Heavy Hauler: 2015 Ram HD Dually Test Drive

2015 Ram HD Dually Test Drive

When you really need to tow a heavy load, the Ram 3500 DRW (dual rear wheel) truck can’t be beat. In fact, it’s top-in-class among 1-ton 3500 trucks on the U.S. market today.  The regular cab 4×2 Ram 3500 DRW is rated at a full 30,000 lbs towing and max load capacity of 7,390 lbs. As tested, the Crew Cab offered slightly less capacity at 29,010 lbs, but this reduction, no doubt, was due to the added weight of the Crew Cab. However, our Ram could still haul 4,160 to 8,500 lbs.

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Towing with the 2015 Ram 3500 was a dream. The 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine matched with the 6-speed AISIN automatic had more than enough torque to pull our load up the steepest hills. The OEM tow/haul and engine brake features worked smoothly, and hill-decent control was greatly improved with just the push of two simple buttons. While the RAM also came with a built-in trailer brake controller, we were unable to test it this time since our test trailer arrived with surge brakes rather than electric brakes. However, in past testing, we have found the RAM’s OEM brake controller to be as good or better than anything we’ve tried from the aftermarket.

Better yet, all this capacity is wrapped in enough comfort to make you feel like you’re in a luxury car, not a hard-working truck. To be honest, you’re in a hard-working, luxury truck when you step into the cab of a Longhorn Laramie Ram: Amenities included in our package tester vehicle were a heated leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, and heated towing mirrors, including a memory system for more than one driver. The in-mirror, rearview camera is ideal for backing up and helps keep your eyes on the mirror and on the camera view. The entertainment features made the ride feel as if you were driving an  entertainment system around the town. In addition, Ram has what we find to be one of the best in-vehicle NAV systems in our many years of testing trucks and cars.

Unladened, the Ram 3500 DWR truck was a true pleasure to drive. It’s amazing how much luxury and technology have been interwoven and introduced to the general truck market in the last 15-plus years. However, Ram is definitely the leader here, with its seats being more comfortable than the recliners in most living rooms. Interior noise level is also minimal, even with a diesel knocking about under the hood. The only regret we had with the Ram 3500–was having to give it back. DW

1 The 2015 Ram 3500 is not a truck that most would think of as an off-pavement vehicle. We can assure you that this truck, with the 4×4 package, is capable of tackling dirt roads. The transfer case has enough reduction to keep this beast moving along in less-than-ideal conditions. While not a rig to run forest trails in, it is suited for forest roads, in most weather conditions.

2 The massive 11.8-inch rear axle is only available on the 3500 DRW with the diesel engine and AISIN automatic transmission. The gear ratio is 3.73:1 and handles towing with ease, thanks to the torque of the diesel engine.

3 Our Ram 3500 came with the standard leaf rear suspension. Here you can see the main leafs, load helper leafs, and main, lower, overload leaf. An option to order the Ram 3500 with a factory supplemental air suspension in the rear is possible; while not on this rig, we have tested it in the past, and it works quite well.

5 The 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, when backed by the 6-speed AISIN Heavy-Duty automatic, produces 385hp and 865 lb-ft of torque. This particular package is available only in the Ram 3500.

6 The new 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine runs a CP4 fuel pump and has this pre-filter placed on the frame to keep it fed with clean diesel fuel. The fuel filter is available from Mopar and soon the aftermarket should have them too.

7 Our Ram rolled out of the factory on NEXEN Rodian AT Pro RA8 tires, size LT235/80R17. These load range E tires are M&S rated.

8 Our Ram 3500 came with the OEM tow/haul and engine brake features. The engine brake is only offered with the Cummins engine. Both work great to provide better control when hauling heavy loads. We were unable to test the built-in trailer brake controller, due to our test trailer having surge brakes.

9 The Dash cluster on Ram trucks is well laid out and features both analog and digital information. The DEF fluid level, fuel level, tach, engine temp, oil pressure, and speedometer are all analog. In addition to the analog speedometer, a digital display also can be set to show the current speed in large numbers at the same time. A turbo boost gauge is also available on the digital display as an analog readout.

10 Self wash booths large enough for an 18-wheeler and trailer will also fit your dually pickup and trailer. You’ll never get your dually into a drive through car wash.

11 Our test truck featured a backup camera that displays in the rear view mirror. While not a large a screen as a dash display, it ensures that you are looking at the backup camera and the mirror at the same time. This makes backing up a little safer, but don’t forget to use your side mirrors too.

12 All new diesel trucks now require DEF, diesel exhaust fluid. The Ram 3500 places the DEF filler in the fuel door, next to the fuel fill. The DEF filler is the blue one, as is the required standard.

14 The dual-view side mirrors allow you to see both that is behind you and what is beside you, in the adjacent lanes. This is great when towing a trailer and also helpful when just driving in traffic.

13 The interior of the Ram 3500 is comfortable, roomy, and designed for easy use of all features.

15 The rear seating is almost as roomy as the front seats.

SPECS
2015 VEHICLE: RAM 3500 DRW

Engine Type: I-6, Cummins Turbo Diesel
Displacement: 6.7L (409 cid)
Horse Power & Torque: 385hp, 865 lb-ft with ASIN 6-speed automatic.
Fuel Capacity: 32 gallons, with 8’ box.
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Sources: Ram Truck
ramtrucks.com