2013 Dodge Ram To Have 8-Speed Automatic

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A source at Ram has confirmed that the next generation of the Ram 1500 will offer at least one eight-speed automatic transmission. This is expected to boost fuel economy by about five percent over the current model, but it’s unclear just how much this will add to the window sticker. At this time, the likelihood of an eight-speed transmission in a Ram HD truck is “low” – at least for that 2013/2014 time line. Still, the source said that an 8-speed was likely in an HD truck at some point.

When compared to the current five-speed transmission available on the Ram 1500, the new eight-speed’s additional gears will better utilize the V-8 Ram’s substantial horsepower and torque. Shorter low gears are also expected to address dissatisfaction with the Ram’s current transmission ratios, and increase its competitiveness in towing and acceleration.

The current EPA combined city/highway estimate for the Ram 1500 is 16mpg for both V-6 and V-8 Ram engines. Greater fuel economy is a point of competition in the pickup truck sector, so a five percent improvement, when coupled with better performance, is expected to make the new eight-speed transmission a bit of a game-changing option for Ram. At the very least, it will help Ram keep pace with changes expected at Ford, Toyota, and GM (see our most recent edition of Future Truck Rumors, which includes info on most 2013 and 2014 trucks).

In addition to better low-gear performance and improved fuel economy on the highway, the new eight-speed Ram 1500 will feature a smoother ride throughout all gears, with no sudden drops in rpm when up-shifting. Eight-speed transmissions are better able to maintain peak power ranges in any gear, so owners should also expect less overall engine wear and a possible longer engine life.

There is some concern that eight-speed transmissions are better suited to high-performance vehicles than working trucks. Their precision design results in narrow tolerances that may be vulnerable to simple issues like minor differences in oil viscosity and slight over- or under-filling. Truck owners accustomed to five- and six-speed workhorse transmissions from Toyota, Ford and others will soon have the chance to see if an eight-speed proves reliable in real-world maintenance and driving conditions.

At this time, there is no word that Toyota will be bringing an 8-speed automatic to the Tundra in time for the 2014 Tundra (due to be released in 2013).

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  1. Jon says:

    An increase of .8 MPG is a game changer?

  2. Anonymous says:

    What “working man” will be able to afford this? I’m not a dodge person, but I can say they are overpriced without any other changes.

  3. mk says:

    I hear yah anonymous. Vehicle prices are almost out of my price range. Never thought a new truck would cost me 30K, but my 2010 tundra did. Every year vehicles increase 300-750 bucks depending on vehicle. I cannot hardly justify this price increase year after year, beginning to get disgusted on the whole pricing issue. And yet, all mfgs. continually add options or crap not needed that I do not want as std. eqmt. I hope if tundra comes out with 8 speed tranny in 2013 (doubt it though), they don’t jake the price up 1 grand to do it. Should be interesting to see how the dodge ram 8 speed tranny holds up and if it is worth all the hype.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t buy a truck to lower my fuel bill, I buy a truck to haul trailers and load dirty and greasy objects around. Jeep wranglers sell good because the form meets the function at a decent price, the ford F150 also sells good for the same reason. Now If Toyota could build a simplified double cab tundra for 20,000, every middle class man in America would drive one. Give me a box that seats 6 with a tow hitch for 20 grand and the numbers work every time. I don’t want to drive around my living room with a DVD and surround sound, I want a truck. My brothers each want a truck and my dad too. Our wives can have the fancy Nav. System and leather heated seats in their cars, but we want trucks!

    • Rocko says:

      I wouldn’t buy a (Toy)ota if they were $1 !!!! Buy American!!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Toyota s are made in America buy union workers do your HW before you open your mouth. I’m sure 95% you buy isn’t even made here thanks to our politicians selling America’s soul.

  5. mk says:

    Never will own a vehicle with leather and DVD players, surround sound 10 speaker system, etc. 20 grand is a little unrealistic with 4wd and 5.7L, but 26K should be easily achievable.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The new Hyundai equus has an upgrade option to have rear massage seating and recliner style leg supports, for the low price of 64000 msrp. That’s right 64 grand for a Hyundai!

  7. Justin says:

    The 8spd I’m sure will cost much more as an initial investment for those who just “have to have it”. But as more manufacturers make them standard equipment, and reliability gets better, prices will either slightly drop or become the norm for every manufacturer.

    mk: I’m with you on the current price scale. When do manufactures price themselves out of the market? You can only raise prices so much until your average buyer is unable to afford your product.

