Ram Truck continues to build the best pickups. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel delivers the industry’s best fuel economy at 29 miles per gallon (mpg). Ram’s Heavy Duty truck line owns best-in-class towing at 31,210 pounds and best-in-class torque at 900 lb.-ft., but Ram Truck has held one title longer than any production pickup: the most off-road-capable.
Engineered to conquer the great outdoors, the 2017 Ram Power Wagon receives all-new exterior and interior design elements to match its aggressive behavior and off-road biased lifestyle.
For 2017, Power Wagon will top a lineup of off-road trucks that includes Rebel and the 4×4 Off-road Package and will support the Ram brand’s claim to being the off-road truck leader.
Based on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4×4 Crew Cab, the Power Wagon features a number of off-road-specific enhancements, including a unique suspension with more than two inches of lift, locking differentials and a 12,000-lb. winch, giving this beast a significant advantage over all production pickups.
“The Ram Power Wagon is an off-road, all-access pass, removing the limitations, instilling confidence and allowing owners to reach areas of recreation and lifestyle not attainable with any other pickup,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand and Ram Brand, FCA – Global. “The 2017 Ram Power Wagon delivers to those who travel into extreme terrain, while providing the towing and payload capability required in a heavy-duty truck.”
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon engineering efforts include a best-in-class 410 horsepower, 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 engine.
“Dating back to 1945, the Ram Power Wagon’s heritage holds a distinctive position in the Ram Truck lineup as an example of engineering innovation and off-road capability,” said Rob Wichman, Director – Ram Truck Engineering. “For 2017, the Power Wagon’s best-in-class, can-do toughness is matched by can’t-stop-me looks.”
The Power Wagon nameplate was initially 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. The iconic truck was reintroduced in 2005 and now exists as an independent model in the Ram Truck lineup.
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon backs up its “ultimate off-road truck” claim with a new exterior design that leaves little doubt as to its capabilities.
Similar to the Ram 1500 Rebel, the new Power Wagon has an all-new grille with a prominent Billet Silver “RAM” letter badge. The larger blacked-out grille is bookended by Black bezel bi-functional projector headlamps with LED marker lights. The vent-stamped hood also includes a Gloss Black graphic, which occupies mid-hood to the windshield.
Truck color dictates the Power Wagon’s graphic features. While the optional two-tone, lower Black paint is carryover, the design team pulled a popular graphic from the late 1970s for the profile. The 2017 model receives a thick vertical stripe aft of the cab with “Power Wagon” in a large rotated font, paying tribute to an admired design from 36 years ago and providing quick identification of the Power Wagon model. The optional graphics come in two slightly different color variations, depending on vehicle paint. Bright White, Flame Red, Bright Silver, Blue Streak and Granite Crystal receive Gloss Black graphics, where Black Power Wagon’s are covered in Bright Silver graphics.
Front and rear bumpers receive a healthy dose of powder coating. The bold front bumper effectively hides a Warn 12,000-lb. winch, roller fairlead and 125 feet of line with nothing visible except a single heavy gauge steel cable and dozer-size hook that attaches to one of the two massive front tow hooks. All-new and unique to Power Wagon, the 17-inch forged, multi-surface aluminum wheels with Silver outer and Matte Black inner are bound in 33-inch tires and feature exposed lug nuts with a small center cap.
The blacked-out theme continues on the flanks, where wheel-arch moldings, badges, mirrors and lower body panels create a distinctive appearance.
Continuing around to the rearview is a 324-point bold original font “RAM”-stamped tailgate with blacked-out lettering. The Power Wagon Gloss Black graphics meld with the Black powder-coated rear bumper and Black bezel tail lamp housings. A black “Power Wagon” decal crosses the bottom of the tailgate.
The 2017 Power Wagon includes an optional backup camera in the tailgate, providing a better field of vision when maneuvering. Also optional is Ram’s exclusive cargo-view camera. This unique view allows owners to monitor bed loads without turning around. A touch screen toggles your choice on the Uconnect 8.4, alternating the view from tailgate to truck bed. Additionally, a new optional tri-fold tonneau cover is embossed with the Ram logo.
The Power Wagon also is available as a Tradesman Crew Cab 4×4 model. Although this option does not include the same interior and exterior design elements, it does include the same unique off-road equipment, including the winch, lockers, larger tires, electronic disconnecting sway bar, suspension and under-body armor. Monotone paint covers this package. The grille-surround and inserts are from the Tradesman model and are colored Black as are the headlamp filler panels and wheel flares.
The new Power Wagon is available in a choice of two interiors and offers a uniquely designed cabin that focuses on function with flair. Major upgrades to touch points and wrapped and stitched surfaces are evident from the previous year.
The Power Wagon’s interior has been upgraded with unique technical grain seats finished in Diesel Gray and Black with Sedoso fabric inserts embossed with the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire tread pattern, matching the Power Wagon’s actual footprint. Front seats with heated option feature Light Slate Gray accent stitching and Ram logo embroidery on the headrests and Black with Light Diesel Gray Power Wagon nameplate affixed to the upper seat bolsters.
