2014 Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cab
Believe it or not, heavy-duty trucks play in a highly competitive segment with businesses and tradesmen looking to buy the best truck with the highest towing and hauling capacities while still being coddled in a comfortable and stylish cabin full of useful technology.
Though it’s highly competitive, there are only three true players: the Chevrolet 3500, the Ford F-450/F-550 and the Ram 4500/5500. Each truck has its strong suits and all do a darn good job of moving heavy stuff around, but the current standout in the segment is indubitably the Ram. Offering more options and ways to customize its trucks, the Ram caters more to those looking to build the exact truck to fit a specialized need.
Power comes from two iconic names in the industry, HEMI and Cummins. HEMI might be more associated with the high-horsepower performance crowd, but Chrysler’s 6.4-liter HEMI as recently made its appearance in the heavy-duty truck segment. It’s high torque output combined with its variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation make it a great alternative to the more expensive diesel. However, when the loads are heavy, the Cummins is the engine to have. Generating an enormous 750 pound-feet of torque, the Ram 5500 can pull a massive 29,600-pound trailer with ease.
Moving heavy stuff around is important, but getting people to and from the job site is equally so. The Ram Chassis Cab’s interior is a basic carbon copy of the near-luxurious cabin of the Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks. Uconnect, a 7-inch TFT display, and navigation are just a few amenities the Ram boasts – and they can be had inside a truck that’s fitted with a dump bed.
Click past the jump to read more about Ram Chassis Cab
2014 Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cab
Transmission:six-speed manual overdrive
Horsepower @ RPM:370 @ 4600
Torque @ RPM:429 @ 4000
Displacement:392 cubic inches
Top Speed:115 mph (Est.)
The Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs share the same basic design as their smaller 2500 and 3500 brethren with the major changes happening to the fenders and front bumper. The extra beefy front axle in the 4500 and 5500 have a wider track that requires wider finders to cover the tall, skinny tires. Not only does the extra width of the fender flares keep the Ram legal, the also look really macho. Down low, a reshaped air dam with integrated heavy-duty tow hooks further increase the truck’s testosterone.
The carryover hood still features the power dome shape with faux vents stamped into the sheet metal. Around the side, the Ram and model badging is oriented in a portrait-style, stacked way allowing for businesses to add company logos or graphics without running out of space. Above, tow mirrors are standard fare and help the driver keep an eye out for a shifting load and pesky tailgaters. The rear body panel on regular cab models can be cut out for such things as ambulance duty without compromising the cab’s structural integrity or Ram’s warranty.
Out back, the frame rails are extra strong for severe duty. They are also free of any hardware protruding above the top frame rail to ensure upfitters don’t have to modify or relocate any critical components when installing their aftermarket parts. Wiring and plumbing is also neatly protected within the frame rails. The three industry-standard frame lengths are available as well: 60-, 84-, 108-, and 120-inches. Both the regular cab and crew cabs can be ordered.
Ram Chassis Cab 4500 & 5500 - Standard Exterior Specification
|Types||Regular Cab (4X2/4X4)||Crew Cab (4X2/4X4)|
|Turning diameter (in)||41.7||49.2|
|Track Width – Front/Rear (in)||76.0/73.6||76.0/73.6|
|Suspension or Axle to Ground – Front/Rear (in)||10.3/8.4||10.3/8.4|
|Approach Angle (in)||28.3||28.5|
|Ramp Breakover Angle (in)||23.7||20.4|
|Departure Angle (in)||31.1||31.0|
Much like the outside, the interior is all standard Ram with only minor changes. All automatic transmission options are controlled with a conventional steering column gear selector (verses the Ram 1500’s electronic dial-controlled eight-speed auto). Four-wheel-drive, however, is controlled by an electronic rotary dial. Heavy-duty vinyl seats are high quality and look better than the leather seats found in luxury cars 10 years ago. A 40/20/40 front bench is standard with twin bucket seats divided by a center console is optional.
Connectivity has become an important function in trucks these days and Ram hasn’t been ignorant of that. An 8.4-inch Uconnect system is available with navigation. In the instrument cluster, a standard 3.5-inch vehicle information screen shows important vehicle stats while an optional 7-inch TFT display is fully customizable and graphically displays such things as turn-by-turn navigation to oil pressure, transmission temperature, and tire pressure.
Below the HVAC controls are a bank of switches to control everything from Tow/Haul mode, exhaust brake controls, ESC on/off, and a switch that controls the available transmission PTO output. Laying just to the left is the integrated trailer brake controller which regulates the brakes on an attached trailer to assist in bringing the entire truck-trailer combination to a halt in a shorter distance. Since it’s fully built into the truck, the ABS system even works in modulating the trailer brakes to prevent wheel lock-up.
Keeping the devices charged is a 2.5-amp USB power port and a 12-volt outlet.
Ram Chassis Cab 4500 & 5500 - Standard Interior Specification
|Types||Regular Cab||Crew Cab|
|Seating Capacity, F/R||3/0 or 2/0||3/3 or 2/3|
|Head Room (in)||39.9||41.0|
|Hip Room (in)||62.9||63.2|
|Seat Travel (in)||9.0||9.0|
|Recliner Range (degrees)||85||56|
|Types||Regular Cab||Crew Cab|
|Head Room (in)||N/A||39.9|
|Hip Room (in)||N/A||63.2|
|Types||Regular Cab||Crew Cab|
At the heart of the Ram heavy-duty 4500 and 5500 trucks are two potent powerplants that generate impressive torque numbers and achieve relatively decent fuel economy.
