If you’re looking for a serious workhorse, then your in the market for a RAM.
The old American muscular favourite is back and packing a punch. Australians have a growing appetite for utes that can comfortably tow more than the three tonnes, and, consequently, that prompted our deeper interest in trying out the latest RAM offering, by way of American Special Vehicles.
The RAM 2500 was created in a joint-venture between Ateco Automotive and the Walkinshaw Automotive Group, the latter completing the changeover to right-hand-drive here in Australia and is calling it much more than a conversion. In conversation with the dealership group, “re-manufacturing” of the vehicles for right-hand-drive is an oft-repeated term.
It’s a long operation involving the body spending time away from its chassis and 400-plus parts for the change, including a new purpose-built (locally-sourced) bespoke dashboard.
Not just your average get around workhorse, the 2500 Laramie is luxuriously-equipped dual-cab six-seater (or five with a cavernous ‘couple distance’ between the two front seats).
Comes with full leather trim; heated, ventilated and power-adjustable front seats (with buttons corresponding to the changeover, if not those within the touchscreen menus); a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls; dual zone climate control; a touchscreen-controlled nine-speaker infotainment system with USB, Bluetooth and auxiliary input; and a sat/nav system.
There’s also remote keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable pedals that adapt to drivers of differing leg length, power door locks, power windows, power-adjustable and folding mirrors, a sunroof, rear sliding window, 18-inch alloys with Michelin 265/70 rubber, a locking tailgate, remote start, rear underfloor and rear under seat storage, a 240 v domestic three-pin outlet on the dash, fog lamps, an engine bay light and a sizeable lined rear tray.
The safety features list includes dual front, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control with trailer sway function, front and rear parking sensors, two rear-view cameras for easy towing hook-ups, tyre pressure monitoring system, auto-dimming centre mirror, auto headlights and rain sensing wipers.
Buyers of the RAM 2500 get to experience the legalities of towing, and due to the size of the vehicle they get to tow with greater adherence to both legal and safety requirements. That’s the RAM forte here – offering a braked towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes at the lower end of its potential spectrum, using a 50 mm tow ball.
More about the conversion
The first step in the process involves stripping the cab, bumper and other components from the vehicle, with all of these parts collated on a separate trolley that follows the vehicle down the line. As Anthony explained, “We call this de-marriage. We actually de-gas the air con, remove all the coolant, radiator, side steps, front bumper and so on. Anything we take off the vehicle, we actually put back on in the end”. The VIN number is recorded against the parts, meaning that each RAM leaves with factory matching part numbers. “That takes about three and a half hours,” Anthony said.
From here, the cab and chassis go in different directions, with each receiving their own individual attention. The power steering box is removed from the left-hand-side of the chassis, and a new one (built by the same manufacturer as the left-hand-side unit) is fitted to the right-hand-side. An extra crossbrace is also added between the front of the chassis rails for added strength.
“When we’ve finished, it’s a lot stronger than it was when it was left-hand-drive,” Anthony points out. While the front of the truck is removed, all of the chassis, suspension and components are double-checked, including the torque on all bolts and fasteners.
Delivery Magazine says during their time testing the vehicle the “fuel in the 3.5-tonne ute wasn’t frugal, drinking from the 117-litre tank at 18 litres per 100 km at a 28 km/h average speed, but that included low-range 4WD work, serious towing and suburban commuting.”
The RAM 2500 is actually more truck than ute, with the driveline, carrying capacity and sheer size pushing it up into a whole different category.
If you feel like your ready to buy a RAM, Visit our Tynan Ram website here or give us a call us on (02) 8545 8888.
Story from Delivery magazine.