By on November 12, 2008

March of 1996. I was a college kid desperate for a Florida spring break, with nothing other than my 34-year-old Thunderbird for wheels. The Ford was un-restored, and I was far from the capable wrench-turner I am today. But it didn’t matter. I was going to Florida. In my car. With no fear. Well, not at first, anyway. Before long, I-75 became increasingly rural, and all vestiges of metro-Atlanta quickly faded away. As the sun sank low, my mind began amplifying each squeak, rattle, and groan. I suddenly realized that if my old T-Bird was going to put me down, I’d rather it happen while I was still relatively close to home. With all the discretion and restraint 21-year-olds are famous for, I decided to floor it and see what happened.

As I booted the throttle, the big 390 roared and the car surged forward. Beneath me, the weary suspension started doing the twist, but I kept my foot in it until the speedo needle wavered between 110 and 115. It was at that very moment I noticed the song playing on the radio: Molly Hatchet’s “Flirtin’ with Disaster.”

Bottle that moment up, pop the cork and nearly a dozen years later what you have is the decision facing any new truck buyer mulling over the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. Given Chrysler’s imminent demise uncertain future, the purchase of any Mopar product right now is riskier than a Clinton-era Trojan. Couple this with the fact that it’s an all-new model filled with mostly-new technology and you’ll find yourself with a lot of questions to answer before putting this Dodge in your garage.

One thing that’s not in question, however, is the new Ram’s appearance. Although the two-wheel-drive SLT Quad Cab I sampled could never best the classic short cab proportions of older pickups, it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the frumpy 2008 model. The forward-leaning grille is retro cool and the basic shape is a pleasant progression of the “big rig” design theme Dodge started back in ‘94. Beauty is (slightly) more than skin deep, too, with clever (but dirty-sounding) “RamBox” bed-rail storage bins eliminating the need for external toolboxes.

If evolution is what this truck is all about, the interior needs to keep evolving– at least in the mid-priced SLT model, where every compliment I can muster is unavoidably backhanded. The GM-pilfered rotary knobs for the HVAC and headlamp controls aren’t perfect but they’re definite improvements over the ’08’s shoddy switchgear. The vent registers have gone from abominable to merely bad. The plastic steering wheel feels tolerable, but the intrusive driver’s-side “Oh, shit!” handle will live up to its name every time your elbow hits it during furious, one-handed trailer-backing maneuvers.

And did I mention that the stereo sucks? The stereo sucks. Other than the fairly comfortable but cheaply upholstered cloth seats, the interior leaves a lot to be desired. Oh, but there are more odd-shaped storage cubbies this year. Thanks, original minivan company!

Speaking of minivans, why doesn’t Chrysler build one with a Hemi? The most banal, mediocre vehicle on the planet would surely come alive if that mother was stuffed under the hood. Imagine the throttle response of a big-block gasoline V8 with the colossal off-idle torque of a long-stroke diesel.

Technologically speaking, Chrysler threw everything but the Küche sink at this mighty 5.7-liter mill. The result is 390 horsepower, 407 lb-ft of torque and 19 MPG on the highway. Cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing, and a dual-runner intake make the magic happen, but you’ll never know they’re there (the sudden rush of power at 4,200 rpm might make you suspicious, though).  The optional 3.92:1 rear gear lets you tow 8,800 lbs. while a sub-seven-second zero-to-sixty time completes your conversion (even as the sluggish five-speed automatic whispers doubt).

What you won’t doubt, however, is Chrysler’s all-new, class-exclusive rear coil spring suspension. The butt-assaulting harshness of the old Ram’s leaf spring arrangement is all but gone (Elvis hasn’t left the building yet, but he’s unbuttoned his jump suit and downed some pills). Relatively-precise steering helps you cope with the truck’s immense size and weight, and the chassis feels generally well-sorted (for a pickup)– plow too hard into a corner and the predictably progressive understeer will politely protest. Ride quality is now on par with other full-size half-tons, and brake feel (though not function) is among the best out there.

