• Turbo Diesel Register

    by Published on 11-05-2014 12:10 PM

    Issue 86 is Online Now - Available to all TDR Members - Print Copies are in the Mail

    Check out our latest digital version of the Turbo Diesel Register while you wait for your print copy to arrive in your mailbox.

    What’s inside?

    • After missing three issues, Andy Redmond’s “From The Shop Floor is back.” Check out the latest from Andy on page 136.

    • And eighteen years later, James Langan is back with his quarterly feature column, “Still Plays With Trucks.” What’s James’ excuse for the long absence? You can read for yourself starting on page 118.

    • A detailed discussion on the lube oil required for the 1500 EcoDiesel. Note that even though the article is about the special oil required for the EcoDiesel, we are mindful that 99% of our audience owns a Cummins-powered Ram truck. We challenge you not to skip John Martin’s lube oil expose as we will tie the research on the EcoDiesel oil to oil for the Cummins engine in our next issue (page 68).

    • Ram Technical Service Bulletin summaries for 2014 (page 58).

    • A brief look at the changes for the Ram 2015 HD trucks (page 42).

    • A review of two comparison tests where Ram wins (page 50).

    Additionally, TDR Members will receive a copy of the 2015 TDR Calendar with this mailing. We want to thank everyone who submitted photographs for our consideration. This year's entries were the best ever. Unfortunately, we cannot use every photograph submitted. We hope you enjoy this year's assortment of trucks.

    We hope you enjoy Issue 86 of the Turbo Diesel Register. And as always, thank you for your support of the Turbo Diesel Register.

    Robert Patton
    Turbo Diesel Register
    by Published on 11-05-2014 06:00 AM

    November 6, 2014 , San Antonio - Green Car Journal has named the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, America’s most fuel efficient pickup its 2015 Green Truck of the Year™. The announcement was made today at the 46th annual San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas.

    Green Car Journal editors consider all potential truck models in the U.S. market, weighing environmental attributes alongside traditional touchstones that define what makes a great pickup, such as functionality, versatility, safety, value and style. The winner was selected from five finalists by a Green Truck of the Year jury, comprised of automotive experts and Green Car Journal staff.

    “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is an incredible success for Ram Truck and part of the brand’s long term strategy to design and engineer the best trucks you can buy with fuel economy and capability top of mind,” said Bob Hegbloom, President and CEO—Ram Truck Brand. “We are thrilled to receive The Green Truck of the Year award, affirming our efficiency leadership in the truck market.”

    The EcoDiesel-powered Ram 1500 earned a 28-mpg rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best highway-cycle test result ever achieved by a full-size, half-ton pickup. It also exceeds the EPA highway rating for the top-ranked small pickup. The previous half-ton fuel efficiency record was set by the Ram 1500 with the available 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine at 25 mpg highway. The Ram 1500 now owns the half-ton pickup segment’s top two spots in the EPA’s current highway fuel-economy rankings.

    “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel exemplifies what a ‘green’ truck should be,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “It’s a heavy-hitter that pulls off exceptional fuel economy with its impressive EcoDiesel engine and array of efficiency features like active grill shutters and aero suspension. Pickup buyers get the best of all worlds with the beefy torque and environmental performance offered by this full-size and stylish pickup.”

    Ram 1500—the most recognizable pickup on the road—delivers best-in-class fuel economy with a truckload of pioneering, fuel-saving systems and first-in-segment technologies: TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension. The Ram 1500 delivers an outstanding combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency, unsurpassed torque and a surplus of towing capability.

    About Green Car of the Year®
    The Green Car of the Year award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. CarsOfChange.com presents 'green car' articles online along with a focus on infotainment and connectivity. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

    About Ram Truck Brand
    Since its launch as a stand-alone division in 2009, the Ram Truck Brand has steadily emerged as an industry leader with one goal: to build the best pickup trucks and commercial vehicles in the industry.

