Canada’s Most Capable Off-Road Pickup – The New 2014 Ram Power Wagon

April 9, 2014, Windsor, Ontario – Ram Truck brand’s quest to build the best pickups continues. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel delivers the segment’s best fuel economy at 7.1 L/100 km (40 mpg) highway. Ram’s Heavy Duty truck line owns best-in-class towing at 16,608 kg (30,000 lb.) and best-in-class Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) at 17,055 kg (37,600 lb.), but there’s an additional title Ram Truck has always held: the most capable off-road pickup.

Built to master the most rigorous off-road trails, the 2014 Ram Power Wagon is based on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4×4 Crew Cab, but features a number of off-road-specific engineering enhancements, including a unique suspension with more than 50 millimetres (two inches) of lift, locking differentials and a 5,443 kg (12,000 lb.) winch to give the truck a significant advantage over all production pickups.

“Capability is top of mind with heavy-duty pickup truck customers. Ram trucks are expected to work every day without breaking a sweat,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO—Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “The 2014 Ram Power Wagon fills a need for those who travel into extreme terrain for rescue or recreation, while delivering on-road civility and the towing capability expected from a heavy-duty truck.”

The 2014 Ram Power Wagon engineering story begins with a new frame, suspension and top-of-segment off-road technology and equipment complemented by the new, best-in-class 410 horsepower, 6.4-litre HEMI® V8 engine.

“The Ram Power Wagon’s heritage dates back to 1945. It holds a special place in the line-up as an example of engineering innovation and off-road capability,” said Mike Cairns, Director—Ram Truck Engineering. “It may look similar to a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty but under the skin is a unique story, giving the Power Wagon its best-in-class off-road pickup competence.”

The Power Wagon nameplate was produced from 1945 through 1980. Early trucks were based on the Weapons Carrier (WC) series of Dodge ¾-ton military-use trucks built during World War II. The Power Wagon went on to become a well-known civilian vehicle and continued the lineage of Dodge four-wheel-drive trucks from the 1930s, proving basic four-wheel-drive design concepts and representing a significant predecessor to the many four-wheel-drive trucks in modern use today. The iconic truck was reintroduced in 2005 and now exists as an independent model under Ram Truck Brand.

Compelling numbers tell the best-in-class story of the standard 6.4-litre HEMI 16-valve V8 engine: 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm. The engine calibration is unique to Power Wagon in order to enhance its off-road manoeuvrability and finesse. When driving in four-wheel-drive “Low,” the throttle response softens and the idle speed increases by 100 rpm (from 650 to 750 rpm) — providing added control when ascending and descending off-road obstacles at slow speeds.

The legendary HEMI architecture provides the foundation of the 90-degree V8 engine. But its advanced technology is decidedly forward-looking.  Efficiency is a hallmark of the new 6.4-litre HEMI V8, starting with Chrysler Group’s trademark Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation technology. When conditions allow, as in highway cruising, the system seamlessly shuts down four cylinders to conserve fuel. The engine also features variable-valve timing (VVT) for optimal torque and fuel efficiency over a large rpm range, a cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system, and an active dual-runner-length intake manifold optimized specifically for the Ram Heavy Duty lineup. The result is exceptional low-end torque without any sacrifice in high-end power.

Efficiency is further reflected in a revised positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system, which is integrated in the intake manifold. The resulting benefit is improved oil efficiency.

Heat is the enemy of durability. But the new 6.4-litre HEMI V8 includes such features as:

  • Robust/high-volume oil cooler
  • Oil jets for piston cooling
  • Aircraft grade, stainless steel gaskets and fasteners for improved durability at high temperatures

In addition, computational fluid dynamics was employed to optimize the cooling circuit in the block, heads and water pump.

With upgraded valve-seat material to fight wear and anchored by a cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder heads and a forged-steel crankshaft, it is little wonder the new 6.4-litre HEMI V8 boasts a five-year / 100,000-kilometre warranty.

The new 6.4-litre HEMI V8 is offered with the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission and connects to a part-time, manual-engagement Borg Warner BW44-47 transfer case.

The Power Wagon’s axles are the pinnacle of durability. Built by American Axle Manufacturing, the units measure 234.9 mm (9.25 inches) in the front and 292.1 mm (11.5 inches) in the rear (increase from 10.5 inches in 2013), delivering power via a 4.10:1 ring and pinion ratio. Robust rear axle shafts are upgraded to 38 mm, providing rotating force directly to the 33-inch tire/wheel combination. Both axles include electronic locking differentials driven by electro-magnetic actuators. New for 2014, all Ram Heavy Duty trucks incorporate a segment-exclusive front axle disconnect system. When conditions warrant, front drivetrain components are disconnected to reduce parasitic loss and improve overall efficiency.

Additional axle data:

FRONT                                                                  REAR
9.25 AAM                                                            11.5 AAM
Front Pinion:  98.3 mm                                   Rear Pinion:  121.3 mm
Front Ring Gear:  235 mm (9.25 inches)  Rear Ring Gear:  292 mm (11.5 inches)
Front Axle Shaft Diameter:  35 mm          Rear Axle Shaft Diameter:  38 mm

The 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon features an all-new suspension system, including Bilstein shocks, control arms, spring rates and more than 50 mm (two inches) of lift.

In the front, the entire Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure enhanced roll stiffness. Greater roll stiffness reduces body roll or lean, and is an important characteristic in taller vehicles and especially trucks with heavy payloads. Roll stiffness is measured by the amount the truck’s body tips side-to-side, independently of the wheels, during cornering.

The Ram Power Wagon packages a unique-to-model design of the standard three-link suspension system with Bilstein monotube shocks. The Ram Articulink design incorporates high movement joints at the control-arm-to-axle mount, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation.

Additional suspension flex is achieved via the class-exclusive electronic disconnecting sway bar, which allows the front axle to move more independently of the truck’s frame. The driver-actuated “Smart Bar” disengagement is possible in both four-wheel-drive “High” or four-wheel-drive “Low” at speeds below 29 kilometres per hour. As a safety feature, the Smart Bar automatically re-engages at speeds above 29 kilometres per hour, increasing roll stiffness.

Heavy Duty trucks generally have rear suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. This usually leads to a harsher ride when unloaded. Ram innovation leads again for 2014. All Ram 2500 Heavy Duty trucks, including the Power Wagon take lessons learned from the Ram 1500 and add an all-new, segment-exclusive five-link coil spring rear suspension system for outstanding ride and handling.

The exclusive five-link coil spring design provides better articulation over obstacles than a leaf spring system and the robust coil springs are more than up to the task of handling heavy payloads. Although the 2014 Ram Power Wagon is loaded with off-road components, owners will appreciate payload up to 676 kg (1,490 lb.) and towing capacity up to a 4,903 kg (10,810 lb.).

The five-link coil spring design incorporates support at all major points of force. Leaf spring suspensions struggle to combat axle wrap by using staggered shock absorbers (one mounted on the front of the axle tube and one mounted on the rear of the axle tube). The superior design of the five-link coil system functionally resists unwanted axle rotation. Leaf spring configurations also lack lateral support, forcing the leaf ends and shackles to hold against lateral loads — a task they’re not particularly good at and one reason competitive leaf-sprung rear suspensions shutter on rough surfaces.

Because of the unique five-link axle control and natural rotation, U-joints in the driveshaft run smoothly and with less vibration through the suspension’s range of motion, an advantage not shared with leaf springs. Another benefit of coil springs is less unsprung mass and elimination of stick-slip friction found between the leaf springs. Additionally, links are engineered in-line with frame rails, so overall packaging is better, not to mention an overall weight reduction of more than 18 kg (40 lb.) when compared to a leaf-spring configuration.

The Power Wagon rear suspension also includes Bilstein monotube shocks and a dampener that links the top of the rear axle to the frame, providing additional control, bringing the Ram 2500 Power Wagon far beyond what competitors offer for axle control.

The 2014 Ram Power Wagon’s combined axle and suspension package adds to greater suspension articulation, a determining factor when negotiating extreme obstacles. With the Smart Bar engaged, the Ram Power Wagon reaches a Ramp Travel Index (RTI – a measurement of a vehicle’s suspension articulation) of 510 (660 mm or 26-inch vertical height).

The 2014 Ram Power Wagon receives a variety of exterior design treatments, each unique to the three trim levels. All models feature chrome front and rear bumpers. The bold chrome front bumper neatly hides the Warn 5,443 kg (12,000 lb.) winch with nothing to show except a single heavy gauge steel cable and pronounced hook that attaches to one of the two massive front tow hooks. The unique 17-inch forged and polished aluminum wheel designs are wrapped in 33-inch tires and feature exposed lug nuts with a small centre cap.

