Archive for the ‘diesel’ Tag

Insiders on the 2019 Ram pickups

Automotive News has published a surprisingly detailed piece on the 2019 Ram 1500 launch. The industry weekly claimed that the “DT” series pickups, essentially to FCA US profits, are right on schedule for production at the end of January 2018. These will be the first pickups ever to be made in the Sterling Heights Assembly plant, which has made midsized cars for years. The conversion from car to truck assembly will take months.

mule-tailgate

According to writer Larry Vellequette, to speed the launch, some engineers have been given full power of decision, rather than having to bump nearly everything up to higher-level managers. Other launches continue to use the more cumbersome, Daimler-like approach. Still, the first prototypes built at Sterling Heights will be made in early January 2018, three months after the original schedule, which could mean delays if any problems are found.

According to Mr. Vellequette’s sources, the Ram will continue to use steel for most of its body panels, and will keep essentially the same look, with smaller headlights integrated into the grille and horizontal fog lights built into the bumper. The interior is to have a new center console for more storage space.

Both Allpar and Automotive News believe this will be the Ram to finally have direct-injection V6 engines and belt-start generators for higher-performance stop-start systems. A turbocharged V6 is possible, as well.

The empowered-engineer approach should improve relations with suppliers, as Automotive News noted, because suppliers can get answers or needed changes much more quickly. When this approach was used in 1990s, it also slashed costs and in some cases increased quality. See more on the 2019 Ram 1500.

Over the weekend, the 2018 Jeep Compass was revealed, as a photo shoot in Brazil was captured by local media.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/2016/09/an-inside-the-2019-ram-33744

2018 Jeep Wrangler: Still steel, still capable after all these years

The next generation of the iconic off-roader will be the 2018 Jeep Wrangler “JL,” debuting in 2017, followed after about a year by a pickup. Buyers can expect eight-speed automatics and hopefully six-speed manuals; gasoline Jeeps will get the second-generation eight-speed made by Chrysler (850RE), while diesels will get the “pure” ZF 8HP75.

IRS

Jeep reportedly tried an independent suspension for Wrangler, based on the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer or the Ram 4×4, but Larry Vellequette of Automotive News wrote on February 15, 2015, that they would stick with floating solid axles (one insider said they would change the configuration somewhat). This will help Mopar and the aftermarket to keep selling modifications, and make it easier to keep the ground clearance high.

The Wrangler was allegedly to switch to an aluminum tub and use a tough hydroformed steel frame, but then, in May 2015, Sergio Marchionne said, I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum.” The Wrangler will likely follow Ram in using a strong hydroformed frame.

Changing the basic design of the top of the Wrangler could save even more weight. Cars without tops, such as convertibles and roadsters, need heavy bolstering, and the Wrangler is built to withstand abuse. This and possible new safety rules may have led engineers to replace the “safety bar” with stronger tubes over the top and reduce lower-body reinforcement. Weight remains the biggest factor in city mileage. Jeep could then also do a fixed-roof version with relatively little re-engineering and retooling.

An Allpar source claimed, “The traditional soft top is gone, [replaced by] removable soft panels over the substructure. The sport bar design is gone. It even appears to have built in grab handles.” This would be consistent with Bob Sheaves’ predictions. He also wrote, “The taillight design will change (my guess with an “x” design, such as the one used in the Renegade), and bumpers, tailgate construction, and the 5×5 wheel bolt pattern are mostly the same as the current ones.”

This does not necessarily mean there will be no soft top, no removable doors, or even no fold-down windshield, though the latter may be difficult to justify. Indeed, another Allpar source reported that there would now be four roof setups: hard + soft (over the front), non-removable hard, an update of the current Freedom Top™, and a complete soft top.

The Jeep Wrangler is a key vehicle for Chrysler, the “ring that controls all Jeeps,” and Sergio Marchionne has said many times they cannot reduce its off-road capability. Whether this means they will actually not reduce its capability remains to be seen.

The appearance of the Wrangler is not likely to change much, other the “roof replacement” structure, and aerodynamic improvements may be brought about mostly by changes in the windshield angle, side mirrors, and underbody covers.

Diesel engines, pickup trucks, and other changes

Many expect Jeep to finally issue a U.S. diesel version of the Wrangler, and a limited production pickup version (Gladiator? Comanche?).