    Creating a distinct identity for Ram Trucks has allowed the brand to concentrate on core customers and features they find valuable. Whether focusing on a family that uses a Ram 1500 day in and day out, a hard-working Ram 3500 Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its Ram ProMaster commercial van every day for deliveries, Ram has the truck market covered.

    In order to be the best, it takes a commitment to innovation, capability, efficiency and durability. Ram Truck invests substantially in its products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and exclusive features that further enhance their capabilities.

    Moving into the 2015 model year, Ram continues to beat the competition in the two most sought-after titles, fuel economy and towing capacity:

    - Best-in-class fuel economy with exclusive EcoDiesel - 28 mpg with Ram 1500
    - Best-in-class towing capability - 30,000 pounds with Ram 3500

    Truck customers, from half-ton to commercial, have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to provide high levels of capability. Ram trucks are designed to deliver a total package.
    by Published on 11-04-2014 02:01 PM
    Article Preview

    Each year we continue to be honored to receive the number of photographs we do for use in the TDR Annual Calendar. Again this year it was extremely difficult to select just a few photographs for the calendar. We had more than one argument over which trucks would be selected and in which month each truck would ...
    by Published on 10-13-2014 02:48 PM

    TDR Members - the folks at Chrysler are good at sending us updates about the Ram truck. Often, the Ram story is mixed with other interesting news, and that is the case with their latest press release. The Jeep brand is also doing very well. So in a world of news that is often not-so-uplifting, here is a positive story from a test with the Texas Auto Writers' Association. Enjoy!

    Robert Patton

    Chrysler Group LLC Scoops Up Nine Awards at 24th Annual Texas Truck Rodeo

    • Jeep® Grand Cherokee wins "SUV of Texas" for the fifth consecutive year
    • Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee take consecutive year over year titles — Jeep Brand SUVs victorious in every category entered
    • Ram wins Heavy Duty Truck of Texas for the second consecutive year
    • Ram Power Wagon scores Off-road Truck of Texas award
    • Chrysler Group’s 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel engine and Uconnect system score top honors

    October 13, 2014, San Antonio, Texas - Jeep® and Ram Truck brands took top awards at the 2014 Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Texas Truck Rodeo. More than 60 TAWA members cast their votes after a two-day competition involving on- and off-road vehicle evaluations. While capability is an important element considered by TAWA jurors, the organization also studies design, utility, value and technology with detailed scoring in each category.

    "Once again the Chrysler Group brought an extraordinary product lineup to the Texas Truck Rodeo," said Michael Marrs, TAWA president. "The performance and quality of the Jeep and Ram products at the Rodeo were impressive with powertrain and technology innovations that are tough to beat. The Jeep Grand Cherokee especially continues to outshine the competition by once again winning the SUV of Texas title."

    The Jeep brand won all five categories entered, including the coveted “SUV of Texas”.

    "We are extremely delighted and proud that for the fifth consecutive year, the respected and influential Texas auto writers have named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the SUV of Texas," said Mike Manley, President and CEO - Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "Even more impressive is the fact that Jeep vehicles won every single category in which they were entered, and were recognized for their unmatched 4x4 capability, fuel economy, luxury and overall performance.

    "With Jeep sales up 45 percent so far this year, Texas remains a tremendously important SUV market," Manley added. "Over the past five years, we've proven that winning these TAWA awards increases Jeep showroom traffic and sales."

    A total of 75 pickups, SUVs and crossover vehicles were entered in this year's rodeo. Ram Truck earned a repeating title as the Heavy Duty Truck of Texas.

    “Exactly five years ago Ram Truck became its own brand and we set out to design and engineer the best trucks you can buy with fuel economy and capability top of mind,” said Bob Hegbloom, President and CEO - Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Winning back-to-back awards from the Texas Auto Writers Association affirms our direction in the truck market.”