So essentially, what you have here is a good-looking, comfortable and capable $33,930 truck that you hope will hold together longer than the company that built it. Ergo, buying one is a roll of the dice. What would I do? Let’s just say that I had a blast in Florida during spring break back in ’96.

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59 Comments on “Review: 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab...”


  • avatar

    I was able to check out the top-level interior at last year’s NAIAS. The upholstered IP was an unexpected touch, but the styling kept the interior from seeing as upscale as that in the current Chevrolet and GMC.

    No doubt they don’t fit the nice bits to the lower level trucks, because they’re designed for work, not play.

    On the reliability front, TrueDelta could have a quick result if enough owners of the 2009 Ram signed up soon enough. Other recent Chrysler designs are not encouraging.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    NN

    Mr. Gammill,

    beautifully written…just like a proper TTAC review.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    I could never purchase one…probably due solely to the advertisements. The ads for this truck piss me off like none other. Maybe it’s because they are carbon copies of the Toyota Tundra ads. Maybe because they ultra-stereotype the buyer of such a vehicle and reduce them to a couple hyperbolic categories: Military, Fireman, Cowboys, Contractors. Then all of these actors dressed in T-shirts with simply one of those aforementioned words printed on the front talk about the truck in manly-man hick voices, and the Ram almost gets hit by a huge concrete block, and then something blows up.

    That alone, THAT ALONE, will never have me behind the wheel of this vehicle.

    Good review.

  • avatar

    Given Chrysler’s imminent demise uncertain future . . .

    I suspect that two of those words were supposed to be struck thru. Wanna guess which two?

  • avatar
    Wolven

    @ LamborghiniZ…

    What’s wrong with manly men?

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    The levels of faux testosterone in pickup advertising can get absurd. They are only one step away from having the village people pile out of the crew cab and start performing.

    If you are worried about having a vehicle from a dead company walking just wait purchase its Nissan Doppelgänger and sleep easy.

    There is a good chance that Nissan/Renault will end up the owners of the better bits of Chrysler when the smoke clears.

  • avatar
    brianmack

    @ Wolven
    Thanks. Now I have the “Men In Tights” song in my head.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    From personal experience I concur that the 5.7L is an absolutely glorious mill!

    I agree with others about the ads. The “Ram Experience” has clearly entered the realm of self-parody and Tundra ad parody.

    Driving airborne pickups through exploding log cabins? Yeah, I see that on my commute everyday.

    Come on.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Our 1997 Ram 1500 SLT Laramie has 240,000 miles on it.

    Nary a rattle from the hard plastic. Good to know someone else sees the effort put into this vehicle. It’s gorgeous.

    Can’t wait until this interior makes it into an automobile that isn’t the Pacifica.

  • avatar

    LamborghiniZ: OH MAN! I couldn’t agree more! This is one of the more desperate attempts at manliness I’ve ever seen. Seeing those dopes with their “COWBOYS” and “FIREFIGHTER” shirts on is so absolutely pathetic, I weep for the new Dodge. This “festival of stereotypical manliness” is backfiring big-time, it has the horrible stink of reality-TV competition and vapid, senseless categorization, all the while alienating many of the white-collar customers who might be interested in this truck.

    Worst. Ads. Ever. I could go on for weeks about why this ham-handed and overfunded idea will and should fail. Kablam! The firefighters drove through pyrotechnic effects! Crunch! The military team drove over a mountain of gravel! “Oooh! The coil springs are so gentle on my tender bottom,” the Contractors cooed.

    A more idiotic and transparent move can hardly have been conceived, I hope the ad agency in charge of this fiasco gets blown up (no deaths, of course) by some guy wearing a t-shirt with “DISPENSER OF JUSTICE” printed on the front.

