Tag Archives: Ram

Want Your Cell Phone to Sound Like a Cummins Diesel?

Are you a mans man?  Do you wish your phones ringtone were a large diesel engine starting up each and every time someone calls you?  Well then you are in luck!  Dodge Ram and Cummins have just the ringtone for you.  You can download (for FREE!) a ringtone for your cellular device that is the 6.7 liter inline six Cummins Diesel starting and then idling.  Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?  Now get to downloadin and have one of those many friends of yours call you, just so you can hear that baby purr.  Enjoy your new ringtone!

Source- Twitter

The High Mileage Club, Like The Mile High Club…But Not Really

You have all heard about the mile high club right?  Well how about the high mileage club?  No?  Well if you own a Dodge Ram truck with the Cummins diesel and have just broken that baby in (over 100,000 miles) then you are part of the club!  Well not really, you need to sign up for the club.  But, once you sign up for the club, you are part of the club!  What does the club get you?  Well you get a nifty grille badge to show off proudly ($4.95 for shipping and handling of course)!  So vastly different then the mile high club but possibly still as note worthy to some.  Head here for all the details and to apply (if you meet the requirements of course).

Source- Cummins

Review – 2011 GMC Sierra Denali HD: King of the Luxury Heavy Duties?

The heavy duty truck wars are heating up, and until recently the Ford Super Duties have been the only place for luxury truck buyers to go. Not anymore though – General Motors has decided there is no reason they shouldn’t fight for their share of the pie.

The Denali nameplate already exists in the GMC showroom on the half ton Sierra. Making the leap from half ton to the three quarter ton and one ton pick-ups was nothing if not logical.

The Denali HD is more of a trim package then a complete package. The exterior has the same lines as the regular Sierras. It has a blunt front end that is squared off nicely and a rear tail gate that incorporate some sculpting.

The front and rear bumpers are painted , while the upper and lower grilles are finished in signature Denali chrome. The twenty-inch wheels look terrific and really set the stance correctly on this vehicle. You can only get the Denali HD in three colors: black, silver and white. Overall, the Denali trim is a very nice looking package on an already good looking truck.

The interior of the Denali HD is similar to any other loaded up GMC Sierra. There is more “wood” splashed around the cabin and leather covering the seating surfaces, making the interior a nice place to spend your time. With plenty of storage cubbies strewn about the cabin you  definitely won’t be lacking storage space.

The optional navigation unit (which the Denali HD I was in did not have) is somewhat dated, though it gets the job done. Since I did not have the navigation screen, the rear back up camera had the screen integrated into the left hand side of the rear view mirror. I noted the lack of auto up window function on any window, and only express down on the drivers window. This seems out of place on a truck of this price. The automatic climate control is easy to operate and has decent size buttons for the most part, though a few are tiny and might be hard to operate with gloves on.

One friend commented on how well the seat warmers worked on a chilly evening and was surprised to see the availability of cooled seats. The friend also commented on the fact that they have three heat intervals, which is quite nice as the competition has just on or off. The interior is a very understated place, but still “classy” as some would call it. Sometimes the competition could be viewed as over the top. This truck would not fall into that category.

The engine really is where this beast oozes awesome. The new Duramax is a 6.6-liter V-8 turbo diesel pumping out 397 horsepower and 765 pound feet of torque. That is channeled through an Allison six-speed automatic transmission. Even with that much power I still managed to average 14.6 mpg in mixed driving. While going 60 mph on a straight stretch of highway, I was curious to see how high I could get the average fuel economy up to. Resetting the trip computer, I was able to average 23.5 mpg on a highway stretch cruising at exactly 60 mph.

The new powertrain does utilize Urea injection into the exhaust system. This is the same type of exhaust cleaning system that Ford now utilizes in the new Super Duties. With this system the days of black smoke pouring out of diesel exhaust pipes is dead. The RAM Heavy Duty is the only one of the three heavy duty trucks that does not use Urea injection in the exhaust system. GM likes to note in their new marketing campaign that the Duramax and Allison transmission combination have been put to the test. With many work trucks on the road, over twenty million miles have been logged. That is no small feat. It is also worth mentioning that Ford is now on the fourth PowerStroke engine.

