• 2016 Ram 3500 HD Takes on the 30,000 Lbs Super Ike Towing Review

    2016 Ram 3500 HD
    2016 Ram 3500 HD

    It’s time for the 2016 Ram 3500 HD dually to take on the 30,000 lbs Super Ike Gauntlet towing challenge. The “Super Ike” is all about maxing out every truck on towing load, or payload, or GVWR, or GCWR, or all of the above. It’s also a chance for us to do something new and try out different features of every truck. This run is our opportunity to manually shift the transmission on the way and on the way up. We have tried the automated cruise control systems with other trucks, but we wanted to see whether we can control this heavy load the old-fashioned way – they commercial truckers do it.

    This 30,000 lbs load is the heaviest gooseneck trailer that we have ever setup. It’s also the maximum rating for our Big Tex 3xGN gooseneck trailer. The tongue weight for this test was right at 5,000 lbs.

    The high output of the 6.7L Cummins I6 motor produces 385 hp @ 2,800 rpm and 900 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm. The heavy duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission is focus of this test. The goal is to slow the truck down enough on the way down, so that the gearing and the exhaust brake combine to control the speed of the truck and trailer.

    Going up the Super Ike Gauntlet highway to an elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level is about using every lb-ft of torque on the initial acceleration, and using every horsepower to maintain the speed. We wanted to keep the engine near its 2,800 rpm horsepower peak for maximum performance.

    Get all the results and details in the video below.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    28 thoughts on “2016 Ram 3500 HD Takes on the 30,000 Lbs Super Ike Towing Review

    1. Great review. Why after all the resistance to shifting manually have you decided to do it now? How will this also effect future Ike runs?

      Here is something to think about as well. The engine may make more torque at 2200 RPM with less HP and the opposite at higher RPM but it isn’t purely HP that is making the difference. The engine actually puts more torque to the wheels in 2nd gear because of the mechanical advantage of the lower gear and on top of that HP is at peak. Verses less leverage from 3rd gear and less HP while only making more torque at the engine.

      At 30 MPH in 3rd gear the engine puts more torque to the transmission but in second gear at that speed the lesser torque input to transmission is multiplied in such that it is closer to or more than the torque in 3rd while making more HP. HP makes a difference but really it’s the mechanical advantage combined with HP.

      1. Once again, we decided to shift manually in this test because it’s a “SUPER” Ike Gauntlet. It’s not a direct comparison of truck to each other. We have the freedom to try different things with a “SUPER” Ike Gauntlet test. We are currently discussing the 2017 Gold Hitch awards and the annual Ike Gauntlet testing. For the Gold Hitch awards, we will likely not shift manually. It’s a test of the machine, not a test of man.


        1. I’m all for experiments. Would have been nice to see a full auto test as well. Surely you will do this same run on a production Super Duty. We still have a pretty good idea at this point how Ram and Ford handle 30k.

      2. Good analogy Jerame. You’ll find this to be true in all cases with all vehicles. Running at peak hp will result in more torque at the wheels than with any other scenario.

        1. Thanks distinctively.

          Yes in majority of cases when HP is at peak TQ is very high as well too based on engine RPM and leverage. Regardless of what a engine dyno shows for Torque. Like you said will all vehicles. This however doesn’t mean their isn’t a large advantage of having a torque curve that comes early and especially if it stays on for awhile.

          1. Fully agree. That’s where the newest diesels really shine. Tons of power in that low rpm range as a result of that early torque.

    2. I’m sure you guys will get blasted for manually shifting in this test, but this is more real world than anything you guys have done in the past.

    3. Wow. That new superduty is a beast. A full minute faster the the 900 ftlbs cummins!
      Would be interesting to see how much speed the ford would pickup by manual shifting.

      1. Yea interesting that the Superduty held a taller gear so long. This isn’t like Ford usually their tuning is such that manual shifting isn’t necessary in my experience. That truck was also preproduction though.

    4. Hats off to ram for allowing tfl truck to use their trailer with weight added and verified by them and for allowing them to have the truck during daylight hours. thanks ram and thanks tfl truck for another great video. very interesting and informative.

    5. Well, the new F450 whupped up on the RAM. But I think we saw that when the Chevy took care of the RAM towing “only” 21k.

    6. Why not take an extra 30 minutes and run the gauntlet twice? Once in auto, and once manually shifting, both up and down the gauntlet. Seems like that would be an easy way to solve that debate. And it would provide some insight as to how each individual truck could be utilized best.

      1. I agree. By choosing to manually shift the RAM and not the Ford, it leaves a little bit of uncertainty. For example, by manually shifting the RAM down, did it actually help or hurt the time? Likewise, would the Ford have done better or worse by manually shifting? On the downhill testing, the Ford’s auto braking cruise control was praised: no brake touches were needed, with nice integration of the new auto exhaust brake and cruise control. But the RAM was manually downshifted…which seems to have helped it. Could the Ford have done even better with manual shift control going downhill? I would say the procedure needs to be kept consistent.

      1. I’m actually suprised it was that close considering the F-450 shifted to 3rd way later and stayed there. Manual shifting the Ford would of widened the gap even more.
        F-450 is 4.30 gears. F-350 is 4.10 gears in max tow. Not much differnce there. The F-350 would have just down shifted to 3rd earlier.
        This test proves that Davis Dam (where tow standards are met) is nothing compared to the Ike.
        Both trucks did great downhill. RAM just needs to work on the HP a bit.

          1. The 450’s tires are only 0.4″ taller than the 350 dually…so the 4.30’s still have a small towing advantage.
            Keep in mind the 2016 F-350 dually (same tire size) could be had with a 4.30 axle ratio.

      1. Ford is, RAM is not. Why should the money of American customers pay the salaries of Mexican employees, and the big profits had back to Turin?

        I really appreciate how if you buy a Ford Super Duty, you are paying the salaries of American workers, and the profits are headed back to Detroit. (If you buy a diesel, you still pay some Mexican salaries to build the engine).

    7. Great Test! Glad to see the manual shifting; that is how most drivers actually use their trucks. Also glad to see a bit more emphasis on the downhill portion. Regardless of the brand, it is impressive that a “pickup” can reliably pull this kind of load up and safely descend the mountain passes without any issues! It really doesn’t matter if it takes 11 minutes or 12 minutes. It is simply an impressive feat for a pickup truck.

      1. I agree that it is, but its not like any of the trucks towing 30k lbs are hitting the 8-minute benchmark time. Traveling 30mph up an interstate highway with a speed limit of 65 mph is a hazard. 40 mph in the Ford is better, but still a hazard.

    8. Good to see that both trucks can handle this kind of weight safely. I do think you should have ran the truck the same as you did the Ford to see how they all handle the same weight.

      1. It sounds like th eye will be running the same in another run…This was the “super” Ike Gauntlet run where they can go outside the normal Ike rules.

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