RAM PICK-UPS HIT OZ

TWO 4X4 RAM PICK-UP MODELS LAUNCHED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN MARKET.

WORDS MATT WOOD

The American-made Ram pick-up truck, formerly the Dodge Ram, is now available in Australia in two 4x4 models: the big beefy 3500 and the slightly more cosseting 2500.

Both are powered by a 6.7- litre Cummins turbo-diesel engine, which produces 276kW and 1084Nm. A 68RFE six-speed auto sits behind the six-cylinder Cummins mill and is equipped with a shift-on-thefly 4x4 transfer case.

The Cummins engine complies with current US smog laws and uses SCR to clean up any tailpipe nasties. As such, the Ram requires Adblue, and usage will depend on load and how hard the truck is working.

The Ram 2500 will take a payload of 916kg, while the 3500 takes a 1713kg load and drivers will need a light truck licence to drive it.

But with trucks like this it’s all about the towing. The Ram 2500 will haul 6989kg with the right tow hitch, while the bigger brother will tow less, at 6170kg.

Most significantly, the 3500 sits on leaf springs, while the 2500 sports a multi-link coil over shock rear end.

Ram has been the commercial vehicle arm of Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) since 2009, but was originally sold under the Dodge brand. The two Ram truck models for Australia come courtesy of American Special Vehicles (ASV); an alliance between automotive distributor Ateco and Melbourne-based Walkinshaw Automotive Group. The LHD Ram trucks arrive direct from the factory and are remanufactured at Walkinshaw Group’s purpose-built Ram assembly line in Clayton.

ASV’s chief operating officer, John DiBerardino, reckons that this process has raised the bar for righthand drive conversions in Australia. “We have spent tens of thousands of manhours and millions of dollars to make sure we get this right,” DiBerardino says.

“I believe that the RAM trucks engineered by American Special Vehicles have set a new benchmark – they are spot on.”

The conversions are being undertaken with the blessing of FCA and see the cab removed from the chassis for the conversion process.

Sections of firewall and footwell are remanufactured and a new dashboard is also built, including the factory air bags.

The steering box is now mounted Jeep Wranglerstyle outside the right-hand chassis rail so it doesn’t interfere with the factory engine bay layout. The box itself is a purpose-built unit that is made by the same company that supplies the original left-hook steering gear.

The finished product is an almost exact mirror image of the factory LHD cockpit.

Even the driver’s footrest has been relocated.

“Our goal was to produce a right-hand drive RAM truck that meets the engineering standards, quality and refinement of the left-hand drive product.”

RRP: $139,500 for the 2500 and $146,500 for the 3500. A national dealer network has already been rolled out and all Ram Trucks are covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty.