By on January 15, 2019

2019 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited Crew Cab Dually

Monday mornings are probably responsible for more murders than infidelity, but yesterday brought a glorious thing: the official launch of the next-generation Ram Heavy Duty. Be still my pounding heart.

Sure, I’d seen the embargoed images and even published alluring spy shots taken after the entire product line “accidentally” paraded itself down a known photog route (“See anything you like, boys?”), but it’s always nice when automakers make things official. Monday, Fiat Chrysler made another thing official — a 1,000 lb-ft torque figure for the more powerful of its two revamped Cummins six-pot diesels.

Boom. Minds no doubt reeled in Dearborn and the Renaissance Center, if insider info hadn’t already tipped them off. There’s a lot of bragging rights FCA doesn’t have access to, but HD pickup torque is not one of them. Surely, plans are by now afoot. Who will be first to end the king’s reign?

First off, allow me to admit my schoolgirl-like glee upon first seeing the new Ram HD, especially in regular cab form. Both future and current-gen non-dually Ram HDs are my pinups. In the world of Steph, these vehicles are akin to a Tiger Beat poster of a doe-eyed Disney actor in the bedroom of a precocious tween. I’m the one on the bed, scrawling hearts around scribblings reading “Steph 2500/3500 Limited Willems” in my diary.

With that unsettling image out of the way, here’s the reasoning for my burning lust: Look at the thing, then look at its Detroit rivals. Until its pending — and quite controversial — redesign, General Motors’ big boys were too much on the plain side; soon they’ll be over the top, depending on trim. I referred to the new crop’s design as an experiment, and I stand behind the statement. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ford’s Super Duty line once garnered much of my attention, but subsequent redesigns and refreshes added up to a face too blocky and branded to stimulate much interest.

Ram’s designers aren’t interested in experiments, apparently, and for that, I applaud. Just look at this seductive temptress:

2019 Ram 2500 Tradesman — regular cab

Bombshell.

But we’re not talking about bodies today — this is torque talk. For years, and especially for the last few, Detroit Three automakers have engaged in a pitched battle on the diesel torque front. As soon as one company ceded stump-pulling ground to another, in came a counterattack to retake the lost territory, Western Front-style. It’s been entertaining watching the joust between the Cummins, Duramax, and Power Stroke camps. You’ve read about it here.

Now that FCA and its high-flying Ram brand has the crown, that hi-po Cummins is in more crosshairs than a mob informant. For the 2018 model year, Ford was on top. Its 6.7-liter diesel V8 churned out 935 lb-ft of twist (yes, fucking twist — twist, twist, twist), which had catapulted the brand mere meters ahead of Ram in the Battle of the Somme-like torque war a year after FCA held the ridge. Now, instead of hopping forward by 5 or 10 lb-ft, Ram and Cummins went ahead and broke the four-figure barrier with all the swagger of Chuck Yeager. It’s a barrier writers know all too well, as we all envy those plutocrat thousandaires.

While 65 lb-ft doesn’t seem like a lot, maybe Ford and GM hadn’t set aside the cash necessary to bridge a gap of that size. For 2019, Ford remains at 935 lb-ft for its Super Duty diesel and GM, which has a new HD in store for 2020, sits way back at 910 lb-ft with its Duramax 6.6-liter.

My money’s on Ford, which can’t stand relinquishing a truck crown for long, but who knows. Maybe GM has a trick up its sleeve. Who wins, and when?

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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42 Comments on “QOTD: Who’s Brave Enough to Challenge the Torque King?...”


  • avatar
    jatz

    Even TMZ articles get to the point more quickly.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    How about a gas engine torque champion?

    My 2002 8.1L had 460 lb-ft, a figure you still can’t reach with any current gas powered HD. Diesel has less appeal than ever, with nearly $10,000 up front cost, $1 more per gallon fuel costs eating away any mileage savings, and less of a longevity edge than ever before, as gas engines get better and emissions systems get more complex.

