• Turbo Diesel Register

    by Published on 10-13-2014 01:48 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
    Editor


    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.

    Uconnect
    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 09:32 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 12:54 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 11:57 AM
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    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 ...
    by Published on 08-25-2014 10:36 AM

    Have you been following the game of payload-this; towing-that; horsepower-the-other that the pickup truck OEMs have been playing? Kinda yes. (See the Greg Whale story that preceded this press release).

    Kinda no. (I am a Ram Turbo Diesel guy and the ratings one-upsmanship is to difficult to follow.)

    How about some factual data? How about a write-up that compares the trucks? Well, we've got both for you. First is a press release from the folks at Ram announcing the 2015 Ram and giving you their data for their new trucks. That press release follows.

    Then take a look at two articles at www.pickuptrucks.com where the Ram 3500 Turbo Diesel was tested against the Ford and GM products. Ram wins the subjective with a close second overall. Then take a look at their article where the Ram 2500 truck (gasoline engine) was tested against the comparable gasoline-powered Ford and GM products. Ram wins both categories.

    So whether you are thinking about a model year 2014 (some great close-out sales are still out there), or looking ahead to 2015, or just wanting to keep up with what is new, here is some data worth your review.

    Robert Patton
    Editor


    Ram Launches 2015 Heavy Duty Models with a Trifecta of Claims: Best-in-class Power, Towing Capacity and Payload Capacity


    • New Cummins 6.7-liter calibration adds 15 lb.-ft. of torque, edging out even Class 4 pickup competitors to a best-in-class 865 lb.-ft.
    • 2015 Ram 3500 crushes the competition with up to 30,000 pounds of SAE J2807-spec. towing capacity, beating the closest competitor by nearly 1.5 tons
    • 2015 Ram 2500 holds best-in-class 17,970 pounds of towing capacity, while adhering to SAE J2807 test criteria
    • New best-in-class payload of 7,390 pounds (Ram 3500)
    • Ram maintains credibility and customer confidence as the only automaker to align with the SAE J2807 towing standard for its entire pickup truck line
    • Best-in-class Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 37,900 pounds
    • The first 2015 Ram Heavy Duty trucks begin rolling off the factory line this week
    • Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles

    Auburn Hills, Mich. – Ram takes heavy-duty towing and hauling seriously. With this week’s start of 2015 model year Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty production, the truck world’s “King of the Hill” further adds to its most-capable claims.

    Ram 3500 models will offer increased torque ratings of 865 lb.-ft. and an increased payload of 7,390 pounds, while maintaining a class leading maximum tow rating of 30,000 pounds.

    Ram is the only automaker to back its heavy-duty towing claims using SAE J2807 testing criteria.

    "Ram maintains leadership throughout its pickup line by offering best-in-class fuel efficiency with our Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at 28 MPG, best-in-class towing at 30,000 pounds, best-in-class power at 865 lb.-ft. and best-in-class payload at 7,390 pounds with our Ram 3500," said Bob Hegbloom, Head of Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "Ram owns best-in-class attributes in the areas that are most important to truck customers.”

    Working closely with Cummins, a more aggressive fuel delivery and turbo boost calibration to the 6.7-liter I-6 produces an additional 15 lb.-ft. of torque. This improvement places the coveted engine ahead of the competition with 865 lb.-ft. of torque, while maintaining performance and EPA compliance. The Ram 3500 continues towing leadership at 30,000 pounds and adds a new notch in its belt with a chart-topping payload of 7,390 pounds. The payload claim was made possible by challenging the Ram 3500 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 pickup with an increase in GVWR of 100 pounds, now 13,800 pounds GVWR.

    “Ram has driven innovation in the heavy duty segments and intelligently engineered a better truck than our competitors, including a 30,000 pound towing monster,” said Mike Cairns, Director— Ram Truck Engineering, Chrysler Group LLC. “Our 2015 Ram Heavy Duty Trucks own all three relevant titles in the segment: towing, payload and power, while delivering an impressive level of comfort and features unavailable elsewhere in the market.”
    Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickup trucks are assembled at Chrysler Group’s Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.

    POWERTRAIN

    With Chrysler Group’s 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, the Ram Heavy Duty delivers to best-in-class horsepower and best-in-class torque among pickups with gasoline engines. Compelling numbers tell the story of the 16-valve engine with 410 horsepower (306 kW) at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft.(582 N•m), at 4,000 rpm.

    Other engine options include the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, standard equipment for the Ram 2500 and 3500 (SRW). The engine produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 is mated to a 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission.

