Print 92 comment(s) - last by protosv.. on Aug 28 at 5:11 AM

The Ram 1500 gets a much needed heart transplant

Ford isn't the only company that can dish out full-size pickups with relatively decent fuel economy these days. Ford made headlines two year ago (and saw sales of V6 engines skyrocket) when it introduced an all-new 3.7-liter V6 engine and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 for its best-selling F-150.
Not one to let Ford sit around and bask in the media and sales spotlight, Chrysler is giving its 2013 Ram 1500 a heart transplant as well. In this case, instead of the tired old 3.7-liter V6 that has soldiered on as the base engine in the Ram 1500 for far too long, it has been replaced by Chrysler's corporate V6: the 3.6-liter Pentastar.
Whereas the old 3.7-liter engine produced 215hp and 235 lb-ft of torque, the Pentastar V6 blows those numbers out of the water with 305hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, Ford's based 3.7-liter V6 engine in the F-150 generates 300hp and 275 lb-ft of torque.

3.6-liter Pentastar V6
Despite the massive increase in power and torque, fuel economy has also gone up significantly with the new Pentastar V6. Fuel economy numbers increase from 14/20 (city/highway) with the old 3.7 to 18/25 with the new 3.6 in 4x2 trim (these figures are also ahead of the 3.7-liter V6 in the Ford F-150 which is rated at 17/23).
It also helps that the '13 Ram 1500 makes use of a new 8-speed automatic transmission to help boost fuel efficiency.
Even though the V6 doesn't have as much "grunt" as the Hemi V8 option, Inside Line says that the Ram 1500's new base engine is enough to propel the pickup to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds.

2013 Dodge Ram 1500
All of this newfangled technology doesn't come for free, however. The '13 Ram 1500 with the Pentastar V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission starts at $23,585 compared to $22,420 for the '12 Ram 1500 with the 3.7-liter V6 and 4-speed automatic transmission.
With both Ford and Chrysler stepping up to the plate with power and efficiency for the full-size pickups, all eyes should now be on General Motors and its Silverado 1500/Sierra 1500.

Sources: Chrysler, Inside Line

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RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Brandon Hill on 8/24/2012 12:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong yet again. Chrysler is using the ZF 8HP transmission (Chrysler calls it the 845RFE), so it's not a transmission used "mostly" by Chrysler. It is also used by:

Land Rover

You want to try again?

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Homerboy on 8/24/2012 12:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
LOL awesome.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By quiksilvr on 8/24/2012 1:01:26 PM , Rating: 3
*Flips desks and dives behind with eyes peeking out of the corner*

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By MadMan007 on 8/24/2012 1:04:38 PM , Rating: 5
All those makes are known for their low cost of repair, right?

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Marlin1975 on 8/24/2012 1:11:55 PM , Rating: 4
Not only low cost but also known for their long term reliability…


RE: Worth the extra $1165
By YashBudini on 8/24/2012 6:44:03 PM , Rating: 3

And superb reliability.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Marlin1975 on 8/24/2012 1:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
And maybe if you read past the headlines you would see they are not building the trans for Chrysler, they license the design and manufacturing rights to Chrysler. Chrysler has already said they are going to build on that design (i.e. customize it).

So no you can’t pull the ZF built trans from any of the lines you just posted and put it in the Chrysler and the other way as well.

“Some sources say it is a ZF design, while others say there has been Chrysler engineering; most likely it incorporate ideas from both companies.”

So yea it will still be a Chrysler only trans after they are done.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Marlin1975 on 8/24/2012 1:19:19 PM , Rating: 1
Should say they are not building the same trans design for Chrysler.

They will build Chrysler's custom design for the first year until Chrysler's Trans plant gets up to speed.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Brandon Hill on 8/24/2012 1:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
The internals are all the same. Software will be tuned to suit each engine/manufacturer. But the mechanical bits inside, the stuff that is most likely to break, is common among all manufacturers that use the ZF-8HP.

And I don't think any fool would think that you could take the actual 8-speed transmission from a Dodge Ram and hook it up to a 7-Series. It would be impossible. The mounting points alone wouldn't match up between the engines and the transmission.

That should be pretty easy to understand...

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Brandon Hill on 8/24/2012 1:22:52 PM , Rating: 3
And I should add, the specific version of the ZF-8HP that Chrysler has a license to produce here in the states is the 8HP45 -- BMW uses it in the 5-Series.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By YashBudini on 8/24/2012 11:37:58 PM , Rating: 3
If you do some research you'll discover that BMW has a rather cavalier attitude about automatic transmission reliability. Not very comforting when you spend over $50K for a car.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By semiconshawn on 8/24/2012 1:22:31 PM , Rating: 3
Is that a list of cars with horrible reliablilty?