The power train can tow 13,000 pounds in this configuration, which is no small number. With my family’s cabin up north closed and the boats put away, I had no boat of my own to tow. My friends had also put away their boats for the season so that was not going to work. I had tried setting something up with the local Airstream dealer, but that fell through (seeing a trend?). I did finally have something rather cool planned for my last day with the Denali , but a miscommunication caused that plan to fall through (hopefully that plan will work out next time I have a heavy duty truck sitting in my driveway). So unfortunately I did not get haul something ridiculously huge with this more-than-capable truck.

Driving the Denali HD was an enjoyable experience. With more then enough power on tap, slamming the go pedal at a stop light would immediately kick the traction control into a frenzy. The steering was light, with decent on center feel for a truck of this size. You would think a truck of this size would be a handful in the city, but you would be surprised. Handling was good and the ride was comfortable. It is truly amazing how far the ride and handling of these trucks have come in the last ten years, especially considering their capabilities.

With an as tested sticker price of $58,199, is the new Denali HD king of the luxury trucks? Until now the Ford Super Duties in King Ranch trim has held that crown with no disputes. Mainly because there has been no one in the marketplace to dispute with. I have to say, it seems to me the Denali HD and the King Ranch have very different approaches to how they execute luxury and styling.

The Denali HD is a very understated type of luxury, while the new Super Duty King Ranch is a very in your face, larger-than-life luxury. Seeing how these trucks have different approaches, one might think they will attract different types of buyers. I believe that having options in the marketplace is a great thing. Between the terrific powertrain and great looks, this new Denali HD really does turn heads. As to whether it is the king of luxury heavy duties, it will come down to what kind of luxury are you looking for.

Be sure to check out the gallery below for more terrific pictures of the Denali HD.

Full Disclosure – The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Photography – Alex Bellus

Why Buy Dad A Fathers Day Card? Win Him Heavy Duty Swag From RamZone!

This fathers day why waste money on cards from Hallmark when you could win him some free swag?  Well that is the question RamZone is asking.  RamZone is a place for Ram owners to gather and um talk Ram?  Well all you have to do is go and post in the comments a story about your father and his Ram truck.  Thats it!  They will pick six most touching tales and those lucky individuals will win heavy duty swag.  Also the grand prize winner will get a super sweet Atomic Solar G-Shock Watch while the five honorable mentions will get a Graphica 4-in-1 pen.  You have until 12 AM EST Friday June 18 so go go go!

Source- RamZone

MAMA Spring Rally – See You There

Earlier this spring I was accepted into MAMA (Midwest Automotive Media Association).  This is a non-profit group that brings automotive journalists and public relations people together.  I will be attending the spring rally tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday at Road America Raceway in Elkhart, Wisconsin.  Wednesday we will have the opportunity to wring out quite a few cars on the track.  Thursday morning we will do some off roading with a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, new Ram Power Wagon and whatever else is brought for some fun.  Last but not least, we will road test on nearby roads around the Road America track.  This will provide some real world insight to how these cars handle the roadways.  I will be tweeting on and off along with taking video and pictures to post later.

Review – 2010 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty

Up until recently trucks were not only work vehicles but also daily drivers.  With the rise of gas prices and the fall of the economy, things changed.  People are no longer buying trucks just to drive to work, leaving Detroit in a fierce competition to win over as many high-margin trucks sales as they can.

Exterior-

The 2010 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty is without question a looker.  Starting up front the grille on the heavy duty Ram is more upright than the grille on Ram 1500, playing a major role in the “tough” look of this truck.  The grille and bumpers are all chrome with other bright work scattered about the rest of the truck.  The fresh sheet metal has lines that are well integrated, with a strong line running off the headlight and into the front doors that disappears and then picks up again at the edge of the rear doors leading into the bed.  Without question there was a lot of metal to work with and I think the designers did their best to make the new heavy duty Ram look great.  I would say mission accomplished.

