that must be why you drive one that lets it in). Ford HD outsells Chevy 2:1. Ram HD outsells Chevy. All my friends in heavy industry buy Ford or Ram. Sales might not prove which truck is the best but they do prove which trucks customers prefer. I don't see workman with mud on their boots wearing bowties. My brother's comment about his Gm 3/4 ton, "They are good trucks if you keep them on pavement".

I cannot for the life of me see why people are comparing this truck to 1 ton trucks. As ShopCat pointed out, this truck compares to Freightliners etc. To the guys who say Ram is stupid to spend R&D money on this as it will be a low volume seller isn't getting the point either. This is a 5500 with a regular pickup cab, box and fuel tank mounted on it. How much R&D did it take for them to figure out how to do that? The guys saying that rednecks and wannabe truckers will buy it for the image...... so what? Their cash is just as welcome as the cash from a guy who really needs one of these monsters.

Class 8 trucks do not get 3-5mpg. They get 6-8 range pulling 80,000lbs/ 13.5ft tall bricks with twice the driveline drag. So yes 7.8mpg for towing a low drag 29k gcvw is bad. Anyone who has driven for a living knows that. A bunch of posers on this site talking about stuff they don't know.

@ Jugger
You must be one of those posers your talking about. Every class 8 truck I have ever driven gets 4 mpg tops pulling 80,000; the worst I have ever seen was 1.3 while driving a 2008 International Eagle 9900 with a C18 Cat and an Eaton Fuller ROTX 13 speed. Further solidifying the point that your a poser, IH, Freightliner, and Paccar all build down to class 4.. any actual truck driver would know that and its only the poser who would think I was comparing a class 5 to a class 8 soley based on the brand names used. So apparently, it is you, sir, who think you know what you are talking about.

You also seem to forget that this was elevation tow testing, not flatlands where it would probably be much better with the heavier air and lack of uphill climbs; but I'm betting you did that purposely to make yourself look smarter and get your mindless insult in.

@ shop cat
If you really get 4 mpg tops then you need a newer truck and or career because there is no way you are making any money. How can you make any money when the average truck will get 70% better mileage that you. If what your saying were true you would be losing money everymile and filling up your diesel tanks twice a day. Please stop posting false information you are making yourself look bad. Go post on a trucker website forum that you make a living getting 3-4mpg in this day and age. See who will believe you then.

There are a few options that wouldn't make production like the tail gate, 3rd fuel tank and those ugly guages on the centre stack but they have to keep the air ride suspension. With the (2013) Ram 1500 coming with air ride it's only a matter of time it should be standard accross the board. I wonder what milage it would get pulling only 12000 lbs.? People don't buy these trucks for milage. They just add the cost of fuel to there freight bill and the consumer pays. Great truck.

@jugger

"further solidifying the point that you're a poser"

I'd hafta agree with teh shop cat I've been driving OTR trucks for 32 years and the best mileage I've seen was about 6 going from New Jersey to Georgia. If anyone's guilty of providing false statements on here, it's you. Get off the office computer and go back to bagging groceries.

I average 6.5mpg with a fully loaded enclosed trailer in the southwest mountain ranges(12.7L DD). Flat land is better and a smaller load will encroach 8mpg. Post under as many false names as you want to agree with yourself. There is no way in heck anyone trucking makes a living getting 3-4 mpg tops. Its utter bullcrap. You would be working for free at the best and more likely losing money. Do the math. Heck even google it.

Back on topic, 7.8mpg for the 6.7 Cummins with a low aero trailer and low weight is poor. The competition can get about 20% better mpg with similar loads. If this truck does make it into production we will have a test to see. Cummins does need to step up their game in the mpg department. This doesn't look like using urea on the 2500/3500 Cummins can match GM or Ford on mileage.

