Less than a year has passed since Ram Trucks launched its revised line of Ram Heavy Duty pickups, but the company isn’t ready to rest on its laurels. In fact, it has a number of new upgrades in store for the new 2014 Ram Heavy Duty range, including the 2014 Ram 2500 and 2014 Ram 3500 pickups.
-2500 Rear Coil Suspension: There’s some big changes at the tail end of 2014 Ram 2500 pickups. In lieu of traditional leaf springs, the 2014 Ram 2500 follows in the footsteps of the light-duty Ram 1500 and adopts a five-link suspension design with coil springs. As we found firsthand in the 1500, the new rear suspension should bless the 2014 Ram 2500 with a vastly improved ride quality – but with a mild decrease in towing capability.
Full payload and towing specifications have yet to be released, but Ram says the 2014 Ram 2500 can tow up to 17,940 pounds. That’s shy of the 18,350 maximum trailer rating attached to a 2013 Ram 2500 4×2 long-bed with the Cummins 6.7-liter turbo-diesel I-6, but it does eclipse the tow ratings for both the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD (17,800 pounds) and the Ford F-250 (16,800).
-Optional Rear Air Suspension: In 2013, the light-duty Ram 1500 model gained an optional air suspension system. For 2014, air suspension comes to the heavy-duty Ram pickup range – but only on the rear axle.
Air rear suspension is offered in two different forms, depending on the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty model. If ordered on a 2014 Ram 2500 model, the truck retains its five-link rear suspension but replaces the coil springs with air bags. On 2014 Ram 3500 models, the truck retains its Hotchkiss rear leaf springs, but gains a pair of “helper” air bags. In this arrangement, Ram softened the rear spring rates to improve unladen ride quality, but the rear bags inflate automatically under high-load conditions to stiffen the rear suspension.
According to Ram Trucks, neither system reduces payload or towing capacities when compared to their non-air-sprung siblings, meaning the 2014 Ram 3500 can still be spec’ed to tow a 30,000-pound fifth-wheel trailer. Both systems also boast load-leveling functionality, allowing for the system to adjust pressures and level the truck when loaded with cargo or when coupled to a trailer.
-Other Ram 2500 Upgrades: Last year, Ram 3500 pickups gained a new three-link front suspension design, wider frame rails made of 50,000 psi steel, and a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer hitch mount integrated into a rear frame crossmember – but the 2500 trucks did not. Those features have now been ported to the 2014 Ram 2500 pickup range.
Four-wheel-drive 2014 Ram 2500 models also gain the front-axle disconnect feature introduced on the 2013 Ram 3500, which decouples the front axle when not in use, reducing driveline loss and improving fuel economy by as much as 1 mpg.
-6.4-liter Hemi V-8: Previously, the lone gas engine available on the heavy-duty Ram pickups was the familiar 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. That engine still serves as the base engine offering on 2500 and 3500 trucks, but a new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 option – derived from the same 6.4-liter Hemi found in a number of SRT performance vehicles – is available on both 2014 Ram 2500 and 3500 models.
According to Ram, the 6.4-liter offers 410 hp at 5600 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. In order to adapt the engine for truck duty, the 6.4 gains a new cooled exhaust gas recirculation system, a high-volume oil cooler, and a new active dual-runner intake manifold. An optional dual-alternator setup has also been designed for the 6.4. Like the 5.7-liter V-8, the 6.4-liter Hemi sports cylinder deactivation to increase fuel economy during part-throttle use. Also like the 5.7, the 6.4-liter is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission.
-Power Wagon Upgrades: Since it’s based upon the Ram 2500, the off-road oriented 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon also gains the new five-link rear suspension and coil springs. That should help increase axle articulation, but a unique variant of the new three-link front suspension, featuring high-movement links, further allows the truck to articulate over severe terrain. Better yet, Power Wagon customers are no longer restricted to a single engine offering, as the 6.4-liter Hemi is also available on 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon models.
-Cosmetics: There’s no interior or exterior makeover planned, but the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty range does gain two new exterior paint colors and a new range of 18- and 20-inch wheels.
-3500, 4500, 5500 Chassis Cab Models: These commercial variants of the Ram Heavy Duty pickup line continue with few revisions, although the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 and the Ram 3500’s helper air suspension are now options.
Look for the new 2014 Ram 2500 and 2014 Ram 3500 pickups to go on sale later this year, as production is scheduled to kick off in the third quarter of 2013.