  • avatar

    I have an old pickup. It lives in the barn and gets used to haul lumber or make runs to the dump… er County Sanitation Transfer Station. Therein lies my biggest problem with pickups today. They’ve lost their heritage and purpose and become CARS, not trucks. They’ve left the pickup behind and have become Sanitation Transfer Comfort Utility Vehicles.

    Does anyone recall the days when Pickups cost about half as much as a car? They were the most basic form of utility & transportation. The interiors consisted of a lot of painted steel and water/mud proof vinyl & rubber. Your “options” were: stepside, short/long bed, gasoline or Diesel. The price tag ranged from 50% of a car to 60% of a car.

    I look at pickups today and just think: “What the NSFW?” Fancy interiors that will be destroyed in short order. Price tags that shock. I was thinking of replacing my old pickup with a Diesel… and damn near fainted when I saw the asking prices. I could buy a good used 911 or another vintage classic sports car for what pickups trade for these days. That my friends is insane.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    rpol35

    This is a nice objective review, something that is inconsistent in TTAC, especially when domestics are involved.

    If I were considering a truck, which I’m not, I’d give this one consideration. Agreed, I hate the ads and hate the Tundra ad even more as it is totally asinine.

    Regardless of how well Chrysler does with any new product they are going to be perpetually behind the eight ball due to previously recorded engineering and reliability inconsistency and now, more importantly, due to a very murky, questionable future viability.

  • avatar
    NickR

    LamborghiniZ…glad I am not the only one. The new Ram commercial really is almost a parody. The explosions are the best. Appealing to the monster truck watching demographic maybe? Anyway, the ads suck.

    Chuck, I too remember when pick-ups were designed to endure maximum abuse. The 292 inline-6 powered Chevy that I drove when I was landscaping was just as you described; mostly metal with a minimum of amenities. Filthy heavy things got tossed into the bed and even filthier beings piled into the cab and no one worried. If I got a new Ram, I’d hardly even want to go to a garden centre.

  • avatar

    Gorgeous truck, but I wouldn’t even consider it until the company that makes it finally files and I could at least know what I would be getting myself into.

    Then you have the price and warranty. If the warranty’s government-backed, that would be good. That’s the only guarantee that can be trusted at this point in Chrysler’s future.

    And then there’s the fuel economy, which at 19 mpg is OK for a truck but worst-in-class versus the Silverado and F-150.

    And the ride may be good, but at the expense of useability. It’s like the new Toyota Tacoma in some ways, same towing and hauling weights as before, just extra size to lug around.

  • avatar

    chuckgoolsbee:
    The pickups of today, as Don Gammill points out in the review, do come at a low-level trim option (manual roll-down windows!) that puts the truck at Ford’s $21,000 starting price for the F150, $22,170 for the Ram, $19,550 for the Silverado.

  • avatar
    RayH

    Nice Review.

    Chuck,

    My 88 F150 does what you described, and is in the barn getting caked in pigeon/sparrow/bat poo 350 days of the year. When I make hay, it pulls 3 loaded- up hay wagons with the bumper hitch (at least on flat parts). I’ve been toying with the idea of a brand-new stripper truck for over a year, and didn’t pull the trigger on a 11k (after discounts) F150, because I don’t think I’d want to abuse it as much. Make that truck 9k, I’ll think about abusing it just as bad.

  • avatar
    netrun

    The Chrysler YMCA style ads are a little better than the Saved By Zero nonsense. But not by much.

    If this truck gets rid of the horrible Hotchkiss rear-end, then it’s (finally) a step forward. Dakota’s are known as “widowmakers” because of their frightening tendency to get uncontrollable after hitting a small bump when you approach triple digit speeds in a sweeper. Not that anyone would do that, mind you.

    I don’t see the beauty in the interior others do. It looks really disjointed and, well, unfinished. Maybe the materials are miles better than before? That’d be good. But it looks like a nasty blend of about 4 different design concepts melted together.

    The front end looks a little aggressive, I like it. Rambox seems overpriced, though.

