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kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 03/22/15 04:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I can now do an official report on the truck. Bottom line (at the top for your convenience) is wife and I are completely happy with our selection of the 6.4 auto.

My old truck was an 04.5 CTD, SRW, 4x4, Quad cab, 3500 with NV5600. At 180k miles, it was just getting broken in, but my wife absolutely refused to drive the manual. Due to health issues, it was imperative that my wife be able to help with the driving and drive in case of an emergency.

New truck is identical except 15 w/6.4, crew and auto. I debated back and forth between 3.73/4.10 gears finally decided on 3.73 because I figured hauling I would be in 5th gear and for the 2400 - 3000 pound truck camper, the 4.10s in 5th would be overkill.

With 2800 miles on the odometer and 2,400 pounds of camper in the bed, we left for a drive around middle and upper Georgia. In upper Georgia I took a lot of the same roads in both trucks. Back home after 1200 miles have a good feel for what I miss and don't like.

When talking, lets remember the NV5600 6th gear is right in the middle of the new auto's 5th and 6th.

I miss the low rpm torque of the NV5600 being able to pull the hills without shifting. The 6.4 needed to shift down to 5th and unlock the torque converter to maintain speed.

I dearly miss the engine braking of the CTD. Use to come down the hills without touching the brakes after downshifting. Now, after downshifting and letting the engine run to 3,500 rpms, still had to use the brakes. Never hit any very long grades, but believe they would not have an issue with my load.

I believe Ram could have done better with the brakes. While they are there, it takes a good bit of pressure. Not a stand on with both feet amount, but lots more than my old truck did even if I didn't use the engine braking.

Now - the things I love about the new ride.

Not having to shift tied with having my wife share some of the driving (when she isn't scarring me).

Fuel mileage wise, I was needing 10mpg average loaded to be with in my "acceptable" expense range. This trip was 99.98% back roads, often with stops every 5 miles for sightseeing. Hand calculated shows an average of 11.7 mpg. Almost all of the trip did not use tow/haul mode except for a few of the bigger hills in the mountains. Think this would be about the same on a long distance trip running 60mph. Typically, we are able to figure about 250 miles between fill-ups.

Engine braking. Yes, it does exist because of the use of the vvt to let the engine build compression. When you can get it to engage in tow/haul mode. Think it is a good start, but I could not get it to engage all the time. One of the campgrounds I stayed at was on top of a mountain. The first 1/2 mile from the campground is up to 25% grade, probably averages 15-18% but even letting the engine race to 4,000 rpm, it would engage, possibly because it was still cold. On the normal highway, I can see this as a big advantage. Just need to find out how to get it to engage when needed.

Power: Never needed more power as long as I was willing to let it down shift and run the rpms up at the cost of lots of fuel. Most of the rolling hills was able to handle in 5th gear with torque converter unlocked. On a few of the longer steeper hills, would let it shift to 4th but was still under 3,000 rpm. On the very steep climb, it easily held 2nd gear about 2,800 rpm. When I hit the 25% grade portion, just gave it a little more throttle and maintained the speed.

Noise: For the first time, my wife wanted to listen to the radio almost the entire time. No need to blast the radio to hear over the engine. Even when the engine reved to 2,500 rpm, didn't have to turn the radio up.

Still undecided on the gear selection. I prefer to run about 55 mph on the back roads and the engine seems to be loaded in 6th gear but does handle it fine. 5th gear drops the fuel mileage about 2-3mpg. Means I get better mileage at 60mph in 6th. If I had gone with 4.10s, I would be able to run my desired 55mph with ease, but not sure how much of a hit the mpgs would take. Realize some would be gained from easing the engine load, but not sure how much. If you aren't worried about mpgs, I would definitely recommend the 4.10s. For now, I'm happy with my choice of 3.73 as the camper is on only about half the time.

* This post was edited 03/22/15 05:20pm by kohldad *


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hc avg mpg after 16,500 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)


texasclarks

Fort Polk, LA

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Posted: 03/22/15 04:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the review. I have been eyeing a 2015 Ram 3500 SRW with 6.4L. Still wondering between the 6.4L and CTD.


Posts are for entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as endorsement or recommendations. YMMV!

Steven & Stacie, plus 2 ('02 & '07)
'04 Suburban 2500, Quad Seats, 8.1L, 3.73
'09 Rockwood 8313SS

Texas not just a State, but a State of mind!


ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 03/22/15 05:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:



Engine braking. Yes, it does exist because of the use of the vvt to let the engine build compression.



Can you explain this part? VVT usually refers to a turbo, which of course your 6.4 doesn't have. Or does that refer to something aobut the trans?

Thanks,
Scott


Scott, Grace and Wesly
2003 Dodge 3500 4x4, 6 speed Cummins (lightly bombed),
2004 Forest River 25RKS many, many mods.
H0NDA eu2000i

kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 03/22/15 06:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

VVT is variable valve timing. By allowing the exhaust port to remain closed or partially closed, the cylinder has to develop compression on the exhaust stroke.

