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Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi Quad Cab

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

ram_grandcanyon.jpg

Grab life by the horns... 

SPEX

Year: 2004
Class: Full-Size
Type: 4-door pickup truck

Country: USA
Host: GT4 & GT5
 

Price: $37,930 (GT4), $31,929 (GT5 used car lot)


Length: 227.7" // Width: 79.9" // Height: 77.2"
Wheelbase: 140.5"
Overhang: 7 feet 3 inches
Track: 68.0" [F] 67.4" [R]
Ground Clear: 86"
Weight: 5,267 pounds

Steering: power-assist rack & pinion
Skidpad (real life): 0.80g
Steer Radius: 46 feet
Layout: Front Engine / 4-wheel drive
Tires: P265/70R-17
F. Suspension: torsion bars / dual wishbones / anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: live axle / leaf springs / anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented discs

Engine: 345 cubic-inch OHV V8
Construction: iron block / aluminum heads
Aspiration: normal

Final HP:     
358 @ 5,400 rpms
Fnl. Torque:
392 @ 4,200 rpms

Fuel System: multi-point fuel inj.
Valves / Cyl: 2
Bore x Stroke: 3.92" x 3.58"
Compression: 9.6:1

Credits per HP: $105.94
Pounds per HP: 14.71
HP per Liter: 62.8

Transmission: 5-speed automatic

GT4 Idle: 1,000 /// Redline: 5,700 /// RPM Limit: 6,000
GT5 Idle: 750 /// Redline: 5,750 /// RPM Limit: 6,000