Coming standard and being the first gasoline engine offered in the chassis cab lineup is the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8. The 16-valve engine produces 410 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 429 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Bolted into a 5500 truck with the Aisin six-speed automatic, the 6.4-liter HEMI will tow an 18,950-pound trailer and carry a 11,108 pounds of payload in the bed.
The real heavyweight, though, is the big-rig-like 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel. The in-line six comes in two outputs depending upon the transmission application. Connected to the class-exclusive six-speed manual transmission, the Cummins puts out 320 horsepower and 650 pound feet of torque. Opt for the Aisin six-speed automatic and the numbers bump to 325 horsepower and a stump-pulling 750 pound-feet of torque. That combination is capable of towing a 29,600-pound trailer and hauling 11,626 pounds in the bed. Staying with the manual transmission cuts towing numbers to 20,200 pounds but bumps the payload up 160 pounds for a total of 11,786.
Like the Ram 1500, the 2014 Chassis Cabs feature an exclusive active air intake system called Ram Active Air. The air box features a computer-controlled actuator that automatically draws air from either the engine bay in cold or wet environments or from the front grille in hot weather or when towing. The system ensures the engine is always getting the best available air temperature for any given situation.
Keeping both the gas and diesel engines supplied with fuel is the standard 52-gallon fuel tank. A secondary 22-gallon fuel tank is optional, giving the Ram Chassis Cab an amazing 74 gallons of fuel for extended highway or back-country stints. With diesel prices at roughly $4/gallon, we’d hate to drop nearly $300 on a full tank, but considering you’ve got a 1,000 mile-plus range when averaging 15 mpg, the financial hit might be worth it.
Ram Chassis Cab 4500 & 5500 - Standard Drivetrain Specifications
|Engine||Eight-cylinder, 90-degree V-type, liquid-cooled, with variable-valve timing (VVT)|
|Displacement (cu. in.)||392|
|Output (HP @ RPM)||370 @ 4,600|
|Torque (LB-FT @ RPM)||429 @ 4,000|
|Bore x Stroke||4.09 x 3.72|
|Valve System||VVT, push-rod operated overhead valves (16, two-per-cylinder),|
eight de-activating and eight hydraulic lifters with all roller followers
|Fuel Injection||Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless|
|Construction||Deep-skirt cast-iron block with cross-bolted main bear caps, 356 aluminum cylinder heads with hemispherical combustion chambers|
|Maximum Engine Speed||4,800 rpm limited with Aisin|
|Oil Capacity (qt)||7|
|Coolant Capacity (l)||17.30|
|Emission Control||Three-way catalytic converters, heated oxygen sensors, cooled electronic EGR and individual cylinder fuel control|
Supporting the massive weights the Ram Chassis Cab can haul is a beefy five-link front suspension with heavy-duty load springs designed for extremely rigorous jobs like pushing a snowplow. The steering is set up with its drag link positioned over the track bar in order to reduce roll oversteer and to improve straight-line tracking on the highway. Ram also engineered the caster and track to help return the steering to center when exiting a turn for a more precise steering feel.
Out back, a Hotchkiss rear leaf spring setup does the heavy lifting. The system allows for a minimum of zero degrees rake angle even when fully loaded. The frame itself is fully boxed and is constructed of high-strength 50,000 psi steel and has no less than eight cross members.
Pricing for the Ram Chassis cab can swing wildly depending upon options. Yet another factor that must be considered is the cost of whatever up-fitting needs done (dump bed, flat bed, ambulance box, boom arm and bucket)
Starting at the low end is the Ram 4500 Tradesman fitted with the 6.4-liter HEMI. Its prices begin at $34,620. Adding four-wheel-drive adds to the price, as does opting for a higher trim package (SLT or Laramie). The real cost comes with the Cummins diesel. Check that option box and watch the price jump $6,795.
Starting at roughly the same amount, the 5500 costs $35,720 in bare-bones form. Deck it out with every option offered by Ram and the bill rockets to nearly $67,000.
Like the Ram 4500 and 5500, Ford offers a medium-duty version of its Super Duty trucks. Powered by a de-tuned version of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8, Ford’s Chassis Cab makes 300 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque, the Ford will pull a trailer weighing up to 26,400 pounds. Its payload is equally impressive at 12,300. We find it rather odd Ford would hold back the 6.7-liter Power Stroke found in its other Super Duty trucks in the Chassis Cab configuration. Normally, that 6.7-liter is good for 400 horsepower and a ridiculous 800 pound-feet of torque.
The F-450 is also available with the venerable 6.8-liter V-10 that kicks out 362 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. It’s backed by a five-speed automatic and can also be outfitted to run CNG or LPG.
Pricing starts at 34,370 for the F-450 powered by the gasoline V-10. Opting for the F-550 powered by the diesel and selecting all the option boxes will result in a price breaking the $65,000 mark.
General Motors takes a different approach to its medium-duty trucks. Chevy and GMC offer the standard 3500 truck along with a chassis cab configuration. Past that, they offer the Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick, a more big-rig-looking configuration. For the argument’s sake and keeping comparisons fair, we’ll stick to the 3500 chassis cab.
The Chevy 3500 has two engine options: the 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 making 322 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, and the stout 6.6-liter Duramax Turbo Diesel making 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque.
Towing and payload capacities are rated at 23,100 pounds and 7,222 pounds respectively. Pricing starts at 32,205 and rises from there with options.
Compared to its competition, the Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs outclass them in almost every way. Ram has done an amazing job marketing its Chassis Cabs for businesses to easily research, purchase, and up-fit however they see fit. With the combination of the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel and the best in class towing numbers, the Ram simply out pulls. Plus the Ram is the only truck to still offer a manual transmission.