Another Flare-up in the Great Torque War: Ram 3500 Takes the Lead

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
another flare up in the great torque war ram 3500 takes the lead

Healthy competition lowers the price of consumer goods, the economists tell us, but it also raises torque ratings. Nowhere is this more apparent than among the Detroit Three automakers, with Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles locking horns, crossing swords (keep it clean…), and firing arrows at each other in a heavy-duty pickup war that’s only heated up in recent years.

It comes down to stump-pulling, gravel-hauling, trailer-towing twist. In 2015, the Ram 3500’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel topped the Ford F-350 SuperDuty’s 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 by 5 lb-ft of torque — 865 to Ford’s 860. This clearly couldn’t stand, so for 2017 Ford upgraded the Power Stroke’s torque rating to 925 lb-ft, kiboshing Ram’s 2016 attempt to stay ahead with a 900 lb-ft rating.

With 2017 came further aggressions. This year saw GM pulling ahead to second place with its 6.6-liter Duramax V8, now upgraded to 910 lb-ft, knocking Ram down to third place.

Well, FCA’s having none of it. Just a day after Ford’s unveiling of a newly powerful second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and 5.0-liter V8, Ram fires this salvo: a Cummins with more grunt than any other rival.

Announced this morning, the Cummins-equipped 2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty again tops Ford’s best effort by 5 lb-ft, now making 930 lb-ft. Horsepower remains unchanged at 385, less than Ford’s 440 and GM’s 445.

FCA claims the extra twist allows owners of the largest fifth-wheel trailers the option of avoiding Class 4 or 5 vehicles for tow duty. Using a new hitch design engineered by Ram, the automaker promises 30,000 pounds of fifth-wheel towing ability. In contrast, the Ford F-350’s fifth-wheel hitch can only handle a maximum of 27,500 pounds. A GMC Sierra 3500 HD tops out at 22,700 pounds.

Using a gooseneck or conventional hitch, the diesel HD Ram’s maximum trailer weight ratings stand at 31,210 pounds and 20,000 pounds, respectively. Sadly for FCA, Ford’s F-350 beats these numbers by a hair.

FCA achieves the extra 30 lb-ft of torque by way of more air and more fuel arriving in the straight-six’s combustion chambers at the same time. Go figure. Cummins ratcheted up the engine’s boost limits by way of a variable geometry turbocharger, increasing the fuel flow rate at the same time.

Not everything is known yet about this engine, so we’ll assume a carryover of the six-speed Aisin automatic. Whether fuel economy changes at all remains unknown, though buyers of tow trucks for ultra-heavy trailers usually don’t put gas mileage at the top of their list of concerns.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Aug 11, 2017

    Five guys at work now drive four-door; 8' or 6.6' bed; 4X4; 1- or 3/4-ton Diesel pickups there and back, every day, because they tow massive trailers to a campsite and back once a year. The Chev and Dodge guys like to brag and argue about their respective numbers, not realizing that they're all negated by using such capable and powerful vehicles as commuters.

  • Efrem Hug Efrem Hug on Oct 16, 2017

    Before I see dyno sheets of each truck, peak numbers are USELESS.. 2 stroke dirt bikes have great power and torque numbers, but they happen in a narrow powerband. you want a WIDE powerband for towing, and a peak number isn't going to tell you anything about that. Inline 6's are known for good lugging ability, my old 12V makes 440 hp and 1000 ft lbs of torque at 2200 RPM.., that power number stays flat until 3200 RPM though torque drops (evidently). I NEVER ask that much of it when I'm towing because it's just too hard on the rest of the truck, but it is sure handy if you have to pass

  • Jeff S I ignore the commercials. Never owned a Mazda but I would definitely look at one and seriously consider it. I would take a Honda, Toyota, or Mazda over any German vehicle at least they are long lasting, reliable, and don't cost an arm and a leg to maintain.
  • GregLocock The predictable hysteria and repetition of talking points in the meeja is quite funny. it does not divide Oxford into six zones. it restricts access at 6 locations , one on each road, to reduce congestion in the town centre. Florence, which faces the same issue, traffic and narrow historic streets, lined with historic buildings, simply closed the entire town centre off. Don't see anybody whining about that.
  • Jeff S I have rented from Hertz before and never encountered this but if I had I would sue them. Would not want a gun pointed at me and thrown in jail for renting a car.
  • Arthur Dailey I did use a service pre COVID to get the pricing that the dealers were alleged to have paid the manufacturer. It also provided 'quotes' from multiple dealers .
  • Arthur Dailey Has anyone else concluded that we may have a new 'troll' on this site?