Archive for the ‘ford raptor’ Tag

100+ mph, off-road: 2017 Ram Rebel TRX concept pickup truck

First shown as a surprise launch at the Texas State Fair, the concept Ram 1500 Rebel TRX was powered by a 575 horsepower supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi, with 37 inch Toyo tires and six-piston calipers. It has side-exiting exhausts ahead of the rear tires, built into the rock rails; steel bumpers, skid plates, and “all the cooling you’d want.” It has two spares, and six-point harnesses to hold the driver and passengers in.

575 horses easily beats the Ford Raptor’s 450 horsepower. Why, people ask, is it “only” 575 hp, when the Challenger does 707 with the same engine? Our guess is two-fold: so you can still control the truck, and because it’s a 4×4, and the powertrain parts (particularly the front differential) can only take so much.

Jim Morrison said it could “handle the harshest terrains at speeds over 100 mph,” aided by a full 13 inches of suspension travel, at all four corners. To support all that suspension movement, they had to make the fenders six inches wider than those of a normal Rebel, resulting in an hourglass shape (as seen from above).

Why the Borg-Warner 44-45 transfer case? It doesn’t have an automatic mode, but it locks fully, which is better for durability off-road or in deep snow. It’s the same transfer case used by the Rebel and Outdoorsman.

The transmission is the “TorqueFlite Eight,” an eight-speed automatic, with paddle shifters. The 4×4 performance control system works with the BorgWarner 44-45 transfer case, with user-selectable normal, wet/snow, off-road, and Baja modes.

The front and rear axles have severe duty components, and the 13” wheel travel is over 40% more than the normal nine inches front, 9.25 inches rear. Adjustable front and rear bypass shocks are included.

The standard Ram 1500 front axle is used with an open differential and custom constant-velocit half-shafts to handle the wider track; spindles were moved forward to make room for the 37 inch tires.

The rear axle is a Dynatrac Pro 60, which uses a selectable electric locker to 35-spline, 1 1/2 inch axle shafts. The locker is available on all modes and “commits both rear wheels to traction at the same speed, spreads the torque load and maximizes the tractive effort (power put to the ground) in full-throttle maneuvers.”

The unique from grille was needed for extra airflow. Inside, it adds not only the six-point harnesses but leather/suede seats, carbon-fiber trim, and new materials and colors.

The frame is “virtually unchanged” from the standard one. The front suspension uses custom-built upper and lower A-arms with special attention to caster and camber angles during suspension cycling. The goal was to have a smooth ride over smaller bumps, and when the bumps become mounds, to have high reaction speed and heat dissipation to avoid shocks while keeping full traction.

The Ram 1500 link coil rear suspension system shares its basic architecture with desert racing trucks; the frame’s hard points for the suspension were unchanged. The 2.5-inch bypass shocks use factory mounts, but performance rear coil springs were put into the factory-spec positions.

The factory hydraulic-boost compensation unit was kept but calipers were swapped out for Baer six-piston monoblock calipers with 15 inch rotors up front, 14 inch rotors in back.

High-speed off-road truck racing teams commonly use a 37-inch tire for its height and durability; hence the Rebel TRX’s 37 inch high tires, 13.5 inches wide, with a 10-ply design and custom Mopar beadlock wheels (which pinch the outside of the tire to the rim).

The two complete spare tire and wheel packages, with tools and jack in lockable storage in the bed, reflect the rigors of off-road racing.

The special grille was needed for air flow. A steel lower brush guard was needed for the “rock knock” test. To clear the Roots-style blower atop the HEMI engine, the Rebel TRX uses a hood based on the taller Ram Heavy Duty design.

The truck has bright LED clearance lighting, matching LEDs elsewhere in front and rear.

 

An open upper glove box with elastic straps holds a sturdy TRX-labeled bag with color matched tools. A camera mount is on the rear-view mirror. The Rebel TRX interior floor trades carpet for black rubberized coating. Black all-weather mats from Mopar reduce foot slip when foot-to-pedal placement is crucial.

Will it be made? It’s quite possibly a design study for a challenge to the Ford Raptor — so “maybe.” As we say in the following video, you can certainly see how they thought about production as they designed the concept.

