5 Fixes for the Next Ram 2500/3500

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We recently spent some time with a 2017 Ram 3500 in the desert and we found the heavy-duty hauler is starting to show its age. The last significant redesign for the Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks was for model-year 2009 and while the pair have gotten engine updates, new option packages and other cosmetic changes over the years, it's time for a more significant upgrade.

According to our sources, Ram planned to redesign the light-dutys for model-year 2018, but that update was delayed, which means we'll have to wait at least another year for the 2500 and 3500 pickups as well. And that presents the perfect opportunity for us to put together something of a wish list of things we'd like to see in the next-generation Ram 2500/3500. Maybe you have a few more to add. 

Our most recent test truck was a Longhorn Limited Mega Cab 4x4 dually with the turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins ($8,700) that makes 385 horsepower and 900 pounds-feet of torque. It was also equipped with the Aisin heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission ($2,695), four-wheel drive, 4.10:1 axle gears ($125) and a rear air suspension with auto leveling ($1,595).

Here are five things that we'd like to see addressed or updated when the new Ram HDs do arrive:

 

1. A smoother transmission/powertrain: Our test vehicle had the beefiest diesel you can get from Ram and paired with the Aisin transmission, it was brutish on the road, especially when compared to the Ford and GM HDs. Shifts are felt through the entire cabin and the transmission is prone to gear hunting during easy, normal driving. It is worth mentioning that a down-rated Cummins that only makes 800 pounds-feet of torque is available with a Corporate 68RFE six-speed transmission, and that combination is much smoother.

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2. More cameras/visibility: Though our test vehicle also added an optional bed camera ($345), it's not enough. A truck this big should be loaded with enough cameras to see all around. An around-view monitor would be helpful as would corner cameras up front, especially for parking. And as much as we like the swivel-up tow mirrors, there needs to be better extending and folding mirrors for the tow package.

3. A more comfortable backseat: The Ram 3500 Mega Cab had plenty of room in the backseat and is wonderfully reconfigurable, but the seat itself was strangely uncomfortable, especially given that the front seats are so plush. Though the seats are designed to fold up, which contributes to the lack of back support, we also found them lacking when it comes to thigh support. Taller passengers sit with their legs elevated off the bottom seat cushion, which quickly causes fatigue.

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4. Ultimate tow package: Ram currently doesn't offer a Mega Cab model with a full 8-foot bed, since it doesn't have a long enough wheelbase to support it. Remember the Long-Hauler? The next redesign would be the perfect time to add one.

5. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay: These two cellphone-integration technologies are included in the newest generation of Uconnect, so if Ram simply upgrades the HDs with the current Uconnect, this will be an easy item to scratch off our list.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

 

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Comments

1. Be more like Ford
2. Be more like Ford
3. Be more like Ford
4. Be more like Ford
5. Be more like Ford

1 - ford is Junk
2 - ford is Junk
3 - ford is Junk
4 - ford is Junk
5 - ford is Junk
Quality is job None.

1 - ford is Junk
2 - ford is Junk
3 - ford is Junk
4 - ford is Junk
5 - ford is Junk
Quality is job None.

Ram needs to fix the 6.4 crap where the ECU decides the truck is working too hard and just plants itself in 1st gear going 30 MPH up a grade...

Ram also needs to pair a better transmission to the 6.4, the gear spread is too steep and it makes the 6.4 feel underpowered when it shifts from 1st to 2nd gear.

the 6.4 feel underpowered when it shifts from 1st to 2nd gear.
Posted by: Jim

@Jim

Big question

Is anyone really buying a 3500 with the gas engine? For a few bucks more you get the popular and powerful Cummins. Over the life of the truck the extra cost of the diesel is probably washed out.

Those who really don't need the Cummins are probably buying the 2500 anyway.

seriously.

If I were going to purchase a RAM diesel, it would be for work, not for stoplight racing, rolling coal or bragging rights. Therefore, I'd like a 12v 5.9L option that gives me back my 3mpg that they lost to the torque wars.

