Spied: Diesel Exhaust Fluid Coming Soon to Ram Heavy Duty Pickups?

Spied: Diesel Exhaust Fluid Coming Soon to Ram Heavy Duty Pickups?
Photos by Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company and PickupTrucks.com

Judging by these spy photos, it appears that Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks could soon reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions using the same urea-based NOx scrubbing technology that’s found in Ford, General Motors and Ram 4500/5500 commercial chassis cab trucks.

NOx is a major air pollutant that contributes to smog, asthma and respiratory and heart diseases. It's a byproduct of diesel’s high combustion temperatures, which results from the high frictional heat levels created by compressing air in the cylinders to the point where it can ignite diesel fuel without using a spark. This is unlike a gasoline engine, which uses spark ignition to burn petrol.

Since 2010 when emissions standards became much tougher, Ford and GM have used selective catalytic reduction with so-called Diesel Exhaust Fluid in their heavy-duty pickups. The urea-based solution (32.5 percent industrial urea and 67.5 percent deionized water) is held in a separate storage tank and injected as a fine mist into the hot exhaust gases. The heat turns the urea into ammonia that -- when combined with a special catalytic converter -- breaks down NOx into harmless nitrogen gas and water vapor.

In 2007, Dodge introduced a different approach to NOx reduction that’s still in use today. It combines exhaust gas recirculation (used to cool combustion temperatures and reduce NOx) plus a special “adsorber” catalyst material to soak up and break down remaining NOx molecules before they leave the tailpipe.

The urea tank is hidden behind the Ram 2500's left side step plus a shield to block its view from the side.

Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks.

SCR requires periodic maintenance to refill the DEF tank approximately every 7,000 miles or the truck’s performance will be reduced per federal guidelines, but it also helps improve fuel economy by reducing EGR, allowing the diesel to operate in a more efficient range.

A NOx adsorber operates without any maintenance required by the driver (something highlighted in Ram’s advertising efforts), but it depends on rare earth metals such as rhodium or palladium that are much more expensive than urea. An adsorber is also less fuel efficient than DEF because it requires the engine to run cooler than optimal operating temperatures (to inhibit NOx formation). The adsorber periodically requires small amounts of diesel fuel to be used to “regenerate” the adsorber surface to clean it of sulfur from the fuel, which can reduce its effectiveness over time.

For 2010, Ram trucks introduced DEF technology in its 4500 and 5500 medium-duty chassis cabs, which helped the trucks claim best-in-class fuel-economy numbers, according to Chrysler. It appears this system will be introduced on its HD pickups.

The photos show what appears to be a DEF reservoir hanging below the second-row seat of this Ram 2500 HD; it’s in the same spot where the DEF tank hangs below the chassis cabs. It’s also positioned on the outside of the frame rail, so we can be sure it’s not an extra fuel tank. The tank also appears to be about the same size – eight gallons -- as the Chassis cabs’ tank.

By moving to DEF on the Ram 2500 and 3500 HD pickups, we’d expect to see an improvement in fuel economy, making the change worthwhile to owners. Ram executives have also said they expect DEF technology to be familiar to HD pickup owners over the next few years.


Chrysler takes damn good care of Ram trucks. They are not #1 in truck sells but they put forth the effort to be.

Well.. it can only help fuel economy..

I have 8k on my Chevy, put in four gallons at 4500 miles and another four the other day. It's no different than wiper fluid in terms of hassle and the cost is pennies overall. Amazing how little diesel soot and smell come out the tailpipe.

The Ram folks are figuring it out and catching up. :)

This is another teachable moment for Ram fans. While they were beating their chests about being urea-free, Ford and GM were leading the way and getting better fuel economy and saving money.

"@Mr Knowitall: By the way, I expect Ram HD pickups to switch to urea by 2012.
Posted by: Mike Levine | Aug 18, 2010 10:55:38 AM"

Mike nailed it.

Heart disease! Have you guys at PUTC read the EPA document linking diesel exhaust to heart disease? It is like linking the flapping of a butterfly's wings to a tropical storm.

I am disappointed to hear this EPA propaganda repeated here.

Do you guys think California wildfires need soot traps too? They obviously create more soot than all diesels in Cali combined. If you want the cleanest air move to the coutry side. The breakeven point for cleaner air vs more emissions equipment was in about 2003.

I think this is a good thing for Dodge. But it will be interesting to see fanboys back away from the urea-free argument. No doubt, there will be a transition period. At first they will stick by their original argument, in about a year from now we won't hear a single complaint about urea.

Using DEF means better fuel economy and more power. It only costs about $1 per thousand miles, so it's not like it breaks the bank either.