@jugger

I agree with you abot the cummins getting
Shitty mpg i think the cummins 8Lwould
Be a better choice

Just for curiosity what year semi you drive?
I would think that the older tractors will do bad
Mpg but the newer tractors higj efficiency might
Just do 10 or better loaded

Ofcourse windy day or slow traffic could do 3 to 5 mpg
Maybe

@ Big Roy
I drove 98- 2011 model year trucks. I don't drive anymore because there isn't any decent money in it anymore. Someones always there to take a lower pay in this economy and the industry is too regulated. Of course the newer trucks were nicer although I prefer the earlier trucks since they were simple and easier on the maintenance bill. At first the emmisions killed the mileage but it is back up now with more parts to break. There is no way to get 10mpg unless you are driving a day cab truck with no trailer. Some weekend warriors get in the 9's by dropping an axle and pulling a RV or horsetrailer( like in this article). Its much safer with a 17k truck with air brakes stopping a load then a one ton Dually with hydraulic brakes ever will be.

I agree that a bigger Cummins engine would get better mpg pulling that load also since it doesn't have to work as hard and would also probably be offered with more gears.

@Vulpine: Yeah, I know, it's a 1990. You never said inline 6 300, 302 5.0, or 5.8 351 engine? You can prob buy a nicely equiped STX shortbed or if they make them in STX, a longbed for 25K. Sure you can a nice ST V-6 Ram 1500 for that price. The new one. Let;s see; your used tires are good for how long? How's the heater core on that old truck? Will it run for miles to come? Does it leak or blow oil? Is it as comfortable? As quiet at 70 MPH? If it's a stick, how good is the clutch? If auto, how many miles before it needs a filter or a rebuild? Have you spent any money yet on a tune up or brakes? How's the muffler? The paint? Does a 1990 even have an air bag? Is it even good? Sure I keep a few old cars without airbags, but I would still drive them...just a benifit.

When you think about all the work you would have to do to just to get 75 or 100 K on that old truck, wow, that's prob a lot. Will that old one get 17 city and 22 hwy? Probably barely gets 17 highway. How are all the seals? Lucky enough to have a Cassete player?

You keep complaining on any story with anything that's not a a tiny truck. Hey, if you want, midsize trucks are made, a Taco or Frontier might be just the ticket. Have you got to get a full size? You are a comparing a 90s truck to a much nicer newer truck. Alot of the options that came on that 1990 are standard. Power steering? Auto Trans? (I don't mind manual, but some gotta have auto, more money.) Did a 1990 even have but three wiper speeds? AC I don't guess was standard yet. If you get creamed but some idiot texting who ran a light and hit your door, you gonna be ok? How good is the timming chain on that old truck? Windshield good? For 2500, I would hope so! Steering, suspesion bushings, shocks, seat worn out?

You are comparing old to new, it's not an even comparison, cause there is more equipment and parts in a new truck. Sure the old one can work for a while, but like Lou says, you better be handy with tools, or have some cash. Things WILL BREAK! And when they do, you better be able to fix it in a jam, or stay local.

Dude, nothing says you need a full size, but if you do- they still make affordable trucks. Nothing says you have to buy this big truck, which some long distance hauler might need.

@Vulpine - what engine, tranny, and rear end does your truck have? How many miles? All we know is " F-150 XLT Lariat 4x2 with 8' bed and standard cab". It should have all the bells and whistles as a XLT Lariat but do those bells and whistles work?
No airbags in 1990.
I'm guessing automatic and 5.0. That means you have 195 hp (well, 32 years ago you did). The best I ever got out of mine on the highway was around 16 mpg highway but that was a plain jane 3/4 ton, 3.55 gears, 5 speed manual with the 5.0. My brother has a '87 1/2 ton 4x4 but with a 4 speed manual that wasn't any better. We both agreed that we should of got the 351.
Considering the fact that you keep blasting full sized trucks, why did you buy one? I'm sure Toyota or Nissan (Datsun back then?) has some old trucks of a similar antiquity for a similar price.
My species of Cetacea is a 2010 Supercrew 6.5 box 4x4 XLT with 5.4. It is as big and heavy as it gets for that species. I'm getting a best of 20.4 out of it. I can haul a bit less but I can seat 6 as opposed to 3, and tow a lot more. Then there are airbags, ABS, 4 wheel discs, traction and stability control etc. I also have 115 more horsepower. Not bad for 4 mpg and 400cc more.
I do not have a problem with anyone buying used. But I do have a problem with the annoying nature of your posts. You are starting to sound like Oxi. Maybe you are him and bought the 1990 to tow your illegal Tacoma. It should tow it, just don't expect to go very fast or save any fuel doing it.
BTW cetology also includes dolphins and porpoise. Aren't they kinda sleek, fast and nimble?
A Raptor or maybe the SRT10 is a killer whale?

