2019 Ramosaurus Rex

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Conan, what is best in life? 

Crush enemies, see them fleeing before you, hear the lamentations of their women.

Yes, indeed.

In thirty years – from 1989 to 2019 – the horsepower produced by the Dodge Ram 3500’s optional Cummins turbo-diesel engine has almost tripled, to 400 from 160 and its torque output more than doubled, from 400 ft.-lbs. to 1,000 ft.-lbs. this year.

That, as the saying goes, is not small potatoes.

Actually, you could haul about 35,000 lbs. of potatoes with the Cummins-powered 2019 Ram. It’s now the most brawny regular production pick-up you can buy – as well as ever.

And it has two fewer cylinders than its less powerful rivals, the Ford F-truck and Chevy’s Silverado.

Both offer turbo-diesel V8s, but the Ford’s 6.7 liter Powerstroke V8 maxes out at a comparatively puny 935 ft.-lbs. of torque while the Chevy’s 6.6 liter Duramax V8 produces a mere 910 ft.-lbs.

Both the Ford and Chevy engines do make more horsepower (450 and 445) respectively – but when it comes to trucks – and pulling and hauling things – torque is king.

And being able to tout four figures’ worth of pulling/towing power will surely give Ram another marketing advantage over Ford and Chevy, both of them already staggered by the gung-ho sales success of the lighter-duty Ram 1500, which was the first of the Ram series of trucks to get a complete redesign. A redesign which has apparently swayed a whole herd of buyers, especially ex-Chevy ones.

The Ram 1500 has been outselling the Silverado and stands a chance of toppling the long-reigning King of pickups, the F-150 – which has been the best-selling vehicle in America since powdered wigs and knee breeches were in fashion – or seems like it.

What accounts for this?

Ram – nee Dodge – has historically trailed behind the Big Two, who owned most of the big truck market between them. But ownerships seems to be in the process of changing – arguably because Ram is unabashedly making trucks while GM and Ford seem ambivalent.

Or at least, complaisant.

Both of them having been making their trucks more agreeable to Uncle. For example, Ford has almost dropped V8s; you can still get one, but the majority of the F-150’s engines are turbo sixes, which Ford has embraced not because F-truck buyers are clamoring for small engines goosed by turbos but because small engines use a bit less gas – theoretically, on government fuel economy tests – and Ford is trying hard to please Uncle.

This is also the reason for the F-truck’s aluminum body – another “feature” truck buyers weren’t demanding but which does help Ford achieve a better score on the government’s economy tests – at the price of a more expensive truck that costs more to repair and is more vulnerable to being in need of repair than a steel-bodied truck.

GM, meanwhile, has also been batting its eyes at Uncle – putting smaller engines in its trucks, including (for the new model year) a four cylinder engine, enhanced by a turbo. It makes good power, but many truck buyers are – clearly – ambivalent about making power that way. They wonder how a high-pressurized teensy little engine will do over 100,000 miles, pulling a a very big truck and breathing in the Texas dust through a clogged air filter and maybe not getting its oil changed as often as specified.

Ram, meanwhile, has not gone aluminum and it is now the last big truck that only offers big six and bigger V8 engines.

Neither with (or needing) turbocharging.

These engines use slightly more gas – officially, on the window sticker – but even that difference only amounts to about 3-4 MPG overall, which matters to many truck buyers as much as the Pope’s views on contraception mattered to Hugh Heffner.

It is a marketing mistake to sell people things they don’t particularly want.

That’s a mistake Ram has not made. It is the least Uncle-complaisant truck manufacturer, probably because parent company FiatChrysler is the least complaisant major automaker, the legacy of former FCA head Sergio Marchionne.

Sergio didn’t drink the Kool Aid. He figured his customers weren’t the agglutination of busybodies and make-workers in Washington and their Greek Chorus press, which sings the praises of – and the urgent necessity for – making trucks into something else – something less “trucky” – for the sake of saving fuel, or saving the planet.

Sergio – who was taken from us last summer – greenlit the 707 horsepower Hellcat  and then, when the Greek Chorus shrieked in horror – rolled out the 900 horsepower Demon, the first street legal, production car capable of getting air under its front wheels during an acceleration run.

