The Ram Chassis Cab is the pickup aimed at customers who need something extra heavy duty to do their work with. More often than not though, it’s aimed at those who need full customization, the ability to tailor their truck and equip it with custom manufacturer rigs for jobs like fire fighting or tow services. Available with single or dual rear wheel setups and three main work load variants – 3500, 4500, and 5500 – and the choice between Cummins turbo-diesel and Hemi V8 power, there’s an incredible array of options and sub-trims to ensure you find the right Chassis Cab for your needs.
For 2017, the Chassis Cab received numerous updates inside. Two body styles are available – a two door regular car, and a four-door crew cab – both of which offer massive amounts of space respectively for their intended number of occupants. The interior now features more soft-touch elements throughout the cabin, and all the HVAC and infotainment controls have been replaced by an all-new setup. Chrysler’s 8.0-inch Uconnect infotainment system debuts for the Chassis Cab, while a new gauge cluster has the option between 3.5- or 7.0-inch information displays – trim dependant.
There are plenty of storage cubbies throughout the cabin, including multiple in-floor bins with fold-flat enclosures on crew cab models. It’s a workman’s delight – only made better by the many available wheelbase lengths; 143.5- and 167.5-inches in 3500 Regular Cab and 172.4-inches for the 3500 Crew Cab; 144.5-, 168.5- 192.5, and 2-4.5-inches for the 4500 and 5500 Regular Cab, and 173.4- and 197.4-inches on Crew Cab 4500 and 5500 models.
Driving (Ride and Handling)
The Chassis Cab’s ladder frame design has been comprehensively redesigned for improved strength and rigidity, but the newly engineered frame also saves on weight – model dependant. The two improvements go a long way towards helping road manners and improving towing and payload capacity. The suspension setup is relatively crude3, but is built to work. Independent front suspension with coil springs makes the front end a little more planted and controllable, but the rear Hotchkiss suspension setup with a rugged live rear axle is engineered purely for hauling ability. A new reciprocating ball joint steering setup helps improve feedback and feel from the steering, which although slow and relatively uninteresting now offers better feedback and feel just off center thanks to the new setup. The Chassis Cab is a big truck platform though, and it feels it on the road. It’s not maneuverable, nor ultra refined, but it does the job.
Performance (Engine and Transmission)
The standard drive on a Ram Chassis Cab 3500 comes from a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which outputs 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. However an option on the 3500, and standard for 4500 and 5500 models is a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel straight six, available in two tunes – 320hp and 650 lb-ft, or for heavier duty work, 325hp and 750 lb-ft. A six speed automatic is standard on all models, as is rear-wheel drive, though four wheel drive can be specified as an option. If specified correctly, the Chassis Cab is capable of towing up to 29 600 pounds in 5500 trim.
Equipment and Safety
Several trim lines are available on different work grades, ranging from basic Tradesman with bare bones specification like air con, power windows and locks, steel wheels, and a limited slip differential. The SLT trim adds satellite radio, electronic vehicle information center, and chrome clad steel wheels, while the Laramie offers a dash of luxury with features like chrome folding tow mirrors with integrated turn signals, electric shift transfer case for 4WD models, leather trim, a heated steering wheel, and available ventilation. All Chassis Cab variants are equipped with dual front, front side, and full length side curtain airbags, traction control, stability control, and optional rear-view camera and front and rear park sensors.
The Ram Chassis Cab is the work vehicle of choice when not even a Ford Super Duty can meet your requirements. The huge towing and payload capacities, range of equipment lines, and ability to outfit it to your needs make it an impressive workman’s proposition.