A premium trim option steps up to leather seats with Power Wagon and Ram logos tastefully embroidered on the bolsters and Ram logos on the sides of the headrests. Matching Slate Gray stitching gives the material connection points a clean, detailed appearance. Ambient lighting brightens overhead, door panels and foot wells to complete the upscale atmosphere.
Both trims share an all-Black instrument panel, door armrests and 20 percent seat console armrest cover, which are accented in Light Slate Gray stitching.
The 7-inch center cluster uses “Power Wagon” startup graphics, which complement the 8.4-inch Uconnect backdrop screen featuring an off-road theme.
The center stack and doors are finished in Iron Gray Metallic paint, giving a cast-iron appearance and adding industrial color of a serious nature to the interior. Satin Chrome vent rings outline air output points and the cluster.
The steering wheel is wrapped with semi-perforated Black leather with an available heat feature, accented with Slate Gray X-stitches, and the upper glove box door and cluster are finished with a Power Wagon nameplate badge.
On the floor, “deep dish” all-weather rubber mats with contrasting Diesel Gray Ram’s head logo help contain dirt, snow and debris.
Overhead, a new Black headliner and matching upper pillars finish out the alterations of the 2017 Power Wagon interior.
Undeniable 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 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 engine. 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 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, starting with the company’s 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 a 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 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 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 boasts a five-year / 60,000-mile warranty.
The 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. Hill-descent Control allows drivers to control Power Wagon’s speed down steep, rugged grades with the buttons on the column shifter – without the need for throttle or brake pedals.
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 (an 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. 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 mpg.
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon features a specifically designed suspension system, including Bilstein shocks, modified 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 (mph). As a safety feature, the Smart Bar automatically re-engages at speeds above 18 mph, increasing roll stiffness.
Heavy Duty trucks generally have a rear suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. This usually leads to a harsher ride when unloaded. Ram innovation leads again. All Ram 2500 Heavy Duty trucks, including the Power Wagon, use a 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 2017 Ram Power Wagon is loaded with off-road components, owners will appreciate a payload of up to 1,510 pounds and a towing capacity of up to 10,030 pounds.
The five-link coil design provides 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 the 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 a Bilstein dampener links the top of the rear axle to the frame, providing additional control – bringing the Ram Power Wagon far beyond what competitors offer for axle control.
The 2017 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 inches of travel).
Ground Clearance and Protection
Power Wagon provides optimal balance between on-road civility and off-road capability with 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 — a workhorse tire for rugged off-road terrain that still offers a quieter ride on paved roads.
Larger tires and a suspension lift contribute to the Power Wagon’s 14.3-inch ground clearance, compared to 12 inches on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty. The truck’s approach angle is boosted to 33.6 degrees, the departure angle is increased to 26.2 degrees and the breakover angle is enhanced to 23.5 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 2017 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 Ram Heavy Duty models ensure outstanding noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measurements and ride-and-handling characteristics.
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 2017 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 the 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 backup camera 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 lamp (CHMSL) provides a view of the bed for monitoring payload.
As the Ram Truck Brand continues to offer more featured content, it’s 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 2017 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 Power Wagon customers can enjoy the convenience of power folding mirrors and 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, LED bedlighting, front and rear park-assist system, power-adjustable pedals and remote start also are available, adding to a truckload of content.
Total cost of ownership and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon is backed with a five-year/60,000-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 Power Wagon, from the body to the electrical system.
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon is built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico and will be available in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Power Wagon history – America’s first mass-produced civilian 4×4 truck
After World War II, G.I.s 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 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) was 8,700 pounds. Its maximum payload was 3,000 pounds.
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 such amenities as 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” eight-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.
About Ram Truck Brand
Since its launch as a stand-alone division in 2009, the Ram Truck Brand has steadily emerged as an industry leader with one goal: to build the best pickup trucks and commercial vehicles in the industry.
Creating a distinct identity for Ram Trucks has allowed the brand to concentrate on core customers and features they find valuable. Whether focusing on a family that uses a Ram 1500 day in and day out, a hard-working Ram 3500 Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its Ram ProMaster commercial van every day for deliveries, Ram has the truck market covered.
In order to be the best, it takes a commitment to innovation, capability, efficiency and durability. Ram Truck invests substantially in its products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and exclusive features that further enhance their capabilities.
Moving into the 2016 model year, Ram continues to beat the competition in the most sought-after titles, fuel economy, payload and towing capacity:
Best-in-class fuel economy with exclusive EcoDiesel – 29 mpg with Ram 1500
Best-in-class towing capability – 31,210 pounds with Ram 3500
Best-in-class payload – 7,390 pounds with Ram 3500
Best-in-class torque – 900 lb.-ft. with Ram 3500 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Truck customers, from half-ton to commercial, have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to provide high levels of capability. Ram trucks are designed to deliver a total package.
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