Dodge chassis cabs move into 2011

Nov. 1, 2009
Beacuse of the added cost of trucks with the new emissions system and the increased demand for trucks built before 2010, Dodge decided to have a short 2010 model year prior to January 1

BECAUSE of the added cost of trucks with the new emissions system and the increased demand for trucks built before 2010, Dodge decided to have a short 2010 model year prior to January 1. Ram chassis cabs will all be built within this calendar year, and then 2011 models will be built starting in April.

The 2011 Ram chassis cabs will continue to use the previous generation's chassis and frame, but will provide higher capabilities and more body options, including a crew cab.

Dave Donnelly, head electrical engineer for Commercial Vehicle Engineering, said the chassis cabs have added four all-new upfitter switches integrated on the instrument panel, each linked to an auxiliary Power Distribution Center (PDC) under the hood that includes one fused 20-amp battery feed and one 20-amp fused relay controlled by the ignition.

Two switches are ignition-fed and two are either battery or ignition. All four can handle 40 amps, but the overall total of 130 can't be exceeded. Switch outputs are under the hood. Standard are a seven-circuit trailer harness and a special upfitter jumper cable, a wiring harness for ancillary power needs.

“For upfitter friendliness, we have the circuits integrated into two four-way connectors,” Donnelly said.

The auxiliary PDC contains seven fuses: four for the auxiliary switches, one for the PTO/spare, one for the 20-amp upfitter battery feed and one 5-amp mini-fuse to allow changing switch one and switch two from the ignition feed to the battery feed. The PDC houses six relays: four for the auxiliary switches, one for the Aisin PTO or spare, and one that provides a 20-amp upfitter ignition feed.

Donnelly said that those who have a 2008 or early-2009 model-year vehicle and want a single-set speed on the PTO are required to go to the dealership to have the latest Cummins software flashed into the vehicle. But that now can be done without going to the dealership: In order for the feature to work, the PTO must be wired as a remote and not a standard PTO.

The 2011 models also have a new hard-wired remote start system. The required module will be available from Dodge dealers, and enabling and disabling the module will not require a dealership tool. A circuit will be provided in the I/P harness that allows the upfitter to attach a push-button style switch. When pushed, the switch will complete the circuit to “ground.” This requires automatic transmission, the vehicle in park, and the key in the “run” position.

New feature content includes:

  • Idle shutdown timer settable via a service tool. “You do not have to turn off the vehicle after five minutes. However, some of you asked for the capability. Currently, we have that. It will require you to go to a dealership and change the idle set speed. The lowest is 3, and the longest is 999.”

  • Optional integrated trailer brake controller.

  • Hard-wired remote start (for automatics only).

  • Mobile PTO max vehicle speed settable via a service tool, with a range of 8-50 mph. “You will not be able to set the cruise.”

New under-hood connector for standard SAE-J1939 messages (receive only). “Many of you will be able to take advantage of this, especially if you're an ambulance upfitter or large manufacturer. That has its own modules that interface.” The list of messages includes engine and vehicle speed, park-brake applied, system voltage, brake-switch status, clutch-switch engaged, wait-to-start status, and coolant temperature.

Head chassis engineer Chris Borczon said the frame is the only notable revision on the 4500/5500: The bumper bracket holes move 17mm rearward, “so if you have anything that attaches on a front bumper, you'll need to accommodate that change.”

The emissions system includes an 8.2-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank, DEF filter and pump, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalyst and SCR module.

“If you're doing pretty much the industry standard of applying the body three inches behind the cab, or even a bit less, you still have adequate room to mount your body without getting into the SCR,” he said

Brad Pugh, chief engineer for Ram chassis cabs, said the Ram 3500 gets a new crew cab with 8' box, steel dual rear fender flare, and an additional 300 lbs of Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) on diesels, making it 5500 lbs.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.