In Canada the Dodge RAM is the best selling Diesel truck,and the Ram 1500 has been gaining in sales for the past few years,setting records,and is right behind F-150 in sales and closing in fast !! With the Hemi only 1 mpg off the eco-boost,and the Hemi has a better performance,reliability and not to mention the V-8 sound !!!!

It will be nice for Cummins/Dodge to have this feature. That truck looks like it has been put to work for testing. I myself owned a 2008 Dodge ram Cummins but traded in due to 14mpg. I traded it on a 2008 Dodge ram 3500 4X4 with a 5.7 Hemi and the fuel milage is about 3-4 mpg diffrent fuel is less and oil changes are half cost. However had my 08 6.7 had the exhaust fluid i might still own it due to mpgs being better. But still the cost of fluid....It goes on . Just my thoughts on these great trucks!
Proud Dodge Ram owner

Hemi is 2 mpg off the EcoBoost in the city and 2 on the hwy.

Good news, it means Ram is back on the list of potential HD candidates when I upgrade my truck. I have an F350 with the trap, and I hate it. It always seems to want to engage the cleaning cycle when I'm about to park the thing. You get 3 shots to let it finish, and if doesn't finish on the 3rd attempt, you get put into limp-home mode and you have to take it in to have the trap cleaned. Unfortunately, there's no way to force the cleaning cycle, even though I know it wants to and I've got enough driving time ahead to let it finish.

The trap on the current Ram keeps it off my list of candidates when I go to replace my truck, and I don't feel adventurous enough to configure one using the commercial version (which does use DEF). Having to buy DEF is a small price to pay for better mileage (which translates into better range, which is what I care more about), and the savings in fuel more than offset the extra cost of DEF.

@ Canadian dodge ram owner
The Hemi can't touch the ecoboost's linear torque curve/ available torque broadband or the ecoboosts payload or towing capacities

@Canadian This is about the Cummins, not the Hemi... but you are incorrect...

Hemi 4x4 is 13 city/18 highway, the EcoBoost 4x4 is 15/21
The performance does not even come close.

performance comparisons:



I've got to believe (hope?) that this urea based solution to emissions is going to be short lived. I'm hoping the next breakthrough will take us to the "urea-free" but better mileage point. This additional step of adding DEF is a pain, no matter how easy it is, and the whole part where your engine goes into limp-home mode when you run out just rubs me the wrong way.

Hemi is still better engine then EB. But Ford 6 speed is better then Chrysler 5 speed. I will get 66RFE for my 2012 RAM 2500 with Hemi, so we can talk than.

Sorry. than-then.

@Tucker, the payload and towing is all Truck. Not Eco-boost. Besides them bragging rights will be gone soon. Ram is coming out with the Pentastar V-6 in the Ram 1500. With possibly a 8-speed also.

@Alex: 3.2 sec separation after a 3.5 mile sprint is pretty damn close. Not sure how the EB loses an 11.9 sec advantage after 0-60mph?

I thought I would share this info with everyone that what GM may have coming down the road. Eco-Boost could have some competition very shortly!.....

Eight-speed automatic, turbo engines coming to 2014 GM full-size trucks?
Left Lane News
By Nat Shirley
July 25, 2011

The rumor mill also seems to be focused on fuel efficiency, as the latest whisperings are that GM is likely to add eight-speed automatic transmissions and turbocharged engines to its next generation of full-size trucks.

Though there is yet no official word from GM concerning the powertrains for the successors to the long in the tooth GMT900 full-size pickups and SUVs, there is reason to take the recent speculation seriously.

For starters, GM recently announced that it will invest $250 million in a transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio. One of the plant’s main products: a new eight-speed transmission that can be adapted for use in longitudinal-engined, rwd vehicles.

While there is less hard data to support the turbocharging component of the rumor, the General has clearly shown with the turbo engines in the Chevrolet Cruze and Buick Regal that the technology is part of its long term strategy. Additionally, countering rival Ford’s Ecoboost V6, which has been implemented with a fair amount of sales success in the F-150, would seem a logical step to take.

The location of the urea tank looks to be in a much better spot then where GM (and I'm guessing Ford) has theirs. Seeing the urea tank hanging down the right front side of the frame on the Silverado/Sierra just looks like a quick afterthought.

Uhh..more emissions junk to delete...

Fine, the factory can put it on and I will take it off so my diesel runs half way decent.

I like how you guys buy into the EPA's nonsense claims. Lets see some hard scientifically docuemented evidence (thats consistant) that diesels are the primary cause of the diseases listed....or maybe its because most people in this country are fat fugks that would have the same diseases even if our air was as clean as it was 1,000years ago...

