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The Ram Chassis Cab claims segment-leading towing of up to 35,220 lb (15,975 kg). (FCA)

2019 Ram Chassis Cab: More capability, more driver-assist tech

The 2019 Ram 3500, 4500, and 5500 Chassis Cab commercial trucks herald class-leading capability in towing, payload, and Gross Combined Weight Ratings (GCWR). “We drove our engineers bonkers to get the very best,” quipped Jim Morrison, head of Ram Brand at FCA North America.

Morrison spoke with Truck and Off-Highway Engineering at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show following the global debut of the 2019 Ram Chassis Cab, which claims segment-leading towing of up to 35,220 lb (15,975 kg). It has the segment’s highest GCWR (a combined truck, load and trailer weight) at 43,000 lb (19,504 kg), a 4,500-lb (2,041-kg) increase over the 2018 model.

The new Chassis Cab is also a segment-topper with an up to 12,510-lb (5,674-kg) payload rating.

Stronger, lighter

A high-strength steel (HSS) frame remains the vehicle’s anchor point.

“We didn’t mess with the frame. It’s still easy to upfit with no component interference above the rails,” said Morrison.

The up-to-97% HSS frame employs hydroformed front rail sections and 50,000-psi rear C-channel frame rails with eight separate cross-members.

A lightweight diet for the Class 3-5 Chassis Cab reduced its overall weight by 120 lb (54 kg). As one example, the new aluminum hood netted a weight savings of 27 lb (12 kg).

“By losing weight, like we did in our heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks [], we have improved the Chassis Cab payload ratings across the board,” Morrison said.

Ram officials claim the 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab in any configuration (4x2, 4x4, gasoline-fueled, diesel-fueled, regular cab, crew cab) will out-tow every truck in its class.

‘Significantly revised’ Cummins 6.7-L

Standard engine for the 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab is the 6.4-L Hemi V8 producing up to 410 hp (306 kW) at 5600 rpm and 429 lb·ft (582 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm. Fuel Saver Technology is new for the 3500 using the Aisin AS66RC electronically controlled 6-speed automatic transmission with optional Power Take-Off (PTO). To reduce fuel consumption, cylinder deactivation occurs under light load and while in stationary PTO. For all 3500/4500/5500 applications, the 6.4-L stops fuel flow to the cylinders during deceleration to improve fuel economy.

The optional Cummins 6.7-L inline 6-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine delivers 360 hp (268 kW) at 2800 rpm and 800 lb·ft (1,084 N·m) at 1800 rpm.

“This is an iteration of the Cummins turbodiesel that we offer in our heavy-duty pickup trucks. It’s been significantly revised for the demands at job sites, so it can handle hours and hours of idling, maximum loads, and daily work-related abuse,” Morrison said.

A compacted graphite iron (CGI) block replaces the 6.7-L diesel engine’s former cast-iron block. That material change helps reduce the engine weight by 60 lb (27 kg). Other changes include new cast-iron cylinder heads, new exhaust valves and springs, new rocker arms driven by a hollow camshaft as well as new oil and water pumps.

Standard transmission for the 6.4-L Hemi V8 in the 3500 Chassis Cab is the TorqueFlite 8HP75 8-speed automatic, marking the first time that an 8-speed has been offered in the segment. The electronically controlled AS66RC 6-speed automatic transmission is standard for the 4500/5500 applications and optional on the 3500 fitted with the 6.4-L V8 engine.

Ram 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab equipped with the Cummins 6.7-L engine are paired with an Aisin AS69RC 6-speed automatic with PTO capability on the left or right side in 4x2 configurations.

ADAS technologies

The 2019 Ram Chassis Cab includes the segment’s first application of a tire pressure monitoring system for up to six truck tires and 12 trailer tires covering as many as four trailer profiles.

“Let’s say one trailer requires 80 pounds of tire pressure and another trailer tire requires 100 pounds. You input the trailer tire pressure information. If tire pressure decreases, a cluster gauge notification will indicate which specific truck or trailer tire is under-inflated,” Morrison explained.

Other segment-exclusive offerings include forward collision warning with braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking (AEB), and AEB with trailer brakes.

“We’re offering active safety technologies across the four trim levels, not just our top trim model. And most importantly, these technologies function when towing a 35,220-pound trailer,” Morrison said.

The Ram Chassis Cab lineup features three new headlamp designs, including a full LED adaptive front lighting system with up to 15 degrees of directional control via steering input.

New premium trim

The all-new Limited trim joins the Tradesman, SLT, and Laramie models. Ram Chassis Cab Limited is a top-of-the-line offering that showcases premium materials, such as real wood and real leather. Other features on the Limited include UConnect 4C with a 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display and split-screen capability, wireless charging pad, and ParkSense front and rear park assist that provides a 270-degree camera system including trailer reverse views.

Ram launches the 2019 Chassis Cab with 34 all-new and 21 class-exclusive features in the second quarter of 2019. The commercial trucks will be built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico. Pricing for the Chassis Cab lineup starts at $34,750.

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