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Most pickup model upgrades typically involve new trim treatments or additional cab niceties. And the latest Ram heavy-duties do provide those surface improvements. But enhancements to 2011 Ram models (which go on sale this spring) are more than skin deep.
For example, the 6.7-liter, six-cylinder Cummins diesel (optional on the 2500, standard on the 3500) is now rated at 800 foot-pounds of torque. That engine runs with a new powertrain control module with revised calibration that allows it to reach peak torque at 1,600 rpm. (The previous model's output ranged from 1,200 to 2,800 rpm.)
More power at highway speeds
So while that engine's peak horsepower remains unchanged (350 hp. at 3,000 rpm), the engine's new calibration delivers more than 40 additional horsepower at typical highway cruising speeds.
Behind the Cummins is housed a new higher-rated torque converter. This improvement boosts capability on grades and optimizes engine performance.
The Cummins diesel was also tweaked with a new crankshaft damper that helps to reduce engine noise and vibration.
Power-delivery improvements don't end there. When the Model 3500 is equipped with the Max Tow package, the vehicle's maximum trailer weight shoots up to 22,700 pounds, the highest trailer weight in its class. Max Tow is only available for Regular and Crew Cab 3500s.
For good measure, Dodge equipped the truck with the most powerful standard exhaust brake and the largest brakes of any heavy-duty truck sold (diesel-equipped models). Anther improvement in the Ram 3500 models includes a new engine-mounted, oil-to-coolant transmission cooler to moderate operating temperatures during trailer towing. All 2500 and 3500 models get upgraded power-steering oil coolers as well.