Cummins now kicks out 930 pound-feet of torque!

The current Ram Heavy Duty has been around since 2010 with an update in 2013 and smaller updates scattered throughout the years. Not much changes for 2018, save for one aspect: the Ram 3500’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel is getting a healthy bump in torque for class-leading numbers. Turbo boost limits were raised, fuel flow was increased, and a retuning of the ECU adds 30 pound-feet of torque for a total of 930 pound-feet. This surpasses both General Motors and Ford’s maximum torque ratings of 910 and 925 pound-feet, respectively.

This veritable arms race between the Big Three has been ongoing for several decades, but the Torque Wars have really heated up in the last decade. Diesels are popular and the biggest numbers win – both in power figures and towing capability. Ram isn’t short on either. The 2018 Ram 3500 also boasts a new fifth-wheel hitch assembly from Ram Engineering that offers 30,000 pounds of towing. Ram says its the hitch is strongest hitch in the industry. Customer can add the hitch for $1,395, either with a built-to-order truck or as a dealer add-on. The Ram’s gooseneck hitch rating remains unchanged at 31,210 pounds, while its receiver hitch can pull 20,000 pounds. Compare that to Ram 3500’s numbers from 2011. It could only pull 15,540 pounds with a gooseneck and 12,000 pounds at the receiver. Yep – the truck’s towing capabilities have nearly doubled in eight years. But towing and torque aren’t everything, so let’s have a deep look at the 2018 Ram Heavy Duty.

Continue reading for the full review.

Exterior

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Nothing changes cosmetically on the Ram Heavy Duty for 2018. However, a new grille was added for 2017 on the Laramie Longhorn and Limited models.

Nothing changes cosmetically on the Ram Heavy Duty for 2018. However, a new grille was added for 2017 on the Laramie Longhorn and Limited models. The grille departs from the iconic crosshairs and uses nostril-style openings and large R-A-M lettering in the center. It’s only available on the two range-topping trim levels, so the grille helps distinguish those trims from the remaining Ram HD lineup. The same is true for the Ram 1500, as well, since it uses similar grille designs two separate the upper trims.

The rest of the Ram continues on unchanged. This does make the Ram the oldest truck among the Big Three. Chevy updated its Silverado HD’s styling for 2015 and then added a new hood scoop for 2017 to improve airflow to the new Duramax. The Ford Super Duty was completely reworked for 2017, getting an all-new frame, an aluminum body, and a cab section and interior shared with the F-150.

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution Exterior
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The front bumper is slotted for better cooling and to house the frame-mounted tow hooks. Out back, both the 2500 and 3500 use a Class V receiver hitch accompanied by both a four- and seven-pin wiring connectors.

Despite its age, the Ram HD is ready for work. The front bumper is slotted for better cooling and to house the frame-mounted tow hooks. Out back, both the 2500 and 3500 use a Class V receiver hitch accompanied by both a four- and seven-pin wiring connectors. Of course, the bed can be factory-ordered with a gooseneck package and the Ram’s new fifth-wheel hitch. Like the Ram 1500, the HDs can be had with the RamBox bed, giving a lockable, dry place to store items. The RamBox isn’t available for 3500 trucks with dual-rear wheels, however. Underneath, the Ram can be optioned with skidplates to protect vital drivetrain components from off-road debris.

Ram has also incorporated cameras into the HDs. A backup camera resides in the tailgate handle and a second camera can be had in the CHMSL for viewing the bed. This is especially handy for Crew Cab owners trying to hitch a gooseneck or fifth-wheel.

Special Editions
Those wanting the highest available luxury with their Ram HD should like the Tungsten Edition. Based on the range-topping Limited trim, the Tungsten adds extra chrome details on the exterior, body-color running boards, unique wheels, and the R-A-M logo on the tailgate. Of course, being a Limited trim, the R-A-M grille is used, as well.

Ram will likely carry over the Night Special Edition and Sport Appearance Group from 2017, too. The Night package brings a satin-black crosshair grille, satin black badges (including the R-A-M tailgate), black wheels, and matching running boards. The Sport Appearance Group adds black wheels, black headlight bezels, black badges, a body-color crosshair grille with black mesh, and body-color bumpers and door handles.

