How much abuse can a pickup truck engine take? What’s the best way to protect your engine for extreme use? We team up with Shell Rotella Gas Truck engine oil and put our long-term 2019 Ram Rebel through a series of torture tests.
This is the first episode in a five part series. We will also torture the truck in Moab, Utah in the middle of the summer heat. We will drive to the highest peak in the United States, and drive it across country to 2019 SEMA in Las Vegas and also to a Shell Rotella lab near Houston, Texas.
The first test is hauling a maximum load trailer up and down the Ike Gauntlet ™ – world’s toughest towing test. The Ike Gauntlet is an 8-mile stretch of I-70 in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a maximum elevation of 11,153 feet above sea level and 7% grades. This is the steepest allowed grade on an interstate highway in the United States.
This time we are maxing the truck out with a 10,200 lbs trailer. Yes, the Rebel is rated to tow up to 11,190 lbs, but the 10,200 lbs trailer is already pushing down on the truck with about 1,000 lbs of tongue weight. When you add two guys into the mix, the truck’s payload is basically maxed out.
Rotella Gas Truck Oil
Before we go to the big mountain, we change the oil. We use the Rotella fully synthetic motor oil 5w20 for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that is in our truck. Take a look at Shell Rotella Gas Truck website to learn more about this oil and where to buy it.
The truck is a new Ram 1500 Rebel crew cab. It’s powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with the eTorque mild hybrid system. The stock output is 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, but we also added Mopar performance air intake and exhaust systems to help the engine breathe better and sound meaner. Neither Mopar nor Ram list a horsepower increase for this performance system.
We call our modified truck the “#RamRebelRouser”. Modifications include new off-road running boards, bead-lock capable wheels, 35-inch all terrain tires, a sports bar with off-road lights, and a tonneau cover.
On the way down the Ike Gauntlet we counted 9 brake applications. Naturally, this is with using the truck’s Tow/Haul mode. A brake application is when the driver applies the brakes to slow down the truck from 60 MPH (speed limit) down to 50 MPH. If the truck speeds up again to 60 MPH, then the brakes are applied once more.
More importantly, how did the truck perform on the way up the steep grade. We used 100% throttle for most of the run to try and maintain the 60 MPH speed limit. The engine oil temperature go to around 290 F. This is precisely when you need the engine oil the most to protect and lubricate the engine parts.
The truck surprised with a near benchmark 8 min 10 second run up the mountain. The benchmark is a round 8 minute run.
I was worried that the larger tires and a slightly heavier modified truck will slow it down further, but the result was a very pleasant surprise.
We took a small sample of the oil and sent it back to Shell for analysis. We will let you know the results when we get them, and at the end of the five part series, we will inspect the engine internals to see the results.
You can watch the entire Ike Gauntlet torture test at the TFLtruck Youtube channel.