Anyone can claim anything they want in the country....Backing that claim up is a whole nother thing.

makes me mad that it regqures def, cant the compaines just make trucks like they did a while back

Hay Steven, All Ram did is put it on the drivers side of the vehicle instead of the passenger side. Please explain to everyone how it's different than GM or Ford puts it???

@Tyler, the New emission standards make Diesel Ehaust Fluid mandatory to meet the new emission standards set by our wonderful govt. So if you want to be mad at anyone, try being mad at your own govt.

Don't blame the auto manufacturers. Their hands are tied by the government (EPA) regulations which they have to meet or else...

Aftertreatment is better than EGR, no question.

@Michigan Bob, What I meant is that on the Ram the tank is hidden out of sight like the caption under the second picture indicates, which unlike the Ford and GM trucks, the tank is visible.

@Alex, he said in Canada... I don't know for sure, but I doubt they would be using our governments (EPA) test for their fuel mileage tests. Then again, I could be wrong but just something to consider before telling Canadian he's wrong.

Tyler, the urea tanks are only visible if you look underneath the truck. They can't be seen unless you put your head down below where your knees are located to look. Standing up and you don't see them. You are making a issue out of nothing!

Any estimate of when DEF will be added to the 2500/2500? What model year?

@Michigan bob
Haven't u been ragging on the ecoboost and ford ever since the ecoboost appeared in the f150, but now u seem to be accepting the idea of forced induction just because it is speculated that GM may start using them in their trucks to play catch-up, correctvm me if I'm wrong.

@Peppy, why would the gap close between the two engines between Canada and the US? He was trivializing the fuel economy advantage (making it sound like it was insignificant), and he was completely wrong about the claim that the Hemi has better performance. He is wrong, no matter what country he is making the claim in.

@tucker, Nope, I said the Eco-Boost wasn't a fair comparison to a naturally aspirated engine because the Eco-Boost had two turbos on it. Put a turbo or supercharger on any engine and you will get alot more performance and power. The Eco-Boost should be in a class all by itself because nobody else makes a turbo gas engine in the half ton class. I even said good things about the eco-boost engine. I also said it didn't get any better gas milage than GM'S tried and true 5.3 liter V8 engine with Active fuel management at 15 city and 21 highway. Eco boost is rated the same at 15 city and 21 highway for four wheel drive versions.

Got it??? Good.

Lets put this to rest Michigan Bob is kind of right when he says the ecoboost should be in a class to it self because of 2 reasons 1.Forced induction puts more power to the wheels than larger engines due to less parasitic loss ex http://www.trucktrend.com/roadtests/pickup/163_1110_2011_ford_f_150_v6_v8_comparison/harley_davidson_edition.html 2. twin turbo V6 can make more power than a NA V8 ex http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/11q2/2011_porsche_911_gt2_rs-short_take_road_test http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/11q1/2012_nissan_gt-r-short_take_road_test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Pentastar_engine which makes me ask some of you ford guys (not bashing) why doesn't the ecoboost make over 400hp in any application?

@Michigan bob
Yeah I guess if u like driving a part time 4 cyclinder truck haha but all joking aside yeah they may be matched in mileage but the ecoboost easily outperforms the ancient 5.3 v8, and even tho the ecoboost is Turbo charged its still a v6 out-performing a v8, but then again all of fords new half ton engines out-perform gm's engines

@Canadian Dodge RAM Owner--I stopped by the Canadian Ram truck website the other day. The Cummins engines aren't rated for fuel economy as they're not in the US either. But, the Canadian conversion of gasoline fuel economy is WAY different from the US fuel economy ratings.

Have you never heard of car company's tuning down the engines performance as part of a marketing stratedgy? When a 365 HP and 420 ft lb v6 already setting a bar unanticipated ways, why would u show all ur cards and give maximum performance in the first generation? U can leave room to improve once other auto companies start releasing
Their new products, we saw this with the new powerstroke and duramax and Cummins, its a cushion the auto companies.like to know they have so they can continue to reset the bar. Also they detune engines to help them fit into slots and configurations. The refreshed ecoboost will come with closer to 390-400+ horsepower, but don't expect that to happen until the 6.2 liter is also either refreshed with more power as well. Its all about knowing how to market your product and not show your entire hand in the first round

Can anybody tell me if you will still be able to get the man. trans? with or without the H.O. 6.7 doesn't matter to me. Just have to have the manual. Oh boy, nice crew cab, 4X4, Black,(all black), air bags, Fox shocks, maybe even a 2sp. rear end!!

Canadain MPG testing gives unusually high numbers even after converting from an Imperial gallon (20% larger) to a US gallon. The EPA changed its testing guidelines 2 years ago which are more in line with real world driving.

