By on February 7, 2019

Image: FCA

Dropping its third truck shoe for 2019, Ram unveiled its light- and medium-duty chassis cab options at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday.

Built to take on whatever application the buyers chooses, the stripped-down trucks offer up the same updates seen on the 2019 Ram HD, including its newly upgraded Cummins inline-six diesel.

Offered in 3500, 4500, and 5500 guise, Ram’s new chassis cabs boast four frame lengths, with its skeleton now composed of 97 percent high-strength steel. Eight cross members help keep things rigid.

Image: FCA

While you might not notice the 120 pounds in weight savings (there’s now an aluminum hood, in addition to other feathery components), you’ll probably recognize the redesigned interior, which now features a 12-inch touchscreen running Uconnect 4C Nav. More importantly, you’ll have at your disposal a towing capacity of up to 35,220 pounds — a class-leading figure Ram is happy to brag about. Payload tops out at 12,550 pounds, with a gross combined weight rating of 43,000 pounds.

Ram’s offerings cover the normal Class 3, 4, and 5 GVW ratings, though there’s a Class 2 chassis cab available, too.

Image: FCA

Powering these rigs is a standard 6.4-liter Hemi V8, good for 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, and 2019 brings an eight-speed automatic on board for the first time. Buyers of 4500/5500 models can outfit their truck with a 370 hp version of that same engine and an Aisin six-speed automatic with Power Take-Off function.

Unlike Ram’s HD trucks, chassis cabs of all classes are only available with one flavor of Cummins — a 360 hp, 800 lb-ft 6.7-liter paired with a six-speed auto. No four-figure torque rating here.

Available on the 2019 chassis cab is adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, AEB with trailer brakes, and forward collision warning. For operators looking for greater near-vehicle surveillance, Ram’s ParkSense Park Assist system offers visual and audible indications, plus a 270-degree camera system with trailer reverse-guidance view. Tire pressure monitoring can look after six tires on the truck and up to 12 on a trailer. Those with deeper pockets can opt for an adaptive headlight system, thus preventing retina burns on oncoming drivers.

As luxury is now a thing even in medium-duty trucks, the chassis cab trim range spans the gamut from the workaday Tradesman, up through SLT and Laramie, before topping out at the new Limited. If it’s creature comforts you want, Ram will gladly accept your money for a nearly unlimited range of items.

What you’ll pay for any of this remains a mystery for now. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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11 Comments on “C Is for Chassis: Ram’s Biggest Goes to Work...”

  • avatar


    Except I just have a hard time picturing the guys who drive these on a regular basis really appreciating being over run with nannies to assist them

    • 0 avatar

      Why would anyone driving these classes not appreciate all the nannies/aides they can get their hands on? Believe me you’re always hyper alert of everything around you (or should be), and extremely aware of all things pertaining to getting there safe, on time, zero issues, no hassles, etc.

      • 0 avatar

        Idon’t know, why do so many guys prefer a stick shift when a automatic trans performs better?

        • 0 avatar

          Yes and no. Yeah when I entered the trucking biz, late ’80s, automatic trucks were the extremely rare exception, bizarre almost. My first automatic (anything!) I’ve ever owned (1st non diesel too!) was in 1999, a ’97 F-450 (original “Super Duty”, commercial cab-n-chassis ‘only’ at the time) in sad shape, but extremely cheap.

          I’ve never looked back and won’t buy another stick shift, fullsize pickup to commercial classes, unless I cannot absolutely avoid it. There’s too many disadvantages to “stick shift” bigger trucks now (I’ll make a list if you want), with automatics now improved many fold.

          I only ended up buying/restoring the ’97 (late model at the time) because they were basically giving it away (non 4wd too). It ran good, but had excessive blow-by with the trans slipping from a combination of abuse, neglect, broken odometer, and obvious (but unknown) excessive hard miles.

          It ended up one of my favorite trucks of all time, miss it, but it was obsolete a couple years later, in terms of payload/towing.

          So that ’97 automatic definitely earned my respect, and it wasn’t even a very good trans, one of Ford’s worst actually (E40D). Months earlier I’d bought a ’99 F-550 Super Duty (diesel), brand new with the 6-speed stick and I still own it as a backup/spare truck, and heck yeah I enjoy driving it, rowing the gears and whatnot. What a superb classic! I have to “double clutch” 3rd though, or it’ll grind (300+K miles). Sharp, clean and XLT too.

  • avatar

    So why do they lower the peak horsepower and torque numbers from the 3/4 and 1 ton models for these units? I think all the manufacturers do this. Just curious.

    • 0 avatar

      They lower them because these engines are designed to run for the long haul. De-rating puts less stress on the motor and drivetrain components, and any capacity losses will be made up for with gearing.

      Folks buying the commercial chassis aren’t bro-dozer/HP Wars type of folks.
      They’re gonna run this thing till the wheels fall off. “Performance” tuning is wasted on that market.

      • 0 avatar

        Reminds me of the old HD 350 gas V8 that was available in various permutations in 3/4 and 1 ton Chevy/GMC trucks from at least the mid 80s into the mid 90s.

        If you looked at the stats it looked like a diesel on paper. When I was going to college and working in the maintenance department we had two 4×4 trucks so outfitted. One was a mid 80s Chevy that was used for towing a gooseneck dump trailer (mostly for hauling yard waste and occasionally construction waste) or plow duty. It had hydraulic pumps etc. The other was a mid 90s GMC 4×4 that was used for plow duty exclusively.

        Neither was fast but both were “right now” torque-y and reliable.

      • 0 avatar

        I understand what your saying but must we then assume that the other trucks are not “designed for the long haul”? I say this not to be argumentative. I have several friends who have 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks that they use in landscaping and plowing businesses. These trucks pull and haul from early spring to late fall then push snow all winter. I can assure you that longevity/ durability is high on the list of imperatives when these trucks are chosen. Yes, many hd trucks live a leisurely life rarely being worked to their limits, but lots of them have to earn their keep.

        • 0 avatar

          One tons and 3/4 tons are far more likely to be privately owned, or business owner/operator, RV status, and or small mom-n-pops, (or garage queens, just haul air, etc, as many here like to complain) as opposed to straight commercial fleets, mostly class 4 and up.

          When owners are far removed from the driving and use (or abuse), they care less of how fast a truck is from stop sign to stop sign, outrunning the pack to the top of the grade, bragging rights, resale value, etc, and would clearly prefer to conserve fuel, brakes, trans, etc, and the truck itself, for the “long haul” or ultimate fleet longevity, since they’ll probably own them until the wheels (almost) fall off.

        • 0 avatar

          @kcflyer – Increasing HP and torque means increased heat and extra internal stress. Civilian pickups aren’t expected to run day in and day out pulling/hauling heavy loads reliably. A big camper pulled a few months out of the year isn’t the same as making a living with your truck.

  • avatar

    Ordering one.

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