    I keep hearing about a Ford 7.3L big block, and a new Chevy gas engine, but where are they? To me, a 500 lb-ft gas engine is a way bigger deal than 1000 lb-ft in a diesel, which is more for bragging rights than anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      I am looking forward to the return of the large gas engines as well. Less maintenance cost than a diesel with 500+ TQ and all the long term benefits of a naturally aspirated engine is pretty exciting. I hope they offer it with the basic trim packages.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Is there really any mileage advantage to squander on 40% more expensive fuel? The big diesels are great, if you’re towing over three tons most of the time. Otherwise, they are becoming a giant tax on people who can’t do math or understand that characteristics change when you add massive amounts of complexity. Who cares if you get the option money back at resale time when fuel, maintenance, repairs, and down times are all off the chart compared to a gasoline powered truck? Even getting the engine option money back at resale time does nothing about the extra ten grand that you weren’t doing something of greater utility with while you owned the truck.

      • 0 avatar
        CaddyDaddy

        “My 2002 8.1L had 460 lb-ft, a figure you still can’t reach with any current gas powered HD.” Please see torque ratings of 3.5L Ecoboost in Navigator and Raptor.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          The keyword is “HD”.

          The ecoboost makes great power at the cost of longer term reliability. The probable reason it wont go into anything larger than a F150 is because of its long term reliability.

          The big block has a slightly lower output but a longer lifespan and is more tolerant of sustained hard use – a quality desired in trucks that see sustained heavy use.

          The ecoboost and big block serve two different purposes.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          By HD, I believe jack4x was referring to pickups with 3/4 ton or higher payload ratings. The Navigator is an SUV and the Raptor is a play truck. Neither are meant for Heavy Duty hauling.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          He was careful to limit to HD trucks. Ford is coming out with a new V-8 in the next Super Duty, that’ll be one to watch.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Please show me the HD truck that offers the 3.5 Ecoboost…..

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        It depends on where you live. I’ve spoken about this at length in the past.

        Some places Diesel and Gas prices are about even. Rural Ohio is one such example. My f350 was well into the 20s on fuel economy for DD duties, better than the gasser of the same year by far… AND I had much more power.

        the Diesels get way better fuel economy for the power output. Most people who want to say the diesels arent better fuel economy meisters are comparing like a 380 HP 430 lb-ft gasser to a 450 HP, 935 lb-ft diesel.

        You equalize those for torque (MPG adjusted for lb-ft of torque) and the diesel gets like DOUBLE the fuel economy of the gasser any way you measure it.

        Does the $5000 purchase price offset the gas savings? probably not… but since when are car purchases at all practical. I spent SIX FIGURES on a sports car. Does that help me in life? no. Do I need it? no. Does it get awful fuel economy? yes. Do I love it? Yes.

        1000 ft-lb of torque helps about 1 in 100000 people, but its cool. its nice, and its not a financial decision.

        Its the same mentality that gets someone to buy the 2.0t instead of the 2.4L – better performance or a higher cost

        Or the TT Stinger instead of the 2.0t stinger.

        Or the Camaro SS instead of the LS.

        None of these are practical purchases. Car buying is not a practical purchase.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          For private use, yeah who really cares? Get the rattler if it makes you happy. But commercially, every dollar counts, and that’s where diesels loses to gassers (except for extreme towing, long distance, ASAP).

          Clearly it’s not as simple as upfront costs and fuel used.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I think the biggest appeal of diesel trucks for people right now is their low revving nature.

        I’m a fan of the current HD gasoline offerings, but they all require some RPMs to get hustling, especially when you start adding weight. For the GoodSam and rv.net crowds the idea of regularly going over 3500 revolutions or needing WOT is apocalyptic.

        It is certainly possible to make a low revving, big torque gas engine, hopefully a manufacturer starts offering one in an HD.

        • 0 avatar
          cdotson

          Agreed; Having dragged my camper down I-95 in northern Virginia at 3300rpm with 4k+ WOT to merge and to keep from being run over it’s tiring even after only a few hours. My wife slept through it, but she needed earplugs.

          I would welcome a turbo gasoline direct injected V8 HD truck offering. They should get nearly diesel-like torque with much less upfront cost outlay. Current fuel prices strongly favor gasoline. Kneecapping high-RPM horsepower for HD trucks shouldn’t be an issue with a massive plateau of torque and more gear ratios in transmissions.