For my needs, they could halve the current torque output (which they somewhat do electronically anyway to keep things from getting out of hand). Everybody likes to brag about having 900+ torque, but the ECU nannies won't let you use all of it, in many cases anyway (that goes for all brands).

@papajim the article says Ram 2500/3500 updates, and yes I see plenty of GAS 3/4 and 1 ton trucks around here. On the GM trucks the gas 3500HD gets the bigger rear axle that the Duramax gets. IMO if you are buying a gas HD you should get the 1 ton for the increased GVWR and beefier rear axle.

I know a lot of people that have traded new diesels for gas HD's simply due to the emissions and the issues they cause on new diesels. A lot of the farmers have went to gas engines, the gas engines are more than capable to pull the hay trailer and cattle/horse trailers. There are more 6.0 HD GM trucks and 6.2 Super Duty's than their diesel counter parts around my neck of the woods.

Seems like all the upgrades putc is looking for are nanny things, apple car play, It's a truck, smoother shifting with all that power, It's a truck. Comfy back seat, It's a truck. More cameras, learn how to drive with out something holding your hand... another words, Man Up...

Seems like all the upgrades putc is looking for are nanny things, apple car play, It's a truck, smoother shifting with all that power, It's a truck. Comfy back seat, It's a truck. More cameras, learn how to drive with out something holding your hand... another words, Man Up...

Put the Ram on a diet.

Put the Ram on a diet.

I agree about the flip up tow mirrors. Those mirrors are pathetic on a $50k and up truck. GM also needs to beef up their rinky dink tow mirrors. Ford has had the beefy powerscope mirrors for so long now.

There are more 6.0 HD GM trucks and 6.2 Super Duty's than their diesel counter parts around my neck of the woods. Posted by: Jim

@Jim

I bet you're talking about someplace up North, yes? If you are then the gasser makes sense esp. in the winter. But, if you live in a warmer place the diesel is ok for driveability in the cooler seasons and the higher resale makes up for the higher up front cost.

No need myself for a diesel at this time in my life but I know folks who love their Cummins and Duramax motors. Every guy I ever knew who had a Ford F Series diesel regretted it.

@ papajim I'm actually in Missouri, and I see more HD gas trucks towing boats at the boat ramps here than diesels now too. Unless I'm at the Lake of the Ozarks where the boats are huge, that's where I see diesel trucks.

I personally will not be buying a new diesel anytime soon either. My 2016 Platinum 5.7 Tundra and 2015 6.0 3500HD tow my cattle trailer, hay trailer, and my boat just fine. If I was buying a new diesel truck I'd go Duramax personally though.

Most diesels trucks I see in Missouri are not hooked up to a trailer, have tow mirrors flipped up or extended out, have a big lift kit, 10" exhaust tip, and they are just rolling coal down the road. I guess people buy new diesel trucks to delete them and roll coal all day, seems like a big waste of money to me...

The 4th gen 2500/3500 models debuted as 2010 models, not 2009. The 1500 arrived in 2009.

The 5th gen 1500 is scheduled to debut as a 2019 model, with the 2500/3500 coming in 2020--one year after light duties like Dodge/Ram has ALWAYS done.

While this is the longest run of any generation for Dodge/Ram (10 years), it had a complete interior refresh just four years ago (2013). Ford used the same body for 11 years (F150) and same Superduty for 17 years!

Please do some research first before writing articles and STOP the overt bias.

A family member of mine just bought a 6.4 2500 Ram, and I have personally drove and experienced the lackluster transmission gearing Ram used on these trucks. The truck pulls very hard in first gear (more so than my 6.0 3500HD and the 5.7 Tundra) but when it shifts to 2nd it seems to fall on it's face. Ram gave that truck a nice deep first gear and 2nd gear is too spaced out for this engine.

It's really disappointing, because the 6.4 feels strong otherwise.

GM also needs to beef up their rinky dink tow mirrors!