  • avatar
    obbop

    When pick-ups no longer allowed a human to bend down and peek under the dash to views the components therein and find problems/defects then reach up and replace a hose or reconnect a wire or whatever it was the end of an era.

    Perhaps the pick-up of the future that allows the owner/operator/user/whatever to treat the conveyance as a pick-up as the creatures were once generally used before the politically correct wimpifying of the once-sovereign USA plastered over the interior of pick-ups with “prettiness” will garner enough sales to make that manufacturer profitable.

    If, as I fear, the USA is generally sliding down into a 2nd-world life-style for a growing percentage of the populace, fewer folks will be able to afford vehicles as they are currently constructed.

    Basic utilitarian construction engineered to be maintained and repaired with greater ease than today’s vehicles may be the BIG money-maker of the not-too-distant future.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If there was a way, I’d get married to this truck’s engine.

  • avatar

    If I wanted a ridiculously quick giant pickup that can tow a small house, I’d get a Nissan Titan. Or an Armada if I wanted people space while I tow my massive boat to the marina (HA-HA…*sob*).

    Dodge just doesn’t do it for me, imminent demise notwithstanding. I’d probably sooner buy a 4 pot Toyotimmortal 1980s pickup with a 5 speed and enjoy my ride to hell and back with little more than the odd oil change. Cheaper than the Dodge, even after factoring in factory incentives and staggering depreciation on the used market. And probably MUCH more sensible.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Rest easy all of you Dodge Ram Challenge Ad Haters. Last Thursday, 140 employees of BBDO’s Detroit office (Dodge’s ad agency) some of whom, no doubt, helped bring you the “Ram Challenge” were fired.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    It’s a good product in market that is contracting and in the middle of a recession. Good luck with that.

    Yeah, the ads for it are a hoot. I keep expecting the actors to break into “Macho Man” like the Village People or maybe else “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m O.K.” But the thing is, that kind of advertising works for an awful lot of consumers.

    They should stick a hemi into one of those Dodge Sprinter Vans and see how that turns out.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    No worries Dodge Ram Challenge Ad Haters. Last Thursday, 140 employees of BBDO’s Detroit office (Dodge’s ad agency) some of whom, no doubt, helped bring you the “Ram Challenge” we’re fired.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    I hope that they get the new small Cummins diesel into the Ram 1500 before Cerberus pulls the plug on Chrysler.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Johnster:

    They should stick a hemi into one of those Dodge Sprinter Vans and see how that turns out.

    Why?

    The 3.0L Diesel has 90% of the Torque with half the displacement and far better fuel consumption.

    The fleet buyers (UPS, FedEx, etc) who buy those things want the lowest cost of ownership.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    NickR

    I always wondered about those new Ram commercials. I mean, Toyota did the whole “towing 10,900lbs of dead weight” stuff and I was like, yeah ok, the new Tundra is actually a full-sized truck now. But now I see the Ram commercials and ummm….Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    Good review Don…but something about the whole Chrysler tailspin has me thinking. I think the Magnum is damn cool car, especially the R/T version, and I did at one point (well, still do to some extent) fancy myself purchasing a Magnum. The bigger question(s) is: should Chrysler go bust, what happens to all that warranty? What transpires with all the dealers, suppliers, owners and the unpurchased vehicles themselves?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I remember a cartoon strip, probably from the mid-eighties, don’t recall which one, (Maybe it was called”Shoe”….don’t know if anyone else remembers it…) but it had a lot of anthropo-morphic animals.

    Anyway, one character is washing his pickup truck, and another character (younger, I think, perhaps a nephew or grand-child), asks him, “What is the definition of a pick-up truck?”

    And the older geezer is shown in the next panel, cleaning the interior of his truck, and replying sagely: “The definition of a pick-up truck is a vehicle whose interior you can wash with a garden hose.”

    I think Detroit lost the plot (jumped the shark, choose your metaphor…)when they forgot this fact.