          Not in the article, but the Ram HD gas is now 6.4L only and it has the 8 speed trans. Diesels are still 6spd with the higher-rated engine requiring the Aisin trans.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      …less longevity than before…

      Jack, I respectfully submit that today the gas engine will require substantially less maintenance and repair than the diesel engine of same year in standard bro-dozer type trim (meaning the guy who drives his truck TO work not FOR work). I will double down if one chooses the standard pushrod V8 vs the high compression turbo 6 or 4; LS, Coyote, HEMI have proven durability with relatively low repair requirements. My jury is still out on the gas engines with turbos in truck use. I am sure I will come around eventually…

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        @87,

        I agree 100%, and in fact what I said was less of a longevity ‘edge’ for the diesel than ever before. The days of million mile 5.9 Cummins and 7.3L PSD are over, and a well maintained gas engine in an HD truck will go 250,000 miles without trouble. Hence the reason I bought a 6.2L in my Super Duty.

        @Vulpine,

        Near me, the price of 87 unleaded is $2.05, 93 octane is $2.55, and diesel is $2.89. So not quite a dollar but pretty close. And still reasonable savings vs. premium, if you are inclined to use it. I can’t speak for every truck engine, but in my Ford 6.2, the published power ratings are using 87 octane, which is all I use, even when towing. They do indeed mention using 91 octane in the manual for best performance under heavy loads, but I have not once had any trouble using the regular stuff. Maybe if you’re towing right at the limit, but if I was doing that I would have bought the diesel in the first place.

        @arach,

        Certainly no one can accuse me of practical vehicle purchases :)
        But for a truck, the calculation is a bit different, at least in my mind. Diesel to me provides little to no benefit at a high cost. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone buying what makes them happy, regardless if they have any justification or not. That’s why we are enthusiasts. I’m just upset that in 2002, you could buy a diesel with 500-550 lb-ft, or a big block gas V8 or V10 with 400-460 lb-ft from any of the 3 HD manufacturers. Now in 2019, you can buy a 900-1000 lb-ft diesel, or a 380-430 lb-ft small block gasser. Why should diesel guys get to be the only ones in an arms race?

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        “My jury is still out on the gas engines with turbos in truck use. I am sure I will come around eventually…”

        It shouldn’t be.

        See: https://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/6-f150-ecoboost-chat/28082-300-000-miles-my-2011-eco-boost-2.html

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          How many Ecoboosts did Ford subject the population to between 2010-2011? 400K? 500K? If the internet has taught me anything, it’s that there are people out there who were happy racking up intergalactic mileages on Vegas and Corvairs. If running a shop in the real world taught me anything, it’s that F150s turn into pumpkins more often than they hold up like Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The diesels offer the benefit of huge torque, even more now than ever. I do agree that if you NEED that power, it’s worth getting.

      Conversely, the gas engines are usually quicker to speed, even if they don’t offer the maximum torque. If you’re only do an occasional tow (less than once per month on average) then the gas engine is good. BUT… To get the maximum torque out of the gas engines, the OEMs usually demand either mid-grade or premium gasoline, eliminating half of the savings from using regular. GM, at least in my case, has “Minimum Octane rating 87” with a strong suggestion that higher octanes offer better performance and reliability. It also specifically states to use Premium when towing near or at its limits… meaning roughly 5000# or above, since I’m driving a mid-sized Colorado. I can promise you that the 2.7L turbo in the new Silverado will demand Premium most of the time.

      In other words, that $1.00 more per gallon saved is not saved, Jack4x. At most, you save about 40¢ and if you follow the manual, you’re probably only saving about 5¢ to 10¢ per gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        “The diesels offer the benefit of huge torque, even more now than ever. I do agree that if you NEED that power, it’s worth getting.”

        Technically, torque is a measure of force, not power.

        “Conversely, the gas engines are usually quicker to speed, even if they don’t offer the maximum torque.”

        Yes, and that’s why the gas engines usually have higher HP (power). They can apply their force at higher speeds.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Every time I see a pickup truck pulling a car-hauling trailer, it’s a Ram 3500 Diesel. I have yet to see any other brand pulling one of these trailers loaded.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      That’s a proven fact.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I see plenty being pulled by Ford F-450/F-550s. These are not “HD” light pickups but genuine Medium Duty trucks. The Class 4/5 trucks have way less rated power and torque as the emissions testing is done differently. On the flip side they can run at rated power for a much higher duty cycle and hold up.

      I think the benefit of the Ram 3500 is better rated performance than the de-rated heavier Fords, and the Cummins still holds up.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        There’s nothing different about the required emissions testing. All engines between 175-750hp have to meet the same emissions under tier IV final. Commercial vehicles above 14,000 GVW do have to carry a clean idle Certification or have programming that shuts the engine down after 5 minutes of being stationary, but the Certification is nothing above and beyond another money grab.