Does anyone have an idea of the payload/towing capacity of this truck. I cannot see any reference to it elsewhere.

Sorry for not including that info Robert. From the numbers Ram gave us, the GVWR for the Long-Hauler is 19,500 lbs, or about 8,000 lbs of payload. The also listed the GCW at 30K but noted a production version 5500 would be closer to 37.5K.

@Maxx: ShopCat has a very valid point and if you bother to actually watch the highways as you drive, you might notice that while there are still a lot of the Big Rigs running out there, you're also seeing your 'Super Duty' pickups hauling loads equivalent to those 20'-30' over-the-road trailers on lower suspensions for better aerodynamics. In essence, for some regional haulers--even companies like UPS and FedEx, a Long Hauler with a lower trailer could realize a 50% fuel savings over the heavy, flat-faced rigs they currently use. What with the railroads demonstrating 400 ton-miles per gallon, the mere 50-80 ton-miles the typical big rig offers is almost cost prohibitive today. Even increasing that number to 100 ton-miles would make a difference.

What I'm saying is that the market for these trucks is the professional driver, not the farmer, utility or everyday driver. They're too big, too expensive and, as you say not economical enough for people like us. We--most of us anyway--are not professional drivers. Any non-professional driving one of these deserves the label "Road Whale" that I tag onto most of the rigs I see today. At least my 23-year-old road whale is a mere orca compared to the beasts I see all blinged out on the highways

Well I do know of alot of people in short track racing getting hammered by the law cause their current combo is illegal towing their big enclosed car trailers. Not sure they would all need that much fuel tank, but they don't have to use it all. I guess the fuel tank being that big though would work when you go from one state with somewhat lower prices (can I say lower and fuel prices in the same line??) TO another with nasty prices.

@TRX, @Lou: Good questions and comments from both of you and I'm willing to give the answers.

As I mentioned earlier, it is the 5.0 EFI engine and I will grant that the previous owner pulled the AC compressor. I will also grant a cracked right-side exhaust manifold, a missing thermostat and the need for a complete re-plumbing of the front brakes (thing sat and dry-rotted for almost 10 years). It has 144,000 miles on it and even with those listed issues the engine itself is remarkably strong and sounds like a 5.0 Mustang GT (stock) on hard acceleration. With the brake repairs and two rear tires (practically new but dry-rotted) I spent an additional $1400 and expect about $500 more for the manifold to pass Maryland inspection. Because of where I live the HOA won't let me do my own work and I don't have a garage convenient that will let me do it in their bays. Repairs and purchase price combined brings it up to Black Book listing of roughly $4500 for its age and condition.

Note that there is no rust worth speaking of on the body or underside. It has the galvanized box and doesn't even show any rust under the plastic bed liner it came with. I will be doing more work on the truck simply to restore it to like-new condition but I'm doing it by choice, not by necessity. I couldn't guarantee finding a compact truck (do not like the Toyota or Nissan trucks) in the same price range in anywhere near similar condition. Not saying it wasn't possible, but Used Cars dot com wasn't showing me any in my area. CarFax and other history sites showed her as a one-owner, never crashed or flooded rig (though there are signs of a minor ding on the right fender and door where the repair wasn't the best.)

I don't know the rear end, but overall inspection has her in surprising condition for her years and mileage though I won't know realistic fuel economy until I replace the thermostat and get the manifold replaced. I expect getting a tonneau cover (after I remove the bed liner and have a new one sprayed in) will improve that mileage slightly. I'll also be replacing window seals and repairing other minor issues as I go along. With an air filter change, oil change and a few other very minor tweaks, I might push her to 18 or a hair better on the highway.

Again, this truck is in far better shape than my first car which was only 7 years old when purchased for $1000 back in '71. I expected to have to put more money into it (I've never bought a used vehicle that didn't need at least $1000 in repairs after purchase) and if I can hold those added costs below $2000 today, that's the equivalent of spending only $500 for repairs back in '71. I wanted smaller, but this was really the best rig for the money I could find at the time.