    Also, I agree on the creature comforts in vehicles today. Too much with the heated/cooled seats, Nav/DVD, surround sound, and all the other yada yada items. Sure offer some of these features as “options”. But I hate how many manufacturers now make you purchase packages, where if you want/need one item, you have to pay out the wazoo and get many features you absolutely do not want/need. That’s why foir a DVD, Nav and upgrade sound system, I always install aftermarket. May cost a little more that way, but typically get a much better product IMHO. Heck, I want a manual trans, with a 4WD shifter rather than push button, but practically no manufacturer offers these anymore.

  8. Pascall says:

    I agree completely with Justin about the “have to have it” factor. But in real life, an 8 speed auto isn’t for Truck work, it’s for performace vehicles. If trucks performace would be better utilized with an 8 speed than Allison would have made one ages ago for class 8 vehicles, which turn means GM would have had the first grabs at it. The 8 speed, which is called 8Hp is made by ZF of Germany not, which has used the same tranny in other vehicles such as BMW’s for a while.

    Let’s not forget how easy it would be for Toyota to use there 8 speed transmision used in the Lexus LS, GS, and IS. Lexus used an 8 speed back in 2007 meaning they were one of the first, if not THE first to use an 8 speed tranny at all.

  9. Pascall says:

    As a matter of fact, my co-worker here in the Port of Tacoma just bought a BMW 7 series with the ZF 8 speed. This tranny won’t be a game changer my any means. If Chrysler announced they were offered slightly taller gearing and got the same 5% the same MPG increase, and no one would be all that interested. A true game changer is the the EcoBoost engine with an assload of torque (the third most after Fords 6.2L and GM’s 6.2L) and 23 MPG. Or possibly a 4 stroke which can double the number of cycles in the same amount of time, which has been made before.

    And using the tranny in an HD truck would just be stupid, considering an 8 speed automatic tranny already isn’t a truck-tranny.

  10. Justin says:

    Pascall: If 8spd transmissions aren’t realistic for “work trucks” then tell me why they have 9, 10, 11, 13, 15 and 18 gears in many Peterbilt rigs out there?

    The issue has always been making them smaller, which with those smaller parts there was always reliability/quality concerns.

    So no, the high number of gears isn’t simply for performance cars.

  11. Benjamin says:

    Higher number of gears is there to balance performance and fuel economy, in 95 percent of applications. Manufacturers are introducing eight speed transmissions in order to meet more stringent CAFE regulations.

    Car companies won’t invest in a technology unless there is a definite benefit, and when it comes to eight-speed transmissions, that benefit is the ability to advertise a more competitive fuel economy rating without sacrificing performance like you would by going to a “taller” final drive.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The reason big rigs (peterbilt, Mack, etc.) have some many gears (usually manual) is because of the difference in loading that the undertake. A rig with no trailer can start rolling in 5th gear and a good hauler can powershift through just about any gear. That compared to a fully loaded 80000 pound boxed in trailer with addition wind load resistance and you need a super lower 1st 2nd 3rd, ect. to get up to speed rapidly. As you approach higher gears, 17,18,etc you have a cooling issue tighter ratios allow a driver to hone in to the perfect RPM depending on the road and traffic and weather. In rain for example it is nice to run at a higher rpm so as to not lug the rig down with water resistance and to maintain control. The half ton and 3/4 ton basic pickup doesn’t have these issues, except maybe offroading requires some manual work to control rpm. But you don’t haul 10x the vehicle weight in a half ton so you don’t need the super low 1st and you don’t have significant wind load unless you are hauling a large 5th wheel that is stupid tall, so usually a normal pickup can maintain 2000 to 4000 rpm s with a five or six speed.

  13. Justin says:

    Anonymous: I total understand your comment, and I’m not discrediting it at all, but…

    I’ve owned an ’80 F150 4.9L, ’85 Ranger 2.8L and ’99 Ranger 4.0L, all 4×4 and all manuals. Just as the rigs you speak of, they each had an ultra low 1st gear, but that gear was truly only needed for off-road conditions, hauling/towing a heavy load, or to get off the line slightly quicker. Each could easily start off in 2nd gear (which would be like 5th gear in a 14-18 gear frig) no problem and was typically the gear used unless the truck was under one of the above conditions. Also, each had an O/D (which like you stated, were very tall gears), and was/is used in similar conditions as the higher gears in the rigs. Also, with an any type of vehicle, locking out O/D or the top gear or two gears, works to the vehicles benefit for control in the snow and rain just as using a lower gear in a rig. Sure, the basic vehicle may not be as drastically impacted as it won’t be hauling/towing the weight of the rig, so it won’t have as much water/wind resistance. But the fact of the matter is using such a technique is beneficial for all vehicles.

