The RAM’s 5.7 liter HEMI V8 is one of the most powerful in in the half-ton class, with 395 horsepower and 401 pound feet of torque. It red lines at 5,800 rpm which is relatively low but it’s plenty happy to rev up to that point. And in the RAM 1500 it has been mated to both a 6-speed and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The engine has port fuel-injection and variable cam timing for its single cam and push rods. It uses an oil-pressure controlled sprocket on its cam shaft to retard or advance timing depending on engine load and speed to give either more performance or increased fuel economy.
Backing up that technology is a Multi-Displacement system that can shut down four cylinders during coast, cruising or other times when extra power isn’t needed. It’s barely noticeable and RAM says the system improves fuel economy between 10-20 percent.
Block construction for the truck version of the 5.7 liter HEMI V8 is a deep skirt iron design with cross bolted main bearing caps. Heads are aluminum as is the transmission case and transfer case where equipped.
Following the airflow, the intake charge starts at the filter box located up high on the passenger side then over to a downdraft throttle body and into the composite plastic intake manifold. The intake has a variable runner design that is unique from the car version of this engine, which helps it to deliver more torque when it’s needed.
When you are demanding power, the HEMI V8 delivers on its name with hemispherical aluminum heads that while still only have two valves per cylinder, have two very large valves canted in a hemispherical combustion chamber shape.
Because there are two spark plugs per cylinder, firing them is a very unique coil pack that has two boots. This makes for a clean look up on top of the engine which is manufactured in Chrysler’s Saltillo Mexico assembly plant.
Looking around the engine compartment, all the major service points are within easy view and reach, though you may need to climb and reach some. The fuse panel and battery are the easiest, right up front on the driver side. The brake fluid is just a bit further back on the firewall.
Oil fill and dipstick are top and center, and the coolant and windshield washer fluid up front where you’d expect them. The air filter box is easily accessible for a change there as well. There is no power steering fluid here as the RAM 1500 how has electric power steering.
And on the suspension, our Rebel Off-Road has the fully adjustable air suspension, which is also available on other RAM 1500 models. Here you see up front aluminum lower control arms, Bilstein dampers and the large air spring assembly.
At the rear you have the same air spring assembly instead of coil springs, and an axle well located with links and a pan-hard rod. The the air suspension can be raised and lowered manually by a dash mounted switch, or set to let the computer so so as speed and load warrants.