We've been telling you it was coming, and here it is. At the Texas State Fair, Dodge recently introduced the exact configuration heavy-haulers have been clamoring for: the Mega Cab 3500 Dualie. Offered only in a one-ton configuration, in two- and four-wheel drive, buyers will have their choice between SLT and Laramie option packages. The Mega Cab Dualie has the same 160.5-inch wheelbase as other Mega Cab models and shares the same six-foot, three-inch bed of single rear-wheel models. However, with the tandem rear wheels and stronger rear axle, this truck has the potential to handle the biggest and toughest loads with room to spare. All Mega Cab Dualies are equipped with the 5.9-liter Cummins turbodiesel HO (325 horsepower at 2900 rpm; 610 pound-feet of torque at 1600 rpm), and drivers are given a choice between the HD four-speed automatic (with the one-touch Tow/Haul and Overdrive Off button) and the HD six-speed manual, with the ultralow 6.29:1 First gear. The former comes with a choice of 3.73:1 or 4.10:1 axle gears; the manual requires the 3.73:1 gears. The Mega Cab Dualie has a maximum GVWR in excess of 10,500 pounds, which translates into a maximum payload capacity on certain models just shy of 3300 pounds. It's our bet that the frame and chassis are plenty strong enough to carry a load that size, especially with a stout seven-leaf spring pack at the rear axle. It's more likely the weak link in the system is the bed walls themselves. With a stronger bed, who knows how much the truck could hold. We see and hear about big-load users regularly overloading their 3500 Rams and living to tell the tale. We like that Dodge seems to err on the conservative side of the GVWR, GCWR, and payload equations. We think that's called knowing your market.
Dodge hasn't given exact production numbers or pricing yet, but expect the company to make quick adjustments on the production lines if it looks like there's pent-up demand. Why? These trucks have one of the highest gross profit margins of any vehicle Dodge sells. A typical Laramie 4x4 Mega Cab 3500 will cost a good amount above $50,000. We suppose if there were a truck that ever deserved such princely pricing, it would be this King of the Hill model. Some of the options include a DVD entertainment system, Sirius Satellite Radio, power-sliding rear window, power sunroof, and heated leather front bucket seats. Look for these mammoth haulers to be in showrooms by January.