    If one of the big three made a truck 3/4 of its current size, vinyl bench seat (ok, throw in an arm rest) small v-8, light on the electro-gadgets, at $14-15k per, they’d sell half-a-million of them in a Bailout second…..to the market they have abandoned….farmers, builders, contractors, landscapers, painters, etc.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Mark MacInnis: “If one of the big three made a truck 3/4 of its current size, vinyl bench seat (ok, throw in an arm rest) small v-8, light on the electro-gadgets, at $14-15k per, they’d sell half-a-million of them in a Bailout second…..to the market they have abandoned….farmers, builders, contractors, landscapers, painters, etc.”Wasn’t Ford planning such a truck sized between the F-150 and Ranger (the F-100 project) but it’s been shelved indefinitely?

    As others have previously stated, the new Dodge pickup truck commercials, like those for the Hummer H3T, are an embarrassment to anyone with a modicum of self-respect. I’d buy a competitor’s truck on that basis, alone, regardless of whether the Dodge was vastly superior (which it doesn’t seem to be).

    And although the 1966 was the best of the ‘Bullet-Birds’, the 1962 was still plenty cool, too.

  • avatar
    geeber

    rudiger,

    I think the F-100, as it was being called, has been cancelled.

    And I thought that the Bullet-Birds are the 1961-62 models. The 1964-66 models are the Flair-Birds.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Mark MacInnis, I believe the Colorado/Canyon duo will have a 5.3 300hp V8 starting in 2009 according to the GM Canada website. That addresses at least one item on your wish list!

    Mr. Gammill I don’t suppose you had a 390 with the rare 3×2 option?

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Mark MacInnis :
    November 12th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    If one of the big three made a truck 3/4 of its current size, vinyl bench seat (ok, throw in an arm rest) small v-8, light on the electro-gadgets, at $14-15k per, they’d sell half-a-million of them in a Bailout second…..to the market they have abandoned….farmers, builders, contractors, landscapers, painters, etc.

    Such a vehicle is in the works. Unfortuantly for Detroit, it is made by an Indian firm.

    http://www.mahindrana.com/

    It should sell well, especially since Mahindrana currently make tractors and other farm equipment that are apparently well liked by farmers throughout the US.

  • avatar
    brapoza

    Come on guys. As bad as the new Dodge Ram commercial is, it pales in comparison to the Brooke Shields pregnant Volkswagen mini van ad. Although she does appear more manly than a couple of the manly-men.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    If you look at the interior of those things, and the huge, idiotic, pointless expanse of a plastic console box in the middle, it becomes obvious that these trucks are not only advertised by Village People, they are also aimed at them. As Mark MacInnis said, the real small business market has long been abandoned by Detroit.

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    Hey guys, thanks for the positive feedback.

    chuckgoolsbee, NickR, RayH, and Mark MacInnis:

    A big ten-four; other than towing, it’d be hard for me to use any shiny new $34,000 vehicle for most traditional pick-up tasks. Or even a $20,000 one.

    SupaMan:

    I suppose it’s anyone’s guess right now about the future of the warranty, but I don’t think it’s all that great anyway.

    Sure it’s a “limited lifetime powertrain warranty,” but after the first 3 years or 36K miles, it only appears to cover internal reciprocating components, not gaskets or seals, and (presumably) not consequential damage related to gasket or seal failure. And it’s limited to the original owner.

    So don’t expect Chryslerberus (or whomever might inherit the warranty obligation) to cover your torn-up rod bearings, main bearings, and crankshaft if your truck has 180,000 miles and oil is pouring out of the rear main seal (which it almost certainly will be).

    There are some very good reasons to consider this truck, but in my opinion, the warranty isn’t one of them now, regardless of what the future holds.

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    Mark MacInnis, rudiger, geeber, Geotpf:

    I think I recall reading that Ford may have shelved the mid-sized “F-100″ concept due to the fact that they felt they could hit that truck’s fuel mileage targets with the current full-size pickups (by focusing on powertrain development, which would be cheaper than a whole new platform).

