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.


An inexpensive fix until the 8-speed is available. Be curious to see if it addresses the performance complaints about the 5-speed.

Thats what I was wondering I had a chance to get a ram (my favorite truck) but passed because I always was told that it has tall 1st gear.

i have a feeling their going to be some mad dodge fans no 8 speed? just up to date 6 speed lol

This is when the 8 speeds are coming:
Ram - 2012 MY
GM - 2014 MY
Ford - 2020 My

Case closed!

Posted by: Dodge Tech |


hopefully it will be better than the 5 speed and will help the truck know what to do with all of it's power

8-speed huh? Now I will sit back and wait for all those folks that rip Dodge for the 5-speed still in use to comment on how terrible and 8-speed tranny will be and how much better their 6-speed is and will be.

- dodge guy


I remember talking to the Dodge Truck rep in 08 and him saying they would most likely just skip right over the 6-speeds....and here it is.

- dodge guy


Allpar says it can handle 800 ftlbs of torque..

- dodge


No proof just rumor!

Allpar = rumor
PUTC = fact

- Lou

This is more of a marketing ploy than anything; the 545RFE is a good tranny (I've owned 2 of them), but its gearing is obsolete. It uses 3.00 1st, 1.67/1.50 2nd, 1.0 3rd and the 2 o/d gears. In the '09+ trucks with ERS, you can make it act like the 2012 setup, as you can use the 1.67 as 2nd and 1.50 as 3rd, with 1.0 as 4th and the 1st o/d as 5th; simply bump the shifter to the right again to use 2nd o/d as 6th.

The bottom line is that 3.00 is not deep enough for 1st with today's trucks with big tires. Even with 3.92s, I can run to nearly 50mph before shifting out of 1st!

Good short-term solution with the 66 RFE, we get 4 gears before o/d, with a bigger spread: 3.23, 1.84, 1.41, 1.00. Still, this is better suited to the low revving diesel.

The 8spd should be awesome, something along the lines of:
4.70, 3.50, 2.60, 1.80, 1.33, 1.00 and 2 o/ds

Ford uses 5 gears before o/d in the new Explorer, Flex and Edge and it is wonderful for those V6s that need to be kept wound up.

Ford's previous 5 speed Torqshift tranny had 6 physical forward gears as well. The tranny's sensor would pick which one to shift to depending on ambient temperature.

Any word on what transmission will go behind the V6? In the current product mix, V6 trucks may be insignificant, and fleet ops just don't care about performance, but with close to 300hp, the base motor isn't what it used to be. Ford is offering it in many consumer grade configurations, but with the crappy old 4-speed (currently in the Ram V6), you can forget about that.
@Matt-I don't see how the 65RFE could address any concerns, since it will shif the same in auto mode. The 66RFE should at least tolerate heavy loads a little better.
@12 speed- so you're directly contradicting this post? Ok....
@chevy guy- almost up to date- the other guys use 6speed transmissions that have the gears more evenly spaced, allowing for more ratio spread (=more performance & fuel econ), while not having any larger shift gaps.
@Curtis- you passed on a truck because of what you were told, not because of how it drove/performed?

Oh boy. Ram is last to get the 6 speed.

I just took a standard transmission in to get broken gears repaired. We got talking about trucks, and he said that Dodge's keep him busy. Before you buy a Dodge talking to shops that repair them after warranty is always a good idea.
When they did the 2007 HD comparison tests the transmission in the Dodge was the reason it lost, the hill climbing sections

@Curtis. The 8-speed Tranny, if offered, will be in the V6. I predicted it will be offered in the V6. So don't laugh just about yet. It will be more fuel efficiency with the V6.

I love that Power Wagon!


I thought the Chrysler 200 or 300C will be getting them first.

I had a 6-speed manual on my 2005 Tacoma...

A 6-speed is so last decade!

@ John Pringle
that is one of the reasons i will not buy a dodge is i have had to many people tell me that the transmission is it's biggest down fall

it has been said that dodge's HD would do a lot better if the transmission knew what to do with all the power an TQ

2005 tacoma is so last decade! this is a Dodge post!

Tocoma has no 6 speed auto.

2005 tacoma is so last decade! this is a Dodge post!

i Agree this is a dodge post

Better let Toyota know to update the auto tranny that sits behind the 4L V6 then! Oxi just admitted that Toyotas are so last decade!

I own an 04 ram 2500 with the Hemi and 545 and i must agree with Dan the Man, It would be alot better if the tranny knew what to do with all the power. I do tow with it and reliability has never been an issue with 112k on the clock. Love Dodge but would rather have the 6 speed hand shaker.