Exterior Dimensions

REGULAR CAB 140.5" WB 8-FT. BOX SRW 4x2 4x4
Wheelbase 140.5 (3,568.7) 140.5 (3,568.7)
Track Width – Front 68.6 (1,742.4) 68.3 (1,734.8)
Track Width – Rear 68.2 (1,732.3) 68.2 (1,732.3)
Overall Length 231.0 (5,867.4) 231.0 (5,867.4)
Overall Width @ SgRP Front 78.9 (2,004.1) 78.9 (2,004.1)
Overall Height 73.3 (1,861.8) 75.7 (1,922.8)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Front 7.6 (193.0) 7.5 (190.5)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Rear 7.4 (188.0) 7.4 (188.0)
CREW CAB 149.5" WB 6-FT. 4-IN. BOX SRW 4x2 4x4
Wheelbase 149.5 (3,797.3) 149.5 (3,797.3)
Track Width – Front 68.6 (1,742.4) 68.3 (1,734.8)
Track Width – Rear 68.2 (1,732.3) 68.2 (1,732.3)
Overall Length 237.4 (6,029.9) 237.4 (6,029.9)
Overall Width @ SgRP Front 79.1 (2,009.1) 79.1 (2,009.1)
Overall Height 73.7 (1,871.9) 77.7 (1,973.6)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Front 7.1 (180.3) 7.4 (188.0)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Rear 7.3 (185.4) 7.1 (180.3)
CREW CAB 169.5" WB 8-FT. BOX SRW 4x2 4x4
Wheelbase 169.4 (4,302.7) 168.9 (4,290.1)
Track Width – Front 68.6 (1,742.4) 68.3 (1,734.8)
Track Width – Rear 68.2 (1,732.3) 68.2 (1,732.3)
Overall Length 259.4 (6,588.8) 259.4 (6,588.8)
Overall Width @ SgRP Front 79.1 (2,009.1) 79.1 (2,009.1)
Overall Height 73.5 (1,866.9) 77.6 (1,971)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Front 7.1 (180.3) 7.3 (185.4)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Rear 7.3 (185.4) 7.2 (182.9)
MEGA CAB 160.5" WB 6-FT. 4-IN. BOX SRW 4x2 4x4
Wheelbase 160.5 (4,076.7) 160.0 (4,064)
Track Width – Front 68.6 (1,742.4) 68.3 (1,734.8)
Track Width – Rear 68.2 (1,732.3) 68.2 (1,732.3)
Overall Length 248.4 (6,309.4) 248.4 (6,309.4)
Overall Width @ SgRP Front 79.1 (2,009.1) 79.1 (2,009.1)
Overall Height 74.1 (1,882.1) 78.3 (1,988.8)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Front 7.8 (198.1) 8.1 (205.7)
Suspension or Axle to Ground – Rear 7.8 (198.1) 7.7 (195.6)

Interior

2016 Ram Heavy Duty High Resolution Interior
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Note: 2016 Ram Heavy Duty interior shown here.

Nothing changes inside the Ram HD for 2018. And while the design is starting to look somewhat dated, the functionality, controls, screens, and optional 8.4-inch Uconnect system remain very competitive in the class.

Like the outside, nothing changes inside the Ram HD for 2018. And while the design is starting to look somewhat dated, the functionality, controls, screens, and optional 8.4-inch Uconnect system remain very competitive in the class. Obviously, the level of luxury is directly tied to the trim levels. The base Tradesman trim offers vinyl flooring, a vinyl 40/20/40-split bench seat, and basic features like an AM/FM radio, a small driver information screen, and little in the way of eye candy. Other trims include the SLT, Lone Star, Big Horn, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited.

The Lone Star and Big Horn are positioned as the “everyman truck” with several upgrades and unlocked options not available on the Tradesman or even SLT. The Laramie trim is like middle management – it has leather seats and plenty of luxury, but isn’t the top dog. That goes to the Limited, which comes standard with just about every feature offered. The Laramie Longhorn is for the cowboy types thanks to its saddle-colored leather and light-colored wood trim around the cab. And speaking of wood, anything that looks like wood, is wood. Ram has a high level of detail, including open-pore wood on the dash and lacquered wood on the steering wheel.

The Ram HD did receive some minor updates for 2016 that include rolling door along the driver side of the optional center console with two cup holders on the right and a rubberized cell phone holder with cable cut-outs.

Ram continues to offer three cab sizes on the HD: Regular, Crew Cab, and its exclusive Mega Cab. No extended cab is offered. The Crew Cab is Ram’s biggest seller outside fleet sales, especially since it offers excellent room for four large adults or five if they want to squeeze in. Foregoing the optional front bucket seats and sticking with the 40/20/40-split front bench allow for three across, giving the Ram a total of six seats.