Interior-

The exterior of the Ram has never been its biggest drawback; instead that role was always given to the interior.  The interior has finally been redone and in a big way.  With new materials and a vastly updated design, we now have a Ram that is head and shoulders above its predecessor.  There are soft touch materials where necessary and everything looks great.  Fit and finish is also terrific all around. The Ram sports dual glove boxes along with enough storage cubbies to hold all your gear meaning you should never have stuff flying around.  The touch screen Uconnect setup for the radio works well and is hard drive based.  It was somewhat odd to me that you can only read music or rip music off a flash drive from the USB port on Uconnect head unit.  To use your iPod/iPhone you must buy the proprietary adapter that connects all the way over in the top glove box.  That seems anti-intuitive.  Also having your iPhone all the way in the glove box means you cannot use it as a phone outside of hands free with Ram’s Bluetooth.

Powertrain-

The heart of any heavy duty truck is the engine and this Ram 2500 did not disappoint.  Equipped with the optional 6.7 liter Cummins turbo diesel, this inline six puts out 350 hp and 650 lb-ft through an optional six speed automatic transmission.  Yes you read that correctly, the six speed automatic is optional.  The heavy duty Ram is the only heavy duty truck available with a manual transmission.  The Cummins turbo diesel engine is a $7,615 option.  The exhaust system in the Cummins diesel utilizes a DEF-free catalyst, which uses (expensive) metals that convert the NOx into nitrogen gas and water vapor.  This system was implemented back in 2007 meaning the Cummins diesel was ready for the 2010 emissions—not only before the competition—but before the new standards were even in effect.

Depending on how the vehicle is configured, such as long box vs. short box and crew cab vs. regular cab not to mention mega cab, the new Ram can tow between 17,000 and 20,000 lbs.  Payload is rated at 9,600 lbs, this again depends on your configuration.  While those are not small numbers by any means, the competition is releasing their updated heavy duty trucks this year and beat these numbers with output figures beating the Cummins.  What does that mean?  Well mostly bragging rights.  The competition will be able to brag that they have the most powerful or the most capabilities.  In all reality the numbers put out by the new Ram heavy duty, especially when equipped with the diesel, are more then adequate for almost any job.

The particular Ram 2500 I had was a crew cab long box SLT.  This particular Ram was optioned with-

•  40/20/40 bench seat

•  customer preferred package

•  2FG luxury group, automatic transmission

•  limited slip rear differential

•  6.7 liter Cummins turbo diesel

•  technology group and media center

•  17″ aluminum wheels

•  remote start system

Without question this was a nicely optioned truck.  After destination the sticker price rang up to a whopping $51,765.

I do want to take a second and talk about my personal experience with the truck.  Let’s be real, I am a city boy born and raised.  I live in the suburbs and work downtown.  I drove a 2500 heavy duty truck with four full doors and a long box in the city for a week.  That in itself was an interesting experience.  I made every effort not to change my daily routines, as I wanted to see how this thing could really handle my daily life.  Hard as I tried changes were necessary.  I changed certain streets I took on my way to work due to the turning radius.  Driving downtown was not as terrible as I imagined if only because people seem to get out of your way when you are in such a large vehicle.  Passing never became an issue because people literally just moved.  No one wanted to mess with such a large vehicle.  Parking became an issue and mainly because it took up one and a half spots, not to mention the turning radius when in small parking lots.  Three point turns became habit while moving slowly became another.  Overall driving the truck in the city was quite an experience.

This is without a doubt a heavy duty truck meant for heavy duty work.  The foreman of the site will be very comfortable working on his updates from within the well appointed interior, even on the lower trim trucks.  The workers will appreciate all the storage space and power from that Cummins turbo diesel.  Sure this is no longer the most powerful diesel option in the heavy duty truck segment and no they do not have the highest tow rating, though after spending a week with the new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty, I am not sure it needs those bragging rights to be a great truck.  With fresh new looks and a terrific interior… without a doubt the new Ram 2500 Heavy Duty is a truck anyone in the market should take a look at.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by Chrysler

Review – 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The Silverado is a nameplate that goes back generations.  People’s grandfathers and their grandfathers drove these pick up trucks while working the land.  They are every worker’s friend and seem to always be there.  Over the years, as we have evolved, so has the Silverado.  The pickup of yore were smaller and less powerful, not to mention much less luxurious.  Though things have changed, the underlying characteristics that makes the Silverado, the character has not.