No, I'm not OXI and I find him just as annoying as you, but that doesn't mean I've changed my mind on why too many people buy oversized trucks as daily drivers. Where I live, residents are often called "Ceciltukians" for their red-neck activities and seeing blinged-out road whales used for nothing but play is what gets my goat. I bought this truck to use it. When I'm done with that need I will probably re-sell it. I will do what I can to restore it so the next buyer (hopefully an antique restorer) will have less work to do to make it show-winning material. After all, she's only 2.5 years away from classifying as an antique.

I don't intend to tow anything with her (though she does sport a Class-3 hitch receiver) and I doubt I'll ever load her to capacity by weight, though 20 8-foot tables pretty well filled her bed this past weekend. It turns out I got what I needed when I needed it rather than what I wanted when I wanted it. Owning her I better understand the attraction of a truck to many drivers, but it still doesn't change my opinion of the people who don't use their truck as a truck.

@Vulpine - Thanks for the rebuttal. I do agree guys buy big trucks who do not need them. One could define "need" as strictly a tool employed to make a living. Any use other than generating income could be defined as a "want". I have a fullsized truck because the smaller trucks do not meet my "wanted" expectations. They will not tow or comfortably carry my family. Purchase costs are comparable and so is mpg. I had stated before that truck buyers like over-capacity. They don't like to tow or haul maximum loads so they "over-buy". They like the extra safety margin for the lack of a better phrase. That probably goes along with the conservative nature of most truck buyers. That same conservative nature often kills any consideration of anything but a full sized truck. I've owned every size. I've owned a few Rangers, a 3/4 ton and now a 1/2 ton. I've driven 1 ton single wheel vans, and dual wheel chassis cab conversions for a living. I've also driven (in my youth) gravel trucks and heavy equipment. I buy what I want based on my current lifestyle and family requirements. I don't "need" a fullsized truck just like I don't need quads, dirtbikes, boats, camping, hunting or fishing gear. My truck fits the overall package. I suspect most buyers are in the same boat"er" truck as me. If it is only a toy, it is their money. I see or should I say hear more piped and modded HD's squeeling their tires and making noise than compacts or 1/2 tons. It may be a waste of a HD truck in your eyes and even mine, but like I said, it's their money (or most likely their banker's money).
I probably would never need or desire a long hauler, but one never knows what the future will bring.
It's great to have a choice.

GUTS
GLORY
RAM

RAM IS TAKING OUT FORD IN 2012.

@Mark Williams thanks for that. Something like this would be more user friendly(not so huge) than a lightish Japanese MDT and more capable than a F250/F350 A Japanese or European MDT can be like using sledgehammer to crack a walnut.. In Australia " Gooseneck Horse Floats"i.e 40-50ft , transport anything from 6-15 Horses over very long distances. The use MDT/HDT Trucks depending on load.
http://www.naturevetdirect.com.au/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/SMIFF-GOOSENECK-014-3.jpg

@Vulpine: You are also about where I am with my 96 Chrysler. 144,000 miles. My timming belt (or is it a chain?) is about due. See, I can do it. But you? You will be paying. Since you can't do it, atleast where you live. So unless you get in good with a well trained mechanic (not just a guy or gal with a tool box) big $$. For me, I have a friend that worked at the GMC dealership for a good while, and wants to make side money. But anyway, if you don't change that chain out pretty soon, it might break, now you will need the chain as well as taking the heads off to fix any bent valves. $$ Not trying to scare you, but gotta think preventive too. By the way, if you were around here, I'd fix the exhaust manifold if you bought it, and gave me a couple cases of adult beverage.