Sergio had to have greenlit the 2019 Ram’s new 1,000 ft.-lb. Cummins engine, too – and been the Decider as regards not nixing the Ram’s standard V6 in favor of a turbo four and giving buyers steel and V8s and other such things which appeal to the people who buy trucks, as opposed to the busybody bureaucrats and politicians who somehow think it’s become their job to design them.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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46 COMMENTS

  1. The amount of torque on new pickup engines isn’t lost on me. I dig it…..but what about the long haul?

    A lot of big rig engines are only a couple hundred lb ft of torque more than the pickups.

    Reckon Paccar will be using Cummins pickup engines in KWs and Peterbilt’s soon? One helluva weight savings and idling fuel usage.

    When 900 hp Demon’s and 1,000 ft-lb Cummins have half a million miles on them I might get on board.

    I suppose if you’re a use it a couple years or maybe a year when electronic bugaboos take over they’d be ok.

    I’m still looking for another 92 93 6.5 Turbo Diesel I can mount a 7 speed Dodge manual transmission to and drive it into my grave.

    When everyone else blows by laughing at me I’ll laugh right along with them. When I drag my old slow àss up on their toasted super diesel I’ll give them a slow ride to wherever they want to get off.

    And when I need an axle bearing or seal or both, I’ll stop and get the parts and have it going in a bit.

    I spoke with a woman today in a GM cross over thing and she complained about it cutting off the engine every time she stopped. I told her there was a way to disable that feature every time she used it. She said she’d read the owners manual and find out how to do it. I told her that was what I’d read so don’t hold me to it.

    I have realized why a guy my dad’s age drove 292 6cylinder pickups till the day he died.

    So I get into that POS Z71 today and the lights flash “Change oil”, just did that, Check Engine Oil Level…..ditto, Service 4wd, just did that too, Low Fuel, just topped it off, Low wiper fluid, hell, it got one right”A broken clock’s right twice a day.

    • There is no way these Tier 4 engines go the distance. I do biz and am friends with many contractors that own fleets of them. They tell me that they are disgusted with the new diesels that used to go 300K miles without much effort/cost. Now they are only getting 100K before major expenses start piling up. It’s not the short block, it’s all the ancillary filters, EGR, etc… crap.
      Alot of these contractors are moving to gas engines.
      One friends EGR system broke, cost to repair was 3k+, he did a delete of all the crap. says it runs like a diesel should now.
      So the big 3 diesel sales will be taking a hit for sure. Either they did it to themselves by getting into bed with uncle to raise regulation on purpose to limit competition, or uncle is just that inept.

      • Yeah, Chris- that’s been going on since the 6.0 days. Brickman (A national landscape/plowing company) ditched diesels after the 6.0 abortion, and switched to gas; and so have lots of other big fleets which use the 3/4 and 1-ton chassis trucks. (Not woth saving a few MPGs when ya have to spend tens of thousands extra over the life of the truck on repairs; or are left with an unreliable truck; or have to get rid of ’em well before they get old.

        I can’t believe the decisions these companies are making! Just like when GM let Cadillac turn to crap and lost the entire limo/car service/hearse market.

        Instead of making real work trucks….these stoopit companies make luxury trucks for guys with small dicks who like to brag….not intended to last, ’cause m,ost will be repossessed within a year or two….

        Disgusting, isn’t it?

    • 8SM: my friend down in Colorado inherited a 1965 K-20 with a 292-6 and a 4 speed.

      I used to drive that pickup some when I worked for him, and I actually did a ring job on it one winter (his dad let it run low on oil).

      THAT is a pickup that I lust over!

      • I’ll buy a new PU when they go back to putting bulletproof inline sixes in ’em! A thousand pound of torque my ass! A 300 4.9 six with timing GEARS (Not a chain or belt!) will pull anything I’ll ever need to pull with a PU. -and is a gas motor that’ll run without issue for 400K miles.

        • Trouble with the Ford 300-6 is that they always seem to run hot. I don’t think Henry put a big enough radiator on them ???

