Torque of the Town: 2019 Ram Heavy Duty

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
torque of the town 2019 ram heavy duty

Last year was a bountiful season for truck fans, with two of the Detroit Three introducing new iterations of their half-ton pickups. The twelve months ahead promise an equal amount of abundance – except this time, OEMs are doling out treats from the Heavy Duty cupboard.

Back in September, your humble author opined on this website that he would “not be surprised if Ram is the first manufacturer to crest 1,000 lb-ft of torque in a consumer truck.” Color us unsurprised, then, as the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup will indeed be available with four-figure torque.

Let’s start by examining what you’re all here to learn: its greasy powertrain details.

The standard engine in the 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty is upgraded to the proven and potent 6.4-liter Hemi V8, delivering 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The smaller 5.7-liter Hemi has vanished, and rightfully so. Mated to the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic, a first for the HD and identified by its rotary shifter knob, the “six-four” employs variable cam timing technology and cylinder deactivation.

But that’s not the headliner. Optional on all trims save for the Power Wagon is the Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six turbo diesel. It will be offered in two variants. The standard-output mill makes 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb-ft of torque at 1,700 rpm and is backed by an upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed automatic.

However, the high-output diesel engine – sharing displacement with its less powerful brother – is rated at 400 horse at 2,800 rpm and a sky-high 1,000 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. It is mated to an Aisin AS69RC automatic, also with six gears. Both diesels redline at 3,200 rpm.

While displacement may be familiar, the diesel mill sees a number of alterations from the current engine. Changes begin at the core, with a cylinder block made from compacted graphite iron. Using compacted graphite iron instead of grey cast iron produces a cylinder block that is stronger and better able to dampen vibrations, yet weighs less. Overall, the new Cummins Turbo Diesel weighs more than 60 pounds less than the previous-generation engine, despite making these outrageous numbers.

The new Turbo Diesel has a bore of 4.21 inches and stroke of 4.88 inches, for you engine nerds in the audience. A compression ratio of 16.2:1 is given to the high-output and 19.0:1 for the standard output. Boost taps out at 33 psi. A new cast-iron cylinder head builds on the new block with changes that include new exhaust valves and springs, and new rocker arms driven by a hollow camshaft. This helps explain the 60 lb weight savings.

Surely, there are parallel timelines in which a thousand foot-pounds of torque in a truck that is sodden with luxury and available to anyone who can afford the thing does not exist. Too bad for them. I’ll take my diesel in top-rung Limited trim, please and thank you.

Speaking of trim levels, there will be six steps on the ladder, all of them familiar. Tradesman models will do grunt work at job sites, Big Horn (or Lone Star if yer in Texas) and Laramie bring a level of glitz without going overboard. Meanwhile, the Laramie Longhorn and Limited ladle on the luxury for county mice and city slickers, respectively. In the midst of all that sits the macho Power Wagon. Note well: the fun off-road Power Wagon gear – Bilsteins, front and rear lockers, winch, and disconnecting front sway bar – is available on the Tradesman trim for those who don’t enjoy the extroverted Power Wagon styling cues.

If you’re a fan of the interior found in the current Ram 1500, and plenty of people are, you’ll find a lot to like in the new HD pickups. Making an appearance is the dandy new 12-inch Uconnect screen, a feature which is quickly becoming a matter of bragging rights in a lot of circles. FCA seems to have figured out its supply issues for the unit, as it will be optional on everything except the base Tradesman and Big Horn.

Your author was stoked to learn the Power Wagon will continue to be equipped with a stick poking out of the floor with which to stir the 4×4 system. Other trims will have familiar dash-mounted buttons to the right of the steering column. Gas-powered models will have a rotary knob with which to shift the eight-speed; diesels will continue on with a baseball bat column shifter sprouting from the steering column like an overgrown larch.

Around-view 360-degree monitoring systems are available on all levels of Ram HD, worth noting due to its helpfulness with parking duties, and will be welcomed by those who take their Power Wagon on a trail (as it’ll be easier to see that dweeb from Greenpeace they’re about to run over). Adaptive cruise, forward collision warning systems, and automatic emergency braking gear is also available. The latter even works with trailer brakes.

Expect to see a lot of ads touting the Ram HD’s best-in-class towing rating of 35,100 lbs. Naturally, this figure applies to but a single bodystyle – the diesel 3500 4×2 dually with a regular cab and 4.10 rear end gears. A potentially more common truck, a diesel 2500 4×4 Crew Cab short box with 3.73s, can haul just over 19,000 lbs. An integrated trailer brake controller is standard across the board except on Tradesman.

In terms of styling, these new Ram Heavy Duty trucks cut a lantern-jawed and handsome figure, eschewing needless flourishes for a more traditional appearance that builds on the current look. As expected, the gunsight grille is dead and buried but a bulging hood and expressive headlights retain more of the Kenworth look than its smaller half-ton brother. Check out this attractive shot of a new 3500 dually – as is said in my home province of Newfoundland: ARSE ON DAT.

Customers will be able to select from four different cab and box configurations: the well-proportioned Regular Cab with an 8-foot box shown at the top of this post, a Crew Cab with either a 6’4” or 8-foot box, and a positively enormous Mega Cab with a 6’4” box. A rear air suspension system is optional on every trim level except the Power Wagon.

Several body elements are upgraded from mild steel to high-strength steel on the 2019 Heavy Duty pickups. Additional light-weighting efforts consist of an aluminum hood, which contributes to an overall weight reduction of 143 pounds on volume models. That’s not a lot, but every ounce helps.

As is the norm these days during new vehicle introductions, no pricing was announced. Expect a modest increase given the new tech and power. The new 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups will go on sale later this year.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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2 of 21 comments
  • Garrett Garrett on Jan 15, 2019

    They need to put the 1,000 lb/ft engine in the Charger.

  • ChevyIIfan ChevyIIfan on Jan 23, 2019

    " A potentially more common truck, a diesel 2500 4×4 Crew Cab short box with 3.73s, can haul just over 19,000 lbs." Depending on what. Certainly not an RV. A 2500 diesel will have less than than 2500 lbs payload. At 15-20% tongue weight for a properly loaded 5th wheel, a 10,000 lb 5th wheel will make you illegal and overloaded if you put more than the driver and their spouse in the truck.

  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere ( racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. It is now used as a beater vehicle primarily to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc. Just right seat height for her to get in and out of.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.