This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, May 4, 2003
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By JOHN GRAFMAN
The Dodge Ram 3500 with four-wheel drive is definitely big and red. By no means do I ever want have this as my every day run around town vehicle even with its four doors. There is no doubt about its capacity to move things. With 500 plus pounds of torque nothing will stand in its way. And coincidently being one of the larger vehicles on the road, most of the lesser cars and trucks do their best to move out of the way when they see big red coming. Looking to add a few inches to your manhood? This truck has 249.7 inches to spare.
Commuting in this truck is a mother. A smooth ride with an empty cargo bed was a rarity rather than the norm. Others might have observed us in the truck bouncing around to the music, however it wasn't the music that was causing our bouncing. That's not to say that the Ram doesn't have a good sound system because in fact it actually does. Although the faceplate of the stereo seems a little archaic it still gets the job done.
Trying to navigate this monster through a parking lot and driving through fast food lanes is cause for nervousness. Tight turns and low ceilings are definitely not your friends in this truck. With the dually rear end just a few inches narrower than the width of a normally striped parking lot spot, the mere act of parking becomes an art. With an overall length similar to that of what feels like a small school bus, one must relearn how to master turning a corner once again.
Although six-speed transmission can be useful, this one was not. First gear was so low that it was nearly useless for anything other than pulling out tree stumps. The shifting between gears reminded me of farm equipment. While driving, if the shifter was in neutral, trying to find the proper gear to place it in turned into a desperate activity. I was nearly as red as the truck with frustration.
Being nearly eye-to-eye with many of the tractor-trailers on the freeway was another unusual experience. I felt like I was driving around in my own airport traffic control tower. But then again I also felt as if the Dodge could have towed an airport traffic control tower. Sure the Dodge diesel engine has gobs of torque, but finding fuel for this power plant was turning into a pain in the butt experience. It seems only a scant minority of the filling stations actually have the fuel. It may not be as bad as trying to find a needle in a haystack, but when you really need to find some fuel fast this can be a problem. The fuel mileage was a tad under fourteen, which was better than I thought this would accomplish. I was further surprised that the price of a gallon of diesel wasnt a whole lot less than that of gasoline, at least where I found it.
Overall the Dodge stands out from the crowd. What Ram 3500 doesnt rise above, it can certainly run over!
Engine: 5.9-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel Availability - Optional, all Type and Description: Six-cylinder, inline, liquid-cooled, turbocharged, intercooled Displacement: 359 cu. in. (5883 cu cm) Bore x Stroke: 4.02 x 4.72 (102.1 x 119.9) Valve System: OHV, 24 valves, solid lifters Fuel Injection: Electronic high-pressure common rail Construction: Cast iron block and head Compression Ratio: 17.2:1 Power (SAE net): 250 bhp (186 kW) @ 2900 rpm - standard output, 49 state manual or 47 RE automatic 235 bhp (175 kW) @ 2700 rpm - standard output, carb, automatic and manual 305 bhp (227 kW) @ 2900 rpm - high-output, 49 state manual Torque (SAE Net): 460 lb.-ft. (624 Nom) @ 1,400 rpm - standard output, manual 460 lb.-ft. (624 Nom) @ 1,400 rpm - standard output, automatic 555 lb.-ft. (752 Nom) @ 1,400 rpm - high output, manual Transmission: NV5600 - Manual, Six-Speed Overdrive Availability: Standard with 5.9-liter high-output I-6 diesel engine Description: Synchronized in all gears Gear Ratios: 1st: 5.63 2nd: 3.38 3rd: 2.04 4th: 1.39 5th: 1.00 6th: 0.73 Reverse: 5.63 Overall Top Gear Ratio: 2.72 with 3.73 axle and 2.99 with 4.10 axle Transfer cases: NV271/NV273 Availability: NV271 - Standard 4WD ST NV273 - Standard 4WD SLT Plus Type: Part Time Operating Modes: 2WD; 4WD High, Locked; Neutral; 4WD Low, Locked Shift Mechanism: NV271 - manual, NV273 - electric Low-Range Ratio: 2.72 Center Differential: None Dimensions and Capacities Quad Cab - 4WD Box Length: 6ft. 3in. Standard Bed, 8 ft. Long Bed Model 2500 2500 3500 3500 3500 Box Standard Long Standard Long - SRW Long - DRW Wheelbase: 140.5 160.5 140.5 160.5 160.5 Track, Front: 69.7 69.7 69.7 69.7 69.7 Track, Rear: 68.2 68.2 68.2 68.2 75.8 Overall Length: 227.7 249.7 227.7 249.7 249.7 Overall Width: 79.9 79.9 79.9 79.9 96.0 Overall Height: 78.5 78.4 79.2 79.1 79.0 Ground Clearance: Front Axle: 9.3 9.3 9.9 9.9 8.3 Rear Axle: 7.9 7.9 8.5 8.5 7.6 Fuel Tank. gal. (L): 34 (128) 35 (132) 34 (128) 35 (132) 35 (132) 1 Single rear wheel 2 Dual rear wheel Suspension 4WD Front: Short and long arm independent, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Live axle, "Quadra link "leading arms, track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar, gas-charged shock absorbers Rear: Live axle, longitudinal leaf springs, gas-charged shock absorbers auxiliary springs added Steering Four-Wheel Drive Model Regular Cab Quad Cab, Standard Bed Quad Cab, Long Bed Overall Ratio: 13.4:1 13.4:1 13.4:1 Steering Wheel Turns, Lock to Lock: 2.75 2.75 2.75 Turning Diameter, Curb to Curb (a): 48.9 ft. (14.9 m) 52.0 ft. (15.8 m) 48.9 ft. (14.9 m) (a) Turning diameter is measured at the outside of the tires at curb height, using a vehicle with standard tires, wheels and axles. Turning diameters and steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock may differ with optional tires, wheels and axles. Brakes Model 3500 Size and Type 13.9 x 1.26 (356 x 32) vented disc with 2.20 (56) two-piston sliding caliper and ABS 13.9 x 1.26 (356 x 32) vented disc with 2.20 (56) two-piston sliding caliper and ABS Swept Area: 313.2 sq. in. (2021 sq cm) 313.2 sq. in. (2021 sq cm) Rear: Size and Type: 13.9 x 1.18 (352.5 x 30) with 1.77 (45) two-piston sliding caliper and ABS 13.9 x 1.18 (352.5 x 30) with 1.77 (45) two-piston sliding caliper and ABS Swept Area: 309.6 sq. in. (1997 sq cm) 309.6 sq. in. (1997 sq cm) Power Assist Type: Tandem diaphragm vacuum with gasoline engines; hydraulic with diesel engines Single Rear Wheels - Tandem diaphragm vacuum with gasoline with diesel engines engines; hydraulic with diesel engines, Dual Rear Wheels - Hydraulic