Update: Will it be made? If not, why go out of their way to use (and point to use of) production parts and attachment points? Ram’s web site has this interesting disclaimer: “Concept vehicle shown. Vehicle specifications may change.”

It goes on to say, “With a 6.2L supercharged HEMI® V8 engine and sturdily built with an off-road suspension, the RAM 1500 Rebel® TRX will be the most powerful factory-engineered half-ton pickup.” At least one observer believes they would use the 392, though, and not the Hellcat.

A company named Prefix, which does Viper work, makes a similar-concept, Ram-based truck called the Minotaur. “Ramajama” pointed out that they use a Kore Tactical suspension with close to the same specs as the TRX, but with 35” tires rather than 37”; the Minotaur is even available with a 475-hp Hemi 392, with TRX-like side exhausts.

Read more at: Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/cars/concepts/ram/rebel-TRX.html

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Updated 2017 Ram Power Wagon

The popular sentiment in the truck market is that if you really, really want off-road performance, you turn to the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. But Ram would like to remind everyone that it’s no stranger to the hardcore, off-road pickup game, and that the 2500-based Power Wagon is here to stand up (and dwarf) the half-ton-based Raptor.

The 2016 Power Wagon was heavy on the chrome, had an pretty ridiculous optional graphics package, and featured questionable red grille inserts (unless you got the work-truck-like Power Wagon Tradesman). To be frank, it was hard to take the truck seriously alongside something as purposeful looking as the Ford Raptor. Ram has addressed this for 2017 by replacing all the chrome with menacing black trim. The billet-silver Ram badge in the nose is the only piece of bright work, and goodness, it all works.

exterior power wagon photo courtsey of autoblog.com

Look at the two side-by-side: murdering out the new Rebel-inspired grille, rear bumper, mirror caps, wheel arches, 324-point-font tailgate badge, headlights, and wheels finally gives the Power Wagon the menacing, purposeful, and imposing appearance that it needs. But really, what we like best is that this Ram is all just two-tone now, instead of a handful of different shades. By offering decals in just black or silver, depending on which of the six body colors you choose, the 2017 Power Wagon is a less distracting and simply more cohesive design (or just skip the graphics pack all together – we would).

Changes elsewhere are much more modest. You can black out the cabin headliner, and the dull fabric seats have been spiced up with inserts that ape the tread pattern of the standard Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. It’s a small touch, but it breaks up the otherwise depressing sea of black plastic. And as far as more luxurious options, there’s no mention of a range-topping Power Wagon Laramie, although buyers on a budget will still be able to snag the entry level Power Wagon Tradesman.

interior power wagon photo courtsey of autoblog.com

Perhaps most importantly, the bits that make the Power Wagon a Power Wagon are more or less unchanged. The 6.4-liter Hemi V8 still produces 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque and is still matched with a 66RFE six-speed automatic and a manually-shifted transfer case. It’ll still tow 10,030 pounds, ford up to 30 inches of water, and has a standard 12,000-pound Warn winch at the front. In short, the 2017 Ram Power Wagon is still a monster, just a more fashionable monster.

Read more and the full Press Release at: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/02/11/2017-ram-power-wagon-chicago-official/

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel First Drive

Let’s get one thing straight from the start: The Ram Rebel is not a Ford Raptor-fighter. That was the Ram Runner, and it’s dead now. No, this is Ram’s rebuttal to Ford’s FX4 Off-Road package for the F-150, Chevrolet’s Z71 Off-Road package for the Silverado, Toyota’s TRD Pro package for the Tundra, and Nissan’s Pro-4X package for the Titan. Set your expectations accordingly.

That established, let’s talk about what makes a Rebel. The Ram people say it’s a reaction to customer behavior, as a lot of truck buyers immediately install a lift kit and a new wheel and tire package. Ram figured it could offer something like that from the factory easy enough, with the added benefit of having the modifications designed to work together, covered by the warranty and serviceable at Ram dealers.