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By JoJoman88 on 8/25/2012 9:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
Lol,that is what i thought when i saw this list! A mechanics dream team if i ever seen one.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Samus on 8/24/2012 3:10:35 PM , Rating: 4
The key to transmission longevity is really in the cooler. As with any truck, whether you plan to tow or not, get the tow package. The oversized coolers can double transmission fluid life, and lets face it, nobody flushes their transmissions.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By nedsand on 8/24/2012 5:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
I got the towing package on my 05 F150 for exactly this reason. However there are some tradeoffs and you can't lump everyone into one group. I use my truck as a truck regularly but I don't haul anything heavy. Between the fly-by-wire, the slow to downshift transmission and the 3.73 gears that you get with the tow package it just doesn't feel as nice to drive as my 01 F150 that had 3.31 gears. I also average 5mpg less in my 05 mostly due to the 05 being a 4x4 but I can't help but think the gears have an effect. While hauling your can feel the difference between the 3.31 and 3.73 but on the highway its the exact opposite. The F150 picked up a whole bunch of extra horse power and torque between 01 and 05. Driving home on the highway from the dealer the day I bought the truck I got stuck behind some old lady in the slow lane. I had a car coming up in the pass lane but I thought I had time. Mashed the pedal and between the time it took the FBW and tranny to downshift plus the slower acceleration I damn near got rear ended. I know my fault.. But that bummer feeling has never gone away. I'm not sure the tow package is something I feel like I need anymore.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Manch on 8/27/2012 1:07:53 PM , Rating: 3
I believe an SCT, or a dibalo tuner can help eliminate that lag a bit, adjust shift points, etc. Another trick is to openup the gas pedal box and bend down the contact brushes to eliminate the dead zone. or just shim the pedal at the top and that will take care of that for you.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By YashBudini on 8/24/2012 11:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
The key to transmission longevity is really in the cooler.

As opposed to the new Camry, where they added a transmission fluid heater.

and lets face it, nobody flushes their transmissions.

Mostly true, I've done about 6 and quit. The first one is by far the most important. New transmission bands do a lot shedding. After a while not so much. Transmissions also run a lot hotter than the old days, burnt fluid is more likely and bad for transmission health.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Jeffk464 on 8/25/2012 12:25:26 AM , Rating: 1
My Tacoma has a "sealed" transmission supposedly its zero maintenance until over 100,000 or something. Still makes me nervous.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By YashBudini on 8/25/2012 11:31:03 AM , Rating: 1
It's hard to believe that a dipstick may end up becoming a consideration when buying a new vehicle.

I'm sure trans shops will eventually make a nice profit retrofitting transmissions with dipsticks, if it's possible at all.

I wonder where CVTs fit in this equation?

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Samus on 8/25/2012 1:38:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yash, companies are adding trans heaters for the same reason diesel block heaters have been around for decades: warm metal wears slower than cold metal.

The idea behind a transmission heater is simply to get it up to operating temperature quicker (ideal transmission temps are around 165f, but can vary quite widely by design and fluid type)

The heater will ideally reduce initial wear under cold-start conditions. Even notice a transmission in cold weather whines?

As far as "sealed for life" transmissions, the industry started doing this with differentials in the 90's and it has worked out with mixed results. Synthetic's have improved and definately shorten the neccessary change intervals, but no fluid lasts forever. Friction modifiers break down, and when they are depleated, the fluid doesn't transfer heat away from the components, causing solenoid malfunctions and band wear.

In differentials, this usually causes bearing wear, leaks, and even C-clip failure from too much slop which can be a disaster.

However, these fluids generally last 100,000 miles and after that most manufactures could care less because on average, vehicles are out of warranty after 30,000-50,000 miles, with only Korean manufactures actually warrantying bumper-to-bumper for 100,000 miles.

Nobody warranties driveline components beyond 100,000 miles, even Chrysler with their corporate suicidal "Limited Lifetime Drivetrain Warranty"

The aformentioned 6F transmission is a "sealed" unit, some implementations have no dipstick, and it has no "filter" just a mesh screen that can be cleaned. This is all a fine for saving costs, but not changing even the highest quality synthetic fluid or at least adding a treatment every 100,000 miles will be disasterous. It will inevitably fail, and it certainly wont have good performance or efficient power delivery when it's malfunctioning.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By YashBudini on 8/25/12, Rating: 0
RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Reclaimer77 on 8/25/2012 1:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that's all true, but how is the heater implemented? If it's thermostatically controlled it's fine, but if it adds heat all the time it not.

I'm pretty sure the people designing these transmissions understand the primary cause of failed trans's is overheating. Being engineers and all. I seriously doubt they would design the heaters to just run all the time and wear out the transmission.

GM is known for their ongoing costs reductions.

Ironic given that it was the unions and pension plans bleeding the company dry, not vehicle costs. GM had become so wasteful on the administrative side of things they were essentially paying people NOT to work.

RE: Worth the extra $1165
By Bad-Karma on 8/25/2012 1:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
The key to transmission longevity is really in the cooler.

Actually is has far more to do with the the alternating friction material and clutch plates. The friction material is splined on the inside, where it locks to one of the gears. The steel plate is splined on the outside, where it locks to the clutch housing.

In an automatic transmission these alternating gears and friction plates is where all of your power is directly concentrated and it's on a much smaller surface area. The sun and planetary gears are generally beefier and share the load over several larger sets of gears.

In a truck the higher levels of torque,heavier weight and payload, wears down the friction material and main gears at a much higher rate than what most cars will ever experience.

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