2013 Dodge Ram 1500

Fri, 08/02/2013 - 03:12

Thanks to the signature grille, headlights and the whole profile of the thing, you immediately recognize this as a Dodge Ram, or Ram Truck as it’s now called.

But exactly because of those same qualities, you’d be forgiven for not noticing this is the new 2013 Ram 1500. But it is. The new 2013 Ram 1500 will offer the most fuel-efficient model in its class, and more available functional, innovative and interactive technologies than the competition. The new truck will have capability on par with or better than anything in its class and more quality-validated than anything in it class.

The engine lineup includes the same old HEMI V8 with 395 hp, but you also have the choice of the more fuel efficient Pentastar V6 engine. It only makes 300 hp, but doesn’t drink fuel like it’s strawberry juice!

Some of the other new features:

Thermal Management System

Making its introduction and a segment exclusive on the 2013 Ram 1500 is a new thermal management system that is designed to quickly raise engine and transmission fluid temperatures. By raising fluid temperatures, parasitic losses resulting from low-viscosity engine oil and transmission fluid are reduced, improving fuel efficiency by 1.7 percent.

One of the system enablers is a new electronic thermostat. Unlike previous mechanical thermostats, the electronic version constantly monitors engine temperature, allowing shorter warm up time and maintaining the engine at the most efficient operating range. As the engine temperature increases to pre-determined levels, warm engine coolant is circulated through a thermal exchange unit, which also contains dedicated pathways for transmission fluid and engine oil. As the thermal exchange unit heats up, it also heats up the fluids. This action dramatically reduces warm up time for the transmission, improving fuel economy, drivability and shift quality. In most powertrain configurations, the transmission heats up independently of the engine, delaying warm-up time and reducing efficiency.

Standard on trucks with the TorqueFlite 8, the new thermal management system is primarily used to increase fuel efficiency but assists in preventing the transmission from exceeding operating temperatures in situations when towing or hauling — improving durability and performance.


Adding to industry firsts in a pickup truck is the application of stop-start, another fuel-saving feature available on select 2013 Ram 1500 models. This new system improves fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent, an increase of about one mile per gallon (mpg) to the truck’s city drive cycle.

Stop-start increases fuel efficiency by shutting the engine off when the truck comes to a complete stop. Amenities (radio, gauges, heating or air conditioning, etc.) continue to operate, making the operation transparent to the driver. The engine restarts automatically when the driver releases the brake, allowing seamless acceleration.

The system monitors brake pedal position and vehicle speed over time to determine appropriate engine shut off, preventing frequent on/off cycling in heavy stop-and-go traffic situations.

Precise powertrain calibration and input from a number of systems determines when to engage the system.

Due to additional high-use and electrical load demands placed on the starter, alternator and battery, these components have been upgraded for heavy-duty operation on models equipped with the stop-start feature. This includes a high-durability starter housed in a stronger case, heavy-duty flywheel teeth and a more robust starter solenoid. During testing, the new starter was subjected to durability testing cycles more than 2.5 times that of a non-stop-start equipped unit – more than 300,000 on/off cycles. The new battery features 800 amps with Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology. An upgraded 220-amp alternator also is included in the charging system.

System voltage is continually monitored through a battery sensor. If the battery’s charge is reduced, the truck will discontinue stop-start until the battery is recharged to an acceptable level.

Stop-start is activated automatically and requires no input from the driver. A system disable switch is located on the dash if the operator wishes to suspend the feature.

Transfer Cases

Two transfer cases are available on the 2013 Ram 1500: the Borg Warner 44-45, which enables part-time four-wheel drive operation with a two-speed gear system; and the Borg Warner 44-44, which enables an on-demand four-wheel drive system, also with a two-speed gear system. Both transfer cases are engaged with a dash-mounted rotary dial (column shifter) or buttons (TorqueFlite 8 rotary e-shifter).

The part-time transfer case provides three operating ranges 2HI (two-wheel drive), 4HI (four-wheel drive) and 4LO (low-range reduction four-wheel drive) plus a neutral position. The 2HI is designed for any road surface at any time. Both 4HI and 4LO are for off-road use or slick surfaces. Operating mode may be switched between 2HI and 4HI while the vehicle is in motion, but the vehicle’s transmission must be in neutral to engage 4LO. The low-range reduction ratio for 4LO is 2.64:1, which provides increased low-speed torque capability for pulling power in off-road conditions.

The on-demand transfer case provides four operating ranges: auto, 2HI, 4HI and 4LO. The auto range provides optimum versatility by engaging two- or four-wheel drive depending on road conditions. 2HI, 4HI and 4LO function the same as in the part-time transfer case.

Driveshafts incorporate 1350 series universal joints, two-piece thrust washers with triple-lip seals and improved journal cross strength.


Two final drive ratios, 3.21 and 3.55, are available on both the 2WD and 4WD models, reducing engine rpm throughout the operating range for better fuel economy.

Four-wheel drive models of the 2013 Ram 1500 use a front axle designed for optional air suspension or standard torsional independent front suspension, incorporating half-shafts that drive front hubs. The axle also has a disconnect system that automatically disengages the axle when four-wheel drive mode is disengaged, for increased fuel economy.

The rear axle uses a new optional air suspension or multi-link mounting design to facilitate a coil-spring setup, with forward-facing shock absorber brackets. Four gear ratios are available: 3.21, 3.55, 3.92 and 4.10.

In addition, an optional helical-gear, limited-slip rear axle is available. The limited-slip function instantaneously divides torque between the rear wheels in proportion to the traction available to each wheel. The system is consistently smooth when turning corners because it responds only to variations in traction.

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