    So while your statement is true and very valid, a lot of the same scenerio’s and tendencies of the bigger trucks can also be passed down to smaller vehicles. Just like much of today’s car technology comes from the race track, a lot of truck technology comes from the larger rigs on the road today.

    The reason these trucks (Peterbilt, etc) have so many gears, is due to the statement you made of carrying 80K lbs and having to get the weight moving in all weather conditions. It’s also why many of those trucks push 1000+ ft-lbs of torque today compared to the basic 1/2-1 ton trucks that typically don’t push over 400 or so ft-lbs. Well, excpect for the new diesels manufacturers are releasing with 750+ ft-lbs, which I truly don’t think is neccesary in such a size vehicle. But numbers sell.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have an 08 tundra sr5 small v8 with a roll n lock bedcover. Does the cover have anything to do with bed bounce? I hear alot of talk but have never experienced bed bounce. Also how do bull bars affect driving? I’m thinking of getting a bull bar with skid plate and a winch set up, but can’t find any reviews. It’s more of a dress up feature since I don’t have 4×4 or the offroad package, but I do a ton of city driving and don’t want to hit stuff when I park because of a long front end. Any suggestions?

  15. Mickey says:

    Anonymous I don’t have an issue with parking in my 07 CM. What I normally do is back into the parking spot utilizing my back up camera. It is actually what advance driving schools recommend for a different reason than why I do it. It keeps my doors separate from the others who pull into a spot. Driving schools state this for the reason you have more blind spots backing up out into the lanes than you do pulling out. You may try that vice driving into a spot. Once you get use to it it’s like second nature to do it.

  16. Jason (Admin) says:

    Jon – For Ram, an 8 speed is a big deal. The current 5 speed has a limited range of gear ratios compared to Tundra, F-150, and Sierra/Silverado, and the Ram tends to lose most comparisons as a result (at least in the power train area).

    Anon – They’re getting pretty pricey aren’t they? I hear you that they’re too expensive…not sure what the solution is. I don’t see how Toyota could build a double cab Tundra for 20k, without losing a ton of dough, however. Ford and GM, despite their massive economies of scale, can touch that price. Toyota has no chance.

    Pascall – You’re absolutely correct that there’s a point of diminishing returns when you start talking about 7/8/9 speed transmissions. I think 8 is the most we’ll see until CVTs become the new normal. As for why you don’t see 8 speeds in big rigs, it’s because they would be incredibly expensive. Cheaper to build a 4 speed and then mount it to a double axle to make 8.

  17. Jason F says:

    Dodge has been capable of an 8 speed automatic since the 545RFE transmission. Not had a chance to tear open one of the 2012 trannies but I am expecting it to be a beefier unit.

  18. Rick says:

    I agree. The 8 spd is huge for the Ram/Below. The truck seems to need better & more gears to use its power. The 5 spd is just lacking, slow, whether in the Ram or the Grand Cherokee. Toyota would be wise to incorporate one in the Tundra. Then go to direct inj on the 5.7 for bump in power in an already class leading engine. Toyota has to do something as the current tundra will he out for 8 yrs when ’14 rolls out.

  19. Jason (Admin) says:

    Rick – Direct injection Toyota engines are on their way I think…we’ll see something in a Toyota truck very soon, according to sources.

  20. Jorge says:

    you all should come to texas were we have $22000 crew cabs for work

  21. JasonF says:

    As a Dodge owner I might point out that Toyota has invested heavily (Try 800 million USD) for the production of the Tundra – in San Antonio, Texas. Do you really want to talk about where the Dodge Ram and most of the parts are manufactured or assembled? Or would you like to discuss that Dodge split the truck division off and operates under the RAM branding. In any event still owned by a company named Fiat compliments of Obama. Neither of which are American. In the end that Toyota is a lot more American than a RAM truck.

  22. roba says:

    finally – to make the picture complete, a Dodge needs to add the new 3.o deisel that will grace the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The time has come. Better deisel than a turbo gas like ford for a work ready truck!

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