Dating back to WWII, the Power Wagon is an iconic name and, for those who have driven one of the originals, the name brings old world motoring to mind. Though the previous generation of the Power Wagon was not much of an upgrade, RAM is promising to make the 2014 model stick in one’s memory. On paper, this is a modified RAM 2500 Super Heavy Duty 4×4 Crew Cab. The electronics are the same from the parent car and the powerplant is the well known 6.4 liter Hemi V8 with 410 bhp and 429 ft-lbs of torque mated to a six speed automatic.
Specific to the Power Wagon are 38mm rear axles, 14.5 inches of clearance, a disconnecting front sway bar, a special multilink suspension with over two inches of lift, a 12,000-lb winch up front and 33-inch tires, among other extras. RAM wrote their press release like this was some sort of second coming, but really this truck is there to make up for the previous model and to give the Ford SVT Raptor something to think about. For now, Dodge is only fitting this pickup with the ‘6.4, so there is no official word on either the Fiat-derived turbodiesel found in the 1500 or any of the three Cummins diesel sixes offered in the 3500, whose output goes up to 385 bhp and 850 ft-lbs. Below you’ll find a video with some heartwarming footage of vintage Power Wagons being put through their paces and some of the more run of the mill footage of the new truck off road. Feel free to peruse the press release too, after the jump.
-By: Sawyer Sutton
New 2014 Ram Power Wagon—The Most Off-road-capable Pickup—Has Evolved from America’s First Mass Production 4×4
- Simply no other pickup on the market matches Power Wagon’s on- and off-road capability
- Standard 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 with best-in-class 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque features unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles
- Unique “Ram Articulink” front suspension system incorporates high movement joints and sway-bar disconnecting system, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation
- Ram engineering continues to lead Heavy Duty segment innovation with new 5-link coil rear suspension to deliver best-in-class ride and superior axle control
- Ram Power Wagon features standard front and rear electronic-locking differentials for true four-wheel-drive and maximum traction
- Standard Warn 12,000-lb. electric winch mounted behind the front bumper will recover competitor’s trucks stuck in the mud
- Up to 10,810 pounds of towing capacity
- New exterior design: colors, lighting, wheels, grilles and tri-color graphics
- Introduced in 1945, Power Wagon was first mass-production 4×4 pickupApril 9, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Ram Truck brand’s quest to build the best pickups continues. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel delivers the industry’s best fuel economy at 28 MPG. Ram’s Heavy Duty truck line owns best-in-class towing at 30,000 lbs. and best-in-class Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) at 37,600 lbs., but there’s an additional title Ram Truck has always held: the most off-road-capable 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 two inches of lift, locking differentials and a 12,000-pound 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-liter HEMI V-8 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-liter HEMI 16-valve V-8 engine: 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft. (582 N•m) at 4,000 rpm. The engine calibration is unique to Power Wagon in order to enhance its off-road maneuverability 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 V-8. But its advanced technology is decidedly forward-looking. Cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) delivers greater efficiency and elevated refinement. These attributes are manifested in reduced pumping losses and lower emissions. Pumping losses are further reduced by variable-valve timing (VVT). Efficiency is a hallmark of the new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, 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 features an active dual-runner-length intake manifold optimized specifically for the Ram Heavy Duty lineup. The result is improved low-end torque without sacrificing high-end power.
Efficiency is further reflected in 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-liter HEMI V-8 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 forged-steel crankshaft, it is little wonder the new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 boasts a five-year / 100,000-mile warranty.
The new 6.4-liter HEMI is offered with the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission and connects to a part-time, manual-engagement Borg Warner BW 44-47 transfer case.
The Power Wagon’s axles are the pinnacle of durability. Built by American Axle Manufacturing, the units measure 9.25 inches in the front and 11.5 inches in the rear (increase from 10.5 inches), 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. The system provides a gain in fuel efficiency of up to 1 mile per gallon (mpg).
Additional axle data:
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 Power Wagon features an all-new suspension system, some of which was specifically designed for the Power Wagon, including Bilstein shocks, control arms, spring rates and more than two inches of lift.
In the front, the entire Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure 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 18 miles per hour. As a safety feature, the Smart Bar automatically re-engages at speeds above 18 miles 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 rear suspension system for best-in-class ride and handling.
The exclusive five-link coil 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 1,490 pounds and towing capacity up to 10,810 pounds.
The five-link coil 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 40 pounds when compared to a leaf-spring configuration.
The rear suspension also includes Bilstein monotube shocks, and on some models, a Bilstein dampener links the top of the rear axle to the frame, providing additional control, bringing the Ram 2500 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 Smart Bar engaged, the Ram Power Wagon reaches a Ramp Travel Index (RTI – a measurement of a vehicle’s suspension articulation) of 510 (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 are bookended with chrome front and rear bumpers. The bold chrome front bumper neatly hides a Warn 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 center cap.
On the Power Wagon Tradesman trim, monotone paint covers the truck. The grille-surround and inserts are colored 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 color 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-color Carbide Blade graphics are matched to the Power Wagon colors. The new graphics come in two slightly different color 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 in 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 seating surfaces, premium materials and soft touch points.
For 2014, the Ram Power Wagon offers up to 12 different colors 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.
GROUND CLEARANCE AND PROTECTION
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 14.5-inch ground clearance, compared to 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 clearance for navigating a variety of severe inclines and declines as well as providing up to 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 plates, resulting in armor that minimizes 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 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. Center 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 recirculating ball steering gear, which delivers precise on-center 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 14.17 inches (373 mm) in diameter and are clamped with dual-piston calipers; rear rotors are 14.09 inches (356 mm) 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 class-leading 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 bumper. A tailgate handle-mounted, high-definition rear camera backup system is available with dynamic imaging in the 8.4-inch display. Also, an optional cargo-view camera located in the center 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. A best-in-class 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 class exclusive 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 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 gas 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 Unsurpassed Powertrain Warranty – Five Years/ 100,000 Miles
Operating costs are of great consideration for owners who use their trucks for work. The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty holds class-leading features in:
- Fuel economy
- Extended maintenance cycle (oil change of 15,000, fuel filter life on diesel)
- Brake life with advanced engine exhaust brake and largest brakes in the segment
The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is backed with an unsurpassed five-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor 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/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Heavy Duty, from the body to the electrical system.
The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.
Power Wagon History – America’s First Mass-produced Civilian 4×4 Truck
After 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 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 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 8,700 lbs. Its maximum payload was 3,000 lbs.
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 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 V-8s. 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.