Third-Gen Ram EcoDiesel Joins Light-Duty Fray

FCA rolls out a redesigned 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 that it claims is more powerful and more efficient than the competition – at least for now.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

June 12, 2019

3 Min Read
2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
Third-gen EcoDiesel arrives in the Ram 1500 this fall.

FCA says it will claim top torque and towing capacity in a half-ton pickup when the automaker begins offering its third-generation 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 in the ’20 Ram 1500 pickup starting this fall.

Although pricing and fuel-economy numbers aren’t yet available, FCA expects the heavily reworked version of its Italian-built light-duty, turbodiesel DOHC V-6 to top the 30-mpg (7.8-L/100 km) EPA highway fuel economy estimate posted by the 3.0L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-6 in the 2WD Ford F-150. EPA certification is pending.

The new Ram diesel produces 260 hp at 3,600 rpm and 480 lb.-ft. (651 Nm) of torque at 1,600 rpm, up from 240 hp and 420 lb.-ft. (570 Nm) in the previous iteration. Towing capacity tops out at 12,560 lbs. (5,697 kg).

In the battle for light-duty truck supremacy, the Ram tops the F-150 Power Stroke, which produces 250 hp and 440 lb.-ft. (597 Nm) of torque and offers a 10,100-lb. (4,581-kg) towing capacity.

But later this year, General Motors will join the fray when it adds the Duramax 3.0L inline 6-cyl. diesel to its powertrains for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra fullsize trucks. The Duramax makes 277 hp and 460 lb.-ft. (624 Nm) of torque. Tow ratings are not yet available.

Things get a little confusing when discussing the rollout of the Ram diesel, given that two different generations of the 3.0L diesel will be sold side-by-side in dealerships.

FCA continues to offer that second-gen engine in the Ram 1500 Classic, the carryover model built alongside the all-new Ram introduced 15 months ago. The new engine, considered a third-gen iteration due to significant changes to everything but its basic compacted graphite-iron block, launches in the ’20 Ram 1500 and will be offered for the first time in the off-road-equipped ’20 Ram Rebel.

FCA says the new engine, built at the same Ferrara, Italy, plant as the older version, gets a series of upgrades including: a water-cooled turbocharger with variable geometry turbine for increased transient response and efficiency; redesigned cylinder-head intake ports to increase swirl; a dual-loop exhaust-gas recirculation system, adding a low-pressure system to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions; a lower, 16.0:1 compression ratio, down from 16.5:1; revised fuel injectors; redesigned aluminum-alloy pistons with thinner rings to reduce friction losses; and an offset connecting-rod pin to reduce piston clatter.

The previous-generation engine was pulled from the market in the middle of the truck’s ’17 model year due to EPA emissions violations. The engine rejoined the lineup late in the ’18 model year after FCA and the EPA reached a settlement involving software calibration changes that resolved the violations.

Last month, FCA settled a lawsuit with Ram and Jeep diesel owners to compensate them for repairs to bring their vehicles into emissions compliance.

FCA isn’t making any volume predictions for its new diesel offering. But when the previous EcoDiesel Ram 1500s hit the diesel-starved market in 2014, they accounted for nearly 15% of the truck’s annual volume, with diesel deliveries running as high as 30% in some months.

Ram sales have grown steadily since the introduction of the latest model, hitting 521,046 units in 2018, according to Wards Intelligence data. Through May, FCA sold 166,643 Ram 1500s, including current and carryover models.

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel engine

About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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