A diesel could still provide a serious boost in both city and highway fuel efficiency while pleasing hard-core off-roaders (thanks to its low-end torque), and it’s likely that the company will attempt to do a light-hybrid version a year or two after the main launch.

Standard American engines would likely be a V6 — by then, upgraded with more power and efficiency — and possibly the upcoming Hurricane Four. Europe will continue to get a diesel.

Most expect Jeep to make the Wrangler more aerodynamic, with a slightly larger slant to the windshield. The fold-down windshield may be dropped; it is unique for Jeep in North America, but few seem to care about it. Removable doors are likely to remain.

New axles

Allpar sources generally agree that there will be a new Dana axle, with a larger bolt pattern (going from 10 to 12); the Dana 44 bolt pattern did not change even when they increased the ring gear size and pinion for the current JK. The 44 has been used for many years, and advances in the state of the art may have led to a major upgrade for economy and off-road performance alike.

Flip-up rear window

A new patent application shows a unique full folding back glass design. The Jeep Wrangler is used for the illustrations.

The current Wrangler has a tailgate/spare tire that swing sideways, then the backglass can open upwards. The patent application is different in that the backglass folds all of the way up to the roof, with clips built into the roof so it can be pinned down and left all the way open. There are clips inside, to hold the struts after they are disconnected from the backglass (so it can reach the roof).

full-folding-backglass-3a

Driving with rear glass open could cause exhaust fumes in the cabin, and can also draw in mud when used off-road. Still, there are people who would like to be able to keep the backglass of their Jeep Wrangler open while driving with the top on, so the next generation Wrangler may include this as an optional package. It could also just be a patent to cover research and development on something that will never get used.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/SUVs/jeep/wrangler/2017.html

New Jeep Grand Wagoneer To Be Shown To Dealers This Summer

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] confirmed in its five-year strategy announcement made last year that it will launch a new Grand Wagoneer on the market in 2018. The vehicle, to be based on a heavily-updated version of the current Grand Cherokee platform, will be Jeep’s most expensive model, with high-end variants aimed at full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

While the vehicle is unlikely to be shown publicly for some time still, FCA is tipped to present the car at its biennial dealer meeting taking place in Las Vegas this August. Automotive News (subscription required) is reporting that FCA is teasing the new Grand Wagoneer to get more of its dealers to attend the meeting.

Work on the new Grand Wagoneer has actually been going on for several years already. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne first confirmed plans for the vehicle as far back as 2011, although at the time he said it will launch in 2013. The last Grand Wagoneer bowed out of the market in 1991. Expect the new one to be a large, fully-capable SUV with third-row seats. Powertrains should include V-6 and V-8 options, with a diesel unit thrown in for some markets.

Stay tuned for an update.

Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/jeep-grand-wagoneer-shown-dealers-summer-170000984.html

2018 Wrangler engines

With the help of former Jeep engineer Bob Sheaves and others, Allpar has posted an investigation of what Jeep could use to power the domestic 2018 Wrangler, due to arrive sometime in calendar-year 2017.

The choices are tough for the iconic Jeep, America’s heir to the famed military vehicles — which were far smaller and weighed half as much. On the one hand, higher fuel economy is likely to be needed if fuel prices rise, and if the government continues its demands for efficiency (for national security, balance-of-trade, and, ostensibly, for environmental reasons). On the other, the Jeep must still haul around over two tons of weight, while easily climbing difficult obstacles — and it can’t cheap out on torque.

With that in mind, Wrangler is likely to come with at least two engines, one for economy in Jeeps that will not be challenged much by off-road driving; and one for those who will immediately tackle tough terrain. Indeed, given the popularity of the Ram 1500 Diesel and long-time demands of hard-core Jeepers, a diesel might even be in the cards, and Fiat Chrysler has several options there, too.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/12/2018-wrangler-engines-surprises

Two Chrysler engines in Ward’s Top Ten

This year’s winners of the prestigious Ward’s Top Ten were (in alphabetical order) the BMW 5-series electric motor, the Corvette Stingray’s 6.2 liter V8, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat V8, the Ford Fiesta three-cylinder, one-liter turbo, Hyundai Tuscon fuel cell vehicle, Mini Cooper 1.5 turbo three cylinder, the Ram 3-liter VM diesel, Subaru WRX four-cylinder turbo, VW Golf 1.8 liter turbo four, and Volvo S60 with a four cylinder turbo.

