Dodge Ram 1500
- Author: blog_team_2
- Date: 27 May, 2012
The 2013 Ram 1500 leapfrogged competitors with its new Pentastar V6 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, and 6% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency.
The 2013 Ram was, Fred Diaz said, meant to just be an incremental update, a refresh: new grille and headlights, interior tweaks, and the like. Instead, Sergio suggested they go deeper, and they did, reaching down to the frame, putting in the new PowerNet electronics architecture and next-generation UConnect, and making many other changes to go along with the new engine and transmissions. With best-in-class fuel economy, the Ram 1500 with V6 engine also boosted horsepower by 42% and torque by 13% over the 2012 model. The Hemi V8 boosted gas mileage by 20% (with the late-availability eight-speed automatic) and is on track to take the V8-truck gas-mileage crown.
The credit goes partly to the class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission, now dubbed “TorqueFlite 8.Dave Sowers of Ram marketing said he couldn’t remember who came up with the idea, but that everyone liked it — originally the TorqueFlite itself, then both modern and reliable, was called TorqueFlite 6 and TorqueFlite 8 depending on the engine it was hooked up to.The new transmission is standard with the V-6, which previously used a four-speed; and will, in calendar-year 2013, later join the Hemi. The transmission is operated not by the awkward shifter used in 300 and Charger, but by a heavy-duty-truck inspired rotary dial. 4.7 keeps the old shifter and six-speed.
When the eight-speed is ordered, the column shift and console shift have both been jettisoned in favor of a rotary dial, the first in pickups, also seen in heavy duty trucks (Class 6-8). On the driver’s right, at the lower left-hand side of the center stack, it replaces the transfer case shift knob, and has intuitive operation, rotating from Park (left position) through Reverse, Neutral, and Drive; it allows quick shifting for operators wearing gloves and for blind-shift transitions between “Drive” and “Reverse.” (ST, SLT and Sport models get a black rubber over mold with chrome surround, while all Laramie models include a solid, spun-aluminum knob finished in silver. Low gear is handled by the buttons on the steering wheel — not the big paddles from the Charger, but little buttons that are smaller than the cruise control, and have a similar feel. The transfer case retains is operated with push buttons. Trucks with the six speed automatic (early Hemis and the 4.7) still get a floor or column shifter.
The 2013 Ram 1500 has an optional air suspension system which optimizes ride and aerodynamics, while adding load-leveling. Air pressure increases until the vehicle reaches normal ride height, leveling the truck and improving the loaded ride. It has five height settings that operate automatically or via console or key fob controls:
- Normal Ride Height NRH 8.7 inches of clearance from the base of the door sill is the default, load-leveled ride height
- Aero: Lowers the Ram by 1.1 inches, increasing gas mileage by up to 1%. It is activated by speed.
- Off-road 1 and 2: Lifts the vehicle 1.2 and 2 inches, respectively, to clear obstacles
- Park: Lowers the truck by 2 inches from NRH for easy entry/exit and cargo loading
The 2013 Ram 1500’s frame was redesigned with greater stiffness to increase stability and handling while cutting noise and vibration up to 30%. Front rails have 20% higher yield strength due to high-strength steel. The new frame design has new powertrain, air suspension, and body mounting technology.Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section has high-strength steel that maintains strength and durability while saving around 30 pounds. Larger body mounts are on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar. Two frame lengths are available: 120-inch and 140-inch.
The 2013 Ram 1500 uses electric power steering (EPS) — the hydraulic pump is replaced by an electric motor, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8% and adding 5 horsepower. EPS reduces complexity, eliminating the hydraulic pump, hoses, and cooling apparatus. In addition, each Ram 1500 model can be calibrated to optimize steering effort and precision, regardless of body or powertrain; it also senses constant input from the driver, for example a crown in the road, and compensates for improved comfort. EPS will be needed if a hybrid version is produced in the future.New box floor cross-members in the bed cut 7 pounds, and a new front bumper removes 4 pounds, in addition to up to 30 pounds in weight savings from the new frame. Aluminum upper and lower control arms in the front suspension cut more weight, also improving handling, while an aluminum hood saves 26 pounds. Underneath the hood, the V6 model powertrain is 76 pounds lighter, while the eight-speed used with the Hemi is 30 pounds lighter.The 2013 Ram 1500 has low-rolling resistance tires to minimize wasted energy; the new brakes have a relocated ABS pump for reduced vibration, and has shorter brake pedal travel. A new hydraulic-boost compensation unit enhances brake pedal feel and performance during emergency stops.