    Personally, I think manufacturers should either make light-duty full-size trucks slightly smaller or re-invest in small trucks, making them slightly larger.

    rudiger:

    My Thunderbird appreciates your kind words. FYI, in the old T-Bird community (I still have mine, BTW), here are the commonly-accepted designations:

    ’58-’60: Square Birds
    ’61-’63: Bullett Birds
    ’64-’66: Flair Birds (yes, the ’66 is a little cooler because it was available with the big 428, but I’ll take my 390 any day of the week).

    NickR:

    I love my 600 CFM Autolite 4100 four-barrel, but words can’t describe how I’d like to choke the cheap SOB who ordered my car for not coughing up an extra $136 for the tri-power intake. On the other hand, two different people have told me that those cars averaged SIX MILES PER GALLON (40% less than my 4V).

  • avatar
    windswords

    Don Gammill:

    “if your truck has 180,000 miles and oil is pouring out of the rear main seal (which it almost certainly will be).”

    References? Is this a known defect or are you being prophetic?

  • avatar
    fallout11

    Enjoy it while you can boys, this was the last new design in the chute prior to Cerberus’s takeover of Chryco.
    Of course, to call this a new design is a stretch, a hard look shows it to be a simple refresh of the previous Ram incarnation.
    It still gets 11 mpg in real world city driving, where you will still find most of these, despite the ridiculous over the top commercials aimed at “Cowboys” and the like.

    Don Gammill’s words are prescient, assuming the current Ram is anything akin to the late models. At least the slushbox no longer explodes at 15000 miles (as our ’98 model did).

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    windswords:

    My example was hypothetical, but try to find any honest-to-God, non-rebuilt, domestic pushrod V8 truck engine that isn’t leaking terribly out of the rear main seal (or oil pan gasket, or valve cover gaskets, or oil filter adapter gasket, etc.) at 180,000 miles. When the amount of oil you have to add each week becomes proportional to how much gas you’re putting in the thing (which you’ll do because the problem’s ofen not worth fixing and oil is relatively cheap), it doesn’t take too much of an oversight to ruin the engine via oil starvation (I’ve seen people do this with older vehicles…a lot).

    So, no actual research for this prophecy, just an expectation based on lots of personal experience with many high-mileage domestic V8′s.

  • avatar
    durailer

    Great review.

    Why is it that American Automakers can show consistent, competent improvements in their most banal vehicles, even mid-cycle, then bother to design and produce niche vehicles having great potential to win hearts and expand markets only to let them wither on the vine?

    What’s going on with the Solstice, 300, and well… I can’t think of a Ford product that fits this criteria, so I guess they’re doing something right ;) Don’t get me started about Lincoln/Mercury though.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Don Gammill :

    Well, you’ve piqued my interest. Now I’ve got to buy something with a pushrod V8 truck engine with over 180K miles to test this oil thing out.

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    Just try finding *any* all-original domestic powerplant with that many miles that doesn’t have some sort of considerable oil leak(s) at 180,000 miles. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just not very likely.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Don Gammill :

    You’re destroying my worldview here. I’ve always lived with the impression that the DOHC domestic engines were the ones with oil problems, while the OHV and SOHC ones were relatively problem-free.

    What about the GM 3800 or Ford 4.6 2-valve?

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    ajla :

    This impression of yours came from???

    As someone who’s owned four Ford SOHC 4.6 2-valves (and one DOHC 4-valve), I can tell you that all of them leak oil like crazy around the oil filter adapter (where the adapter mates to the block) beginning at approximately 120,000 miles.

    I’m less familiar with the GM 3800, but I know I’ve seen them leaking around the timing chain cover and the oil pan gaskets at not much more than 100,000 miles.

    But honestly, virtually all engines will ultimately leak oil. I merely wanted to point out – using a highly-probable hypothetical situation – the likely irrelevance of Dodge’s “lifetime” warranty in extreme situations. Like I said, I just don’t see that warranty as a significant selling point given its limitations.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Technologically speaking, Chrysler threw everything but the Küche sink at this mighty 5.7-liter mill.

