Project Ram Mega Cab: The Ultimate Diesel Off-Road Tow Rig

Aug. 05, 2010 By Jaime Hernandez

Since we first set eyes on the Dodge Ram Mega Cab concept at the SEMA show back in 2004--we thought it was awesome!  The extra-large cab with a massive back seat area, reclining split bench and additional cargo storage seemed like the perfect package for long off-road trips.

When time came for us to get a bigger truck to haul our growing family comfortably to and from the trail, the Dodge Mega Cab was high on the list. With many first-in-class features and the optional Cummins Turbo Diesel it really is hard to beat.

Photo compliment of Chrysler Group 

The Mega Cab is a different kind of truck--you either like it or you don't. It's innovative and does have many features that are truly unique:

• Largest, longest cab – 143.2 cubic feet, 111.1 inches long
• Largest interior cargo volume – 72.2 cubic feet
• Largest cargo volume behind rear seat – 7.7 cubic feet Largest flat floor load area – 16.8 square feet
• Largest second-row leg room – 44.2 inches
• Largest rear door opening – 34.5 inches wide, 35.5 inches high
• Largest rear door open angle – 85 degrees
• First-ever reclining rear seats – 22- to 37-degree seat-back angle

In other words, the Dodge Mega Cab is GINORMOUS—perfect for our needs.

Photo compliment of Chrysler Group Photo compliment of Chrysler Group

When the Dodge Ram Mega Cab was first introduced in 2006, it came with and optional 5.9l Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. In 2007, the transition was made to the 6.7l Cummins found in current Dodge Ram trucks. Both are great engines—but the 5.9l has more history behind it. 

Earlier this year we bit the bullet and became owners of a 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab. It's fully loaded with all the do-dads, and best of all--it has a 5.9l Cummins Turbo Diesel. The 5.9l Cummins Turbo Diesel with 24V high-output fuel rail system pumps out 325 hp and 615 ft/lb of torque in its stock form. These engines can be un-corked to produce quite a bit more power. You can guarantee we will be unleashing this Ram as soon as California figures out their new diesel smog laws.

Our Diesel Mega Ram also came equipped with an automatic four-speed transmission, an electronic 4x4 NP 273 transfer case, and American Axles: 9.25-inch front, 11.5-inch14-bolt rear differential with 4.10 gears.

The 2500 series Dodge Ram is rated for a maximum payload of 2,590 lbs., maximum trailer weight of 12,850 lbs. and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 20,000 lbs.

A rigid-beam front axle, with a refined five-link, coil-spring suspension is included. The solid beam front axle is validated for a 5,200 lbs. Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).

All Dodge Ram Mega Cab models have three leaves to carry normal loads and an auxiliary leaf to support additional load capacity.

We think it rides a little rough when empty, so we will address this with a new suspension setup.

Both the front and rear axles are equipped with massive 13.9-inch disk brakes—perfect for towing and having great braking for such a big truck.

The safety features on the Dodge Ram Mega Cab are many.  We really liked this, especially since we have a 1-year-old and another on the way. Here are some of the highlights:

• Advanced multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags and knee bolsters
• Industry-largest side curtain air bag (exclusive offering in crew-cab class)
• Height-adjustable three-point seat belts (front and rear outboard) and constant force retractors with pre-tensioners (front seats)
• Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child seat anchorage system
• Power adjustable pedals
• Power door locks
• Remote keyless entry
• Security alarm


Our ultimate goal for this truck is to make it an awesome tow rig with enhanced off-road capabilities. With our growing family, our off-road needs are also evolving. We will be hauling a Lance overhead camper and towing an 18-foot car trailer with our trail rig to exciting off-road destinations.

We have driven the new Dodge Ram Power Wagon and really like what the engineers did. Check out the review we wrote on the Dodge Ram Power Wagon vehicle from last year's trail ride during the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.

We hope to incorporate some of the things we found on the new Dodge Ram Power Wagon we drove at Moab this year.

We hope to take some features from that truck and incorporate them into ours.

Our Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2500 4x4 already comes with a very solid platform from the factory.  With a few little modifications it will be tough to beat. 

We plan on modifying the following:

• Diesel Performance
• Suspension
• Tires
• Navigation & Communications
• Towing components
• Cargo
• Differential
• Transmission
• Lighting
• Off-Road Recovery & Safety

As Project Diesel Mega Ram takes shape, we encourage your comments and suggestions.  If you see us on the trail, don’t be afraid to come over and take a first-hand look at this awesome truck.

Look for a series of build articles in months to come.

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