If I were going to purchase a RAM diesel, it would be for work,
Posted by: Longboat | Jun 27, 2017 8:32:16 AM

We had one Chevy Duramax in our fleet of cargo vans for A/C heating. Must not have liked to be shut off and on repeatedly. Had bent valves. Wasn't a good fit for day to day operations. R.V. dealership yes.
http://www.trucktrend.com/cool-trucks/0907dp-2001-dodge-ram-3500/

Longest Lasting Trucks.

I think the next article should be TOP 5 FIXES for PUTC. I bed would get some good input their.

It's worth noting that TFL Truck recently put all 3 trucks on the dyno and the Ram still out-torques them all.

This is a vehicle you purchase to do work with, not to cruise to the mall in. Who gives a rip if it feels "brutish"? That's what working guys want...stuff that's going to work hard daily and last for years and keep coming back for more punishment.

make them reliable would be my biggest fix, they got all the rest down pretty good, but still would not consider a RAM until they prove reliable, might consider one if an awesome deal and a 10 year warranty

I would spend $6,000.00 more when I get the new 3500 to increase the hp to 500 to the rear wheel keep it a single rear end and of course will need to build a better 68 Transmission. It is just to bad Dodge is unable to regonize and add a real off road package with the 6.7

@Jim

Lake of the Ozarks?

My brother just got back from the big Lake. Hearing about Cardinal baseball and Osage Beach made me homesick as hell.

I grew up a couple of hours from there, and later lived in Springfield. I've lived in Florida for about 40 years, but still miss the Ozarks alot.

Still better then Ford junk any day! Good job Ram.

Still better then Ford junk any day! Good job Ram.

Ford powerscope tow mirrors are junk and are just another thing to break. Keep it simple stupid! Great job, Ram.

GM's tow mirrors are the best though.

The Cummins is a solid reliable engine....but needs a bit more oomph to compete with the two strong V8's from competition.

Aisin needs to be smoother.

Frame/chassis is now behind the GM and Ford (which WAS really behind GM until this brand new truck brought it up to par) in terms of flex and strength.

Ram looks the best in and out. Best infotainment system . Needs telescoping wheel.

Ram needs to add some of the little "stuff" Ford has just to offer compatibility but as GM has proven .....the basic solid platform is the most important NOT the gimmicky crap and Ford is KING of that (alum. that is no lighter but more costly, man handles - a complex fix for a cheap and simple problem, panoramic sunroofs in a truck?!, four hundred trim levels and pricing in the stratosphere etc. etc. )

6.4L is good motor but needs a bit more power/torque to haul the weight of these HD's. Chevy really needs to drop in an iron block L86 6.2L (sans DOD) in their HD also = 420hp/460lbft ... best gas V8 out there .

Ram HD is a decade old and still looks new.

Ford boys learn to be losers and run to their mommies at a very young age. Like the Ford loser that keeps using my name HAHAHA! Watch the Ford kid jump out his f150 and run to his mom after losing to the girl in the Ram HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtJeQNK8xQY

Ford people will always be losers and act like 4 years old. They were raised that way.

Ford boys learn to be losers and run to their mommies at a very young age. Like the Ford loser that keeps using my name HAHAHA! Watch the Ford kid jump out his f150 and run to his mom after losing to the girl in the Ram HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtJeQNK8xQY

Ford people will always be losers and act like 4 years old. They were raised that way.

Ford boys learn to be losers and run to their mommies at a very young age. Like the Ford loser that keeps using my name HAHAHA! Watch the Ford kid jump out his f150 and run to his mom after losing to the girl in the Ram HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtJeQNK8xQY

Ford people will always be losers and act like 4 years old. They were raised that way.

Ford boys learn to be losers and run to their mommies at a very young age. Like the Ford loser that keeps using my name HAHAHA! Watch the Ford kid jump out his f150 and run to his mom after losing to the girl in the Ram HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtJeQNK8xQY

Ford people will always be losers and act like 4 years old. They were raised that way.

Ford boys learn to be losers and run to their mommies at a very young age. Like the Ford loser that keeps using my name HAHAHA! Watch the Ford kid jump out his f150 and run to his mom after losing to the girl in the Ram HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtJeQNK8xQY

Ford people will always be losers and act like 4 years old. They were raised that way.