    Chrysler Group vehicles receiving awards at the 24th annual TAWA Texas Truck Rodeo were:

    • SUV of Texas: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    • Compact SUV of Texas: 2015 Jeep Cherokee
    • Mid-size SUV of Texas: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    • Luxury Mid-size SUV of Texas: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
    • Off-road Utility Vehicle of Texas: 2015 Jeep Wrangler
    • Heavy Duty Truck of Texas: 2015 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty
    • Off-road Truck of Texas: 2015 Ram Power Wagon
    • Best Powertrain: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500)
    • Best Connectivity: Chrysler Group UConnect (Jeep, Ram, Dodge)

    2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Jeep Grand Cherokee – the most awarded SUV ever and the vehicle that has long defined what a premium SUV should be – receives even more content for the 2015 model year. The Grand Cherokee Summit models receive added features as well as a new Summit California Edition appearance package that further enhances Summit’s premium exterior aesthetics. Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers best-in-class 30 miles per gallon (mpg) highway courtesy of an available 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine and standard eight-speed transmission. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 boasts an unmatched driving range of more than 730 miles.
    Legendary Jeep capability comes courtesy of three available 4x4 systems, Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension system and class-leading Selec-Terrain traction management system. Grand Cherokee boasts best-in-class towing of 7,400 pounds, and a crawl ratio of 44.1:1. A refined exterior design – complete with available bi-xenon headlamps with signature LED daytime running lamps (DRL) – provides a premium appearance. Interior luxury is achieved with premium amenities, including Natura leather, exotic open-pore wood trim and unique color offerings. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in five trim levels: Laredo, Laredo E, Limited, Overland and Summit.

    2015 Jeep Cherokee
    There is a new king of the hill in the mid-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment: the 2015 Jeep Cherokee. The 2015 Jeep Cherokee delivers legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, premium on-road manners and superior ride and handling, a segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy ratings of up to 31 miles per gallon (mpg) highway, world-class craftsmanship, leading-edge technology, more than 70 advanced safety and security features and best-in-class V-6 towing capability of 4,500 pounds. Powered by a choice of two engines, three innovative 4x4 systems that feature the first use of a fully-automated disconnecting rear axle and Engine Stop-Start (ESS) technology that is standard on V-6-powered Cherokee models, the Jeep Cherokee revolutionizes the mid-size SUV segment. The Cherokee delivers leading-edge technology customers will value, world-class craftsmanship and clever features like the available 8.4-inch touch screen media center, the seven-inch full-color instrument cluster display, inventive storage solutions and cargo flexibility not found elsewhere in the segment with the Jeep Cargo Management system. The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee is available in four different models in the United States: Cherokee Sport, Cherokee Latitude, Cherokee Limited and Cherokee Trailhawk, and has a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $22,995 (excluding $995 destination).

    2015 Jeep Wrangler
    The iconic Jeep Wrangler – the most capable and recognized vehicle in the world – moves into 2015 with updates designed to further enhance the Wrangler ownership experience, including a standard eight-speaker audio system and an improved sound bar, and an optional Premium Alpine Audio Package that includes nine Alpine speakers, a new subwoofer and a 552-watt amplifier. The new subwoofer has been relocated under the cargo floor for added cargo capacity. A new standard Torx Tool Kit comes with T-30, T-35, T-40 and T-50 torx heads, a ratchet and a storage pouch, making removing the doors, roof and front bumper end caps easier for owners. The 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock edition carries forward the capability enhancing features of the 2014 Rubicon X package, and adds the nine-speaker Premium Alpine audio system and a new Low Gloss Black grille with High Gloss Black inserts. Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler, the widely popular model that salutes the earliest civilian Jeep vehicles with additional off-road hardware for increased capability, also returns for 2015. The 2015 Jeep Wrangler delivers unmatched off-road capability with legendary four-wheel drive and is produced with more than seven decades of 4x4 engineering experience. Wrangler continues to offer a body-on-frame design, front and rear five-link suspension system, live axles, electronic lockers, and is one of the few mid-size SUVs that offers a six-speed manual transmission – in addition to its five-speed automatic transmission. Jeep Wrangler has always had a unique variety of colors to choose from, and 2015 is no different. New exterior colors include: Baja Yellow, Copper Brown, Firecracker Red, Sunset Orange and Tank. Anvil, Billet Silver, Black, Bright White and Hydro Blue continue for 2015.