If what you herd about the transmissions is keeping you from buying a Ram, thats bologna. I own 5 of them and they all have been extremely reliable with my 98 having almost 300k.

All you hear about is how "bad" rams transmissions are. You never here anyone talk about the horrid 6.0L PSD....because its ford and there #1....right.

What? No 8 speed?


Honestly, I'm pretty much fine with my 4 speed auto. I live in NJ where there is no monster mountains, but everywhere you go your going up and down hill slightly. My wifes truck has a 6 speed auto and the thing is always shifting.

I can see where a .60 overdrive gear would be nice in the midwest where everything is flat but if your driving hills it's useless. Or having 6 speeds in a diesel because they have narrower powerbands.

But does a gas powered truck that is making good power though a powerband in excess of 3500 RPM really need 8 gears? (I'm talking 1/2 tons)

Where was this in 2005, when I bought my 2500 Power Wagon?

I wish they would come up with a way to reprogram older transmissions to take advantage of these benefits.

@ Mike Levine

I know this is supposed to be all about trucks, but some people do consider SUV's to be trucks. On that note, these transmissions will also be available in the Durango/Grand Cherokee, with the ZF 8HP behind the Pentastars. Just some food for thought about an update for this article or a separate article altogether.

All that aside, as for this article, ITS ABOUT FRIGGIN TIME!!!

@Frank. The next generation of 200's are getting the new 9-speed. The 300 is getting the 8-speed which are do in showrooms in about a month. The 8-speeds or only being used in the V6's.

All you hear about is how "bad" rams transmissions are. You never here anyone talk about the horrid 6.0L PSD....because its ford and there #1....right.

that is all i ever hear dodge and gm fan boys talk about ever since i got to this site is how bad the 6.0's were now don't get me wrong they did have some issues but i think a lot has to do with maintenance
we as a company had 5 '06 6.0's go thru the assembly line right after each other, all i can say is we had very good luck with those trucks and all we did is stuck to a strick maintenance program and it paid off, have a lot of experience with Fords and Chevys and will take the Fords any day of the week over the Chevys, dodge i do not have a whole lot of experience with but word on the street is the have the BEST motor around but do not know how to build a truck around it

Something else quick... I really hope they don't screw this up. By screwing this up, I mean not making the 66RFE available on the 1/2 tons. If everyone complained about the 545RFE not having the right gear calibrations, then why in the hell would you take the same transmission, add a manual mode, and then make auto mode a 5 speed again??? What the hell is wrong with that picture??!! I don't think it would be a bad idea to offer it(65RFE), but the 66RFE damn sure should be the standard transmission on the .5 tons as well! I'm truly no connoisseur of automatic transmissions, to be honest I hate them with a passion; but since very few people know how to drive a hand shaker and even fewer want to learn, they're going bye bye for autos. Now that you all know where im coming from, I can make my stand.. IF ALMOST EVERYONE WANTS RID OF SOMETHING, THEN UPGRADE IT!! (545RFE--> 66RFE)

Well damn.

I thought the 1500s were getting the same ratios as the 2500s. I guess this shows that the 1500 will be getting the 8HP in 2012-2013, maybe for the 2012.5 MY if the Kokomo trans plant is finished on time.

With the 66RFE being released I'm guessing the HD Rams won't be getting the 8 speed for a few more years (2014-2015).

I don't think the Heavy Duties are ever getting a 8-speed. If they ever get a Transmission more then a 6-speed. It would probably be a 9-speed. And i haven't heard of anyone working on a 9-speed for heavy duties.

wow I was hoping it was going to be an all new transmission. I had a 2003 Ram 2500 Hemi 4x4 auto. The transmission was smooth, quiet and never gave me reliability problems but the ratios were terrible. If you pulled close to the tow limit the truck fell on its face once it hit second gear and took forever to recover. I no longer had a need for the truck and replaced it in 2005 with a Tacoma. The Tacoma was also a 5 speed but the gears were much closer to each other. I have no clue on its actual ratios but it didnt lose 3k rpm going from first to second.

If the ratios are the same as the 68RLE, the ratio spread would only be 5.2:1. GM & Ford are already at 6:1
This would be a nearly worthless 'upgrade', a marginal improvement in mileage. They are now less behind.
The ZF 8 speed is 7:1
The transverse ZF 9 speed is 9.84:1
The 7 speed double clutch of the Porsche Panamera is 10.1:1

Plus, the only good thing about the 545RFE was 1st & Reverse was the same ratio.
Now 3.231 for 1st & 4.444 for Reverse (good luck trying to reverse a 4x2 uphill)

@Emilio Palacios
I never mentioned the 8 speed I only wanted to know about the 6 speed.