Ram’s modifications are as clever as they are simple: The Ram 1500’s optional air suspension is standard on the Rebel, but the default ride height is now an inch higher, what a standard Ram would call Off Road 1. It’s now backed by Bilstein monotube shocks, and the alignment, steering gear, and rear anti-roll bar have all been tuned for the higher default center of gravity. A rear limited-slip differential is optional. A new front bumper incorporates tow hooks and a skidplate, with additional protection under the vehicle, and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires increase capability and the wow factor. Fender flares, blacked-out trim, and giant badges round out the look. The interior features red accent trim, beefy rubber floormats, and the tire tread pattern embossed in the seat backs.

You’ve likely come to the conclusion I first did, which is that Ram didn’t really do all that much. Compare it with rival packages, though, and you’ll find it perfectly matched. Ram simply came up with a cooler name and tougher look than most of the competition, and what the Rebel might lack in quantity of modifications it more than compensates for in quality.’

We’ll start off-road because that’s the whole point. To demonstrate the Rebel’s capability, Ram took us to the San Francisco Volcanic Field outside Flagstaff, Arizona, in what turned out to be mostly terrible weather. The terrain Ram had intended us to conquer was made mostly of volcanic cinder, which is more or less like coarse, loosely packed gravel. The weather, however, ensured the rest of the driving would involve standing water and several inches of snow on top of mud the consistency and stickiness of saltwater taffy. That none of us managed to get a single truck stuck in any of that mess is a testament, as the cinder Ram wanted us to drive on had the trucks dug in to their rims more often than not.

All this perhaps best illustrates the Rebel’s key feature: Ram’s inspired choice of the Toyo Open Country A/T tire. Not just for show, these knobby wonders clawed their way through every surface we could find. Even completely saturated with taffy mud, they continued to dig in and keep the truck moving. Note that this was the same sort of mud that shut down the off-road driving course at the nearby Overland Expo (where, incidentally, attendees had high praise to sing of the Toyo Open Country A/T). More than simply getting us through the cinder, mud, and snow (without needing to be aired down, as we discovered by trying it both ways), the tires helped keep the truck well under control in all conditions. Be it blasting down a packed gravel road, working through the mud, or turning onto a paved road, the tires bit hard and kept the rear of the truck firmly planted. Getting it sideways took considerable effort, and any slip it gave was predictable, linear, and easily controlled.

Of course, credit for this stability also goes to the Bilstein shocks and Ram’s suspension tuning. The air spring and shock combination (not to mention the fat tire sidewalls) provided a surprisingly comfortable ride both on-road and off. The combo proved adept at handling large and small bumps and holes in pavement, and it soaked up off-road obstacles just as well. The suspension has no more travel than standard Rams, but in all our beating on it, we only managed to bottom out the suspension once. Let’s be clear about this: My co-drivers and I were not nice to this truck, at all, and we couldn’t hurt it.

It could, however, hurt its own cause. Our mutual major objection to the Rebel (aside from the grille) was the electronic stability control. On the Rebel, you’re supposed to be able to turn stability control completely off. This is not the case. Putting aside the fact that you can only achieve full deactivation with the truck in 4WD, if you find yourself several inches deep in gravel or mud, you’ll find you don’t have full authority over the throttle. Every time we found ourselves in this situation, the computer ignored our throttle inputs and limited wheelspin, even when it would’ve been far more advantageous to keep engine and wheel speeds up to avoid getting stuck. On more than one occasion, we found ourselves slowing to a crawl and unable to modulate the throttle, relying instead on the computer’s wisdom and the tires’ bite. Yes, the computer saved us from potentially overdoing it and digging ourselves in, but it also restricted our options at a critical moment. There are few more helpless feelings than being in control of a vehicle on the verge of getting stuck, and it’s only worse when you’re prevented from doing everything possible to avoid it. The lack of a hill descent control feature is also a small disappointment.

On the road, where most Rebels will spend most of their lives, it was really no less livable than a standard Ram 1500. The big off-road tires make a little more noise than street tires, but the truck rides, handles, stops, and goes just as well. You sit a little higher, and there’s a stronger urge to get off the pavement than usual, but there’s no real compromise to the driving experience in return for the greater off-road ability. As the suspension is mostly the same, there are no penalties to towing or hauling ratings, either.