"Ford people will always be losers and act like 4 years old. They were raised that way."

Not all of them, but MOST of them. Especially the idiots that still swear that the 6.0 (6-blow) and 6.4 Powerstrokes were good engines. They were COMPLETE JUNK. Ford had to sue Navistar because they were such sh**. And yet when you point out all the cheap things Ford had Navistar do with the engines, they scream and roll around on the floor in one of their tantrums. At some point you feel bad and have to say
"It's okay little guy, yeah.. the 6.0 and 6.4 are great... you're totally right, your dad's 6.0 is definitely all stock and has 500k miles without one issue with the EGR cooler/oil cooler/head gaskets/HPOP/fuel injectors. And what I said about the 5.4 Triton.... I was joking the 5.4 isn't junk, the spark plug thing and the junk timing chains/cam phasers/valve rockers... yeah making it up. Ford just lowered the oil pressure spec because they decided that your weak oil pressure is just fine, nothing to worry about. And the 3.5 Ecobust is great on gas mileage, they don't eat timing chains or crack spark plugs or stall when you try to pass someone. Those guys that threw rods or blew head gaskets... they probably just lied that their trucks were all stock. Every single one of them. Yep, all those guys making youtube videos showing their broken Fords or posting on the Ford forums are just making it all up. Oh and death wobble isn't a problem on Fords. Fake news, fake news!"

1) 8 or 10 speed automatic to complement the short power band of diesel engines. 2) Leave enough room in the transmission case for major aftermarket upgrades. 3) Make internal transmission components strong enough to handle 2000 lb-ft of torque 4) Allow all torque and horsepower in all gears and at all speeds. 5) Heads should flow as good as current high performance gas engines, with the unique characteristic required for diesels. 6) Make dual passage DPF, like an old 4 barrel carburetor in order to accommodate low and high performance at relatively the same temperature. 7) Super size DPF high performance passage to accommodate aftermarket modifications. 8) Make DPF high performance passage modular so aftermarket companies can match performance requirements. 9) Utilize new class 8 truck design that puts DPF right up next to the engine block. 10) Put rods as strong as Carrillo rods in engine. 11) Put steel or comparable durability pistons in engine. 12) Put ram 5500 front axle on all dually trucks to decrease turning radius, including 3500 mega-cab. 13) Extend entire front finder to cover 5500 front axle instead of just a fender flare, to create a more balance and integrated look. 14) Bring back traditional lock out hubs to increase durability of front axles. 15) Add long arm to lower part of rear axle along with single leaf spring and air bags to prevent axle rap and match riding comfort to variable payloads. 16) Be the first to make 500 hp and 1000 ft-lbs of torque.

make them reliable would be my biggest fix, they got all the rest down pretty good, but still would not consider a RAM until they prove reliable, might consider one if an awesome deal and a 10 year warranty


Posted by: Dean | Jun 27, 2017 1:35:29 PM

Typical. Someone who has never owned a Ram is going to question it's reliability. Grow a pair and buy one and see for yourself.

@brick, thats a sad statement to make about the 6.0 and 6.4. Although yes there were many problems, but there were also many owners who never had any issues with them, just like PAPA making a statement about diesel life cost without actually ever owning one to know is also a bad statement. You guys need to own the vehicles before you bash them or say what is good or bad, this is why I can bash GM, because I actually owned them and they were crap

@brick, thats a sad statement to make about the 6.0 and 6.4. Although yes there were many problems, but there were also many owners who never had any issues with them, just like PAPA making a statement about diesel life cost without actually ever owning one to know is also a bad statement. You guys need to own the vehicles before you bash them or say what is good or bad, this is why I can bash GM, because I actually owned them and they were crap

@HEmiV8, to follow up on your similar statement. I oned one ram 1500 (2009 Hemi V8), one of the nicest trucks I ever had, loved it and still miss the Hemi growl. I also had tranny issues with that truck, which is why I went to a Ford Diesel, although the Ram had tranny issues it was my own doing since I was towing over the limit of the truck. I also drove a 2500 Ram before buying the Ford, and the Cummins and truck was very nice, but I did not like how the truck would shake the mirror when at a stop light or at rest, you could feel the vibrations from the Cummins. All in all, I still like the Rams too.