    2015 Ram 1500
    Fuel economy is the No. 1 purchase reason in the half-ton segment. The 2015 Ram 1500 holds the top two spots in fuel economy with winning powertrains: exclusive 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel features 28 miles per gallon (mpg) with 240 horsepower, 420 lb.-ft. of torque and 9,200 pounds of towing capability. The Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower owns best-in-class gasoline fuel economy of 25 mpg. Ram 1500 leads innovation with first-in-segment technologies: TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension. Additionally, the Ram 1500 features best-in-class aerodynamics of .360 Cd.

    2014 Ram 2500, 3500 Heavy Duty and Ram Power Wagon
    Ram Truck brand offers the most capable heavy-duty pickups in the segment - the 2015 Ram Heavy Duty line features a list of best-in-class titles in the segments number one purchase reason, capability:

    • Towing - 30,000 pounds with Ram 3500
    • Towing - 17,970 pounds with Ram 2500
    • Payload - 7,390 pounds with Ram 3500
    • Power - 865 lb.-ft. of torque with 6.7-liter Cummins
    • Power - 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque with all-new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8
    • Capacity - Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 37,600 pounds with Ram 3500
    • Most off-road capable pickup – Ram Power Wagon

    Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks also add new innovation, including a 5-link coil suspension with optional air suspension on Ram 2500 and a supplemental air bag suspension option on Ram 3500. Additionally, Ram is the only truck manufacturer to feature SAE J2807 compliance across light-duty and heavy duty truck segments.

    3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel
    Available in the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2015 Ram 1500, the EcoDiesel is a turbocharged 60-degree, dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve V-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The abundant torque is an enabler for impressive towing capacity while delivering best-in-class fuel economy in both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500. Like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 gasoline engines, the EcoDiesel V-6 is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The EcoDiesel – developed and manufactured by VM Motori (a Chrysler supplier since 1992) – is one of the most advanced diesel engines in the marketplace. Equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction, it is emissions-compliant in all 50 states.

    Chrysler Group’s Uconnect systems include a range of hands-free communication, entertainment and navigation features. The systems are designed to keep consumers connected, entertained and most importantly – focused on the road. Uconnect’s intuitive user interface is deemed one of the easiest-to-use in the automotive industry.

    Chrysler Group has integrated consumer electronics technologies and features into the dashboard in a familiar manner to help ensure that critical information is shared between the Uconnect systems, the instrument cluster and vehicle audio system– so it is presented to the driver in the moment that they need it. Simplified steering wheel controls, hands-free voice commands and traditional knobs and buttons help drivers manage a range of entertainment, navigation, communication feature and connected services.
    by Published on 10-01-2014 10:32 AM

    Hello to all. The following is a press release from the folks at Ram. We're all fans of their diesel-powered pickups, and this release discusses the overwhelming success of the EcoDiesel engine. From a previous analysis of their sales numbers, a 20% EcoDiesel product mix would equate to about 90,000 units a year. Wow!