The Ram grille bars, with a more sculpted look, have been made flush with the grille surround, and have a new Ram badge at their crossing. There are four grille designs; ST, SLT and R/T have a molded-in black “Hex-Link,” Big Horn and Sport have a “Billet-Perf” texture in two different finishes (one for each model), Laramie has a chrome “Hex-Perf,” and Laramie Longhorn has Wave-Mesh. The new front bumper supports the saddled Ram grille theme with vertically oriented fog lamps that improve light pattern and brightness. Larger openings around the front tow hooks (4x4s) ease access. Bumpers, like grilles, are matched to models, and come in black, body color, two-tone accent, or chrome.
The headlamps have better light patterns, distance, and brightness (30% more lumens), with a new bi-functional halogen projector design (on Sport and Laramie Longhorn, optional on Laramie) that includes 15 amber LEDs for park/turn/position lamp and three amber LEDs for the side marker; the LEDs are softened with vertically ribbed inner lenses. A Ram shield logo is molded into the housing and the Ram name is molded into the inside of the outer lens. A premium taillamp, standard on Sport (with unique black finish) and Laramie Longhorn, optional on Laramie, has 15 red LEDs with three red LEDs for the side marker. A frosted inner lens softens the glow of the LEDs.Each Ram 1500 model features new wheel designs that incorporate the “gusseted” theme from the Ram grille. Door and fender badges were relocated to a “portrait” style format, for a cleaner appearance and more “real estate” on doors for customer signs and graphics. The HEMI® fender badge is larger, and finished in chrome with red and black accents. The new, polished stainless steel running boards have a sturdy-looking box cross-section design with a hexagon tread pattern and Ram logos on end caps; the new wheel- to-wheel running board has less drag and increases access to the forward portion of the truck bed.For 2013, the Ram 1500 comes in 12 different colors, including five new shades (Black Gold Pearl, Copperhead Pearl, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie Pearl, and Western Brown Pearl). They are available in a monotone and/or two-tone, depending on the model.
Inside, the interior has material upgrades, better fit and finish, new themes and colors, new HVAC controls, and new multi-media systems. Rear occupants can enjoy the same quality as the driver; and soft-touch materials enhance armrests and upper bolsters. ST comes in black and “diesel.SLT adds a choice of Canyon Brown/Light Frost, and Sport is black. Laramie customers can choose from black or Canyon Brown/Light Frost, and Laramie Longhorn has Cattle Tan/Black or Canyon Brown/Light Frost. As for the center stack, ST has dark gray with an iron gray metallic bezel; SLT has anodized driftwood paint with satin chrome accents; Sport has dark gray anodized with light black chrome and shiny black for a street truck feel. Laramie has Light Anodized Driftwood paint, with a Wenge wood pattern.
Laramie Longhorn now has real walnut burl stained in Canyon Brown or Cattle Tan; Silver Pebble paint covers the bezel. The rare walnut grain was unintentionally created by ranchers using trees as fence posts for barbed wire; eventually, the trees grew over the rusting metal wire, creating a unique coloring pattern and tone. The 2013 Ram 1500 has the next generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system; fitting it required upgrading the center stack. The new HVAC controls have simple, improved functions and allow the operator to use either the touchscreen or manual controls. A new switch bank has two rows, the top row for functional features (air-suspension lift, stop/start, stability control, park sense and tow/haul), the bottom for comfort controls (air suspension lower, heated steering wheel, heated seats, and ventilated seats). All buttons in the comfort bank also are redundant in the Uconnect system.
Next to the switch bank is an adjustable integrated trailer brake control; the center stack also includes a 115-volt outlet and a drawer at the base with a smooth, tool box-slide action, 12-volt outlets on either side, and an optional powered USB on the driver side. With the shifter out of the way, all 2013 Ram 1500 trucks with bucket seats have extra storage. Six-passenger capability continues to be available with the 40-20-40 bench seat.
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