The Ram pickup (formerly the Dodge Ram pickup) is a full-size pickup truck manufactured by FCA US LLC (formerly Chrysler Group LLC) and marketed as of 2011 onwards under the Ram Trucks brand. The current fifth-generation Ram debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
Previously, Ram was part of the Dodge line of light trucks. The name Ram was first used in 1932–1954 Dodge Trucks, then returned on the redesigned 1981 Ram and Power Ram, following the retiring and rebadging of the Dodge D Series pickup trucks as well as B-series vans.
Ram trucks have been named Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year five times; the second-generation Ram won the award in 1994, the third-generation Ram Heavy Duty won the award in 2003, the fourth-generation Ram Heavy Duty won in 2010 and the fourth-generation Ram 1500 won in 2013 and 2014.
The first-generation Ram trucks and vans introduced in 1981 featured a Ram hood ornament first used on Dodge vehicles from 1932 to 1954. Not all of the first-generation trucks have this ornament and is most commonly seen on four-wheel-drive models. Dodge kept the previous generation's model designations: "D" or Ram indicated two-wheel drive while "W" or Power Ram indicated four-wheel drive. Just like Ford, Dodge used 150 to indicate a half-ton truck, 250 for a three-quarter-ton truck, and 350 for a one-ton truck. The truck models were offered in standard cab, "Club" extended cab, and crew cab configurations. They also were offered along with 6.5 ft (2.0 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) bed lengths and "Utiline" and "Sweptline" styled boxes along with standard boxes. Externally, the first-generation Rams were facelifted versions of the previous generation Dodge D-Series pickups introduced in 1972. The new model introduced larger wraparound tail lamps, dual rectangular headlamps, and squared-off body lines. Engine choices were pared down to the 225 Slant-6 and 318 and 360 V8s. The interior was updated and included a new bench seat and a completely new dashboard and instrument cluster with an optional three-pod design - a speedometer in the center, with the two side pods containing an ammeter on the top left, a temperature gauge bottom left, a fuel gauge on the top right and an oil pressure gauge bottom right. Models without the full gauge package had only indicator lights in the place of the temperature and oil pressure gauges. Among the options offered on the Ram were front bumper guards, a sliding rear cab window, air-conditioning, cruise control, tilt steering column, power door locks and windows, AM/FM stereo with cassette tape player, styled road wheels, aluminum turbine-style mag wheels, special paint and stripe packages, two-tone paint, and a plow package for four-wheel-drive models (referred to as the Sno Commander).
The "Club Cab" was dropped from the lineup after 1982, but Dodge kept the tooling and re-introduced nearly a decade later in the 1991 models. The four-door crew cab and Utiline beds were dropped after the 1985 model year, to make room on the assembly line for the upcoming 1987 Dodge Dakota, and were never reintroduced in this generation.
Basic Ram 100 models were reintroduced for 1984, replacing the previous "Miser" trim level available on the Ram 150. A "Ram-Trac" shift-on-the-fly transfer case was added for the 1985's Power Rams, and both the crew cab and Utiline flared bed were dropped for 1986. In 1988 the Slant-6 engine was replaced by a 3.9 L (240 cu in) fuel-injected V6 engine. The 5.2 L (318 cu in) engine also received electronic fuel injection in 1988. Because of a new computer controlled fuel injection, ignition and ABS system, more vehicle information needed to be displayed through any warning or notification lights; so inside the cab where a small compartment was once located on the dash, a new "message center" with four small rectangular light spots, contained the check engine light and other tell-tales including one for the parking brake and the ABS if the truck was so equipped. The message center later included "Wait to Start" and "Water in Fuel" lights on diesel models. Diagnostic fault codes were stored in the computer's memory, and cycling the ignition key three times would allow the computer to flash the trouble codes through the check-engine light for diagnosis of some problems. Rear ABS became standard equipment in 1989.
The Ram 100 model designation was dropped and these models folded back into the 150 range for 1990, due to the introduction and sales success of the Dodge Dakota pickup. Additionally, the instrument cluster was slightly revised; the ammeter was replaced by a voltmeter while maintaining the 3-pod arrangement of the speedometer and gauges. Also in 1990, Dodge reintroduced the Club Cab, equipped with fold-out jump seats for the 1991-1993 models. Entry was made through the passenger or driver's doors, as there were no rear doors for this configuration.
These trucks, though popular with fleets, sold poorly compared to the Ford F-Series and the General Motors C/K Trucks, with just under 100,000 units sold most years of their production. Part of this was due to the dated cab and chassis design which had been in production since 1972, there was no powerful diesel option until 1989, and there was no big-block gas V8 option. Additionally, the interior had been given few updates since 1981.
Engines & transmissions
For 1989, the 5.9 L V8 received throttle-body fuel injection for a 20 hp (15 kW) gain. Additionally, Dodge introduced a new overdrive automatic transmission for reduced fuel consumption. This light-duty transmission was designated the A500, and was offered with the 3.9 L V6 and 5.2 L V8. An "O/D Off" pushbutton switch to lock out the overdrive 4th gear was added to the message center. The A727 automatic saw continued use for some 5.2 L engines, all 5.9 L engines, and heavy-duty applications.
The grille was redesigned for 1991 but kept the large rectangular headlamps and crossbar appearance. The engines were substantially upgraded for 1992 (3.9 L and 5.2 L) 1993 and 1994 (5.9 L) with multi-port fuel injection, new manifolds, and higher-compression cylinder heads for noticeably higher output. These newly-revised engines were marketed under the "Magnum" name. A heavy-duty automatic transmission with overdrive called the A518 was offered with the 5.2 L and 5.9 L engines. As part of Chrysler's overhaul of corporate transmission nomenclature, the A500 and A518 were redesignated 42RH and 46RH, respectively, in 1992. The initial "4" signified a 4-speed transmission, the second digit identified the transmission's relative torque capacity, the letter "R" in the third position denoted a rear-wheel-drive transmission, and the final letter "H" signified hydraulic shift control. The 3-speed automatic remained available; the A727 was redesignated 36RH, and the A904, A998, and A999 became the 30RH, 31RH, and 32RH, respectively.
1993 W250 Club Cab
A Cummins B Series engine was also added to the engine lineup in 1989. For the first time, Dodge saw sales increase. The Cummins was coupled with a heavier-duty version of the A727 automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission and is available on 250 and 350 pickups and pickup-based chassis-cab trucks. This diesel engine option was different from the optional diesels in Ford and GM trucks. The Cummins features direct injection, whereas the Ford and GM diesels feature indirect injection; this also means that the Cummins does not have to rely on glowplugs. The Cummins is a straight-six engine, whereas the GM and Ford diesel engines are V8 engines. Additionally, the Cummins is turbocharged, while the 6.2 L GM/DDC and 7.3 IDI Ford/IH are naturally aspirated.
Pre-1994 Cummins-engined Dodge pickups are often termed a "1st Gen Cummins".
This was not the first engine to appear in Dodge pickup trucks as a diesel option. The 1978 and 1979 D-Series models were available with a Mitsubishi naturally-aspirated diesel, but it was seldom ordered.
In the middle of 1991, Dodge started using 350 frames in Ram 250 diesels, club cabs and crew cabs.
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