DODGE HAS re-established its position in the commercial truck business with the introduction of the all-new 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab.
The lineup consists of 4 × 2, 4 × 4, single-rear-wheel, dual-rear-wheel, regular, and Quad Cab models.
Upfit-friendliness is a prevailing theme of the new chassis. The new model leaves behind the nonstandard frame spacing that previous Dodge models used. The frame rails, one-piece C-channel made of 50-ksi steel, are flat, free of rivet heads and other surface irregularities, and spaced apart the industry standard 34 inches.
Bolt-on exhaust hanger brackets provide increased upfitter flexibility, and riveted cross-members behind the cab allow for easier modification. In addition, the one-piece C-channel frame, u-bolt access every 18 inches along the length of the frame, and shear plate mounting locations identified along the frame all contribute to the upfitter friendliness.
The Ram chassis cab will be offered in single-rear-wheel and dual-rear-wheel models and in two cab-axle lengths (60 and 84 inches).
It offers one of the market's most potent powertrain combinations, ensuring superior capability and performance for commercial customer needs. The legendary HEMI V-8 is standard, while a new Cummins engine — the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel — is available.
Delivering 305 hp at 3000 rpm and 610 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm, the available Cummins engine offers superior fuel economy while ensuring durability and a low cost of ownership for the commercial customer. Cummins-equipped Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab models boast best-in-class oil change intervals of 15,000 miles.
The standard 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 generates a best-in-class (for V-8 gasoline engines) 330 hp at 5400 rpm and 375 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm.
Since first introducing the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with the 2003 model year, Chrysler Group has sold more than 1.6 million vehicles with a HEMI (through January 2006) and the engine has consecutively earned a place on Ward's 10 Best Engines list.
Also offered is a six-speed automatic transmission (diesel only) with Power Take Off capability or a six-speed manual transmission with PTO capability. PTO is used to transmit engine power to auxiliary equipment such as hydraulics for a dump body, generator, or other types of specialty commercial equipment. An available electronic-shift transfer case is offered and a factory-installed exhaust brake option contributes to both safety and superior brake pad life.
The 3500 Chassis Cab provides expanded capability and durability with an all-new commercial-grade chassis boasting best-in-class frame strength (50-ksi steel).
All models are “Job-rated” — designed, engineered, tested, and built to meet rigid standards of commercial truck buyers.
The 3500 Chassis Cab boasts Dodge Ram Heavy Duty's superior suspension system, beefed up even more for commercial applications.
Both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models feature a recirculating ball system that provides precise response and on-center steering feel through lower internal friction. New power steering lines contribute to the delivery of precise feel and response for improved handling.
The 3500 Chassis Cab features solid-beam front and rear axles, and a five-link, coil-spring front suspension with beam axle. A front and rear link-type sway bar and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers are standard.
The rear suspension, common to both two-wheel and four-wheel-drive models, is equipped with leaf springs. The rear suspension on all Dodge Ram 3500 trucks include standard two-stage springs with three leaves, and separate auxiliary leaves as part of the spring design for even greater load-carrying capability.
Versus standard Dodge Ram 3500 models, other suspension enhancements include new front shocks, a new track bar and jounce bumpers, while rear suspension improvements include new springs, shocks, a narrower track, sway bar, and jounce bumper.
The 3500 Chassis Cab delivers a best-in-class single-rear-wheel GVWR of 10,200 lb. Maximum GVWR for dual-rear-wheel models is 12,500 lb. When equipped with the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is 23,000 lb.
Extended brake pad life is provided with the exhaust brake option. New brake components and standard four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system ensure superior safety and crash-avoidance capability. Components include chassis brake lines (brake and fuel bundle), rear brake lines, rear park brake cables, and extensions, and brake friction material for improved wear.
New diesel engine mounts reduce vibrations through the steering wheel and floor and contribute to enhanced occupant comfort.
The fuel filler is routed through the frame, and an optional mid-ship fuel tank frees up more space behind the rear axle for special upfit applications. Fuel and brake lines are routed together on the frame's left side to make better use of space along the frame, which also has clearance for rear-exhaust routing.
Electrical connections are user-friendly thanks to three-fused battery feeds routed into the cab and onto the rear of the chassis. A high-current 50-amp ground stud is located at the rear of the frame. Upfitter wire circuits and electrical schematics will be identified in the body builder guide.
Together, these upfit-friendly enhancements provide a streamline assembly process that reduces costs for upfitters, second-stage manufacturers, and customers.
Blending full-size interior comfort with commercial convenience, the 3500 Chassis Cab features best-in-class interior room of 121.7 cubic feet for Quad Cab models and 64.9 cubic feet for regular cab models, and an easy-to-navigate instrument panel cluster. The wide center stack contains heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and audio system controls. Large, comfortable seats, including available bucket seats with leather trim, provide generous support while adding a rich appearance and upscale atmosphere to a commercial truck.
Special attention was paid to making significant improvements on diesel engine vibration with the development of new engine mounts, allowing engineers to make a 50% improvement in traditional steering-wheel and seat-track vibration. This tactile refinement, coupled with the new diesel engine, contributes to enhanced driver comfort.
Supported by a supplementary $48 million capital investment, the 3500 Chassis Cab will be built at Chrysler Group's Saltillo Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico. The plant is being expanded by 120,000 square feet for commercial vehicle production and will accommodate new frame configurations.
Already built there are the Dodge Ram Mega Cab, Dodge Ram Power Wagon, Dodge Ram SRT10, and Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 models.
The $48 million investment for the all-new Dodge Ram Chassis Cab follows a recent $210 million investment for production of the all-new 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab in 2005. As a result, the plant will be able to handle increased capacity and full production of the vehicle's all-new, commercial grade chassis and suspensions, including two cab-axle lengths, regular and Quad Cab versions, 4×2 and 4×4 variants, and single- and dual-rear-wheel models.
The Saltillo Assembly Plant has 2100 employees working on two shifts and is one of five Chrysler Group production facilities in Mexico.