Chrysler was the only company to have two engines on the list, though one of them was made by Fiat’s VM.

Ward’s noted that most of the 37 engines proposed for their top ten award were turbocharged fours, with just a handful of naturally aspirated V6 powerplants. There were five diesels in the competition, down from six. Four electrics were included, and three V8s, and three supercharged, two hybrids, three V8s, a fuel cell, and a scattering of other engine types.

On the Hellcat, Tom Murphy said: “Despite brute force, you drive it, not the other way around… it was life-changing, that much torque… crept in under the price cap by $5, that’s with the gas guzzler.” It may have been the first vehicle to make the list despite a gas guzzler tax. They noted it was extremely quiet.

The Ram diesel V6 was “stout-hearted, sturdy… cold starts are no problem.” They praised its technology and quietness. “The real story is diesels in the light duty pickups.” They said the diesel had a 20% share though it has a high price premium. “They dealt with the NVH [noise/vibration/harshness] issues.”

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/12/two-mopar-engines-in-wards-top-ten

Grand Cherokee diesel on the road

While it’s been neglected by most people in favor of the Ram 1500 diesel, the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel was the first Chrysler vehicle sold in North America to have the VM 3.0 V6 engine.  We tested this briefly at a Chelsea, Michigan test track, and found it to be instantly responsive, more so than the Hemi — which has far better acceleration numbers, but doesn’t respond quite as quickly to the throttle.

Chrysler has dabbled in diesels as a non-hybrid solution to large fuel-economy boosts, but applications have been limited so far partly due to cheap gasoline and high premiums for diesel engines. The diesel, which uses compression rather than spark to ignite fuel, is much more expensive to build, partly due to the extremely high pressures involved, and partly because of the need to control small particles in the exhaust which have been reliably and consistently linked to cancer. The current popular methods of dealing with emissions controls are diesel emissions fluid (DEF) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).

The company may be able to add more diesels soon, if the next generation VM and Fiat four cylinders prove to be suitable. A Fiat 3-liter four-cylinder is due to appear soon on the ProMaster van, for example, though this has been deemed unsuitable for “civilian” cars.

Allpar has added a second Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel test, by Daniel Bennett, to our existing Bill Cawthon road test. The article also includes an analysis of the payback time. It’s worth noting that diesels tend to have less of a fuel economy reduction when towing or carrying heavy loads than gasoline engines.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/12/grand-cherokee-diesel-on-the-road

Ram 1500 relying more on diesels

Dodge’s use of Cummins diesels back  in 1989 succeeded beyond expectations, reviving a nearly dead truck line. When the company added a VM diesel to the Ram 1500, sales were, again, much better than expected. Chrysler had predicted a 10% take rate, perhaps up to 15%; but Allpar reported in August that the line was running up to 25% diesels when the engines were available.

Like the Cummins B-series engines, the VM has been both reputable and technologically advanced; and sales have exceeded expectations.

Ram announced today that 20% of its pickups would be diesel-powered by November, double its original estimates. This strains VM’s ability to make enough engines for North American Rams and Jeep Grand Cherokees, though Ram worked with VM Motori to raise production.

When the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel opened for orders earlier this year, Ram had over 8,000 requests in three days. Some had predicted lower sales, because the diesel is a $4,000 option on the value-priced Tradesman Quad Cab, and requires the $500 eight-speed automatic.

Diesel Ram 1500s are rated at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, which beats the fuel economy of every competing pickup — and some midsized and compact trucks, down to imported four-cylinder manuals. The engine  generates 420 lb-ft of torque and 240 hp and is highly responsive at low revolutions. The peak towing capacity is 9,200 pounds.

Helping to optimize performance, given the limited range of diesel engines, is the wide-range “TorqueFlite Eight” eight-speed automatic.

Dodge had been planning a Ram 1500 with a Cummins V6 diesel as far back as the Daimler days, but no other manufacturer chose to sell a full sized diesel pickup in America.  (Chrysler has worked with VM since 1992.)

“Being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment was shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand,” said Ram chief  Robert Hegbloom, adding that nearly 60% of sales were conquests from other brands, unusual in pickups.

Other unique features in the Ram 1500 series (not on all trucks) include a fluid temperature management system, various methods of cutting parasitic losses, and active aerodynamics aids.