Interior Dimensions

Regular Cab Crew Cab Mega Cab
Seating Capacity, F/R 3/0 or 2/0 3/3 or 2/3 3/3 or 2/3
Front
Headroom 39.9 (1,013.5) 41.0 (1,040.5) 41.0 (1,040.5)
Legroom 41 (1,041.4) 41 (1,041.4) 41 (1,041.4)
Shoulder Room 66 (1,676.4) 66 (1,676.4) 66 (1,676.4)
Hip Room 62.9 (1,598.7) 63.2 (1,605.3) 63.2 (1,605.3)
Seat Travel 9.0 (230.0) 9.0 (230.0) 9.0 (230.0)
Rear
Headroom N/A 39.9 (1,013.5) 40.3 (1,023.6)
Legroom N/A 40.3 (1,023.6) 43.3 (1,099.5)
Shoulder Room N/A 65.7 (1,668.8) 65.7 (1,668.8)
Hip Room N/A 63.2 (1,605.3) 63.2 (1,605.3)

Drivetrain

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Drivetrain High Resolution
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The big news for 2018 is the extra 30 pound-feet of torque Ram and Cummins squeezed from the 6.7-liter inline-six turbodiesel.

The big news for 2018 is the extra 30 pound-feet of torque Ram and Cummins squeezed from the 6.7-liter inline-six turbodiesel. While it might not sound like a big addition, it pushes the Cummins to the top-spot within the Big Three in terms of torque. Official power numbers are now 385 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 930 pound-feet of torque at 1,700 rpm. Ram and Cummins worked together on the improvements, ultimately using a higher-flow fuel delivery system and giving the variable geometry turbo a higher boost limit.

These improvements are only available on Ram’s high-output version of the 6.7-liter Cummins. There are three versions in total. First is a “low-output” spec with 350 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque paired with the Ram’s six-speed manual transmission (the only manual still offered in a modern heavy duty). Most Cummins have the mid-spec output, rated at 370 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque. This requires the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the high-output Cummins requires the 3500 series and the $2,695 Aisin six-speed automatic transmission.

For those not wanting a diesel, the Ram Heavy Duty comes standard with the venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.

For those not wanting a diesel, the Ram Heavy Duty comes standard with the venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. In this application, it makes 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. For bigger jobs, Ram offers the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 as an option. Here it makes 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. Both gasoline V-8s are pared with six-speed automatic transmissions.

The Ram comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but 4WD is optional on every cab, bed, and trim level configuration. Lower trims get the joy of a manual-shift transfer case, with a dogleg shifter rising through the transmission tunnel. Optional (and standard on upper trims) is an electronically operated T-case. This also makes room for the center console and front bucket seat option, too.

Drivetrain Specifications

ENGINE 5.7-LITER HEMI® V-8 6.4-LITER HEMI® V-8 6.7-LITER CUMMINS TURBO DIESEL I-6 (three versions)
Type and Description Eight-cylinder, 90-degree V-8, liquid-cooled with variable-valve timing (VVT) Eight-cylinder, 90-degree V-type, liquid-cooled, with variable-valve timing (VVT) Six-cylinder, inline, liquid-cooled, turbocharged, intercooled
Displacement 345 cu. in. (5,654 cu. cm) 392 cu. in. (6,417 cu. cm) 408 cu. in. (6,690 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 3.92 x 3.58 (99.5 x 90.9) 4.09 x 3.72 (103.9 x 94.6) 4.21 x 4.88 (107 x 124)
Valve System Pushrod-operated overhead valves, 16 valves, hydraulic lifters with roller followers VVT, push-rod operated overhead valves (16, two per cylinder), eight de-activating and eight hydraulic lifters all with roller followers OHV, 24 valves, solid lifters
Fuel Injection Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless OHV, 24 valves, solid lifters
Construction Deep-skirt cast-iron block with cross-bolted main bearing caps, aluminum alloy heads with hemispherical combustion chambers Deep-skirt cast-iron block with cross-bolted main bearing caps, 356 aluminum cylinder heads with hemispherical combustion chambers Cast-iron block and head
Compression Ratio 10.5:1 10.0:1 16.2:1
Power (SAE gross) 383 HP @ 5,600 RPM 410 HP @ 5,600 RPM 350 HP @ 2,800 RPM (G56 manual transmission)
370 HP @ 2,800 RPM (68RFE automatic transmission)
385 HP @ 2,800 RPM (Aisin automatic transmission
Torque (SAE gross) 400 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM 429 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM 660 LB-FT @ 1,400 RPM
800 LB-FT @ 1,600 RPM
930 LB-FT @ 1,700 RPM
Max. Engine Speed 5,800 rpm 5,800 rpm limited 3,200 rpm

Suspension

The Ram comes with a solid front axle with a three-link control arm system, regardless of RWD or 4WD configuration.

