Also known as the Ram Pickup, the Dodge Ram is one of the best known pickup trucks in the world. It is a full-size pickup truck marketed under the Ram brand and produced by the Chrysler Group. The ‘Ram’ moniker was first utilized in 1981 during the launch of the redesigned Ram and Power Ram. It was established as part of Dodge’s light truck lineup, though over the years, the brand went out to heavier lines.
1st Generation (1981-1993)
The Dodge pickup lineup started in 1917, meaning there were more than 50 years of Dodge Trucks before the Ram lineup was produced. For the exterior, the first Generation of Ram pickups resembled the same design as the previous generation Dodge series pickup truck, which was first presented to the market in the early seventies with slight modifications. However, the new Ram model sported more prominent wraparound tail lamps and a redesigned headlamp with new body lines.
The engine options included a 5.9-litre V8 with a throttle fuel injection for an addition of 15 kW to the 126.5 kW rating. Other engine options included a 3.9-litre LA V6 and a 5.2-litre LA V6. Dodge also added an overdrive automatic transmission, which reduced the fuel consumption in a lot of its offerings. The transmission offerings were a 3- or 4-speed automatic of a 4- or 5-speed manual gearbox.
Second Generation (1993-2002)
The second-generation Dodge Ram came with significant improvements to the exterior as part of the redesign. The headlights were changed to become narrower while the grille was made more imposing. The engine selections remained the same, though. These were the 3.9-litre V6, 5.2-litre V8, 5.9-litre V8, and the 5.9-litre Cummins turbo diesel. A new 8.0-litre V10 engine joined the range. It was designed as an option for buyers who wanted pulling power but did not want a diesel.
For the cabin interior, extra care was taken to provide in-cab storage attributes. That meant an additional glove box, storage space behind the seating, and centre armrest. The dashboard cluster gained a more modern look as well. In 1998, the Ram 1500 afforded the choice of three cabs, including the Quad Cab. It had hinged access doors to assist the rear passengers, and it could be linked with a 6.5 foot or 8-foot box. There was a sports package added as well in 1999 with a few styling improvements.
Third Generation (2002-2008)
During this time, there was a significant redesign for the Dodge Ram. The exterior and interior were retouched significantly, and the engine lineup was also improved. It also got an all-new frame, while the grille was made even more imposing. Power options included 3.7-litre Magnum V6 and a 4.7-litre Magnum V8 in 2002. The output was 160 kW and 175 kW, respectively. In 2003, Dodge introduced the Hemi option, allowing for the famous 5.7-litre Hemi V8 that spewed 275 kW. Transmission options included 4-, 5- and 6-speed automatic transmissions as well as two 6-speed manual iterations and one 5-speed manual alternative.
The Ram has room for six with rear recliners, redesigned headlamps, and a full-screen mapping system for navigation, which was fixed to the dashboard.
Dodge Ram faced an uncertain future in 2009 when Dodge and Ram opted to separate. Many were concerned about the effect of this split to their collaborations going forward, primarily, the Dodge Ram pickup. These worries would later turn out to be unfounded and unnecessary. Ram has been able to focus on the trucks, making useful improvements and redesigns, while Dodge has been able to concentrate on sedan and muscle car segments.
Fourth Generation (2009-present)
A final iteration was revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2008. Throughout 2009, Chrysler tried everything to keep Ram competitive in the market.
The 2009 model was redesigned with a new four-door cab style, new suspension, and a Hemi engine alternative. The payload for the fourth generation improved significantly. The 2WD Ram 1500 had a rated towing capacity of 4.55 tons (9,100 pounds) with a regular cab, a 5.7 litre Hemi engine, and 3.92 differentials. The rating was changed though to a 5.22-ton (10,450-pound) towing capacity without changing any element of the original setup.
The Ram Truck brand was finally separated from Dodge in 2010.
In 2013, there was a minor restyling that brought along a new front fascia, LED turn signals, and parking lights, as well as optional projector-beam halogen headlamps. The DODGE name on the dashboard was removed and replaced with RAM. The 3.7-litre V6 was also discontinued and replaced with a 4.7-litre V8 engine mated to a 6-speed 65RFE automatic churning 231 kW. There is also a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 linked to an 8-speed Torqueflite8 Automatic. All 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions were phased out.
What started as the Dodge Ram pickup is now the Ram Truck, which had its debut at the North American International Auto Show in 2018. The Ram Truck comes in two types – the Ram 1500 and Ram Heavy Duty (HD). In Australia, they are sold as Ram 1500, Ram 2500, and Ram 3500 (arranged in increasing payload capacity).
Finding parts for the early-generation Dodge Ram or the new Ram Truck can be pretty challenging, especially since they need to be imported into the country and remanufactured to right-hand drive. In Australia, there’s one website you can visit to access thousands of auto parts sellers – that’s Carpart.com.au! You may browse at what’s currently advertised and search the car part you need, or you may also send us a parts request so we can do the searching for you! Give it a try today!