Not exactly sure if the Ram is using VVT or other compression method, but it is very noticeable in 1st gear as it turn on/off going down a steep grade.

Golden_HVAC

Fulltime, CA, USA

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Posted: 03/22/15 06:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ScottG wrote:

kohldad wrote:



Engine braking. Yes, it does exist because of the use of the vvt to let the engine build compression.



Can you explain this part? VVT usually refers to a turbo, which of course your 6.4 doesn't have. Or does that refer to something aobut the trans?

Thanks,
Scott


VVT - I am guessing that is Variable Valve Timing.

My Ford car has that too, and it can change the intake and exhaust valve timing to increase power in the higher RPM's.

Gas engines do have compression braking, though not nearly as much as the CTD. It is actually the transmission that normally is the limiting factor in slowing the vehicle on a steep hill. The automatic transmission is just not going to transmit nearly as much braking HP as the manual transmission that the driver was used to.

Anyway he is reporting that he is not needing to ride the brakes down the hills. Typically when I am driving around town, I downshift my cars out of overdrive when I am going down short 500' - 800' long 5% to 7% downgrades, and typically all the cars that I am following are riding the brakes all the way down the hill to keep speeds at 35 MPH (within the city limits).

With my motorhome, I will downshift, and when the speed reaches 3,000 - 3,200, I will lightly apply the brakes to control speed. At anything less than 2,500 RPM, the engine is barely doing anything to slow the vehicle. At 3,000 - 3,200 then you are getting about 50 braking HP. 4,000 might have 75 - 100 braking HP because it is a 460" gas V8 and automatic transmission. However I don't like pushing the engine RPM that high going down a hill, and that can tear up the transmission.

With the 2004 CTD and manual transmission, running at 2,500 RPM down a hill in 3rd gear, the engine can be producing well over 100 braking HP and everything is fine. The manual transmission can handle 150 - 200 braking HP. However the CTD can not be revved above about 3,000 RPM, I think that the governor is set around 2,800 RPM. Ford and GM V8 diesels can rev much higher. They have much smaller diameter pistons and 2" shorter stroke, so they can run higher RPM's and make more HP.

This is a good report on the Dodge. I am thinking about getting a gas pickup next. Not the diesel, they are just to expensive, and I don't plan on driving it more than about 8,000 miles a year to pull a fifth wheel. The $8,000 additional cost over the gas engine is huge in my budget!

Fred.

ib516

Way up north eh

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Posted: 03/22/15 06:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice review! I continue to be happy with mine too.


Prev: 2010 Cougar 322QBS (junk)
01 Dodge 2500 4x4 360 Gas 4.10 Auto
02 Dodge 2500 4x4 5.9L CTD 3.55 Auto
07 Dodge 3500 4x4 SRW Mega 5.9L CTD 3.73 Auto
14 Ram 2500 4x4 Crew 6.4L Hemi 4.10 Auto
All above are sold
Current: 2006 Pontiac Torrent and a 2010 Jayco 17z


Cummins12V98

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Posted: 03/22/15 06:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"The 6.4 needed to shift down to 5th and unlock the torque converter to maintain speed"

I really doubt it unlocked when dropping into 5th.


2015 RAM LongHorn 3500 Dually CrewCab 4X4 CUMMINS/AISIN RearAir 385HP/865TQ 4:10's
37,800# GCVWR "Towing Beast"

"HeavyWeight" B&W RVK3600

2016 MobileSuites 39TKSB3 highly "Elited" In the stable

2007.5 Mobile Suites 36 SB3 29,000# Combined SOLD

kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 03/22/15 06:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I really doubt it unlocked when dropping into 5th.


It definitely unlocks when it downshifts. You can vary the throttle and watch the rpms changes. After the downshift, if you ease off the throttle, you can see the rpm drop as the torque converter lock back up.

ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 03/22/15 07:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:

VVT is variable valve timing. By allowing the exhaust port to remain closed or partially closed, the cylinder has to develop compression on the exhaust stroke.

Not exactly sure if the Ram is using VVT or other compression method, but it is very noticeable in 1st gear as it turn on/off going down a steep grade.


Thanks for the definition. My mind drew a blank on that one.

Cummins12V98

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Posted: 03/22/15 07:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:

Quote:

I really doubt it unlocked when dropping into 5th.


It definitely unlocks when it downshifts. You can vary the throttle and watch the rpms changes. After the downshift, if you ease off the throttle, you can see the rpm drop as the torque converter lock back up.


That does not sound right. i can see unlocking from 5-6 to save the trans from a harsh shift. 6-5 should go from lock to lock or at least a short flair before locking. Towing in fluid coupling instead of lockup causes a lot of heat generation.

I am for sure not a Gasser expert.

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