          • Hmmmm…never had that problem nor knew anyone who did with a 300-6. Maybe in a real hot climate? They were always completely trouble-free engines for me- just kinda thirsty [err…very thirtsy!]. The various Ford ignition schemes though…like Duraspark II, were another story… 🙁

  2. Few people know about the final FCA blockbuster that Sergio green lighted before he died. It’s gonna hit the market soon. And I’m holding out for it…….

    The 10.1 liter MASERATI QUAD CAB 2500!

  3. I’m not surprised by the GM pickup’s being last – there are oddball design issues with it than a more experienced project manager would have fixed before calling it done.

    The new RAM trucks look really impressive, especially that you can get a goose-neck or 5th-wheel hitch prep package from the factory. And they think about how a duelly gets used – there’s extra parking sensors back there so you don’t dent the wide fenders.

    100k warranty on the diesel powertrain, body rust-thru, and roadside assistance. Pretty nice.

    If I were buying a fifth-wheel trailer, it’d be this truck

  4. Agreed, the RAM ‘Power Wagon’ is the only Truck I would consider buying ( if I needed a truck ) especially with the new redesign, its very nice. My parents just got anew RAM 2500 ‘Laramie’ edition to replace their 12 yr old F250 as the Ranch truck. Used for pulling the 5th wheel horse trailer or their boat & they love it!

  5. I wonder though if somehow quality control is better at “Ram” than it is on the other Fiat/Dodge/Chrysler lines, where everything they make just falls apart in a few years?

    Good for Ram for not going the way of Chevy {Points and laughs at Chevy]- but still, it makes me sick that one can no longer buy a simple pick-up truck- i.e. a full-size PU without all of the fancy electronics; without an engine that puts out more horsepower than a locomotive; without power-opening tailgates and automatic steps and heated leather seats; which costs more than my entire homestead, but which will be economically unfeasible to operate 10 years from now.

    A real pick-up with a manual transmission and a manual transfer case, and just rubber on the floor; and a plain old key to open the doors and unlock the ignition……

    These modern things look like trucks, and have the bragging rights of horsepower worthy of a locomotive…but unless you’re a hot-shot trucker or a debt slave, these things are NOT the pick-ups that made America and were found on every farm and in every small-town and suburban driveway. Traditionally, the truck sitting in front of a house wasn’t worth as much as the house! (And they tended to last for 25 years without much effort- whereas these modern ones can barely make it through the warranty period without major issues, which are just patched-up long enough to get them to the end of the warranty).

      • The crew cab/extra cabs are the one thing about modern trucks I like. Hard to live with a single cab. That’s the onl thing that keeps me from going retro with something from the 60’s-80’s…just too impractical, when you use your truck for everything, to deal with a single cab.

        8′ bed definitely! Wish they’d bring back the 9′ beds that were available on Dodges in the 60’s!

        http://www.2040-cars.com/_content/cars/images/42/311142/002.jpg

        • Nun, I feel like the same way. I know where a 79 one ton crew cab chevy pickup is and has been for years but a friend told me the owner was mighty proud of it.
          No big thing to add TBI and a 700R4 but I don’t know if it’s 4wd.

          As for GM pickups, I always liked them for simplicity of maintenance, superior drive trains, better handling and much more comfortable plus the smooth lines.

          Once they began looking like a slightly smoother Super Duty, they lost me on styling. Now with GM laying off nearly 15,000 employees in exchange for 15,000 Mexicans…..in Mexico, they’ve completely lost me….even though I had already sworn off any pickup newer than 94.

          • 8, 70’s and 80’s I like Chebby/GM P/U’s. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crew cab single rear wheel old-style Chevy that was 4×4- but I’m sure they existed (Come to think of it, even a dually CC 4×4 in such was a rarity).

            I’d love to find me a solid 70’s-mid 80’s K20 Suburban.

            Two regrets I’ve had in life: Not buying a c. ’70 K20/K30 straight six fleetside long-bed P/U that for sale around the corner from where I lived at the time around ’89, for $1000 or $1200, ’cause it looked like it was blowing oil. (What a solid truck it was!)

            And: Not keeping the 4×4 crew cab step-side ’69 power wagon I picked up for junk in the mid 90’s (Forget if I got it for free, or paid $35 or $50 for it….and the body was straight and clean!!!!)

            FACK!
            (I know how ya love euphemisms for profanity! 😉 )

            • “I’d love to find me a solid 70’s-mid 80’s K20 Suburban.”