@Michigan Bob - the 8 speed you mentioned does not sound like it would be strong enough for a truck.
Quote": a new eight-speed transmission that can be adapted for use in longitudinal-engined, rwd vehicles."

That means it is a transmission for transverse engines ie. front wheel drive.

The Turbo V6 rumor is not new.
GM has a ecoboost type twin turbo engine in the Cadillac.

On the subject of GM and emissions -

Here is an interesting story on the 2016 CAFE standards.

Exerpt "The government-automakers negotiations should be interesting since the government is essentially bargaining with itself. It is the largest shareholder in General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) with 33%. Draconian fuel economy standards could affect the value of the government's GM holdings -- a potential liability for the Obama administration in an election year."
The USA government has already lost money on GMC stock.
If they implement more "Green" standards it will lower GM stock even further.
Even GMC's CEO is worried:
"CEO Dan Akerson has also voiced his concern about the future of full-sized trucks and questioned its viability in a time when fuel prices continue to fluctuate. His statements mirror the current downward sales trend of Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras, while the company's small cars such as the Chevy Cruze are flying off the dealer lots.

The pro-green government doesn't like trucks and the head of GMC thinks trucks are a bad investment.

That does not bode well for truck fans, especially GMC truck fans.

GMC = Green Motor Corporation ?????

Volt Silverado anyone?????

You'll get used to the fact that it looks like a Prius with a box.

Back on subject.
I do like the fact that the Ford and Ram DEF tanks tuck up under the body.
The GM one hangs down quite a lot. I've read on some of the GM fan sites about guys buying or making skidplates to protect the low slung DEF tank.

I'm puzzled about one thing - why are we talking about GM on a Ram thread?

Thank you Mike for the report.
@everyone, enough of the pissing contest.
They are all good trucks....

I read these comments & really wonder if these people do own a truck & do use it,my 07 silverado has 138,000 miles ,all i do is change oil,it gets worked hard Good mileage ,no problems.I deal with fleet people,they get Ford's because of price ,lots of problems "CAB off-CAB on" no reliability but low price.Just my thoughts

What happened to the good ole days when the entire neighborhood could hear your diesel start up, and you could smell the diesel from a football field away? Those were the good days.

Man that's the second picture of a dodge being towed or hauled in less than a week!

@tucker says "When a 365 HP and 420 ft lb v6 already setting a bar unanticipated ways, why would u show all ur cards and give maximum performance in the first generation?"

For reasons of fuel economy. The EB has little room to shine there. More turbo power means more fuel - there's no EB free lunch. They could do niche vehicles but mainstream will be a dead end..

Probably manufacturer plates. Looks like it's been driven hard and put away wet. Losts of brake dust on the front wheels.

@Ken: Yep. It has M plates.

As a Dodge mechanic I went to a diesel engine course recently. The instructor said that the reason the pickups do not use urea is because they are allowed to average there emmisions along with other vehicle lines. The cab and chassis are not allowed to be averaged in this way and must use urea to pass emisions standards. He said that new rules are coming into play that will force Ram to test their diesels without using averages. He wasn't sure if they would pass with the current aftertreatment setup, but he added that if the trucks could pass standards then they would get the SCR treatment. Mikes story all but confirms that the next gen diesels will get the SCR systems. I'm still skeptical about the claim that SCR reduces fuel consumption regardless of who makes the claim. I guess we'll se when Mike tests the new Ram whenever that may be. As a side note, this system has the advantage of being field tested by a small group of customers that own cab and chassis before the system gets wide spread use. Hopefully the extra time allows them to work the potential bugs out.

Allright! Lots to comment on...
@matt- probably not. There's not much on the horizon to replace it right now, so we'll have it at least through the next decade. Trucks will continue to use less of it, so they can get to matching the service /oil interval.
@Emilio Palacios- the Pentastar will be the Ram's BASE engine, not the top engine option. It should compete well with the base V6 in the F150 and Tundra, though.
@Ken- the Hemi starts to catch up, because it DOES have more HP. Once it can actually get into its power band its a strong puller. Until then, the EB can step all over it.
@Big Bob- All modern diesels contine to use EGR. Its part of the reason the coolers have to be as big as they are.
@Ryan- 2012, poss. 2012.5, meaning not immediately in the new model year.
@Michigan Bob- nothing could be MORE fair than comparing the EB to any other engine- AFAIK it is available in all configurations and trim levels. It uses the same fuel as the rest. The engines that aren't a good comparison are the Ford and GM 6.2 V8s, since they're only available in certain configurations (in half tons).
@P Daddy- appearantly you never lived in a city full of diesels in the good ol' days.
@teachable moment- what post was that response under?

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