The truck wars continue here in Motor City as new specs for the 2021 Ram HD were recently announced. At the time of this writing, the Ram 3500 with the 6.7L Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel has the highest torque of any HD truck on the market at 1075 lb-ft. Ram's new torque figure passes the Ford PowerStroke (1050 lb-ft of torque) and easily surpasses the current Duramax (910 lb-ft of torque).
Of course, the torque values only speak for that. Much more depends on how well the truck will handle heavy loads and trailers. High torque figures are making headlines (hence this article), but remember to treat your truck as a whole and not rely on just one set of numbers. Besides, we have yet to deliver it to Ram.
“Ram is reclaiming the lead in technical capability, delivering the highest torque for diesel pickups and the heaviest gooseneck towing capacity,” said Mike Koval Jr., head of Ram Brand. “We understand the attributes that matter most to our customers in the heavy duty truck segment; they require industrious, lasting ability.”
Difference Between High Power and Standard Power Cummins Engines
Ram and Cummins have increased the boost of the variable geometry turbocharger and increased the flow rate in the fuel delivery system. Changes for 2021 are an additional 75 lb-ft. torque compared to the 2020 model. Worth noting is the 1,075 lb-ft of torque. refers to the High Output version of the 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, which is only available on the Ram 3500 HD. If you choose the Ram 2500, the truck will come with a standard 850 lb-ft Cummins engine. torque.
Another key difference is where torque peaks in the rev range. The standard Cummins power provides maximum torque at 1700 rpm, while the High Output version delivers at 1356 rpm. High-performance engines benefit from Aisin's heavy duty six-speed automatic with a 3.75 first gear, while standard Cummins uses an FCA (68RFE) six-speed automatic with a 3.23 first gear.
Horsepower will also differ, albeit slightly. The standard Cummins delivers 370 horsepower, while the High Output version makes 400 horsepower.
Both engines feature a compacted graphite iron block, pushrod overhead valves, and high pressure common rail fuel injection in terms of internal mechanical design. Oil volume (12 qt) and coolant volume (23.8 qt) were unchanged for the two engines.
6.7L turbocharged Cummins I-6 engine. Photo: FCA US LLC.
2021 Ram HD: Basic Basics
Equally necessary is the foundation of the 2021 Ram HD. This high performance Cummins, while impressive, needs a solid footing to lean on. The 2021 Ram HD is based on a fully enclosed rail ladder frame with a unique structural crossbar specifically designed to tow a fifth wheel and gooseneck.
Ram can do the necessary fifth wheel and gooseneck fittings at the factory. This includes fifth wheel washers, gooseneck bolt plates, gooseneck center castings, a 4/7 pin connector (bumper) and another seven pin connector in the platform.
Chassis upgrades, along with increased torque output, allow the 2021 Ram 3500 with a high-performance Cummins engine to have a maximum fifth wheel/gooseneck towing capacity of 37,100 pounds. Regular towing increases to 23,000 pounds.
One last clarification
Like the torque figure, these high towing figures are only part of the 2021 Ram HD story. We definitely want to give the Ram credit, but keep in mind that these high towing figures are a marketing exercise. When you see such a large towing number, it is only reserved for some models (usually regular cabs in a 4×2 configuration). Generally speaking, the more you add to the truck (e.g. climb into the crew cab or use a 4×4 vehicle), the more your towing capacity decreases.
Trucks that look like the ones in the gallery below are capable of meeting the "headlines" for towing. Whenever you see high towing figures like in this article, regardless of the automaker, remember that the phrase "when properly equipped" will always apply.
Ram is not the only one who does this. GM and Ford do the same. Just research before you buy and get a good idea of how much your trailer will weigh when full. And no matter what these automakers say, never push your truck to those limits. Towing in a straight line is one thing, but braking and steering, especially in the mountains, is quite another.
Aside from that digression, a digital rearview mirror will help when maneuvering the 2021 Ram HD. The digital rear view mirror displays real-time video from the rear view camera (it can revert to a traditional mirror if desired by the driver). A digital rearview mirror is available on all 2021 Ram HD trucks and provides an extended view of the rear.
Expect the 2021 Ram HD in showrooms in late December.
Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of BlogAvto and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He is on the board of directors of the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, a former president of the Detroit Working Writers, and a devoted fan of the Detroit Lions.
Photo: FCA US LLC.