In 2007 the Silverado went under the knife for a major refresh.  In the first commercials Chevrolet had a clay Malibu and then showed designers reshaping the vehicle into the new Silverado.  This was to try and tie the sharp styling of these two vehicles together and connect the Chevrolet brand.  Without question, the outside of this truck is sharp.  The front has the headlights stacked vertically and the hood has two small power bulges on the sides.  The fender flares are over-sized and shaped nicely, though the side of the truck, specifically the cab is plain and rather slab sided.  The windshield has a steeper rake then the previous generation Silverado and the panel gaps are tightened up.  This all leads to better aerodynamics.  Overall, the look is sharp on the exterior, though I would like to see more done with the cab styling.

The current Silverado rides on the GMT900 platform, a truck chassis adapted from the current Tahoe and Suburban.  The frame is fully boxed and that helps not only the payload and towing specs, but also the ride.  Engineers commented at the launch of the 2007 Silverado about how they wanted to keep high capacities but strived to hit a good mix for ride and handling, both when the truck was under load and when it was empty. It rides nice all the same.

I formed strong opinions about my experience with the truck and little things struck me.  For instance, the Silverado I had was an extended cab.  The rear half doors swung open on unique hinges a full 180 degrees.  This is not only impressive but also quite handy.  The truck also was equipped with the Z71 package which among other things, on the interior gave a unique gauge cluster background which resembled carbon fiber.  I personally liked the gauge cluster in the Silverado.  I found it easy to read and had all the necessary gauges a truck owner using his vehicle might need.  I found the leather seats to be very comfortable and the leather seemed to be good quality.  The sound system was the base unit and sounded decent at best.  It got muddy with the lows, while not the worst system I would definitely opt for the upgraded unit.  The USB port was hidden in what you would assume to be a power outlet but it was easy to reach and quickly connected with my iPhone using a little white cable.  The biggest down fall of the interior, and this is a huge downfall, is the plastics.  The entire dash is made of hard plastic that does not even look that great.  The door panels are all cheap plastic except for the touch points.  While this used to be fine in the pick up segment the competition (Ram and Ford F150) have all upgraded their interior cabin material significantly recently and that makes the Silverado look dated.  All was not lost for I did like the electronic climate control interface.  Though the gauge cluster, terrific 180 degree extended cab doors and electronic climate control interface cannot fully make up for the cheap interior plastics.

The 5.3L V8 in this Silverado pumped out 315 hp and 335 ft-lb pushed to the rear wheels though it had four wheel drive.  A six speed automatic handled the power and was programmed quite well.  It seemed to be in the correct gear and never seemed lazy.  The mileage is rated at 15/21 which is definitely competitive and right along the lines of other full size pick ups.  I averaged 14.8 throughout the week.  The way this particular Silverado was equipped it was rated to tow a maximum of 10,400 lbs and the maximum payload is rated at 1714 lbs.  Neither of these numbers was I able to confirm as I did not have a Bobcat lying around to tow.  Though I can only assume it would tow a boat or trailer quite easily.

The Silverado I had was a 1500 4WD extended cab LT.  With many packages tacked on this LT was not stripped.  The optional packages included the interior plus package, exterior plus package, power pack plus package, off road suspension package, Z71 appearance package and the 40/20/40 split bench seat.  Among these packages features such as the dual automatic climate control, Bluetooth, chrome exterior bits, remote start, and much more were added.  The total sticker price rang up to $37,775.  The package I wanted to take a moment to focus on was the power pack plus package.  This upgraded the engine to the LTZ trim levels 5.3L V8 with active fuel management.  That engine gives a few more horsepower and ft-lb but the real addition is the six speed automatic ditching the four speed transmission.  I am a bit shocked this engine is not the standard V8 and transmission combination on the Silverado line.  What is the exact reason for offering the 4.8L V8 and four speed automatic transmission on the base LT models.  Make with the standard six speed transmissions already.