              I found one on craigslist a few years ago a few hundred miles from here: fed/gov fleet ~1988 Suburban with 4 speed MANUAL transmission, only about 50K miles.

              I just didn’t have the $8K or so he was asking, though it was a perfectly reasonable amount.

              As far as crew cabs – well, my 89 ext-cab is already too damn long to be comfortable in the woods.

              • Oh. My. Goodness. Mostly!

                A stick, no less?!!!! I didn’t know they made ’em in manual; I always said to myself “It’d be worth converting one to manual”- who knew?!!!!

                Yeah, $8K, even if not rusty, seems a little steep for a gov’t-issue job- as they’re usually very spartan; and I’m naturally leery of old vehicles with very low mileage, as they likely weren’t driven much, and probably still have all of their crusty old original parts. Plus, it probably spent half it’s time idling…not good.

                But man, for $8K and with a stick, I’d probably go for it anyway- as ya don’t get much for that price these days.

                • GM stopped offering the Burban with a manual sometime in the late 1980s.

                  I had a 1977 2wd 4 speed which was a beast. It would go 90% of the places you would take a 4×4. Traded it for a 1991 automatic 4wd which I still have.

                  “Spartan” is a feature, not a bug: Rubber floor mats and crank windows.

                  • Yeah, Pat[agonia], THAT kind of spartan I not only like (Rubber floor; vinyl seats, etc.] but I actually prefer!

                    It’s just that some of these military spec models take it a little too far…. Like no heat (much less A/C- which is one option I’ll take); I even saw a military Blazer once that had hand-cranked WINDSHIELD wipers!

                    But that’s one of the reasons I love the second generation ‘Burbans- ’cause they were still real trucks, instead of luxury soccer-Mom mobiles.

    • The problem with Ram is still quality control. The engine and transmission are the only good parts of these pickups. Neither of which are manufactured by FCA. The transmission you are required to get with the 1000 LB ft Cummins is an Aisin. Manufactured by Toyota=Aisin. If you get the lower output engines on the 2500-3500 series, you get Fiat’s lame, problematic tranny. If you opt for the 4500-5500 series trucks, interestingly, the torque numbers are in the 750 lb ft range. The reason for this is that people opting for the 4500-5500 demand longevity and dependability. They want a truck to go half a million miles without major incidents, vs. the general 2500-3500 series buyer that want’s to brag about having the most powerful truck. If you want the ‘most power’ you better be prepared to trade it in like a cell phone every few years because that’s your longevity measure. The 4500-5500 come with an Aisin also.

      You can’t have the close to the same power numbers on a 6.7 litre Cummins diesel as you have on a 15 litre Cimmins diesel in a semi truck without sacrificing something. Semi’s are expected to do a million miles. Both Ford and Ram tip their hands at their goals by the de-rating of their diesel engines in the 4-5 class trucks. A 1000 lb ft is very impressive, but there’s no replacement for displacement.

      • Ancap You hit the nail on the head. I’ve ripped the carpet out of pickups and installed the heavy sound and heat resistant rubber mats and always loved it.

        Well, I can always learn something and did looking at a pickup a guy was selling. He took a long, heavy big rig mudflap and made 2 custom fitted floor mats. Don’t make a dam what you spill, it goes to the door and right on out when you open it. I like how you can Armor All them and nothing sticks. A counter brush in the door pocket sends everything out the door. Carpet underneath will look like new forever.

  6. The most common problem with all the late model “miracle” cars is that the ones getting to the 10-year mark are having “pass-key” or similar “ignition security” failure isses that can only be serviced at the dealers, usually at the tune of $500.00 or more to replace the lock cylinder and “coded” keys. Just wait until all the touch-pad heater controls and crap start failing. No one has any aftermarket gear to “repair” that crap yet, and even when it becomes available it will be ungodly expensive just to equip on shop or one mechanic for the job.

    • you’re right gtc, but I think it will be worse than most think as there are electro-mechanical devices in all engines today. More in some than others. The Hemi has one that I know of in the cylinder deactivation device that requires the intake manifold to be removed to replace. There are four of them. Most also have cam phasers, etc…. The newer 4cyl turbos have many more things that I can’t even keep up with anymore.
      No way these vehicles will be affordable to run after 10 years, some sooner.
      And why I mentioned months ago that I think the only way forward is with a ‘factory’ warranty covering all this crap as long as you own it.