    Robert Patton
    Editor, Turbo Diesel Register

    Ram Truck Increases EcoDiesel Mix to 20 Percent of Ram 1500 Pickup Production

    • Ram 1500 with EcoDiesel powertrain, America’s most fuel-efficient pickup truck, now 1/5th of total Ram 1500 production

    • Overwhelming response attributed to best-in-class 28 MPG with 9,200 lbs. of towing capacity and strong consumer demand for exclusive light-duty diesel

    • Ram 1500 EcoDiesel contributes to unprecedented conquest sales and increased average transaction price for Ram 1500

    • First-in-segment fuel economy technologies: TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension

    • Best-in-class aerodynamics, coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.360

    • 2013 and 2014 back-to-back winner – Motor Trend Truck of the Year®

    • Class-exclusive air suspension enhances fuel economy, improves ride control and off-road capability along with entry/exit and loading, and features automatic load leveling

    • Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles

    The 2015 Ram 1500 is America’s most fuel-efficient pickup truck with its exclusive 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel that packs 240 horsepower, 420 lb.-ft. of torque and 28 miles per gallon (mpg). Fuel economy and the exclusivity of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is being credited for Ram’s decision to increase the diesel powertrain mix to 20 percent of the total Ram 1500 production volume—double the initial expectation.

    When the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel opened for orders earlier this year, Ram Truck received more than 8,000 requests within three days, which quickly filled the initial allocation for the exclusive powertrain.

    “Innovation sometimes comes with risk, but being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment has shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand,” added Hegbloom. “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is a game-changer in the industry, and has proved to be a key to conquest sales over our competitors.”

    Ram truck is the only manufacturer to offer a light-duty diesel powertrain. Nearly 60 percent of all Ram 1500 EcoDiesel sales are conquest over competitors, an achievement considering brand-loyal strength of the segment. The premium powertrain also contributes to an increase in the Ram 1500s Average Transaction Price according to JD Power.

    Ram Truck worked with powertrain supplier VM Motori (Fiat Group Automobiles) to increase production to meet North American consumer demand. The total increase in EcoDiesel mix will be completed by the end of November at both Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan and Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico.

    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine is mated to the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Together, the powertrain system delivers an outstanding combination of fuel efficiency at 28 mpg, torque of 420 lb.-ft. and up to 9,200 pounds of towing capability.

    The 2015 Ram 1500 capitalizes on a truckload of exclusive, pioneering, fuel-saving systems, including: eight-speed automatic transmission, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics with grille shutters and air suspension.

    The Ram 1500 earned Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in 2013 and 2014, the first time a vehicle of any type has taken the coveted award back-to-back. The Ram 1500 also won the Truck of Texas in 2013 and 2014 – a rare double, back-to-back combination in the pickup segment.

    Powertrain - Aptly branded EcoDiesel, the 3.0-liter powerplant is a turbocharged 60-degree, dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve V-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque is more efficient than all V-6 gasoline engines in the half-ton category. This abundant torque from a 3.0-liter engine is the enabler for 9,200 pounds of towing capacity while delivering fuel economy of 28 mpg on the highway.

    Like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 gasoline engines already offered on the Ram 1500, the EcoDiesel V-6 is mated to the TorqueFlite 8, the only eight-speed automatic transmission offered in the half-ton class.

    The EcoDiesel, developed and manufactured by VM Motori (a Chrysler supplier since 1992) is one of the most advanced diesel engines in the marketplace. Equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalytic reduction, it is emissions-compliant in all 50 states.

    The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award three years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class gasoline fuel economy of 25 mpg.

    The legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

    The class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8) – standard equipment with 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel and 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar – doubles the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The eight-speed also is available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8.

    The 2015 Ram 1500 has established what is unmistakably the most advanced and efficient truck in the light-duty category, as evidenced by:

    • Exclusive offering of a small-displacement turbo diesel engine (EcoDiesel V-6)
    • Exclusive offering of an eight-speed automatic transmission
    • Best-in-Class capability and fuel economy in a base V-6 gasoline engine (Pentastar V-6 mated to eight-speed transmission)
    • Only manufacturer in light-duty class to offer diesel, gasoline, and flex-fuel (E85 capable 3.6-liter V-6) engines

    Engineering Fuel Economy

    Weight reduction - With the 2013 model year, the Ram 1500 benefitted from a number of weight saving features. Contingent on the model, the frame received a weight reduction of up to 30 pounds by using advanced high-strength steels. Also benefitting from advanced metal, box floor cross-members in the bed eliminated seven pounds and a front bumper design removed four pounds. Additionally, aluminum lower control arms in the front suspension contributed to weight reduction. The Ram 1500 also features an aluminum hood saving 26 pounds. Underneath the hood, the combination of the new Pentastar V-6 engine and new TorqueFlite 8 transmission reduced weight by approximately 76 pounds. The V-8 engine and TorqueFlite 8 together reduced weight by more than 30 pounds.