GT4 testing

````````````from idle ```````````5,750 rpm in 1st
0-60 mph: 7.700              7.566 seconds
0-100mph: 19.106          18.883 seconds

400 M: 16.026 @ 92 mph
1 KM:   28.699 @ 116 mph

Brakes, 100-0 mph: 3.65 seconds
Test Track: N/A
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: N/A

GT5 Testing

0-60 mph: 8.333 seconds
0-100 mph: 19.433 secs

100-zero mph: 5.067
Daytona Lap: n/a
Top Gear RPM @ Redline: n/a

Top Speed at Redline (GT4)
1st: 57 mph
2nd: 86 mph
3rd: 119 mph
4th: 130.60 @ 4,800 rpms (drag limited)
5th: Nil

Top Speed at Redline: (GT5)
1st: 55 mph
2nd: 84 mph
3rd: 116 mph
4th: 131.xx @ 5,000 rpms
5th: Nil

ram_flying.jpg
Yeah....it's got a Hemi.


-----------------EXTERIOR-----------------

Have you ever played Gauntlet in the arcades or on a Nintendo? In the original game, there were four choices to explore those endless mazes and dungeons: a wizard, barbarian, archer, and fighter. Each character had their ups and downs. The wizard, for instance, was great with spells and magic, but wasn't so hot with melee combat. To me, the Dodge Ram 1500 quad-cab is like the barbarian--a huge, clumsy oaf.

Both the barbarian and the Dodge Ram may be stupid, but both are also brutal, and can bludgeon their way through most any situation. The Dodge Ram may lack brains, but it isn't all brawn by any means, either.


I think the whole truck thing, starting with GT4, polarized many gamers. I mean, what was your first reaction when you (for instance) entered one of the Family Cup races, only to be blown away by a Dodge Ram? Honestly I was pissed. The Ram is a TRUCK, not a car, and it should belong in a different class of event (like with other trucks), not in my race; which was otherwise stocked with an assortment of compact cars.

But as my game necessitated, I eventually found myself needing a truck, and not for the Sport Truck races. I categorize my various GT games by driver-type. This particular memory card features a driver who prefers all-American rides, with an occasional crappy import. And...there simply aren't any American cars to finish up the Beginner's League 4-wheel drive races. So it dawned on me: why not use a truck? It would sure please my "driver". :) Was it even possible to race a truck against Audis, Evos, and Skylines?

YES. Yes it is. Not only that, but I'll admit the Dodge Ram, the heaviest of pickups in the game, opened my eyes in many ways. Check this out.

Ground Clearance. When going over bumps, most cars are limited by their suspension travel. Go over a bump that exceeds this travel, and the car "bottoms out"--losing a bit of speed. Or the bump may throw lighter cars off-balance, ruining their cornering lines. Not so in a truck. In fact my Dodge Ram is all too eager to find small shortcuts on the tracks. Yes, I said "shortcuts". Now before I'm accused of cheating read on.

Terrain. We all know how the AI loves to ram into us, especially in GT4, but it still occasionally happens in GT5. Are they dumb as most assume, or are they cleverly trying to skew us sideways and push us off course? ....And it seems the AI tries extra hard when they know there's a truck in the line-up. The mere size of the Dodge Ram leaves lots of vulnerable sheet metal to these AI attacks, especially the rear sides of the bed.

So I don't feel bad occasionally cutting through some grass, or driving over a grid or embankment to avoid the agro ai. Hey, the GT rules never said you couldn't cut thru a bit of grass...it's just that in a normal passenger car, we're severly limited any time we leave pavement. Of course, I try and keep these agricultural excursions to a limit. You can drive thru grass in a Ram without losing any speed, but you won't be gaining any either. And sand is still sand. The Ram has no advantage here, so avoid it. I've found that in GT5, it is possible for the Ram to occasionally drive with two of its tires rambling (heh heh, get it?) into sandy areas with minimal consequence, but we don't want to get all four of them off-road.   

Americans love their trucks for many reasons, but PD goes several steps further and offers us the most expensive "Laramie" edition Ram, which is supposed to feature leather seats and a huge list of other goodies which border on luxury. So the 1st most pressing issue of course is weight, since the Laramie packs several hundred pounds more than a lower version Ram. Our vehicle weighs in at 5,267 pounds! Though it is possible to win some early races despite this weight, eventually the Laramie needs to become a non-Laramie. Stage 1 weight reduction immediately removes 632 pounds of upholstery, seats, and creature-comforts in GT4! And in GT5, we aren't quite as fortunate, but still, 547 pounds can be removed by replacing those glass windows with plexiglas, and also buying a Stage 1 service. In either game, this is highly recommended.
 
 

--------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN---------------------

Most American vehicles in GT4 have little trouble in the power department, and the Ram's 345 cubic-inch Hemi block is no exception. As usual, we have loads and loads of torque from this overhead-valve V8. In a car like the new Chrysler 300, the Hemi seems wasteful and ridiculous (in real-life, anyways); but truck-owners actually need and use this massive torque from time to time. Assuming they actually use it for work, and not just drive it TO work so they look macho.