      • Exactly Chris and GTC. And it’s not just the cost of fixin’ ’em; but even diagnosing them!

        I mean, even the stealerships aren’t very good at it; half the time, even under warranty, they just throw parts at the problem.

        You get a problem and a code….is it just the sensor; or is it the computer? Is the computer getting an intermittent bad signal from the sensor, or is the a rusty prong on a connector somewhere, which you’ll never see, ’cause it’s buried somewhere that would require disaasembly of half the car just to access it? Is the computer sending a bad or intermittent signal to a sensor or electro-mechanical part, or is there a loose wire that’s letting moisture in when it rains, or cutting out when you go over a bump; or is the electromechanical part bad?

        You could spend an entire day just diagnosing a rather routine problem (At $100/hr.) and the repair might not cost anything (tape a wire) or muight cost $2K (Remove the tranny to access the sensor).

        It’s SICK!

        They have rendered cars functionally obsolete after the warranty period- and pretty soon there will be no such thing as a viable older used car.

  7. Has the Dodge’s day finally come? They really made their first dent in Ford/GM sales with the 90s redesign. Looked so good it became the first new vehicle I bought.

    • Hi Bin,

      I hope so! Dodge is among the few car companies that still seems passionate about cars – and driving them. The rest seem to be obsessed with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety, gadgets and diversity… not necessarily in that order.

      • I wonder though, if/when FCA starts making the numbers we think are coming that they too get hammered by the feds? Or is it GM and possibly Ford have gotten into bed with uncle to change the rules so they get an advantage, and possibly FCA hasn’t (yet)?

  8. What an irony that an Italian ended up being the last promoter of old tried and true American ideology in a major auto manufacturer and made his company successful doing it.

    It reminds me of the Japanese embracing William Edwards Deming and going on to kick the Big 3’s asses after the captains of American industry ignored his work post WW2.

    • I still liked what was depicted at the end of “Tucker: The Man and his Dream” which came out 31 years ago (1988). Preston Tucker, against advice of his counsel, makes his own closing argument, and points out how “Gubmint” collusion with the entrenched big auto makers to squash upstarts and innovation would be the ruin of America, with Americans buying cars from the Germans and Japanese. In order to not actually inflame the jury against him, though (this IS being depicted in 1948, though the actual trial took place in 1949 and 1950, which, by then, the Tucker Corporation was already defunct and in liquidation, with the huge Chicago plant already occupied by Ford, it’s now a mall), Tucker declares that he can’t imagine that Americans would EVER allow such a thing!

      America has long been sold out by those whom profited the most at the expense of those that actually made it what it was, right under our noses, while we’ve been too busy playing video games and watching f-u-u-t-b-a-a-l-l. Fuck that shit. Once the NFL pissed me off with it’s limp-wrist approach to dealing with disrespectful and arrogant players, that was the last straw, and I quit watching and following it. I now have my autumn Sundays to be with family and go to CHURCH.

  9. I predicted the Ram would outsell GM last summer. Not sure when it will happen, but it will. As a 25 year GM coolaid drinker, I finally went to the dark side and got a 300 V8 and I was so impressed with how it ran compared to my big 6.2 GM’s that I felt cheated by GM. It all started around ’07 when GM started tuning for mpg. Then in ’14, they doubled down on mpg crap with countless engine design tricks, 10 sp trans, etc… all stupid cafe crap to squeak out 1-2 mpg. Yet the old-school hemi 5.7 with a 8sp runs like I want an engine to run.
    My wife has owned 4-5 GM burbs with 8.1L and 6.2L engines and she too recently went FCA with a Grand Cherokee V8. She says it’s her favorite verhicle of all time and I say the same about my 300 v8. I still own a 6.2 GMC and I don’t enjoy driving it compared to FCA’s V8 tuning. Yeah, it goes good when you floor it but who drives like that? Part of me also wonders if GM tunes to get max HP numbers, thinking that people will by on numbers. Who knows. My next truck will be a Ram v8 with no e-torque. So in about 3-4 years, my driveway goes from 4 gm’s to 4 FCA’s. GM is dead-company-walking. Very sad.
    As you mentioned Eric, I could give a crap about mpg. I want the darn things to run. +/- 5 mpg means nothing to me.
    One note about diesels. Most contractors I know who own fleets of trucks are switching to gas because the newer Tier 4 diesels cost to run is through the roof.