On the Power Wagon ST trim, monotone paint covers the truck. The grille-surround and inserts are coloured black as are the headlamp filler panels and wheel flares. A Power Wagon decal spreads across the bottom of the tailgate.

The SLT trim features the most visible change. The crosshair grille divides the frontal area into four quadrants. Truck colour decides whether or not the SLT-trimmed Power Wagon receives the special red billets in the four quadrants (Bright White, Flame Red, Black, Bright Silver and Granite Crystal) providing quick identification of the Power Wagon package. Bi-functional halogen projector headlamps, underlined with an LED array are set into a dark background. Two-tone paint and rear-bound, Tri-colour Saw Blade graphics are matched to the Power Wagon colours. The new graphics come in two slightly different colour variations, depending on vehicle paint.  In conjunction with the side graphics, a large Power Wagon decal covers the bottom of both side doors. The LED trend is carried to the rear tail lamps and a theme-matched Power Wagon graphic adorns the base of the tailgate. Black wheel flares and door handles round out the SLT trim.

The Laramie trim is more understated. The truck features an all chrome grille and bi-functional halogen headlamps set into a chrome background. As with the SLT, LEDs serve as markers in the front and rear. The monotone painted body and wheel flares combine with polished wheels and a unique Power Wagon chrome tailgate badge, giving the Laramie Power Wagon a sleeper appearance considering its capability. Of course, as with all Laramie trim level Ram trucks, the interior is top notch with leather-trimmed seating surfaces, premium materials and soft touch points.

For 2014, the Ram Power Wagon offers up to 12 different colours depending on model: True Blue, Maximum Steel, Deep Cherry Red, Blue Streak, Black Gold, Western Brown, Prairie, Flame Red, Bright White, Black (monotone), Bright Silver and Granite Crystal.

New to Power Wagon and providing optimal balance between on-road civility and off-road capability are 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, which feature a beefy tread pattern to help grab ledges along the trail and deliver optimum traction through sand, mud and snow. Larger tires and a suspension lift contribute to the Power Wagon’s 368 mm (14.5-inch) ground clearance, compared to  305 mm (12 inches) on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty. The truck’s approach angle is boosted to 34 degrees, the departure angle is increased to 23.5 degrees and the breakover angle is enhanced to 25.5 degrees. This gives the Ram Power Wagon significant ground clearance for navigating a variety of severe inclines and declines as well as providing up to 762 mm (30-inches) of water-fording capability.

Underneath the 2014 Ram Power Wagon are generous underbody protection components. Fore-aft bars bring together the transfer case and fuel tank skid plate armor to minimize underside damage and rock wedging.

Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature frames built with high-strength 50,000 psi steel, including eight separate cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails for optimal strength and mass efficiency. Chassis controls on the new Ram Heavy Duty ensure outstanding noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measurements and superb ride and handling characteristics.

Wide front frame rails enable front suspension springs to be positioned slightly outboard – an enabler for generating positive roll stiffness. A large plated-structure interface to the frame brings a lengthened weld surface creating a stiff, robust front section. The design ensures optimum mass efficiency with no need for reinforcements to deliver strength, despite shape complexity. Centre frame rail sections are roll-formed, an efficient means for maintaining consistent strength in less complex longitudinal sections. In the rear portion of the new frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails and offers a factory-installed rear axle cross-member.

The hydraulic steering system features a recirculating ball steering gear, which delivers precise on-centre feel despite the vehicles immense towing and payload capacities.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Truck models. Front rotors measure 373 mm (14.17 inches) in diameter and are clamped with dual-piston calipers; rear rotors are 356 mm (14.09 inches) and also use dual-piston calipers. All Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature standard four-channel Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

The Ram Heavy Duty is equipped with robust engine, transmission and body mounts, including pioneering hydro-mounts at C-pillar positions for exceptional noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics despite the truck’s aptitude for higher payloads and towing.

The Power Wagon features a standard Class 5 receiver hitch with four- and seven-pin connectors on the rear bumper. A tailgate handle-mounted, high-definition rear camera backup system is available with dynamic imaging in the 8.4-inch multimedia display centre. Also, an optional cargo-view camera located in the centre high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) provides a view of the bed for monitoring payload.