At the race-tracks, please enjoy this torquey engine for all its worth. Rolling down a straight portion for instance, the Ram seriously begins to slow above 100 mph, hampered by its front-end, which boasts a massively high drag coefficient. This vehicle has the aerodynamics of a mailbox. It takes a lot of horsepower before a truck will keep up with a car in real-life, or in the game. As I drove my Ram in the 4WD Challenge and the higher-paced NA Tune races, this became apparent quickly, as speed tends to fall off once we're over 100 mph.

On a highway, we all see the difference between cars and trucks. The big truck is one everyone sits behind to catch a draft, then they zip by, sometimes cutting in front of the truck without a turn signal. Well as I raced my Dodge Ram 1500, I WAS the driver in the big, slow truck! Ai drivers try and zoom around me like maniacs, and it took a bit of patience to not BEAM THEM AND PUSH THEM OFF COURSE!
 

...


Uhmmm. Where was I?...oh yeah.

Anyways...this is why it's important to use as much engine-torque (on the tracks) as possible. You'll eventually meet plenty of computer cars that'll smoke the Ram down those straights, so the best place to skool them is when leaving corners, showing the AI what 1st and 2nd gear can do to launch past them...to hand over some ass. It takes a bit of know-how to get this giant truck behaving, but once the driver gets lower-speed launches down pat, he or she will see that this truck's torque isn't just about hauling trailers.

There's lots of power to be had from MOPAR, sometimes all of it will be needed for some races, especially off-road at the Hard level. While we're on the subject, here's the maximum amount of horsepower available with each power-kit in GT4...

Stage 1 NA: 457 BHP @ 5,400 / 490 foot-pounds @ 4,800 rpm

Stage 2 NA: 593 BHP / 625 foot-pounds

Supercharger: 545 BHP / 664 foot-pounds

Stage 3 NA: 716 BHP / 730 foot-pounds

Quite a variety we have there, thank you PD.

When stock, the Ram is equipped with a 5-speed, but at most tracks it might as well be a 4-speed. Rarely will most drivers reach 5th gear with a stock Ram box, if they do it's probably because there's lots of power involved and lots of straight-area. Off the starting mark, the Ram also suffers acceleration woes...doesn't matter if the engine is redlined at launch or not (see my track test above). 1st gear tends to bog down A LOT no matter where the tach needle is landed.

The problem is actually a very tall final drive of 2.80, not a lack of torque. In real-life, the Ram (like most "real" trucks) has a higher and a lower final drive & axle ratios--useful for on and off-road situations. I tried buying a close-ratio gearbox to solve these issues. It immediately remedies lower-speed acceleration woes, but unfortunately, close gearing is way too short. After a couple Beginner's 4WD races, I realized I just made a $5,600 mistake after buying this unit. Close gears come in handy at some Special Condition Events...where speed is often lowish, and gear-shifting common, and in GT5 I have found it works during the Sport Truck race at Laguna Seca. Just know how much ceiling you've got with this transmission beforehand.  

So for most, the full-custom gearbox works wonders, making the Ram's acceleration a bit more car-like with instant reaction, and is a more flexible mate to the engine. Highly recommended.
 
Those of you who don't live in America perhaps have no idea how annoying our truck commercials can be, as they often show Rams, F150s, Silverados, etc. hauling incredibly heavy onuses better moved by actual construction equpiment, flying thru the desert, and towing things that will easily guarantee a broken transaxle in real-life, all while a typically deep-voiced man RAMbles on.... 

"Take life by the hoooorrrns!" Or "BUILT FORD TOUGH". Or  "CHEVY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!"
 
Ugh.
 

----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING-----------------

Racing a truck on pavement against passenger cars presents many advantages, but also many disadvantages as well.

Early on, the Dodge Ram Hemi Quad Laramie Edition (geez, what a mouthful) actually, surprisingly, handles itself quite well, in either GT4 or GT5. I was amazed by the Ram as I practiced and tackled the Beginner's 4WD Challenge in 4. I found it easy to command, even with N3 (road tires) and stock suspension. For the actual races, I upgraded to a sports suspension, but kept the road tires. The Ram has loads and loads of grip and some of the most amazingly capable brakes ever. The understeer I expected simply wasn't there in GT4, but interestingly it does seem to show up earlier in the GT5 Ram's career, assuming sport tires aren't being used.


The Ram bounces like a truck, but rarely does this ruin cornering lines, and as I said earlier we can drive a truck over and through obstacles a car would balk at. The Dodge Ram 1500 is usually eager for more it seems in this regard. But when it reaches its limit...it certainly reaches that limit, and when that limit is met--there is virtually nothing left!

Mostly, it's a rear-end swing that shows up first. You really really gotta watch that speed while approaching corners. That early, reliable grip can fool us into thinking our truck is unstoppable!

...Drive up....brake. A bit of understeer pulls the Ram.

...The automatic transmission kicks a gear down into 2nd. Let off the brakes.