    I understand that TTAC writers like to spread random German words in reviews of German cars, but why here?

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    Mirko Reinhardt:

    That’s an excellent question, Mirko!

    I did it for exactly three reasons:

    #1) I’ve noticed the same thing (how TTAC writers tend to use the occasional German word in German vehicle reviews) and I just thought it would be kind of funny/satirical to slip one in a review of a domestic pickup. (And Robert left it in.)

    #2) It’s probably a safe bet that Daimler’s pre-Cerberus influence (i.e. the firm’s willingness to produce vehicles with lots of technology) probably found its way into Hemi powertrain development at some point during the process.

    #3) Honestly, at the time I wrote it, I couldn’t think of anything better than “everything but the kitchen sink” for that part of the review, and in a vain attempt to avoid a cliche, I decided to work in a little German lingo as per reasons #1 and #2.

    Even though I still think it’s a decent word choice, I’ll admit that it always looked and sounded funny when I read it.

    My lesson: If I notice it, you guys will notice it.

    Thanks for mentioning it…I’ll keep my eyes out in the future for things that just don’t quite fit.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    I have experience with the GM 3800 engines. Leaking rear main seals, pan gaskets, and /or timing chain cover after even 80-90K miles is fairly common. Overheating and valve cover gasket leaks becomes a common problem with many models equipped with these around the 100K mark (I’ve seen two dead ones at the 110K-120K mark).
    Front main seal starts to go around 140K, assuming the last that long.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Argh, I saw the damn ad again last night. ‘That’s how we roll’ is worthy of a punch in the face.

    Anyway, I wanted to know if you drove a diesel version?

  • avatar
    dougw

    Dirty sounding? You want dirty sounding? How about this:

    “Ramboxxx”

    By the way, the criticism about the use of the German word was over the top. I don’t think you should waste the time explaining yourself over something so petty. If you didn’t try to make a review a bit different there would be complaints about it being B O R I N G. Shake it off and keep exploring your creative side. And keep writing. Nobody knows how hard it is to write a TTAC submission of any type (the Big Red Letters of Robert hurt, man!) until they have tried it themselves. Then after publication comes the attack of the BABs (best and brightest). Keeping in the spirit…isn’t it “Sturm and Drang?!” (So sue me…achtunnggg!!!)

    Anyway, keep on keeping on. We all suffer together.

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    Nick R:

    No, I didn’t have access to any diesels, 2008 or 2009 (but honestly, just off idle, the Hemi felt every bit as torquey as the 2009 Ford F-250 Power Stroke I recently reviewed – mega torque, even under 1,000 RPM).

    dougw:

    “Ramboxxx.” That’s great!

    You’re right, I shouldn’t explain myself so much as I know I’ll never please everyone (nor am I trying). But it is interesting to find out I was at least partially right about what I thought looked a little out of place. (I guess it’s kind of like a joke…if you have to explain it…). Thanks for the good advice (I’ll take it) and the encouragement.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Don Gammill:
    This impression of yours came from???

    No idea where I exactly came up with it. People saying stuff I guess. I’ve heard some negative things about the Northstar and L47 with oil issues, while not much but glowing praise for Vortecs and LSx engines. I never said that it was a well-educated impression, just what I’ve always thought.

    I brought up the 3800 just because I owned a L27 version in a Pontiac Bonneville that stayed in very good condition (no major oil leaks I noticed) up to 178000 when I sold it. I probably just got lucky with it since I was bad at maintaining it.