The Ram Heavy Duty has an interesting suspension setup that’s unlike anything offered by Ford or GM. The Ram comes with a solid front axle with a three-link control arm system, regardless of RWD or 4WD configuration. Trucks without 4WD simply get a beam axle without a differential. Out back is another solid axle, however the Ram 2500 uses a five-link setup with coil springs. This is said to help improve the ride quality when unloaded. An optional air ride suspension can be had, too, which include auto load-leveling for height adjustments after hitching to a heavy trailer.

The Ram 3500 uses the more conventional solid axle and leaf spring setup for achieving its outrageous towing and payload capacities. But despite the old-school leafs, Ram also offers the air ride suspension here, too.

Towing & Hauling

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution
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The 2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty can now tow a class-leading 30,000 pounds via its new fifth-wheel hitch.

Along with the power increase for the high-output Cummins, the 2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty can now tow a class-leading 30,000 pounds via its new fifth-wheel hitch. Ram engineers designed the hitch specifically for the Ram 3500, allowing it to be removable, yet tow more weight than many Class 4 and 5 medium-duty trucks, including the Ford F-450, which maxes out at 27,500 pounds. The Ram 3500’s gooseneck hitch capabilities haven’t changed, however, remaining at 31,210 pounds. That’s not enough to surpass the Ford F-450’s 32,500-pound gooseneck limit or even the F-350’s 32,000-pound limit. As for conventional towing with the receiver hitch, the Ram 3500 can lug 20,000 pounds.

The Ram 2500 also boasts a few class-leading numbers, too. At 16,320 pounds, the Ram 2500 holds the crown for the highest tow rating for a gasoline-powered HD truck. Maxed out with the gooseneck, the Ram 2500 can also tow 17,980 pounds.

Payload ratings for the Ram 3500 remain unchanged from 2017, meaning it can haul 7,390 pounds in its bed when equipped as a Regular Cab, long bed with the 6.4-liter Hemi and RWD. In that same configuration, the Ram 2500 can handle a max payload of 3,987 pounds.

Fifth-Wheel Hitch
2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty 30,000 Pounds
2018 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 16,320 Pounds
2017 Ford F-450 27,500 Pounds
Gooseneck Hitch
2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty 31,210 Pounds
2018 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 17,980 Pounds
2017 Ford F-450 32,500 Pounds
Conventional Receiver Hitch
2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty 20,000 Pounds
2018 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 11,890 Pounds
2017 Ford F-450 21,000 Pounds
Payload
2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty 7,390 Pounds
2018 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 3,987 Pounds
2017 Ford F-450 7,630 Pounds

Pricing

Ram has not released pricing for the 2018 Ram Heavy Duty. However, prices aren’t expected to rise too much, keeping the Ram well-placed within its segment. Starting that the bottom rung, the 2017 Ram 2500 Tradesman in RWD starts at $32,145. The Cummins turbodiesel is by far the most costly option available on any trim, costing $9,200. Adding the Aisin six-speed automatic transmission in order to get the high-output version of the Cummins requires another $2,695, bringing the total cost to $11,895 just for the engine and transmission option.

At the upper end of the spectrum, the Ram 2500 Limited in 4WD starts at $60,975. Adding the Cummins, well, you get the idea. The same is true for the Ram 3500. Fully loaded with the Mega Cab option and the $1,595 Auto Level Rear Air Suspension, the Ram 3500 Limited can cost nearly $79,000. It’s also important to note, adding the dual-rear wheel package to a 3500-series Ram adds $1,295.

We’ll update this section once Ram releases the official 2018 prices.

Competition

Ford Super Duty

2017 Ford Super Duty High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Ford Super Duty High Resolution Exterior
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Ford introduced an all-new Super Duty for the 2017 model year. Believe it or not, this is the first ground-up revamp of the Super Duty since it first debuted for 1998. Of course, Ford poured millions into R&D, even taking lessons learned from the 2015+ Ford F-150. This includes the aluminum body and construction methods for building a stronger frame. The Super Duty also borrows the F-150’s cab section and interior – a big departure from earlier Super Duty models. The Super Duty can be had as the F-250, F-250, and F-450. Cab and bed configurations include the Regular Cab, SuperCab, and SuperCrew, along with an eight-foot bed and a six-foot, nine-inch bed.