The reality is simple when it comes to the three American made trucks, you are not going to buy a bad truck.  Really, I know you are about to blast me and that is because everyone has an opinion on this topic.  The reality of it is these trucks are all very capable when it comes to working hard they are worlds nicer, stronger and more power then they used to be.  At the end of the day would I recommend a Silverado to someone?  Absolutely.  Now ask me if it would be my first choice and I would say no.  I really do like the Silverado but I would have to be honest and say both the new F150 and Ram 1500 are more competitive in their own rights.  The interiors have been heavily upgraded and the innovative features are endless.  The Silverado is not a bad truck, it simply is not currently the best truck. A complete refresh is coming around the 2013-2014 time frame (possibly sooner) and we shall see how the chips fall at that point.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 21: “Luxury Like”

Episode 21 starts by introducing this weeks guest, Justin Loyear joining us from Cheers and Gears.  Justin kicked us off by telling us a little about himself along with Cheers and Gears.  Moving into the garage Justin had a Camaro SS recently which  he discussed and I talk about the Silverado 1500 I was in for the past week.  We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured Chryslers new heavy-duty Ram ads.

We continued with our newer section called tweetmeme.  This week we focused on the leaked photos of the upcoming 2012 Ford Explorer.

Next came our main topics.  This week the topics included discussion on the future direction for Cadillac and the possible partnership between Daimler and Renault-Nissan.

Last but certainly not least, we discuss the past week on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls.  The week in review included- my Chevrolet Equinox V6 review and Name That Car: Sebring or 200C?, along with the post on Colin’s blog about Pump Prices.

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AutoBird Podcast – Esp 18: “Cult of Toyota”

Episode 18 starts by introducing this weeks guest, the one and only  Michelle Naranjo joining us from Miss Motor Mouth.  Michelle kicked us off by telling us a little about herself and how she came to be awesome.  We move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • How Jeff Bridges Voice-overs Imperiled Hyundai’s Oscars Blitz
  • Ford number one brand in America

We continued with our new section called tweetmeme.  This week we focused on Bob Lutz’s retirment.  Zeroing in on how people reacted both initially and after the news sank in.

This week we skip the clip of the week segment.

Next came our main topics.  This week the topic revolved around some cars from the Geneva Auto Show.  We discuss the Opel Flextreme GT/E concept, Mitsubishi ASX and 2011 Lexus CT 200h Hybrid.  The last topic is the Cult of Toyota.

Last but certainly not least, we discuss the past week on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls.  The week in review included- Leaked Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram Production Start Dates and my 2010 Cadillac SRX Turbo Review, along with Colin’s By the Numbers: February car sales numbers.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Leaked Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram Production Start Dates

2011 Chrysler 300C Interior

2011 Chrysler 300 Interior

Dates have been leaked out onto Allpar, a site devoted to all things Chrysler past and present, with the production start dates for many of the new or refreshed Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Jeep models.

Things to note:

  • The LX based cars now have the same date as each other
  • It was originally stated that production of the new Charger and 300C would be staggered and now they are pegged to enter production simultaneously
  • The Wrangler date has also been moved up slightly
  • Rumors now peg the 200C name plate to be replacing the Sebring name
  • The Avenger name may soldier on for the Dodge counterpart

Production Start Dates:

2010 Viper – March 29

2011 Ram Chassis Cab – April 5

2011 Grand Cherokee – May 10

2011 Ram 1500/2500 – July 5 (one plant; second plant for Ram 1500 starts July 26)

2011 Caliber, Dakota, Liberty, Nitro – July 26

2011 Wrangler – August 16

2011 Jeep Patriot – October 4

2011 Dodge CUV (Durango replacement, possibly Magnum) – November 8

2011 Journey, Ram 1500 Hybrid – November 16

2011 Avenger  (Sebring?) – November 18

2011 Minivans – November 22

2011 Charger, Challenger, 300 – November 30

2011 Jeep Compass, 2012 Fiat 500 – December 13

2011 Dodge Charger Gauge Cluster

Source- AllPar