All of this must be read with the caveat that the only pre-production Rebels Ram had available for this test drive were V-8 four-wheel drive models with the optional 3.92:1 rear end. The Rebel is also available in rear-wheel drive, with a V-6, and with a 3.21:1 rear end — the V-6 model is available with four-wheel drive and 3.92:1 gears only. For now, the EcoDiesel engine is not available, as the factory that builds them is maxed out, and the Rebel will only be offered in the four-door Crew Cab and 5-foot-7-inch bed, as that combination accounts for 70 percent of Ram sales. The RamBox bed pictured is optional.

The Ram Rebel may not be a factory Baja pre-runner, but it’s an impressively capable truck nonetheless. Ram has built a more aggressive and better branded off-road package for a half-ton pickup than any of its competitors. Doubters are welcome to try to keep up on the trail.

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autos-trucks/2015-ram-1500-rebel-first-drive/ar-BBjVY72

Ram grille change no big deal?

Opinion/Analysis:  it seems to me that the uproar over the new grilles on the Ram Laramie and Rebel is a classic case of making a mountain out of a molehill: a task made more difficult because it starts without a molehill.

Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette and Allpar’s Daniel Bennet have written about the change, saying it’s a sign that the Ram brand is suffering from an identity crisis. Their argument is that Ram trying to further distance itself from Dodge by moving away from the crosshair grille and the ram’s head badge.

The more likely reason for the change is to let buyers know this is a new Ram pickup [as alluded to by designer Greg Howell].

How long has the Ram pickup used the same general grille design with only very small changes that most consumers won’t even notice? Since Ram became a separate brand five years ago? In fact, the same general grille design was used on the last model year of the Dodge Ram pickup.

Maybe it’s time for a change?

The fact the new grille’s first appearance on a regular production truck came on the top-of-the-line Laramie is an indication that Ram is looking to persuade owners of earlier premium Ram pickups to trade their old truck by making the new truck visibly different.

When I was young, grille changes were an annual event, making each new model distinct from those that came before. Automakers don’t do that any more, but a change after six years seems reasonable.

The use of the prominent “RAM” on the Rebel’s grille is similar to what Ford has done on the Raptor, which has a big “FORD” on the grille instead of a blue oval. It sets the special truck apart from other models.

As for the large RAM on the tailgate, name a pickup brand that hasn’t done this at one time or another.

In short, there’s no identity crisis required to explain the change.

As far as establishing a brand identity, I would imagine that if you asked most male consumers to complete the phrase “Guts, Glory…”, most would say “Ram.” They might even try to sound like Sam Elliott. That’s successful branding.

Worries about losing the classic Ram logo would seem to be unfounded. A look at the interior shows the familiar shield is right in  the center of the steering wheel. Considering that it’s much less costly to change a small badge than it is to change a grille and tailgate, one would assume any effort to rebrand would include that change.

Consider the ProMaster City. While the big ProMaster was already in production, it would have been easy to change the small van’s grille and badging. Yet the ProMaster City has Ram shield badges front and rear.

Now consider at the two brands’ product lines: Ram has pickups, chassis-cabs and commercial vans (ProMaster City is clearly targeted at businesses). Dodge has passenger cars, family minivans and SUVs. The only Dodge fleet vehicles are special purpose, such as the Charger Pursuit and the Durango SSV. There isn’t any overlap, even in the same showroom.

It was Chrysler, not Fiat, that originally pushed for a retail network in which as many dealers as possible sold all the Chrysler brands.

If anyone is worried that Ram is phasing out the Ram logo, the first question that comes to mind is “Why would they?” The brand name is Ram; what else are they going to use?

It’s unlikely that Bob Hegbloom, Sergio Marchionne or Olivier Francois lose much sleep over whether dealers or consumers call the truck a Ram or a Dodge Ram. FCA US and people can call it anything they want as long as it changes hands from the first group to the second group in large quantities, and Ram U.S. sales last year were the best since the all-time record year of 2003 and missed setting a new all-time Graham/Dodge/Ram sales record by just 9,583 sales.

In the end, the grille change isn’t a quest for identity or an escape from the shadow of another brand. It is a relatively inexpensive styling change made by a brand that seems comfortable enough in its own skin to try something new.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/03/relax-ram-grille-change-no-big-deal