@Mr Knowitall Curtis- you passed on a truck because of what you were told, not because of how it drove/performed?

I don't want to bring tundra (my truck) into a ram (my favorite truck) discussion but I have read were ram owners and tundra owners say tundra is quicker than ram due to rams tall 1st gear and tundra's 4.3 rear but ram is faster than tundra on the highway due to more power and its power curve so I never test drove a 5.7L Hemi and I went and got my truck. I almost got a ram and I would probably get rid of my truck for a ram if they could eliminate the tall 1st gear and that why I want to know if this new transmission or reprogramed one does that.

I know this is a Dodge post but since you brought up the 6.0... don't tar and feather me but we all know that motor started really bad but by the end of the run they pretty much had all the bugs worked out but it just would not over come the reputation from the first 2 years it was on the road. I know a few guys who have 06 and 07 MY Fords and they love them with no problems whatsoever. I agree with Dan the Man on this one, its all about maintenance with the 6.0. Keep up with is and it will last you a long time. There are several things you can do to "upgrade" the 6.0 to get the same reliabilty that that 7.3 had. Good website to checkout is www.bulletproofdiesel.com

Unless the TCM and ECM are calibrated like the new GM's it will merely be a game of catch-up. Pretty magic the way the power both gets to ground and the way the truck handles the load on the descents.

I have a brand new 2011.5 RAM 3500 single rear wheel short bed 4x4 with the new 6.7L Cummins High Output 800 ft-lbs and it works with the 68RFE beautifully. I am getting 14-15 mpg pulling and 19.5 mpg unloaded at 70 mph.

Wow, I am really living in the past. I'll probably be the last person on earth driving the old square body dodge with a 4-speed auto.


What are you talking about? The Allison and the 68RFE are geard almost identical.

68RFE ratios: 3.23, 1.83, 1.41, 1.00, .81, .62
Allison ratios: 3.10, 1.81, 1.41, 1.00, .71, .61

Wow it wasn't that long ago a grown man made fun of those who would drive an automatic pickup. It's all a bunch of wimps talking styling and automatics. U all r pathetic I'd take a "3 on the tree" before an auto.

@Rodge, No that long ago? Really? 3 on the tree Rams were from 20-30 years ago!

@Lou, Due to a higher than expected demand on initial orders for vehicles with the new 8-speed transmission, Chrysler has temporarily turned off the order banks for the 2012 Dodge Charger and 2012 Chrysler 300 V6 models that feature the new 8-speed transmission. Ordering is expected to re-open in about a month.

@ Dodge Tech its called exaggeration


It's called being ignorant and obnoxious. You called the people here pathetic and whimps, but you're that is you. Learn something about modern day trucks before you bash them. Good luck with your 20 year old truck.

@Lou, Ram has already come out with the 2012 truck news. Where is the 2012 truck news from Ford???


Dodge has a 6 speed manual for a long time now....only full size truck to offer a manual transmission..

They are talking about a 6 speed automatic......

@John Pringle,

I am am a mechanic,and Dodge's transmissions are no worse than Ford or GM,depends on how you drive.If you look on youtube young guys take their dads Ram and do brake stands,donuts ect....that isnt a factory defect if the tranny slips after a few dozen of those,especially when they hold the brake,and not give enough gas,kills the torque conv and bad on gears.

I do repair alot of " low mile " Toyota transmissions cars/vans/trucks that are out of warranty !!Even Honda/Acura has to be the worlds worst transmissions,new they even had problems with 6 miles on them they would shutter and slip !! The imports generally have low miles on them and need repair,the Dodge's all are past the 100,000 mile mark and the ones that are around 100,000 look pretty beat up,hard work truck life !




LOL! Better late than never.

Tundra had the six-speed in the 2007 year.

Johnny come lately?

Ford and GM even had a six-speed to copy the Tundra. Where was Dodge? Holding up the rear, as usual.

6 speed? What about "God's transmission" the 8 speed?

You Mopards have been blabbering about it forever and it's STILL not here? It's a ZF tranny, how long does it take to actually put it in the vehicle?

It's not like Fiat had to design it for you.

What a joke.

I would love to have a 2012 ram 3500 4x4 heavy duty with the new cummins engines there supposed to be getting with a new 8 speed trany

dodge came out with the first 6 speed automatic trany,

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