The Ram 1500 earned Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in both 2013 and 2014, the first time a vehicle of any type has taken the award back-to-back. The Ram 1500 also won the Truck of Texas in both 2013 and 2014.

The 2015 Ram 1500 is backed with a five-year /100,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty including free towing, if needed, and a three-year / 36,000-mile “bumper-to-bumper” warranty. The 2015 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Michigan); Regular Cab models are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/confirmed-ram-1500-diesel-takes-off

The diesel-powered Dodge Ram 1500

I bought a new test truck, and there was much rejoicing. Celebration for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, the first half-ton diesel truck in more than 25 years, goes far beyond the yard work needs of the Consumer Reports auto test staff.

Evidence of this came from very strong initial orders from dealers, with customers practically lining up to buy. We saw this firsthand as we tried to buy our diesel Ram. Getting our hands on a truck took several weeks, and it was a challenge to find one that wasn’t super-loaded with options.

Even taking that into account, our Ram wasn’t cheap. Not even close. We opted for a midevel Big Horn Crew Cab 4×4 with the shorter of the two bed length choices. Adding the diesel ramps upped the price by a cool $4,000.

After that, our truck is packed with many nice options—$6,000 of them. A $410 integrated trailer brake controller and towing mirrors seem to be a natural match for the diesel’s talents. We’re also big fans of the $505 Uconnect 8.4 touch-screen infotainment system. Once you have experienced heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, it’s hard living without them here in New England. There goes another $395. We regretted not getting a $595 backup camera with park assist on our last Ram, so this one has it.

Added all up, our truck was sticker priced at $49,155. That seems like a lot for a truck with cloth seats. Most trucks seem to be priced to reflect the inevitable thousands of dollars in incentives as manufacturers fight for dominance in truck sales wars. Even though we still got some money off, buying the first one on the block that wasn’t presold didn’t help bargaining.

We’ve called the Ram 1500 “the luxury truck” among its peers, and the diesel makes it even more civilized. Compared to the Hemi’s roar and burble, the diesel goes about its business unobtrusively. The torquey powerplant sounds quieter here than in our tested 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Power flows out smoothly, thanks to the eight-speed automatic transmission, but the 240-horsepower EcoDiesel lacks the acceleration of the Hemi. It will be curious to see how the diesel does when towing; we were impressed by how the Jeep pulls a load.

The biggest question: how good is the fuel economy? According to the trip computer, I got 25 mpg overall on my commute. I’ve never broken 20 mpg on the same route with a Hemi-powered truck or SUV. Instrumented testing will come after the truck gets break-in miles; it had less than 100 miles on it when I drove it. It also had a bed full of brush—like I said, all of us at the track have a lot of yard work to do—but it’s unlikely those picked up sticks mattered here.

I also found some surprises. Despite all of those options, including various “comfort” and “luxury” packages, our truck lacks automatic climate control. Also, since it’s quite a stretch to jump up into the bed to unload yard debris, I was surprised there’s no step or ladder. Our truck was certainly shiny at delivery, but the dealer didn’t fill up either the diesel tank or the diesel emissions fluid tank. (We do like the analog gauge that shows the fluid level.)

Maybe the biggest surprise: Our truck’s 1,233 pound payload rating is pretty modest. With its 3.55 rear axle ratio, the truck can tow 7,750 pounds. Say you tow a 6,500-pound camper; it will probably have 650 pounds of tongue weight, leaving you with less than 600 pounds of capacity for your kids and stuff in the truck.

Still, this is a rather impressive and quite refined machine. Of course, many of the Ram 1500’s attributes remain intact here, such as best-in-class ride from the rear coil spring suspension, comfortable front seats, and a roomy cab. In the weeks ahead, we’ll see if this diesel-burning Ram can outscore the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra at the top of our truck ratings.

Read more at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/05/dodge-ram-1500-ecodiesel-first-drive-review/index.htm

2014 Ram 2500 and 3500 Diesel Review

Twenty-five years ago, the first diesel-equipped Dodge Ram pickup went on sale. Then, twenty years ago, Dodge made the pickup world sit up and take notice with the 1994 Dodge Ram pickup; its big-truck styling, thoughtful cabin, and generally state-of-the-art design transformed an also-ran model with a 7% share into a major player, with an 18.5% share at the end of August 2013. Significantly, from the crash in 2009 to the end of 2012, Ram achieved the highest growth of any American pickup.