Yeah, I know alot of people drive big trucks that hardly use them to pull. I see alot of 5.9 Rams with the bed cut and an exhaust pipe going behind center of cab. Don't hardly see some of them towing. I meanself bought a quad cab with 6.5 bed, it has the right interior space for me and the right bed space too, for me, considering where I am in life. Married, no kids, don't often have somebody riding in the back. Worked out great for me on my trip over 4000 total miles to bring back car parts from out west, and big speaker back from Boise. It worked for me as I could put the speaker in the cab, away from greasy or heavy parts that could damage it. Along with my cooler, computer, clothes, and for the ride from Olympia Washington, to Colorado Springs, my friend was along, so his stuff to. Any midsize would not have the space. I was able to keep it all covered under a backflip. So nobody knew I had a complete 340 Dodge with Forged pistons and big valve heads under it, away from the weather, locked up...try doing that with those silly trays they stick on the receiver hitch of those midsizers....first of all, it wouldn't work with my trailer behind it, and second of all, I hate having those things, can't see them well so you can forget it's there and tear up a car backup up.

Now I do have a 4 cylinder 5 speed 96 Camry (20 worse case scenario city, 34 best highway) that's great for a short trip to town when I don't need my truck, (13-18 mpg epa, but almost 19 at 60 mph with AT tires,) or a 2-3 hour trip. However, for a longer trip I bought my 96 Chrysler, which can see mileage right between the truck and car. 18 city, 26 hwy. Without irritating my back.

And since you said you can't get a new F150 for 25K, I looked and that's about where they are for a stripped one. But the V-6 mileage would get almost what your 1990 gets highway, while in town. More highway. But if you want, a Tradesman Ram 4.7 long box can be had for less then 21 K if you can haggle at all. And if you drove it for say 5 years, think of the work that old truck will need. Oh, you'd also have a CD player and cruise control. Trailer hitch if needed. Carpet, or you can get without. At a cost of a few MPG.

GM is bringing back the 4500- 5500 within the next 24 months. U herd it here first.

@TRX4 Tom: Good comments, but again, my own personal taste says I don't want a full-sized truck--especially new.

You may be right about the timing chain, but at least so far I haven't noticed any of the typical symptoms. (Then again, my Toronado didn't give any symptoms when that Nylon (of all things) timing gear stripped.) I've got access to a Ford-trained mechanic who worked for Ford for something like 15 years before going independent. He now owns his own shop and seems to really know what he's talking about. Granted, I'm quite a few years out from doing my own maintenance but this rig will be pretty easy for me to do the sorts of things I did on my old '64 Chevy II Nova. I do what I can, but the HOA doesn't like the community's residents being shade-tree mechanics.

You know, I do love the fact that it's body on frame and sits almost as high as my Wrangler (even though it is a long wheelbase and 4x2 compared to that Wrangler) so I'm far less concerned about crawling around underneath the truck to do some of my own work (used to jack up my Torino too... added an aftermarket cruise control to that old car.) This truck is in many ways going to be my toy for fixing up and restoring, though I doubt I'll do a full frame-off resto with an underbody coating. Interior is good, though drivers side is slightly worn (really, you wouldn't believe it's as old as it is by the amount of wear) though it's obvious I need to replace an interior panel (latch tab broken) and a few other albeit very minor things.

Will I "bling it up"? No. I do want to update a few things that came on the '91 model like daylight running lamps but otherwise I want this truck to remain pretty much as stock as possible. A bit of polish here, some minor grinding and primering there and take out the few minor dents at the passenger door and around the top of the bed rail/tailgate and she'd be effectively done. Am going to pull the plastic liner out, inspect and have a spray-on liner matched to the body's upper surfaces (deep blue) then just try to keep her clean and running good.

Oh, anyone know where I can get the beige and white tape stripe they used on that Lariat model? This one is very faded in spots and trying to peel between the bed and the cab.

Notice, that the GCWR Is still 30,000 lbs. That's because the chassis is the same as the original Dodge Ram 5500. The 37,500 was actually a gross inaccuracy made by Chrysler. That was the second mistake that they made. Chrysler first stated that the truck had the new (at the time) high-output Cummins engine- which later they admitted was the traditional chassis cab output. As for the air suspension. Ford Chassis cabs have had an air-suspension (AKA air-ride, airbag) aftermarket option for ages. (The suspension on this concept is also aftermarket). Ford STILL has the highest rated cab GCWR of 35,000lb.

