Most Powerful Heavy-Duty Pickups Available

2003 Dodge Ram Trucks Heavy Duty 2500 & 3500

Dec. 01, 2002 By ORC STAFF
2003 Dodge Ram Trucks

Auburn Hills -- Bold, Capable and Powerful: The Toughest Dodge Rams Ever
Developing a replacement for the legendary Dodge Ram design was no easy task. The Chrysler Group's Truck Product Team was given the mandate to create the boldest, most capable and most durable heavy-duty pickup ever. Done.

The all-new 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty debuts as the most powerful heavy-duty pickup, with the all-new 5.7-liter HEMI? Magnum V-8, the most powerful diesel engine on the market and the most powerful standard V-8 engine in its class.

"Heavy Duty owners routinely push their Rams to the limit," said Rich Schaum, Executive Vice President, Product Development and Quality. "That is why about 75 percent of our Ram 2500/3500 sales are diesels, and 70 percent are four-wheel drive models. These trucks are being used, and used hard. Our reputation as the longest-lasting pickup, and now the most powerful diesel pickup available, will serve us well in this market."

Finally, a real four-door cab that seats up to six hard-working or vacationing adults. From all appearances, it's comfortable and to the point.

The 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty carries forward its reputation for toughness with the only seven year/70,000 mile warranty in the heavy-duty segment, class-leading towing and Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR), and interior room. New from grille to tailgate, the Heavy Duty Dodge Rams bring an array of new powerplants, class-leading features and the "big rig" styling that has been a Ram hallmark since 1994.

"This is definitely a growth segment for pickups," said Darryl Jackson, Vice President, Dodge Marketing. "The heavy-duty pickup market has grown 34 percent since 1996, with 2500/3500 pickups now accounting for 31 percent of the large pickup market. Ram 2500s and 3500s now account for a third of overall Ram sales, and with the 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, we are poised to increase those numbers significantly."

For 2003, the all-new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty is aimed at the heart of the heavy-duty market with two new engine offerings and, for the first time on a Ram, a 3500 single rear wheel option.

Pushing the Limits

"Our 1500 Ram buyers are looking for a multi-use truck, but these trucks rarely come close to their performance potential," said Jackson. "Dodge Ram Heavy Duty owners are different. They also want a multi-use truck, but buy their Dodge Ram Heavy Duty with very specific tasks in mind. And those tasks often require maximum capability."

For the 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty, Dodge created a new and tougher duty cycle test designed to improve durability. Aimed directly at the needs of commercial customers, the new cycle includes testing the 2003 Ram Heavy Duty in conditions ranging from minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 130 degrees Fahrenheit and running the equivalent of 150,000 miles in conditions testing maximum payload on- and off-road, maximum towing availability and duplicating the kinds of abuse delivered by a 95th percentile customer.

It's big, bad and the ultimate Dodge to strike the showroom floor thus far. Take a look at all it has to offer over last year's model. You're going to want one.

New HEMI Magnum: Heavy-Duty Torque, Durability and Class-leading Horsepower

The all-new 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 herald the return of one of the most legendary names in automotive lore: HEMI. This is the Chrysler Group's first application of the new 5.7-liter HEMI- which for the Dodge Ram will be called HEMI Magnum and is the standard engine on the all-new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks. This all-new engine produces 345 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 375 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm, providing up to an 85 horsepower advantage over competitive standard V-8 engines. In fact, versus competitive vehicles with similar size gasoline engines, it provides best-in-class acceleration and towing capability, as well as significantly improved fuel efficiency over the engine it replaces.

All-New Cummins Turbo Diesel: The Most Powerful Diesel in a Heavy-Duty Pickup

Another returning legend is the all-new, high-pressure, common-rail injection, High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. The new High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel is the most powerful turbo diesel engine available in the heavy-duty segment, producing 305 horsepower at 2,900 rpm and 555 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. That prodigious torque results in a class-leading towing capability of 23,000 pounds (GCVWR). Also available is a standard Cummins Turbo Diesel with 250 horsepower at 2,900 rpm and 460 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm.

As durable as it is powerful, the Cummins Turbo Diesel has average major overhaul intervals of 350,000 miles, providing a substantial advantage over the competition. An inline six, the new 5.9-liter Cummins has 30 to 40 percent fewer parts than typical V-8 diesels, which means added durability and better reliability.

