Many of us need some kind of vehicle to tow our projects, non street-legal 4x4s, or miscellaneous stuff. To be able to do this, we found a brand new Mineral Gray Metallic 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT Quad Cab 4x4 sitting at Brent Brown Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Provo, Utah. The truck was marked down to the point that it was so hard to resist, we couldn't. We were soon driving it home.
Our Ram was a SLT trim level, but it was equipped with almost everything but leather. It had the powerful 6.7L Cummins diesel, six-speed automatic transmission, navigation, UConnect, power everything (even the pedals), HomeLink transmitter, fold-flat load floor, and trailer tow group with trailer mirrors. We had tested a 2007 1/2 Ram with the new 6.7L diesel and were impressed with the power, but the new emission controls weren't working quite right. We kept getting a "Catalytic Converter Full" warning light, even when driving on the freeway and towing. Dodge and Cummins evidently figured out the problems, because our new '08 has no issues of this kind, runs even better, and returned 16 mpg on the two-hour trip home from the dealer.
We only had to add a few things to tailor the Ram to our use. First, we installed a set of 285/75R17LT load range E Nitto Terra Grapplers on the factory Dodge alloy wheels. This gave us 34-inch tires that don't stick out and require no lift to run. The Nittos are a superb all-terrain tire with heavily siped tread blocks. They're also one of the few available load range E tires in this size. They fit perfectly on the OE alloys and the spare fits in the OE position under the bed.
We've used a BedRug from Wise Industries in every truck we've owned since the BedRug was introduced. An all-plastic bedliner that feels like a rug, the BedRug has padding molded to match your truck for a completely flat load floor. When camping, the BedRug makes a great - yes, you guessed it - bed. That doesn't mean the BedRug is wimpy. We've hauled leaking axles, engine blocks, all different sizes and kinds of wood, and other junk. A high pressure washer squirts leaks and spills off, just like it would any other plastic bedliner. Loads don't shift and slide on the BedRug, either. This time, we ordered the BedRug manufactured for Mopar Accessories that has a Ram head logo embossed in the front panel.
Tonneau covers are popular, but we like cab-high truck caps for all-around use. They not only keep parts secure and out of the weather, they make great campers when in the backcountry. For our Tow ram, we chose a Z-Series cap from A.R.E. The recessed windows, doors, and L.E.D. brake light blend with the Ram's lines to become a part of the whole look. Side vent windows come equipped with screens, while the ergonomically designed door handle features OEM quality locks.
The Z Series' rotary slam action latches allow us to open and close the door with the same motions we use to close the truck door. The Z Series can be equipped with a number of options, including a Yakima rack up top. We only chose two options - a fold down sliding front window that makes cleaning the front window of the cap and the rear sliding window of the truck easy, and a battery powered L.E.D. interior light. The Z Series is perfect, as it's strong enough for backcountry use and looks great, too.
We've used the Tow Ram to tow Blue, our heavy JK Unlimited, tied-down on a heavy 10,000-pound-capacity trailer. The Ram didn't even break a sweat. It's a good thing the Dodge is so reliable, as Chrysler shut down every dealer in southern Utah, so we don't have any warranty service within two hours from us. Without much of a dealer network anymore, we're going to be thinking twice before purchasing a new Dodge, Jeep, or Chrysler again. We're sure we'll get years of service out of this great truck if it continues to work as well as it has so far, though.