Ever since FIAT acquired Chrysler, The Ram trucks line has been acting like assholes. For one they changed the truck brand name. Right now saying Ram trucks is still a Dodge is like a little girl being told she's a princess. Chrysler/Fiat should have realized that the Dodge name on trucks means something, instead of bastardizing the trucks name for sales for psychological stupid reasons such as Dodge is supposed to be more young and bla bla bla. The real reason for the name change is that Dodge wasn't synonymous with trucks, like Ford or Chevy is. But what they should have done is is work hard to give the Dodge name a true meaning in the truck world, called the B series in '48, C in '54, and D in 61 to 81. Instead of changing there name for significance they should have worked to improve the Dodge truck name and improved on Dodge truck and gave them another chapter instead of forsaking the name all the way in 2010, for purposes of mind games and greater sales.

Also with the slogan, after ford has had the Built Ford Tough motto for Eons, Chrysler just decides to come up with one out of there ass at the last minute late just about a year ago. Before Dodge trucks have never had a slogan, there was "Grab life by the horns" which worked well for the entire lineup of Dodge. Not only that but they copied Ford on the advertisements with the metal background.

On this subject, the whole idea of trying to become the best puller is a Ford idea, except Ford does it correctly, and doesn't lie about there engine output, or there capabilities. Dodge 5500 chassis cab's lowest gearing option was 4.44.1 axle ratio. The Ford F-Series were the only chassis cabs to utilize 4.88 gearing. Ford was the innovator of the Western-themed luxury edition (Lariat, and eventually King Ranch) which was copied by Chrysler/FIAT in the Longhorn. The Forward slanted grille even was a copy of the '67 to '86 Ford F-Series trucks.

@KODIAKBEARKILLS
grab your purse and leave...

its not who starts it but who does it better...

It looks like future RAM HD Pickups might be coming out in RHD as well a LHD. Marchionee is looking to increase Chrylser's US production globally. They have already produced the Hemi 300Cin RHD, after initially saying they would not.
Here is an article on "the Globalization" of Chrysler. I wonder if Ford or GM are going to do the same? Still the global market is not great for these vehicles, but every sale counts.

http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/2E3E62189FCBEA64CA257829002066FC
"CHRYSLER Group Australia has announced an American-branded, fresh product-led recovery over the next three years, spearheaded by Jeep this year, Chrysler in 2012, and Dodge after that – including the possibility of Ram
trucks and muscle cars."

"Tellingly, he said that global Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne has pledged to engineer all future products for right-hand drive, opening the way for the next-generation of all Chrysler and Fiat group vehicles to be eventually sold in Australia.

“I’ve heard him tell the engineering team that ‘if you’re going to draw up a car, draw it for both right and left-hand drive; if you come back and show me a left-hand drive only, you had better have a very compelling reason as to why that is the case’… so (the order) has come from a very high place and it has very simple logic: do it right in the first place, and the rest will flow.”"

@Robert Ryan - someone had said Dodge was going to be killed off. The surfing I did seems to indicate a huge downsizing of anything with a Dodge nameplate. I do think that "globilization" of Fiat and Chrysler products is a "done deal". They've said publically that Alfa Romeo and Jeep are going to be global. One pundit went as far as saying Marcionne had a bloated portfolio to deal with. Chrysler will be North America only. I'm not sure what will happen to Ram trucks. I suspect they will be the North American nameplate for any truck or van. Iveco will be the nameplate for trucks and vans everywhere else. SRT is shaping up to be its own performance brand. It could replace Dodge, who knows. I can't see there being much interest for Dodge or SRT products in the rest of the world. The Viper is shaping up to be an Alfa rebadge and so is the Dart. The rest of the world prefers to go around a corner fast instead of going fastmin a straight line. That fact alone kills most North American products. Size kills the rest.

I don't understand why people are comparing this 2 TON truck to either a 1 ton or even a 3/4 ton. If your going to compare this truck to anything it should be the same weight class as this one is in which is a 2 TON truck class and with the same spec's for gear setting's.

I for one would buy this truck in a heart beat as I'm on the road 280 day's out of the year going to horse show's and rodeo's. I pull a 40ft long living quarter's horse trailer which pushes my current 1 ton dodge dually to it's limit for weight.