Power comes from two engines: the standard 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 and the optional 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8. Both are mated to six-speed automatics. The gasoline V-8 offers 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, while the Power Stroke makes an impressive 440 horsepower and 925 pound-feet of torque. The Super Duty comes standard in RWD and 4WD as an option. Like the Ram and GM trucks, a manual transfer case is standard on low-spec models, while an electronic T-case is used on upper-spec trucks and as an option for lesser trims. Super Duties with RWD have a unique front suspension system, relying on Ford’s tried-and-true Twin I-Beam system. 4WD models use a solid front axle and beefy control arms securing it in place.

Pricing for the Super duty fluctuates wildly. The bare-bones F-250 XL starts at $32,535, while the F-450 in the range-topping Platinum trim can cost upwards of $83,000 when fully loaded.

Read our full review on the Ford Super Duty.

Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty

2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Resolution Exterior
- image 648535

The Chevy Silverado Heavy Duty has been around a while, having only its body and cab refreshed in 2015 to look like the 2014 Silverado 1500. Now for 2017, Chevy gave the Silverado HD (and it’s twin, the GMC Sierra HD) an all-new 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbodiesel. The Silverado comes only in the 2500 and 3500 versions, but offers the Regular, Double, and Crew Cab versions, along with a long and short bed.

The Silverado HD has two engine options: the 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 and the new L5P 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbodiesel. The gasoline mill is the oldest engine in the heavy duty segment, but continues to perform well against Ram and Ford’s gas offerings, despite it only having 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Of course, the big news is GM’s all-new Duramax. Sure, it shares the same displacement with the old turbodiesel, but nearly everything else is new. The engine is said to be quieter and smoother than before, while having way more power – 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, to be exact. Compare that to the last Duramax’s 397 horses and 765 pound-feet. Both gasoline and diesel engines come with six-speed automatic transmissions, but the Duramax gets the highly regarded Allison 1000 gearbox. RWD is standard and 4WD is optional. As for suspension systems, GM’s heavy duties use a solid rear axle and an independent front suspension with a torsion-bar spring and monotube shock at each wheel.

Like the competition, the Silverado HD’s price swings wildly depending on trims and options. The base WT trim on a 2500 Regular Cab, long bed starts at $34,905. Opt for a maxed-out Silverado 3500 with the Duramax and every conceivable option, and the price quickly passes $73,000.

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty.

Conclusion

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution Exterior
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The changes for 2018 are nil, not counting the Cummins power boost and new fifth-wheel hitch. Still, these should be enough to keep the Ram Heavy Duty flying off dealer lots, despite the hot competition. Ford and GM have certainly stepped up their HD game, but Ram continues to soldier on backed by a huge, loyal following. Ram undoubtedly updated its Cummins’ torque specs to reclaim its lead in the Torque Wars.

The big question now is now long will Ram remain on top? It’s won’t be long before GM and Ford return fire with torque figures bordering 1,000 pound-feet. It will be fun to see which truck crosses that magical number. Which do you think it will be?

  • Leave it
    • * Overall truck is aging
    • * Must get 3500 to have 930 pound-feet
    • * Gets expensive quickly

Ram takes heavy-duty towing and hauling seriously. With the start of 2018 model-year production, the Ram 3500 will offer a segment-dominating 930 lb.-ft. of torque and the exclusive ability to tow 30,000 lbs. with a fifth-wheel hitch.

"Ram maintains capability leadership by delivering the highest-ever torque rating for a pickup truck and heaviest fifth-wheel trailer towing capacity," said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep and Ram Brand – FCA Global. "We understand the attributes most important to our customers within the heavy-duty segment; they demand hard-working, long-lasting capability.”

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Working closely with Cummins, the 2018 diesel improvements include higher boost limits through a variable geometry turbo and flow rate increases through the fuel delivery system, enabling the 6.7-liter I-6 to produce an additional 30 lb.-ft. of torque. This improvement ranks the Cummins engine ahead of the competition with 930 total lb.-ft. of torque, while maintaining the diesel’s hallmark durability and efficiency.

The 30,000-lb. fifth-wheel towing uprating is made possible by an in-house hitch design from Ram Engineering. The upgraded capability allows the Ram 3500 to haul the heaviest travel trailers in the industry. Unlike the competition, Ram’s new hitch will allow customers to move away from Class 4 and 5 trucks to haul trailers that would have otherwise been limited to 24,000 lbs.

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution
- image 726142

Part number: 82215769
MSRP: $1395
Also available as an upfit package for the Ram 3500.

Ram 3500 Heavy Duty maximum gooseneck and conventional hitch maximum trailer weight ratings for 2018 are 31,210 lbs and 20,000 lbs., respectively.

2018 Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks will be available in dealerships in August.

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