    The renowned 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel I-6 is available in three versions. The first version is paired with Ram’s segment exclusive six-speed manual transmission. This combination delivers 350 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 660 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. The second option matches the Cummins to the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel engine cranks out 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm with 800 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm.

    Dominating torque charts, the 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel I-6 for Ram 3500 is paired with the Aisin six-speed automatic transmission (AS69RC), leaving no doubt to Ram Heavy Duty’s capability. In addition to 385 horsepower at 2,800 rpm, the most powerful Cummins generates best-in-class torque of 865 lb.-ft. at 1,700 rpm.

    FRAME

    Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature frames built with high-strength 50,000 psi steel, including eight separate cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails for optimal strength and mass efficiency. Chassis controls on the Ram Heavy Duty ensure reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measurements and improve ride and handling characteristics. Standard electronic stability control (ESC) on single and dual-rear-wheel equipped trucks, and body-to-frame hydro-mounts provide improved ride quality.

    Center frame rail sections are roll-formed, an efficient means for maintaining consistent strength in less complex longitudinal sections. In the rear portion of the frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails and a factory-installed rear axle cross-member with provisions for fifth wheel and gooseneck hitches.


    SUSPENSION

    Heavy Duty trucks generally have suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. This leads to a harsher ride when unloaded. Ram innovation leads again. The Ram 2500 takes lessons learned from the Ram 1500 with a segment exclusive five-link coil rear suspension system. Loaded or unloaded, the 5-link coil system provides best-in-class ride and handling. The five-link coil design incorporates support at all major points of force. Leaf spring suspensions struggle to combat axle wrap by using staggered shock absorbers (one mounted on the front of the axle tube and one mounted on the rear of the axle tube). The superior design of the five-link coil system functionally resists unwanted axle rotation. Leaf spring configurations also lack lateral support, forcing the leaf ends and shackles to hold against lateral loads — a task they're not particularly good at and one reason competitive leaf-sprung rear suspensions shutter on rough surfaces. Additionally, the Ram 2500 offers a rear air suspension system for automatic load leveling and greater versatility.

    The Ram 3500 continues to feature the rear Hotchkiss leaf spring system, but offers a supplemental air suspension system (late availability). By adding supplemental air bags to the rear suspension, Ram engineers were able to soften the leaf springs, allowing for more unladed suspension movement— even with a best-in-class 30,000-lb. trailer.

    In the front, the Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure roll stiffness. Greater roll stiffness, also known as body roll, is an important characteristic in taller vehicles and especially trucks with heavy payloads. Roll stiffness is measured by the amount the truck’s body tips side-to-side, independently of the wheels, during cornering.

    BODY

    The Ram Heavy Duty comes equipped with robust engine, transmission and body mounts, including pioneering hydro-mounts at C-pillar positions for class-leading noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics despite the truck’s aptitude for higher payloads and towing.

    The Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature a factory-installed seven-pin trailer tow connector in the truck bed, included with the optional fifth wheel or gooseneck tow prep package. Ram is unmatched in terms of offering the most complete “hitch ‘n go” towing prep package found anywhere in the heavy-duty category. Additionally, Ram features a standard Class 5 receiver hitch with four- and seven-pin connectors on the bumper. A tailgate handle-mounted, rear high-definition camera backup system is available with dynamic imaging in the 8.4-inch display. Also, the cargo-view camera located in the center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) provides a view of the bed for easier connection to fifth wheel or gooseneck trailers as well as monitoring bed loads.

    ADDITIONAL FEATURES

    Ram Heavy Duty customers can enjoy the convenience of an exclusive cargo camera, power folding mirrors and a combination, power rear-sliding window with defrost. Also, central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking all exterior doors and storage with one push of a button. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps also are available, adding to a truckload of content offered in Ram Heavy Duty.

    Total Cost Of Ownership And Unsurpassed Powertrain Warranty - Five Years/ 100,000 Miles
    Operating costs are of great consideration for owners who use their trucks for work. The Ram Heavy Duty holds class-leading features in:

    • Extended maintenance cycle (oil change of 15,000, fuel filter life on diesel)
    • Brake life with advanced engine exhaust brake and largest brakes in the segment

    The 2015 Ram Heavy Duty is backed with an unsurpassed 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 Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage on to the new owner. The standard five-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Heavy Duty, from the body to the electrical system.
    by Published on 08-08-2014 10:37 AM

    G. R. Whale

    Ford and Ram are locked in (another) semantics tussle, this time about “class” and while I don’t believe either side is going to win I think this is going to hurt Ford more than it will help. To me best-in-class claims are as useful as championship tires—when you’re the only tire available, a championship seems implicit.

