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What Transmissions Has the Ram Pickup Used?

A black and white photo shows a white 1973 Ram truck on a dirt road.

Ram is one of the newest auto brands on the market. Originally part of Chrysler, Ram has been its own entity since 2010. The trucks were so popular that they got their own spin-off! If you are looking for a local Ram dealership, you can begin your journey with a quick Google search for “Ram dealer near me.” Select the top three websites, browse their inventory, and read through the customer reviews. This should help you make a decision about which dealership is best for you. As for the Ram 1500 models, today we will be discussing the various transmissions you find on these beasts throughout the five generations of the truck.

First Generation

First introduced to North America in 1980, the Ram D100 was the starting point for modern-day Ram 1500 models. This truck had a very good run of 13 years, and it was offered in three body styles, including 2-door, 2-door extended, and 4-door. Powered by I6, V6, and V8 engines during the first generation, buyers had the following transmissions to choose from:

  • 3-speed automatic
  • 4-speed automatic
  • 4-speed manual
  • 5-speed manual

During this production period, the smallest engine (a 3.7-liter I-6) produced 95 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The most robust engine came into play in 1993. It was a 5.9-liter Magnum V8 that pushed out 230 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Only one special edition truck was offered during this 13-year period. It was known as the Prospector and came with carpeted floors, cloth upholstery, and larger side mirrors.

Second Generation

Development for the second generation of Ram 1500 models began as early as 1986, but the concept was not ready for release until 1994. Several new names were kicked around, including Louisville Slugger and Phoenix, but ultimately the designers decided on simply calling it the Ram 1500. And that’s the name that stuck from this point on. Although the trio of body styles remained the same, they all got their own names as well. They were called the Regular Cab, the Extended cab, and the Quad cab.

The available engine still included I6, V6, and V8 offerings, but there was another mighty motor that was added to the lineup. It was a V10. Throughout the second generation, buyers could choose from the following transmissions:

  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual

During the second generation, the smallest powertrain was the 3.9-liter V6 motor that produced 175 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. The largest and most powerful was, of course, the 8.0-liter Magnum V10. This beast generated 300 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque.

The second generation saw the release of three special edition models. The Limited Edition Indy Pace had upgraded exhaust tips and 17-inch wheels. The SuperSport Truck (SS/T) came with striped graphics on the hood and tailgate. Next, the High Output had an H.O. engine that added 10 extra horsepower. Finally, the Off-Road Edition was a package added to the SLT trim. It came with 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, tow hooks, heated power side mirrors, skid plates, a limited-slip differential, and a 4×4 transfer case.

A blue 1994 Ram 1500 from a Ram dealer near you is parked in front of mountains.

Third Generation

By 1996, development for the third generation of Ram 1500 models was underway. However, these vehicles didn’t make their debut until 2002. In this generation, the extended cab was retired to make room for another 4-door cab style. The new configuration lineup included the Regular Cab, the Quad Cab, and the new Mega Cab. As for the powertrain lineup, it still included I6, V6, V8, and V10 models, but drivers could now find the following transmissions:

  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed automatic
  • 6-speed automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual

During the third generation, there were 16 different engines that made appearances inside Ram 1500 trucks. The smallest was a 3.7-liter Magnum V6 that made 215 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. The most powerful engine was an 8.3-liter Viper V10 that pumped up an astonishing 510 hp and 535 lb-ft of torque.

Nine special edition models were released during the third generation. The Rumble Bee rolled on 20-inch wheels and featured lower body cladding, a hood scoop, and yellow accents. The HemiSport was similar to the Rumble Bee, but it was offered in red, silver, and black. Then, we had the VTS Concept that was inspired by the Dodge Viper GTS. Next, the SRT 10 added a rear spoiler, 22-inch wheels, and bucket seats.

The off-road-focused Power Wagon came with skid plates, fender flares, and a 12,000-pound winch. Next, the Hemi GTX added custom paint, a blacked-out hood, and leather upholstery. The Daytona was a sportier truck with chrome wheels and an 11-inch spoiler. The Contractor’s Special was a unique hybrid but was only made available for fleet purchases. Finally, the NightRunner was completely decked out in black for a darkened aesthetic.

Fourth Generation

A resurrection of a classic used truck for sale, a red 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, is parked in front of rock formations.

Making its first appearance in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show in 2008, the fourth generation of 1500 models set sail in 2010 under the Ram logo. Once again, the cabin configurations were altered a bit. The new lineup included the Regular Cab, the Quad Cab, the Crew Cab, and the Mega Cab heavy duty. The powertrain lineup was also reduced to include only I6, V6, and V8 engines, as the top V10 engine was retired. Buyers could choose from the following transmissions:

  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed automatic
  • 6-speed automatic
  • 8-speed automatic
  • 6-speed manual

During the first half of the fourth generation, the smallest engine was still the 3.7-liter V6 motor that made 215 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. But in 2013, a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that could make 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque replaced the former unit. The most powerful engine rolled onto the scene in 2014. It was a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 motor that generated 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque.

Four special edition models were released during the fourth generation. The R/T was painted blue and featured 22-inch forged wheels, the SRT signature striping, and a restyled front bumper with a chin spoiler. The Urban Concept model was inspired by the Dodge Challenger. The Rebel was the off-roading model. Finally, the Warlock resurrected a name from the 1970s.

Fifth Generation

Also appearing for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the fifth generation of Ram 1500s arrived at dealership lots in 2018. The body styles were again tweaked to include only the Quad Cab and Crew Cab configurations on the Ram 1500. Available in 8 trim levels, the newer models are like nothing we’ve ever seen before. While the engine lineup still includes I6, V6, and V8 options, every powertrain for the current generation has been matched with the following transmission:

  • 8-speed automatic

The smallest engine is still the 3.6-liter V6, which generates 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The most powerful engine is now the 5.7-liter V8. It pumps out 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque.

As can be seen, the transmission options in Ram’s trucks have evolved considerably over the years. The manual options disappeared years ago, and now even the automatics have been consolidated to a single choice. But the modern 8-speed automatic is the most capable unit Ram has ever offered and is a great choice for any use.

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