    • Aside from the shifter knob and keyless fob, the Ram 19 V8 was the truck I wanted when I bought my 13 silverado 6 years ago. I didn’t get a Ram then because the rear seat was too cramped. The 13 LMG iron block hasn’t let me down yet so I will drive it till it dies and get a custom tune this year to open her up.

  10. Eric,

    Just saw the Barra on Bloomberg TV – all she was about was gadgetry…… electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, how things are in San Francisco, safety…. apparently Cadillac is now a technology brand…. but clearly she hardly knew a thing about cars, or the people who buy them! Was like she was selling iphones or something….. Dont know how long GM will last like that….

      • OOh OOOH!! Eric, that reminds me of one of my favorite songs from the 80’s band Flock of Seagulls. Remember the the song “I Ran” ? (literally the lyrics said I ran away)

      • Makes you realise how far detached management is from the actual customers of so many companies. Its like to get to the top in these organisations all you have to do is tick some PC boxes, but doesnt matter if you understand the company or its products / users at all…..
        No wonder Gillette ended up making that ad (which has become such a good laugh on the internet)….. they just dont have a clue what the world is like outside their bubble…. infact wouldnt be surprised if GM has a similar ad any day now….

    • Over on Zerohedge the article about the latina CEO of PGE bailing before bankruptcy is interesting. One guy said a chinese investor hedges against stocks that appoint female CEOs because its a sign they are being set up to fail. Marissa Mayer, Elizabeth Holmes, Meg whitman, sales declinging at GM and Marry Barra magically gets elected. Maybe the board knows that crap wont fly and want a woman at the helm to take the heat. Like i’ve repeated before, I’ve seen a TON of new 2019 Rams on the road here in Houston, and only 4 new 2019 GM S/S since August of last year.

  11. Guessing Sergio’s green lighted products will flow for the next four to five years. And yes, you can see his touch on the new RAM. Wonder if his influence was enough to keep the corporate culture more customer rather then government oriented. RIP Sergio. I guess we will see if they will follow what he started, or will head down the electric road to ruin like almost all the others.

    I wasn’t crazy about Fiat and Chrysler merging, but getting Sergio as part of the deal probably made that worth while.

  12. Eric,
    Just ran to a RAM dealer near work during lunch and test drove a 19 Laramie. Is it standard on all RAMs that the turn signal does not stay depressed? Wouldn’t this annoy the heck out of people? The sales-jerk was subpar and got on my nerves, but apparently you can get 2019 V8’s WITHOUT the e-torque module. I asked him how and he just shrugged his shoulders. Steering was good as usual with Ram and had increased leg room in the back. Didn’t care for the shift knob balogna or the mirrors adjusting while shifting. Under the hood it looked like a real truck engine bay and not the cramped quarters of the 19 silverado. On another note, the battery in the one I drove had RAT TURDS AND PISS all over it. When I pointed it out to the sales-jerk he kind of shrugged. He knew I wasn’t buying today but also gave as little effort to ensure I would never be back.

  13. Eric,
    I’ve looked into the engine conversion kits to see what my options are. As the saying goes, “LS swap all the things”, you can also Cummins Swap about anything. Here in metro/suburb Houston I have seen a shit-ton of new 2019 Rams, easily identified by the shoulder height hood tag now. I mean, A LOT. Since September of last year I have seen 3 2019 Silverados and 1 2019 Sierra and I travel 110 miles daily in my commute and I pay attention to every car around me. I didn’t have time to dissect GM’s ‘laudable’ year end sales report on Linkedin but even to the common person reading it side by side in the truck sales section you could tell from language alone it was in trouble and didn’t compare to RAMs. If i have time today I might go test drive a RAM during my lunch break. The new Silverado had nothing to gloat about and the engine bay was cramped AS *uck.

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