Trucks & Trailers: 2008 Dodge 4500 & 5500 chassis cab trucks

Dodge Ram fans will now be able to spec a Ram chassis cab truck for their landscaping businesses. With delivering maximum uptime a core design theme, Dodge says it engineered the new Class 4 and 5 conventional trucks with several class-leading attributes, including the largest standard fuel tank, largest brake rotors, largest caliper pistons and best-in-class first-gear launch for maximum acceleration on vehicle takeoff.

The new Ram models are available in a variety of configurations, including 4-by-2, 4-by-4 and dual-rear-wheel versions in regular and Quad cab models. Maximum gross vehicle weight ratings for the 4500 model is 16,500 pounds, while the 5500 chassis cab truck weighs in at a maximum of 19,500 pounds. The gross combined weight rating for both models is 26,000 pounds.

Cummins power for optimum performance
Standard power for the 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs comes from a 6.7-liter, 305-horsepower Cummins diesel engine. This engine puts out 610 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm, which gives the chassis cabs outstanding acceleration and trailer towing performance. The Cummins diesel is also cleaner this year, with the ability to run on B5 biodiesel and meets all 2007 federal diesel engine emissions regulations. The engine features a life-to-major-overhaul rating of 350,000 miles.

You can spec two transmissions with new chassis cab models: a six-speed automatic or manual – both of which feature full PTO capability. An available electronic-shift transfer case eases four-wheel-drive engagement and a factory-installed exhaust brake increases safety while helping extend brake life. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard on both models.

All chassis cab models feature new steering components with a recirculating ball steering system that Dodge says gives more precise response and a better on-center steering feel with lower internal friction. The system is enhanced further by improved power steering lines for truck handling in all road conditions. Solid-beam front and rear axles and five-link coil-spring front suspension with beam axle, front and rear link-type sway bars and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers are standard and help stabilize the truck in on- and off-road driving conditions. The rear suspension on two- and four-wheel-drive models features standard, two-stage leaf springs for greater load carrying capability.

Additional storage space in the cab and under the floor
Dodge feels it has one of the most recognizable trucks on the market today, and the Ram chassis cab exterior styling cues reflect this belief. Borrowing heavily from its Ram pickup, the chassis cabs feature a “big truck” look and feel exemplified by Ram’s trademark “crosshair” grill and large headlamps. The trucks’ wide stance is further accentuated by standard, twin 7-inch by 10-inch trailer tow mirrors.

Ram chassis cab trucks will be offered in three distinct trim levels: base ST, mid-level SLT and top-of-the-line Laramie packages. All trim levels feature an easy-to-navigate instrument panel, large, user-friendly center stack and large, oversized seats. Bucket seats with leather trim are available as an option.

Quad cab model trucks can seat six passengers and feature four standard doors and 60/40 folding rear seats. The seat cushions fold up to create a tall storage area stretching from the cab floor to the ceiling. An optional floor section under the back seats opens to form a flat-load storage space with additional storage space located in the foot wells.

Easy-fit body eases aftermarket installations
Because the 2008 4500 and 5500 chassis cab trucks are designed to work in a wide array of vocational applications, Dodge engineers paid special attention to the rear body configurations and mounting capability. This design emphasis manifests itself in the trucks’ flat, clean frame rails which feature industry-standard 34-inch frame rail spacing to allow them to accept virtually any upfit application.

All chassis components are now located below the frame’s upper surface to ease aftermarket body installations. Bolt-on and riveted-on exhaust hanger brackets are optimally situated for easier body modification. Likewise, the one-piece C-channel frame, shear plate and u-bolt access along the frame and shear plate mounting locations are all identified along the frame to make body installations quicker and easier.

Fuel and brake lines are routed together on the left side of the frame, which also has clearance for rear-exhaust pipes. All frame electrical connections feature three-fused battery feeds routed into the cab and onto the rear of the chassis.

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