    The weight reductions not only allow for more convenience, comfort and entertainment features but also best-in-class fuel-saving technology such as thermal management and active aerodynamics.

    Pulse-width modulation (PWM) - is a fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. The forward cooling fan takes advantage of PWM, adding a 0.2 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

    Variable displacement compressor (VDC) - As opposed to a “fixed” displacement compressor, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) automatically varies its pumping capacity to meet air conditioning demands rather than working in an on/off fashion. As a result, the variable displacement compressor lessens loads on the engine, reducing parasitic losses for enhanced fuel efficiency and helping to maintain a consistent cockpit temperature. The technology also reduces related noise and vibration annoyances.

    When the interior cabin temperature is higher than what’s desired (outside the automatic temperature control setting), the VDC increases refrigeration capacity until the desired temperature is reached. Once the temperature is reached, the VDC automatically reduces its capacity to maintain the desired temperature rather than shutting off completely.

    The overall result is smoother compressor transitions, less noise and greater fuel efficiency.

    Pulse-width modulated blower - Like the VDC, the pulse-width modulated (PWM) blower continually controls fan speeds for optimal performance in all driving scenarios; quiet, efficient operation; and virtually unnoticeable performance. Not unlike other PWM applications that debuted on the 2013 Ram 1500, the pulse-width blower ensures an infinite amount of varying fan speeds to satisfy every customer-requested condition in relation to the air conditioning system.

    Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles - The 2015 Ram 1500 is backed with a five-year /100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.

    The standard three-year / 36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.

    Manufacturing - The 2015 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Michigan), which has built more than 13 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2015 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine is manufactured by Fiat Group Automobiles’ VM Motori in Cento, Italy. Chrysler Group has utilized VM Motori diesel engines since 1992.
    by Published on 09-29-2014 01:54 PM

    • Redesign of 353 work stations mean five more trucks an hour or 100 more trucks a day roll off the assembly line
    • Additional capacity at the 76-year-old plant needed to meet growing demand
    • Implementation of World Class Manufacturing improves safety, productivity and quality
    • UAW-represented employees drive changes from the shop floor, submitting nearly 7,000 suggestions

    With sales of the Ram 1500 on a 52-month sales streak, Chrysler Group’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Mich.) is increasing production. The plant that built back-to-back Motor Trend Truck of the Year winners in 2013 and 2014 will be building an additional 100 vehicles a day or 28,565 more trucks a year to keep up with demand.

    The production increase meant rethinking the assembly process and implementing significant changes that began at the end of 2013 and continued through the summer shutdown this past August. From automation changes in the body shop to improvements to the color booths in the paint shop, modifications were made across the plant. But the most extensive transformation came on the assembly line.

    “Building back-to-back Motor Trend Truck of the Year winners is something that has never been done before and it’s something we take great pride in,” said Curt Towne, Warren Truck Assembly Plant Manager. “So, as we approached this opportunity to rethink our processes, we wanted to make sure we kept our focus on the customer and doing things that would continue to improve the quality of the vehicle we deliver. I think this team accomplished that task.”

    A critical aspect of preparing the plant for the new run rate was the establishment of a Work Place Integration (WPI) process. As part of WPI, every operation in every workstation was reviewed, best practices evaluated and processes verified before a single vehicle was built, all while integrating the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) methodology with a focus on improving safety, logistics and quality.