Their is a market for this truck as to go a buy a sportchassis Freightliner, Peterbilt or Kenworth style truck is going to cost over $130,000.00, which hopefully this truck will not cost that much plus the cost of having to have a taller garage to park it in.

Dodge Ram truck's are the only one's who use an diesel engine that is used in the real world in every piece of equipment out there. Can Ford or GM say that ? No they can't

How many 1 ton diesel truck's out their are over the 1 million mile mark with the orginal engine still on the road ?

I know Dodge has a long list of their truck's still on the road, Ford and GM diesel truck's have long died as there engine's are only built to last to 250,000 miles then they need to be rebuilt.

So Kurt, go buy yourself a Ram, every truck out there has its selling points.

Why doesn't FIAT just send the blue prints to Ford head quarters. Better yet, since it's only taking 10 years to bla bla bla bla this truck just give one to Ford and l'm sure you'll see production within a 6 month launch.

There are plenty of RAM, FORD and GM owners waiting with money in hand. Get off your A _ _ and build the truck. You won't be able to make enough to supply demand!!!!!!!!. Atleast start taking orders with money down NOW and you'll see how many will sell.

Tired of Waiting,

Mike

@Mike

If fords so great why do they need dodge's blueprints to make one?

the only things that could be improved on this truck is that ram uses a manual transmissions, and a trailer wing.

Build it and build MANY because they will sell. Spend a million dollars on research and you will come up with the same conculsion. I own 3 Ram 3500 4x4. I could use a truck like that Longhauler.
I Just ordered three 5500 chassis 4x4 trucks four weeks ago.

Yes so I'm a guy that cant use a little green sewing maching engine car. It wont and cant do the job of a 3500 or 5500.

The little gas guzzlers have their place on the road...but being a work truck is not one of them. Your compairing apples to oranges...

So stop wasting time and start production!

Dude that is one sick truck!! My 1999 3500 Cummins is up 290,000 miles now and still runing good. The boss man where I work has all Ford trucks but he still drives a Cummins. When I asked him why he buys Ford truck he said moneys. Don't know what that means but i wish he would look at these trucks. I didn't even know Dodge had a 5500 truck. All I have ever seen are Ford F550s and F450s. The guys at work tell me the Fords we have at work are two ton trucks. Is this true?

Waiting to place our order.
Have been waiting for a mega 5500.
Would make a great service truck.
What is the Cab to Axle size?

Keep up the good work fellas.
All others trying to catch up!
The detune engine is nesassary due to the drive train limitations and longevity.
We run a fleet of 3500,4500 and 5500.
All manual trans.
They are service trucks with weights around 18k lbs (5500)
Did our the first set of rear brake pads at 115K.
Try that with the others, good luck!\
Racked up over 200K never had ANY major problems.
Extreme conditions +30'C summe to -40'C winter.
Any how the Dodge truck crew are really putting out a quallity product.
Keep up the good work and I ll keep ordering up new ones.

I want one. I need one in my line of work. I just wish RAM would lead the way in this. Instead of letting another man. steal a really good idea.

I would love to add this truck to my fleet of car haulier I just put 50k down ona ram 5500 with an haulier body Chrysler need to build this truck I would order one

I happen to own a 2012 ram 5500. Its the long wheel based crew cab. 186.5 inches I believe. I run it as a daily driver, but also use as a Hot Shot rig and haul goods for the oil and gas industry. The only issue I have is the lack of power. the mpg isn't great (avg 8.5with a trailer) but Ive personally seen one tons due just as bad in the same circumstances. My truck with 165 gallons of diesel and 11-6 flat bed and all load securement goodies weighs in at 12000lbs my 40 foot float weighs 9800 max payload on the trailer is 21500 and itll pull it down the road just fine. Love the big breaks and exaust brake. 6 speed auto is awesome, but it doesn't like big inclines of Colorado Wyoming Utah Montana or the Dakotas. I shopped for months before buying this truck. It does everything I need as a factory set up......But it needs the extra horsepower back.

Does anyone know why they turned down the HP on the bigger trucks? and is there anyway to turn it up through a dealership? Or is that the job of the present day plug and play tuners?



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