Immediately the rear starts to slide, as the lower gear locks the tires a bit (or tries to). Remember, there's an empty bed back there....nothing to keep things stable, and as any 18-wheeler semi-driver knows, this lightness can cause major jackknifes. On pavement, but twice as deadly off pavement this spin-factor lives.

A quick cure (other than pretending to throw some sand bags back there beforehand, via the Ballast switch) is to plant a bit of throttle if you can. The reliable 4-wheel drive system can immediately pull out of these embarassing slides! Once you get the hang of it, you actually can rely on minor Ram-slides to pivot & postion this giant in corners, before charging out of them, as a Ram is truely wont to do. It's not only fun; these careful slides are sometimes necessary to get an edge around other drivers. But as power gets raised, the truck's handling gets trickier and trickier.

A couple massive things to watch for are hills and areas where the suspension can travel, bounce, and lose traction (despite the otherwise excellent 4-wheel drive). Cars, for instance, can fly over the rises at El Capitan, reliably landing with plenty of control. The Dodge Ram may or may not accept this. Usually as the rear catches air, it'll become prone to an out-of-nowhere jackknife; and it'll quickly be facing in the wrong direction! Also, the front-end has a tendency to grip into high-speed turns, leaving the rear unstable.

But here's a bonus. Through most of my driving, I learned what the Ram wanted and kept most of my braking in a straight line. The brakes on this vehicle are so amazing, I never felt the need to upgrade to the racing brake package, matter of fact! The controller does come in handy though. With brakes dialed on a front-bias, the Ram becomes a deadly machine indeed so far as out-cornering others.

...Just remember the Ram is a stubborn vehicle and does not like surprises.

To summarize, it is possible (if a bit unethical) to use this one for some GT races. I personally would eschew all  trucks from Gran Turismo if I could; they just don't belong here in a Gran Turismo game. The words "Gran Turismo" describe a type of car, after all. On the other hand, I admit trucks offer a different perpective to racing for sure. They are fun to race. But after driving and racing my Dodge Ram 1500 quad-cab for three days, I was glad to move on...back to something smaller...
 

superspeedway_ram.jpg

PROS---------------------------------------

1). Yeah...it's got a Hemi.  :)

.... No seriously...massive torque from the OHV V8 here lends an amazing hand with lower-gear acceleration. At times, those 5,000+ pounds don't feel so heavy.

2). 4-wheel drive traction.

3). More ground clearance than you'll ever need in a racing sim guarantees the Ram 1500 will go where no car would ever go before.

4). Many colors to choose from.

5). Engine upgrades available. Stage 3 NA tune boosts power past 700 horses! GT5 adds a supercharger.  

6). Stage 1 weight reduction a very effective step as it removes over 600 pounds in GT4 (500+ in GT5).

7). A great option for some off-road racing, as you'll be able to pretend you're in one of those cheesy Dodge Ram commercials, rolling thru dusty trails, hauling ridiculously large items, and chewing tobacco while wearing your Stetson hat.

8). Some of the best straight-line braking ever.

9). It's a truck!! The Ai will methodically take turns being agro towards it, but the Dodge Ram can usually handle the punishment. Cheaters will delight too, as the Ram can definately inflict some pain on lesser AI cars.
 


CONS--------------------------------------

1). Uh..... it's a truck. No sooner is it getting a lead in some race till any of the following can hamper:

2). Trucky, tricky handling. The "pickup" part of the truck has an empty bed, and is much lighter than the front and middle portions. Prone to sideways skewing, jack-knifes, and vulnerability from Ai attacks.

3). Massive front-end grille helped Dodge achieve sales with eye-catching brand identification, but won't help us as we're rolling down a straight. About as aerodynamic as ...well....a truck.

4). Lots and lots of weight. Seems PD gave us the Laramie edition specifically because it's the heaviest 1500-series Ram, or was it Dodge's idea? Also it seems odd we get the "crew-cab" version instead of the nimbler 2-door cab. Why why why?

5). High-speed steering is a no-no. Stability is always at risk in a Dodge Ram once it's above 80 mph. This seems truer in GT4 than GT5, oddly

6). Poor off-mark acceleration despite the engine's torque. 5th gear is useless with a stock gearbox. Close-ratio gearing solves these problems, yet could use a 6th gear. Racing tranny needed eventually.

7). Once it's rolling, this Dodge has some great 1st & 2nd gear accleration but poor top-speed, even with over 700 horses on tap.

8). Lots of money needs to be spent on all portions of this monster just to break it from the Beginner's races...not just on the suspension but also the engine, drivetrain, etc.

9). GT5: as a used vehicle, the Ram can now be uncommon; wheras in GT4 we could collect several of them at our whim if we wanted to. 

10). Does a truck really belong in our GT game? And where's my Skoal? ;)
 
 

Published: April 15, 2007

Edited for GT5 content: September 28, 2011
  

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