    The goal of WCM is to reduce waste, increase productivity, and improve quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. WCM engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants. WCM was first implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009.

    With the guiding principles of WCM and the use of the WPI room, Warren Truck UAW-represented team leaders and operators redesigned more than 353 work stations – or nearly all of the work stations in the assembly process; identified and corrected more than 100 issues that could cause injury; and moved nearly 300 parts to provide better ergonomics and build processes for the employees. Nearly all of the operators in assembly – about 63 percent of the plant population – were trained on the new processes, generating nearly 7,000 additional suggestions on how to improve the efficiency of the line.

    As a result of the redesign carried out using the WPI process, material and parts that were once located line side are now gathered into kits or carriers, also known as limos. Two areas – the chassis frame line and the Motorhouse line – benefitted from the integration of limos and kits.

    On the chassis frame line, limos attach to the truck frame as it moves down the line, positioning larger and heavier parts, like front and rear shocks, springs and lower control arms, in the optimal location – or the “Golden Zone,” the area immediately in front of the operator – for installation, improving the ergonomics for the operator. Limos also reduce the time spent walking to retrieve parts or tools, enabling the team to use that savings to achieve the increased production target of five additional trucks built per hour or 100 trucks per day. The easy accessibility of parts in a kit also allows operators to focus more on the proper installation of the part, thereby improving the quality of the product.

    In the Motorhouse, where the engine assembly is completed before being mated to the chassis, the Warren Truck team had to figure out a way to manage the complexity of building three different engines – the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 and the 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel with over 170 unique parts and nearly 70 parts that look and feel the same, but are very different – on the same line efficiently and correctly. The answer was to kit the parts and put the kit right in the truck, which reduces waste in the form of walking, a non-value-added activity. When there are several variations in an operation, like the Motorhouse line, kitting also helps error proof the process by taking decision-making away from the operator.

    “The employees actually like the kits,” said Towne. “They like the fact that they don’t have to walk as far to grab their parts, which is a waste. That’s time that could be spent building a truck. Plus, at the end of a 10-hour day, they’re not as tired as they once were.”

    The Warren Truck team benchmarked other facilities that incorporated kits on their engine lines, but all of the solutions implemented were designed and developed by the plant’s workforce, and built and maintained by the skilled trades. What makes the Warren Truck solution unique is that the team found a way to attach the kit to the carrier without touching it by utilizing automated guided vehicles to deliver the parts to the line, something the other plants don’t do.

    With the issue of complexity on the line resolved, the team realized that the variation had moved to the kitting cell, the area where the parts are pulled to create the kit. To mistake-proof the cell, each engine is color coded, so the operator knows where to begin pulling the parts for that respective kit.

    “The kitting and limos allow us to optimize our workers and their ability to build a vehicle with precision the same way every time,” said Towne. “We think of our operators as surgeons. When a surgeon needs a scalpel, he doesn’t need to look for one; he’s handed one. That’s exactly how we want our operators to feel, so they can focus on building a quality vehicle for our customers.”

    About Warren Truck Assembly Plant
    Warren Truck Assembly Plant has built more than 13 million trucks since 1938, including the current Ram 1500 which won back-to-back Motor Trend Truck of the Year awards in 2013 and 2014. On Nov. 15, 2012, the Company announced it would add about 1,000 jobs on a third crew, which began on March 4, 2013. The plant currently employs more than 3,800, working four 10-hour days on two shifts six days per week. In 2013, the Warren Truck Assembly Plant built 291,554 Ram Trucks, up from 227,453 in 2012.
    by Published on 09-12-2014 12:57 PM
    Article Preview

    Edge is excited to host the annual celebration of horsepower and offer another record setting payout for Weekend on the Edge, to be held September 20, 2014, in Ogden, UT. Last year's event featured the largest payout on record and the bar will be raised again in 2014. Edge will be awarding over $27,000 in ...

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