It’s not X-ray vision—it’s the Ram Augmented Reality Upfit Configurator.

Ram highlights technical changes

Dec. 8, 2017
Coverage from the recent NTEA Truck Product Conference, a look at the critical details of new and coming-soon equipment from the chassis manufacturers, and what the changes mean for upfitters and truck body builders.

Brock Wienczewski, manager of the Ram Commercial Vehicle Team, provided the latest technical updates:

•  Cybersecurity. Ram has added a security gateway module on 2018MY vehicles. It affects Ram truck and ProMaster City vans, isolating any outside unauthenticated communication with the vehicle. Anybody trying to hack into the vehicle through the radio or the diagnostic connecter will be blocked. It doesn’t affect the Vehicle System Interface Module (VSIM), and it allows DTC identification.

•  MVSS 111 rear visibility. CMVSS and FMVSS 111 require rear cameras on all vehicles under 10,000 lbs GVW, which includes these Ram models: all light-duty trucks and ProMaster vans; heavy-duty (DJ) 2500; and chassis cab (DF) 3500. All light-duty and heavy-duty 2500 box-on pickups and carbo vans are shipped compliant from the factory. Incomplete vehicles (IVDs) will require an upfitter to install the camera on the vehicle: heavy-duty (DJ) 2500 box-off and chassis cab (DF) 3500, and ProMaster chassis cabs and cutaways. Mounting instructions are on the Ram Body Builder Guide website and testing instructions are available via the NTEA.

•  ProMaster City upfit connector. It allows ease of upfit by providing access to common electrical circuits. There are two connectors in the package: 15-way (CAN, keyed power, vehicle speed); and two-way power (50-amp circuit). It became available in the fourth quarter.

•  ProMaster headlamp bulb. Addressing concerns that there was premature wear in the bulbs, Ram has added super-long-life bulbs available via Mopar. From a production standpoint, Ram has introduced both hardware and software changes to the body controller for mid-2017MY.

•  Diesel VECI label new for 2018. The location made it difficult for DMVs to read emissions information and some refused to register the vehicle, so this change moves the label to the top of the CCV cover. For the 2017MY and prior, the Ram team provides a certification letter for affected customers. Contact the Ram team for more information.

•  Heavy-duty field box removal camera adapter. This Mopar camera adapter for field removal of pickup boxes/tailgates will allow the Mopar loose ship cable/camera to be connected to the pickup truck wiring. It allows for convenient jumper to hook up the rear camera and the door-lock circuits, with short (10 feet) and long (30 feet) cables available. It can be installed on any HD truck with camera option 2013MY or later and allows a solution for MVSS 111 if the box/tailgate is removed. It is available now through Mopar (PN 82215671).

Adrian Ratza, Ram commercial brand manager of chassis cabs, talked about the 2018 ProMaster and ProMaster City vans, which were officially introduced into the market a few weeks before the Truck Product Conference.

The ProMaster, Ram’s entry into the Class 2 full-size van segment, offers a front-wheel-drive system, reducing weight and complexity by locating all components beneath the cab. This keeps the cargo load floor height and step-in height very low and helps in low-traction surfaces, like snow, since there is always weight on the front wheels to provide traction.

New features for 2018 include:

•  Uconnect 5.0 is now standard equipment with optional navigation.

•  Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth is now standard along with steering wheel mounted audio controls.

•  Rear backup camera is now standard on all models and backup camera kit with Chassis Cab and Cutaway models.

•  The right and left sliding doors now feature a window grate with fixed glass option.

•  The 2018 Ram ProMaster features the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and a torque-laden, 3.0-liter EcoDiesel I-4 engine. The engines are paired, respectively, with a six-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled Dual Active Drive six-speed automated manual.

“It’s the fastest-growing Ram vehicle,” Ratza said. “It’s a very versatile vehicle, with all the different configurations available. It offers advantages in areas where customers really need it. We’re putting customers in the best chance to succeed.”

The ProMaster City is Ram Commercial’s Class 1 compact van, with a cargo volume of 131.7 cubic feet and payload capacity of 1883 lbs.

Similar to the full-size van offering, the ProMaster City features Uconnect 5.0 and a standard backup camera. The van also features sliding and back door window grates available in vans without partitions.

Highlights for the 2018 ProMaster City include:

•  Available in two-seat Tradesman cargo van and five-seat passenger wagon configurations in two different trims (Tradesman and SLT).

•  Fuel economy of 28 mpg.

•  178 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque mated to an exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission.

•  Cargo width and length: 60.4 inches and 87.2 inches.

•  Distance between wheel wells: 48.4 inches.

•  Wheelbase: 122.4 inches.

•  Cargo area width of 60.4 inches, a cargo area height of 51.8 inches, and a step-in height of 21.5 inches.

“It happens to be America’s most efficient work van,” Ratza said. “That’s due in part to highway fuel economy of 28 mpg. So it has the efficiency. What really excites me about the ProMaster city is not just the efficiency, but its capability. If you match up the efficiency with the payload capability that it has to its cargo capacity, it really is truly the best of both worlds with regards to the small-van segment.”

He said that starting next month, bailment pools and select fleets will be able to order the ProMaster Window van as an incomplete vehicle.

“We’re working on a plan looking toward Q1 for dealer availability,” he said. “There’s been a lot of demand out there.”

He said the Ram Augmented Reality Upfit Configurator is a computer-generated visual program allowing upfitters and dealers to virtually showcase a number of solutions to customers. Prospective buyers have the opportunity to virtually walk around the vehicle and even view inside to assess the various options via computer simulation. Originally offered on the Ram ProMaster full-size van, the configurator has now expanded to the Ram ProMaster City and the entire Ram Chassis Cab line (3500, 4500 and 5500).

Mark Patel, program manager of Q-Pro, gave an update of the program started earlier this year.

It’s a new qualification process for upfitters to certify their product with Ram Engineering. Q-Pro allocates Ram Engineering resources to survey, make recommendations and certify upfitter products. Once certified, the upfitter can use Ram’s Q-Pro co-brand to help market their product, and customers can be assured their new truck and upfit meet the highest standards.

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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.