  • avatar
    ambulancechaser

    Big truck, small penis. The end.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I think by 180K miles one can swing for an engine rebuild. Even a Volvo B21 is leaking oil somewhere by 180K.
    $14-$15K for a pickup might be a bit much to ask for if you want the people building it to be paid decently.
    I wouldn’t compare the Hummer H3T ad to the “Ram Challenge”
    The Ram challenge is about macho posturing, the H3T ad is about adventure and doing stuff outdoors. The H3T ad could just as easily and logically have starred women.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    GM 3800 engines are a good for 200k no problem, even with poor maintenance. I don’t think you will even have an oil leak. Your experience of 178K is typical of these engines. What the rest of the car will look like, well, that’s a different story. Quad 4′s these aren’t.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Yeah, a 1966 ‘Flair-Bird’ convertible with a 428, just like the one in Thelma and Louise. Definitely one of Ford’s best looking cars, not only of the sixties, but over the entire history of the company. Just seeing that car, alone, was worth the price of admission to the movie.

    It’s also incredibly depressing to compare a car like that with what passes for today’s automotive styling.

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    rudiger:

    I couldn’t agree more; domestic automakers produced some (key word: “some”) beautiful designs in the Sixties.

    Unfortunately, you don’t see this kind of distinction in Detroit’s vehicles today – you see (mostly) copycat styling with the occasional retro-themed design.

    Dynamically, though, too many of today’s domestic offerings are more similar to their 1960′s counterparts than they are to the best vehicles built today: drive a ’68 and ’08 Mustang back-to-back – they have WAY too much in common in the ride and handling department.

    This is very frustrating for guys like me who truly want to see Detroit succeed. I’d love to see today’s equivalent of the “speed-stopped-in-steel” design of Ford’s 1960′s Thunderbirds (which the 2002-2005 “Retro-Bird” was absolutely not), but I know the driving dynamics would never live up to the styling. If it looks as fast as an F-22 Raptor, it damn sure ought to corner like a Bimmer, not like a mass-market rental car.

  • avatar
    NickR

    ajla, from experience the oil pan on the 4.6 2v Ford rusts out. It is quite awkward to replace also.

    I’ve only seen one of those ’66 T-birds with a 428. Sadly, it had been turned into a rappermobile…lowered suspension, huge low profile tires the whole works. Ugh.

  • avatar
    jstnspin82

    I like the look of the new Dodge but I am not sure of performance or agility. I thing the Big 3 are all three getting apathetical and lazy on design and cutting corners. The new F series pickups are ugly and look like transformers. The new Chevy Silverado looks plain boxy and has little styling cues. I have to say the Dodge looks the best of the 3 but with the big 3 having financial problems who’s to say where they are cutting corners. Once engineering goes down then there is just nothing at all. That’s why Toyota made the Tundra bigger and better and are making a diesel. Maybe Toyota knows something we don’t? What happened to the days America made a solid working truck that was tough and was best in class. They better do something to hold on to the truck segment because it’s all they have got, there car market is gone. What is next for Chrysler? GM? Ford?

  • avatar
    MoparGuy

    This piece was your typical I-wanna-be-popular-so-I’ll-get-invited-to-the-party-so-I’d-better-bash-American-made-whatever-and-put-on-my-”everything-foreign-is-cooler” bull**** act!

    LOL

    The ’09 Ram is great truck, and Chrysler will survive and thrive!!

  • avatar
    ErRoc

    I definitely didn’t want to post up until spending a good amount of time in this new Ram. I will try to combat some of the points with disagreements and try to further indulge my agreeances with more info.

    Ram’s exterior look: Everyone knows it’s the best looking truck out there… next.

    Ram interior: I have NO IDEA where you got the idea that this interior is mediokre. This is the nicest truck interior (followed closely by the F-150) on the market today. You complain about storage areas inside and poor control locations etc. I found that this truck’s layout inside is both tough (required for a Ram) yet elegant and luxurious. Everything is located incredibly well and is easy to operate. It looks incredible inside and everything feels wonderful. I also admire Dodge’s attention to customer needs, which is storage. What do you want them to say? “Sorry for being convenient?” Storage options do not bother any functionalities of the truck and are wonderful.

    Hemi: Ward’s 10 best engine award winner for many consecutive years… it is an incredible piece of machinery, at least you recongnize that.


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