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Ram 5500 Long Hauler Concept Truck

Exclusive First Drive of Chrysler’s Big Rig Ram Concept Truck

David Kennedy
Jun 1, 2012
Photographers: David Kennedy
This kind of thing almost never happens. The truck you’re looking at on these pages—the one on the cover of the magazine towing a 13,500-pound, 28-foot trailer—was built as a concept truck to be transported to truck shows across the country. It’s called the Ram Long-Hauler, and it was built by Chrysler’s Innovation Group to showcase premium pickup features, future trends, and to entice fullsize truck buyers into their local Ram dealer. It wasn’t intended to be put in the hands of a diesel magazine and be driven across the United States. Or at least, that’s the official story, anyway…
Photo 2/13   |   ram 5500 Long Hauler ram 5500 Long Hauler With Trailer At Iowa 80 Truck Stop
"You know that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off when Ferris walks into the garage and steals the dad's Ferrari? This trip was the diesel equivalent of that experiance."
Building The Biggest Ram Pickup Ever Made
The Ram Long-Hauler began life as an ’11 Ram 5500 crew cab Laramie chassis-cab truck with a 197.4-inch wheelbase. It features the legendary 6.7L Cummins engine rated for 305 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque (in the chassis-cab configuration) backed by a medium-duty Aisin Seiki AS68RC six-speed automatic, NV273 two-speed transfer case, a 7,000-pound-capacity Magna front axle, and monstrous Dana S111 rear axle that’s rated to handle 14,500 pounds. Anyone reading this article can go down to their local Ram commercial truck dealer and buy a Ram 5500 chassis-cab truck like that right now—and they’d have an amazing truck capable of towing more then 22,000 pounds. But they wouldn’t have a Long-Hauler.
To create the Long-Hauler concept, Ram designers took the crew cab body off a Ram 5500 frame and replaced it with a Mega Cab from a Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn pickup. That’s not exactly a bolt-on job. And keep in mind, they had to blend the 5500 chassis’ wiring harness with the body harness of the Mega Cab. Then they sourced an 8-foot Ram 3500 dualie bed and created a modified mounting structure to accommodate the Ram 5500’s much narrower chassis-cab framerail spacing. While that made the Long-Hauler look like a pickup, it created two new problems: there was roughly a 2-foot gap between the back of the Mega Cab and the front of the bed, and there was no way to mount a pickup truck rear bumper to the chassis-cab frame. But that didn’t stop Chrysler.
Photo 3/13   |   ram 5500 Long Hauler ram 5500 Long Hauler Badging
An integrated mid-ship pickup box was built to fill the gap between the cab and frame. The small box was masterfully crafted from the rear portion of another truck cab and the leading edge of another Ram pickup box. Inside this mid-ship box lies a 38-gallon fuel tank, and the Ram 5500’s urea tank. To give the Long-Hauler its namesake fuel range, two more fuel tanks were added to the truck. The factory 22-gallon mid-ship tank (that’s available on all chassis-cab trucks) was added, but the real increase in capacity comes from a 110-gallon fuel tank that’s mounted in the bed of the truck. This three-tank fuel system is monitored and controlled by a Transfer Flow Trax-II computer-controlled auxiliary fuel tank system that actively balances the fuel supply in all three tanks.
Photo 4/13   |   The Long-Hauler’s purpose is to push the limits of what the core Cummins-powered Ram can do. To that end, it was fitted with three fuel tanks: the stock 22-gallon tank, a 38-gallon mid-ship tank, and a 110-gallon auxiliary tank. Based on our testing, the truck is capable of towing 13,500 pounds from Boston to Miami on a single fill-up.
From Show Truck—To Tow Truck
The Ram Long-Hauler toured the country for nearly a year before Chrysler invited us to come drive it. Many of the people we saw on the road told us about the truck equipment shows, rodeos, and horse races they’d seen it at. But they never in their wildest dreams thought they’d see it blasting down the highway, covered in salt spray. We wouldn’t have it any other way.


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