Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Williams asks: I am considering a Ram 1500 Classic and read your review regarding the Classic vs. the new 1500. I didn’t see where you had any comments on the Hemi MDS VVT engine in the Classic. Is it a direct injection? Any comments on the MDS VVT system? Keep up the great work – I have learned a lot from your blog.
My reply: Good news! The 5.7 Hemi is a PFI engine (you can download all technical specifications from the Ram media site here). So there aren’t any potential down-the-road worries with DI. And I personally would avoid the “eTorque” system in the ’20 Ram like I would a girl in a dark bar with an Adam’s apple and hair on her upper lip!
Like almost all new engines, however, the Hemi is equipped with variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation; the VVT system has some merit in that it allows the engineers to alter engine performance characteristics to meet driver demands; basically, you get the benefit of a more aggressive cam profile when power is wanted but the benefit of a milder one when you’re just trundling along.
Cylinder deactivation (also called variable displacement) on the other hand doesn’t strike me as being of much if any value to the vehicle’s owner. The idea is to “save fuel” by running (well, feeding fuel to) four of a V8’s cylinders during steady-state cruise/low-load conditions. But the fuel savings are trivial and the system is complex as well as potentially expensive to repair. Some believe it may also be a detriment to longevity.
Variable valve/cam timing systems are generally hydraulically (oil under pressure) powered so the key thing is to keep up with your oil and filter changes and always use the correct type and viscosity oil. Don’t push the intervals – and do not use heavier (or lighter) than recommended oil.
Otherwise, I have no unkind words for the Ram – it’s the one I’d buy were I in the market for a new truck!
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