As the Ram Heavy Duty continues to offer more featured content, it created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The Powernet electrical architecture system allows both high and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers. Within the Powernet high-speed network, each module (e.g., Electronic Stability Control) processes its individual data and transmits the appropriate commands within the vehicle to activate any additional systems (e.g. anti-lock brake system and cruise control).

A majority of the commercial truck customers need to tie into the electrical system and certain fleet customers require access to vehicle information to even be considered, especially ambulance packages and some utility companies. The Ram 2500 vehicle system interface module (VSIM) is capable of communicating between aftermarket modules and various factory control modules. The VSIM upfitter interface module features a total of 53 circuits, including lighting controls, door position, and throttle and transmission position. The module acts as a secure gateway to the vehicles’ electrical systems and data bus architecture to enable safe, secure plug and play connectivity for upfitter friendliness.

The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is also equipped with intelligent battery sensor technology, which continually measures the flow of current in and out of the battery. The system is an enabler for intelligent load shedding, systematically shutting off select electrical systems onboard the vehicle when the battery is running low to help prevent further depleting the battery.

The new Power Wagon offers a dual-alternator system – the first of its kind for 3/4- and 1-ton pickup trucks with gasoline powertrains – combining 220- and 160-amp units for 380-amps of total best-in-class output.

Ram Heavy Duty customers can enjoy the convenience of power folding mirrors and a combination, power rear-sliding window with defrost. Also, one-touch, central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking all exterior doors and storage lids. Spray-in bedliner, auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps also are available, adding to a truckload of content.

Total Cost Of Ownership And Powertrain Warranty – Five Years/ 100,000 Kilometres
Operating costs are of great consideration for owners who use their trucks for work. The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty delivers:

  • Extended maintenance cycle – oil change intervals of 24,000-km on the Cummins diesel
  • Long brake life with a standard diesel engine exhaust brake and the largest brakes in the segment

The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is backed with a five-year/100,000-kilometre Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labour needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage on to the new owner. The standard three-year/60,000-kilometre Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Heavy Duty, from the body to the electrical system.


1946-ram-power-wagonAfter World War II, GIs returning home wrote to Dodge and asked, “Where can we get a truck like the ones we used in the war?” Dodge responded by building the Power Wagon. Virtually unchanged from its introduction in 1945, Power Wagons first appeared on the civilian market in 1946 as the model WDX. The truck was similar in design to the ¾-ton military weapons carrier, with a 3,200 mm (126-inch) wheelbase and closed cab. The model designations changed over the years, but the Power Wagon was offered only as a 1-ton truck through 1968.

The original Power Wagon featured a 3,769 cubic centimetre (230 cubic-inch) flathead six engine, a two-speed transfer case, a four-speed transmission with a power take-off opening, which would send power to the front and back of the truck for operating auxiliary equipment and big 9.00/16-8 ply tires on 16×6-inch five-stud wheels. The 1-ton rated Power Wagon’s maximum GVW rating was 3,946 kg (8,700 lb.). Its maximum payload was 1,361 kg (3,000 lb.).

A pickup box was designed that measured 8 x 4.5 feet. Dodge factory-built this four-wheel-drive truck over a year-and-a-half before the Willys 4T and 10 years before other manufacturers began producing 4×4 trucks, making it the first mass-produced civilian 4×4 truck. The 1947 WDX featured amenities including electric wipers, a single driver’s sun visor and armrest, dome light, a heater and 4,536 kg (10,000 lb.) winch.

In 1957, Dodge introduced another line of four-wheel-drive trucks, also known as Power Wagons, with the model designations W100, W200, W300 and W500. More conventional in styling, these Power Wagons were available with different engines, including V8s. The body transitioned in 1972 through 1980 with a number of identifiable grilles and paint schemes. Utility and function was not challenged by the few competitors in the segment, as the towing, payload, and snow plowing capacity of the Power Wagon equipped with “Dana 60” 8-lug axles was the King of Durability.

After the 1980 model year, the Power Wagon went out of production with the introduction of the Dodge Ram, with the four-wheel-drive models being sold under the “Power Ram” nameplate through 1993. The Power Wagon nameplate was reintroduced in 2005, where it continues to hold the top spot in pickup truck off-road capability.

Copyright © 2014 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.

Also published at: Flagworld

This entry was posted in: Ram


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