You people want the ruggedness of a robust work truck with the refinement of a rolls. That is some serious dissonance. That's like saying Oh I want a truck that can tow like a tractor, be competitive with a vette at the racetrack and the comfort of a luxury hotel room.

I agree on the need for more gears. A 10-12 speed would be nice. Also nobody ever talks about the lag on the Cummins. Everyone wants more power, it has plenty of power. It needs to get off the line quicker, with no lag and no unnecessary torque management.

" I also drove a 2500 Ram before buying the Ford, "

Posted by: Nitro | Jun 28, 2017 8:05:38 AM

If i listened to all the nay sayers about Dodge and Ram i would not have bought my first Ram. Owned it for 12 years and 104,000 trouble free miles. I over towed as well off road. Now own my 2500 same toy hauler. If your looking for a Diesel cummins is the best. Manufactors life expectancy is 300,000 Ford and Chevy 200,000 miles. It's the engine Ford and Chevy owners put in their truck after their engine is worn out.Cummins is in Kenworth etc...

Unlike most folks i take good care of my stuff. Go by the book. oil, trans, rear end fluids spark plugs and wires. Radiator fluid. All done when the manufactor says. Did the same with my 89 Ford and it burnt to the ground from one of it's multi million FIRE recalls. Still had payments on it and couldn't drive it. Phuck Fords BBQ'S. You all can have um. Recall after recalll after recall.

http://www.allpar.com/old/photo/edelman/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yISBEOzZRU

@Hemi V8: my Fad bought a Dodge W250 back in 1987. It had been a work truck on the farm since Day 1. My brother still uses it, mostly for pulling fifth-wheel horse trailer. It has the 360-4v with 4-on-the-floor and 4:10 gears. I attribute its long life and reliability to being a no-frills model, only frill is an AM radio.

I used to fill the bed with hay bales, go out to the pasture in the winter at -15F, out the truck in first gear, let out the clutch, hop out and into the bed and toss bales to the cows while the truck creeped along. When done, I'd hop back I to the cab, shift into 2nd and take off.

That should be "My Dad"

AEV Ram, Jeep, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE4JPp7GEsw

When done, I'd hop back I to the cab, shift into 2nd and take off. Posted by: Longboat

@longboat

I'm presuming your truck had a manual choke or some other means to keep the throttle open a tiny bit.

@PapaJim, no it was geared low enough, and the 360-4v made enough torque at idle, that the truck would just creep along in first gear. That first gear was really just a creeper gear. If you weren't loaded or towing, you would normally start off in second gear.

Ford guy here, these nit picks on the Ram are crap. We got by for what, 17 years with basically the same Super Duty platform. Not sure why Ram, who is gaining market share on everyone with a 8 year old platform, is catching grief on being "old." People like heavy duty trucks to be battle proven and consistent.

1- Smoother tranny/power plant. Really? I don't think hearing the Cummins, nor feeling the transmission shift is gonna kill anything.

2- More cameras. Seriously? Grow a sack, there are sensors in the front and back, along with a camera on the tailgate and looking into the bed. You SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING if you need more cameras. Jesus!

3- A more comfortable back seat? GTFO!

4- Mega cab with 8 foot bed. Fair request. Though when they do this, the author of this article will then, wearing his polka dot dress, complain about the truck being too long.

5- Android/Apple Play option w/ UConnect. You bet Sally Ann. Guessing this will be available. Not sure many truck guys give two craps.

Overall all of the big three are putting out great HD trucks. If I was Ram I would milk this platform as long as possible. They are gaining market share, and the cost of pushing out a new platform is massive. Keep running this truck as-is until it is blatant that you are behind the curve. Right now the sales numbers say Ram is doing just fine. Their interior is better than my Ford. The Cummins engine is the best brand in the industry. Exterior I think the Ford looks better, but it should, we are brand new. I think the boys at FCA have done a great job turning Ram into an actual competitor.



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