For 2014, these trends converged as Ram became the only American full-size pickup line with diesel engines across its entire range.

A group from the Texas Auto Writers Association met the newest Rams on a hazy morning at Ventura Farms in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains about 43 miles northwest of Los Angeles. They were all there: the new Ram 1500 with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine; the new 2500 with the five-link coil suspension; the 3500 with a demonstration version of supplemental load-leveling air suspension, and an assortment of ProMaster commercial vans.

The event kicked off with presentations of the new technologies. The keynote speaker was Ram CEO Reid Bigland, whose speech was liberally sprinkled with the phrase “best-in-class.”

Kevin Mets, head of Ram Heavy Duty Pickup Engineering and Greg Corey, from Ram Power Engineering, gave us a briefing on the new technologies, including watching a pre-production prototype of the big Ram’s suspension. A Ram 3500 was hooked up to a gooseneck trailer loaded with a 19,841-pound Case-IH 140 tractor. A pole with a moving arrow showed the height of the rear wheel opening. As the trailer’s landing gear was retraced, the arrow moved down as the truck took on the load. The new air suspension kicked in and the arrow slowly moved back up to its original position.

While diesels and new suspensions took most of the limelight, Kevin Mets introduced the new truck-specific 6.4-liter HEMI engine. In addition to best-in-class 410 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, the new engine can be equipped with dual alternators to support heavy electrical loads.

After the briefing, it was time to pick a truck and head out. I picked a Ram 2500 4×4 with a manual transmission and fewer bells and whistles. Kimberly Shults, the Chrysler Communications rep for the Southwest Region, came along as the navigator.

I have often wished that manufacturers would offer more “real world” vehicles in their media fleets, especially in trucks that are more likely to be purchased for their work capabilities than the level of bling. The company seemed to agree: the Ram 2500 was set up as a fleet buyer might take it. Even without the extras, the Ram 2500 was very comfortable and the coil suspension worked exactly as advertised, delivering a ride superior to light-duty trucks from Ford and GM, including the new 2014 Silverado.

To test handling and maneuverability, we headed out on Protero Road to Westlake Boulevard, a boulevard in name only. Westlake is a narrow road with no shoulders, but enough twists and turns to give a snake a conniption fit. It heads up a mountainside and then comes back down, where we picked up Mulholland Highway, another twisty two-lane with delusions of grandeur.  Even when the lanes narrowed down to being barely wide enough for the exterior mirrors, the Ram was able to stay in-lane through the turns.

If you’re going to take a big truck up a mountain, it would be hard to beat that silver Ram 2500. The Cummins diesel provided plenty of power and the smooth-shifting six-speed made the nearly constant gear changes easy; it had a fine clutch feel despite the high torque.

Seating was comfortable enough for a solid day’s driving; supportive without being too firm. Truck seats have come a long way since the last pickup I owned.

Mulholland Highway deposited us on the Pacific Coast Highway, a real highway this time, where we paused at one of California’s many beaches to stretch our legs, take some photos and change drivers. The return route to Ventura Farms was less dramatic and we enjoyed a comfortable ride.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/reviews/14/ram-3500.html

Are ProMaster diesel’s coming soon?

Buyers who have been holding out for a diesel engine in the Ram ProMaster van may be satisfied soon, as the company has told dealers that the engine, boasting 295 lb-ft of torque, 174 horsepower, and “phenomenal fuel efficiency,” is on the way.

The van market has long been in the doldrums, with buyers having a choice between ancient, fuel-hungry Fords and expensive Mercedes, but is now becoming hotly contested with new entries from Nissan (including one badged as a Chevrolet), Ford, and Ram. The Ram ProMaster has two powertrains, one already on sale — the Pentastar V6 coupled to a six-speed Chrysler automatic — and the other, a Fiat design, reportedly available for ordering this month. The latter is a four-cylinder diesel, created by Fiat Powertrain (FPT), confusing displacing the same 3.0 liters as the VM diesel in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Ram boasted that the Fiat engine has exceptional low-end torque and cold-start capability, with a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods; 5%-biodiesel compatibility; best-in-class 18,500 mile oil change intervals; an efficient M40 six-speed automated manual transmission (which can be treated as though it’s a full automatic); and a standard towing/hauling package.

The package may be attractive not only to normal fleet buyers, but to the upfitters who have started making ProMaster passenger vans and campers.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/02/promaster-diesel-this-month