    Ford claims best-in-class towing comparing 31,200 pounds for F-450 (32,100 on their consumer site July 29) to Ram 3500’s top 30,000-pound rating. Ram calls shenanigans, the F-450 isn’t in the same class. As defined by government weight schedules both truck’s 14,000-pound GVWR, or empty-plus-payload, makes them class 3 but Ford’s numbers don’t seem to add up.

    Ford doesn’t publish curb weight often, but told Automotive News the base curb weight of an F-450 is 8611 pounds and that they calculate payload on a base vehicle with everything that can be deleted on a vehicle order—spare tire, radio, jack, etc. Since the government standards apply to a vehicle in operating condition, that means they have to take more than 60 pounds out of a base F-450 to reach the 5450-pound payload (430 less than a 2014) and stay within DOT Class 3 parameters, but until I can find an XL F-450 I’ll never know what it really weighs. I went to Ford’s build-your-own site and found ZERO delete options available, nor did I find any asterisk the claimed payload requires said deletions.

    Curiously, Ford’s 2010 body builder guide claimed a base curb weight (manual 4x4) of 8581 pounds--that before the 6.7 PowerStroke, split-cooling system, six-speed automatic and so on. It further states, “Load rating represents maximum allowable weight of people, cargo and body equipment and is reduced by optional equipment weight.” It says nothing about deleting equipment to reach a load rating.

    I used to drive an F-550 with a conversion pickup box on it. Onlookers called it a nice truck, rig, or puller, but no one called it a pickup. And I think regardless of whether the frame rails are straight or beefed up pieces from an F-350 pickup, people are going to know from those parts underneath and 19.5-inch tires that this is no one-ton pickup.

    Ford wants you to compare F-450 to Ram and GM 3500 because they have bigger/better numbers that way; if you compare an F-350, Ram 3500 has multiple configurations that tow more than the singular top-rated F-350. And who says Ram won’t put a box on a 4500 or GM introduce one, leaving Ford to explain why their F-450 is in a different class.

    Regardless of what the class is or how the numbers fall, this is making Ford look silly in the court of public opinion. How would you like to tell your customer the ratings apply only after you’ve deleted a few useful standard pieces like a spare tire or a radio that might make towing less stressful? Or why parts are more expensive because his “Class 3” F-450 pickup is medium-duty underneath. How those original equipment tires are $150-200 each more expensive than 350/3500 OE tires. Or why it rides this way on 110psi tires rather than 80psi tires.

    I bet anyone shopping in this class knows the difference between a one-ton pickup and an F-450, they’re getting bored about all the non-real-world numbers being tossed around. I'll also bet they know what SAE J2807 means. Ford would be better off not comparing F-450 to anything than to something most astute buyers know it isn’t, and that way the only thing they’d have to explain to their customers is why an F-350 costs $3500 less and carries nearly 500 pounds more than the same-configuration F-450.

    In the meantime all Ram has to do is carry on with the “best-in-class” plug and a single footnote defining “class” as one-ton 350/3500-series pickups. Who could argue with that?
    by Published on 07-30-2014 02:23 PM

    Turbo Diesel Register, Issue 85 (August/September/October, 2014) was mailed from the printer on Friday, July 25, 2014. Domestic deliveries should arrive by August 15. International deliveries should arrive by August 30.

    What will you find in Issue 85?

    • With its introduction and first deliveries in the spring months, a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is now a part of the vehicles at our TDR offices. You will have a chance to read all about it in Issue 85.

    • Keeping in mind that the TDR audience is still 99% Cummins powered, how will the editor make the new EcoDiesel relevant to the audience? First, he will change the gear ratio. Then he will relate the ratio change to the tow ratings. Then he will tear the truck apart and add some accessories that will work on any 2010 - current Ram truck. We hope you enjoy the story.

    • TDR Writers, John and Polly Holmes, have also purchased a 1500 EcoDiesel, and they share their initial impressions with you.

    • TDR Writer, Jeanette Vallier, continues exploring the Four Corners of the USA.

    • TDR Writer, Scott Dalgleish, continues the repairs on his 1998 truck.

    • TDR Writer, Joe Donnelly, files an update on his 2013 truck up-fit and May Madness, 2014.

    • Do your best Neil Sedaka imitation: I love, I love, I love it's calendar time. Yes, it is time to send in your photograph(s) for the annual TDR/Cummins calendar contest. The deadline for submitting photos is Sunday, September 14, 2014.

      Click here for more details on how to submit your photograph.

    • The usual "Best Of" from the TDR website.


    We hope you enjoy this issue of the Turbo Diesel Register. And as always, I sincerely appreciate your continued support.

    Robert Patton, Editor

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