        Generally C&C vehicles are derated because owners are more concerned with longevity than bragging about how much torque their torque managed engine is capable of. They also tend to have lower gears than pickups which goes a long way to make up for the difference in power.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @cdotson: “I see plenty being pulled by Ford F-450/F-550s.”

        That may be true; I don’t know. I have never seen a Ford of any model pulling a string of cars on a trailer unless it’s a Class 7 or 8 with 10-car capacity. The Ram is very easy to recognize and passing (or being passed) by a Ram with a 3- or 5-car loaded trailer is very noticeable. Most of them are being operated by a ferrying service from north to south along I-95 during the fall and back north in the spring. Some few also appear to serve as inventory exchange carriers for dealerships, too… even when said dealership does not carry Ram trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      All of them are good and the Power stroke will get the job done, but the Cummins has a slight edge when used for heavy duty, commercial work. Turning a few hundred less RPM to do the same work equals huge yearly savings at the pump.

      The Duramax is great for personal use, but can’t go the distance, 3 to 400K miles, constant hammering, commercially, full-time freight/car hauling.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    At a certain point does it just become superfluous?

    950 plus, 1000 plus – It’s like an episode of “who’s line is it anyway”

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Who wins, and when?”

    Exxon, maybe?

  • avatar
    IBx1

    And they dropped the manual option

    They’re all dead to me

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Sounds like someone needs a cold shower. Or a few good Rams.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    When do we reach terminal torque?

    According to the google, the 2018 Kenworth T680 sleeper has 1650 lbs of twist or 1850 in day cab form.
    While that is half again or more, those are designed to pull 80k lbs. Should a 1 ton truck be pulling more than 30k lbs? At some point doesn’t the stopping power/ability of the truck become an issue?

  • avatar
    JRobUSC

    “Monday, Fiat Chrysler made another thing official — a 1,000 lb-ft torque figure for the more powerful of its two revamped Cummins six-pot diesels.”

    Six pot? So that’s a 6-cylinder engine making 1000lb-ft, more than the competitor V8’s referenced later in the article?

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      All Cummins engines are inline engines (except for the 5.0 in the Nissan)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Most big rigs use an I-6 as well, and they have substantial torque. There is no rule that says V-8s are required, but none that says they can’t be competitive, either.

      The Ram’s new max towing is 100lbs more than Ford’s, and that’s with the H.O. version of the engine. That is more about bragging rights than it is being more useful.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    That’s a lot of torque to take a child to a soccer game.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    People misunderstand/misapply torque ratings. Flywheel torque tells you what your powerband is. Horsepower is the rate at which torque is produced. More horsepower = more pulling power. The benefit to the higher torque ratings is that more power is generated at lower engine speeds, which is important for a diesel that cannot reliably sustain high RPM due to internal friction associated with heavier parts.

    TL/DR: Horsepower is still the important figure. Torque tells you where in the RPM range that power is produced. Neverhteless, a 450 horsepower/400 lb. ft. gas engine will out pull a diesel engine making 380 horsepower/1,000 lb. ft. of torque. It’s just physics.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I think you left out an important point in your closing statement. Wouldn’t the gas engine need different gearing to outpull the diesel? IE, if the transmission gearing was similar for both engines, would there not be certain loads that the diesel could move in first gear that would stall the gas engine?

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Theoretically yes, but the more important consideration is designing the ratios to keep the engine in the powerband at common towing speeds.

        Ram and GM have completely different transmissions for gas vs diesel, and Ford has a different transmission in the F250. The F350 gas uses the diesel transmission. The rear end ratios offered are also different between gas and diesel in all cases.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        You’re right, and the answer to your question is yes, but modern transmissions make up for that.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    So who would win a tug-of-war: a 2019 Ram HD, or ten NA6 Miatas? And all the Miatas had working viscous limited-slip diffs, and the tug-of-war took place in the dirt, so all 11 drivers had to deal with wheelspin and the Ram driver couldn’t just floor it while the Miata drivers were friggling around trying not to fry their clutches? How about nine NA6 Miatas and a Clydesdale horse?

    Just finished a work project…not eager to start the next one.


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