"Ram Tough" Chassis Delivers Class-Leading Ride and Handling

"Building on the advances we made in safety, ride and handling on the all-new Dodge Ram 1500, we were able to create a heavy-duty truck with precise steering and a comfortable ride without compromising its work ethic," said Frank Klegon, Vice President, Truck Product Team. "We were able to do this because Ram has an extensively hydroformed frame-one of the stiffest ever on a pickup truck. That chassis stiffness provides a firm foundation for tuning out noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) from the suspension."

Assisting steering and handling on two-wheel drive Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks is a new rack and pinion steering system that delivers enhanced feel and response tuned for more precise on-road handling. On four-wheel drive Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups, an all-new recirculating ball system improves on-center steering feel through lower internal friction and responds more precisely. The 13.4:1 ratio and 2.75 turns lock-to-lock are especially effective in a heavy-duty truck when making tight turns, or maneuvering a trailer in close quarters. These new steering systems all but eliminate the wander or imprecision normally associated with heavy-duty truck steering.

In a classic pose, the new Dodge makes itself at home in the usual position, up in front and towing Chevys and Fords that just can't make the cut.

Dodge Ram Heavy Duty Delivers Class Leading Capability On- and Off-Road

With the majority of Heavy Duty Rams being ordered with four-wheel drive, the Dodge Ram's off-road performance is a key selling point. Two new transfer cases, a conventional manual shift and a new electric shift, are available on 2500 and 3500 four-wheel drive models to provide quieter operation, and even more durability. The manual-shift unit is standard on ST and SLT models. The electric-shift unit is standard on Laramie models.

Four-wheel drive models are equipped with an all-new front axle, but retain solid beam construction. All-new rear axles contribute to a best-in-class payload rating (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of up to 12,000 pounds. The refined four-wheel drive system on the all-new 2500/3500 Dodge Ram pickup provides an outstanding combination of ride, handling and off-road operating characteristics.

The front suspension on four-wheel drive 2500 and 3500 Dodge Ram Pickups is a refined version of the five-link, coil-spring suspension with beam axle used on the previous series Dodge Ram Heavy Duty. A link-type sway bar and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers are standard. The rear suspension, common to both two- and four-wheel drive models, is equipped with new, three-inch longer leaf springs.

Dodge Rams Set New Safety Standards for the Heavy-Duty Truck Market

The 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 boast class-leading safety standards with the first heavy-duty pickup application of side curtain air bags. Dodge Ram Heavy Duty also offers the first power adjustable pedals (on both automatic and manual transmission equipped trucks), and pre-tensioning, constant-force seat belt retractors.

Designed with a holistic safety approach, all-new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty utilizes both conventional safety features, such as standard next-generation driver and front-passenger air bags, and combines them with accident avoidance features such as precise steering, handling and braking. The 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty trucks also include a standard Lower Anchors and Tether for Children (LATCH) child seat anchorage system. The passenger side air bag can be turned off on Standard Cab Rams to accommodate child seats.

A standard four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), the largest brake rotors in its class and 17-inch wheels and tires-the largest standard wheels and tires on a heavy-duty pickup-all contribute to Dodge Ram's excellent safety and handling capability.

Design: Big, Bold and Powerful Enough to be a Dodge Ram Heavy Duty

With the most visually recognizable DNA of any pickup, a strong business case was made to combine the styling of the all-new 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 with the new heavy-duty chassis of the Ram 2500 and 3500. From the beginning of the Ram 1500 design process, engineers were already taking into account the extra capacities and development needs of the heavy-duty series of Rams. The Ram 1500's grille, for example, was designed to be large enough to incorporate the extra cooling needs necessitated by the Heavy-Duty Ram powertrains.

"Despite our competition's need to toughen the look of their heavy-duty pickups, we didn't feel it was necessary to move from the bold Ram design to provide a different look for the 2500 and 3500," said Rick Aneiros, Vice President of Design and Ram Design Team Leader. "The massive horse collar grille is bigger and bolder, and still the most recognizable Dodge Ram feature. This truck makes the type of statement a heavy-duty truck needs to make. It says Ram."

The all-new 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups are built at the Saltillo, Mexico and St. Louis North Assembly Plants.



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