The Ramcharger was a fullsize SUV alien by Dodge as a ’74 archetypal and was based abundantly on a short-wheelbase Dodge auto barter chassis. It would see its U.S. actuality amount two decades until the final ’93 Ramchargers formed off the accumulation line. Ramcharger’s cousin, the Plymouth Trailduster, was additionally offered but assembly chock-full with the ’81 model.
By the mid ’70s, the Chevy Blazer, Ford Bronco, and International Harvester SUVs all had a ballast in the bazaar for those adorable for a backcountry camping agent or a ample 4×4 that was altered than a auto truck. With basement for bristles or six adults and advantageous V-8 power, the Ramcharger offered Mopar admirers their own fullsize SUV.
1st Generation (1974-1980) The aboriginal Ramchargers were absolutely agnate to the Dodge pickups of the day but sat on a beneath 106-inch wheelbase. Aback the ’74s were introduced, they were full-time 4WD only, but Dodge bound added a 2WD adaptation a year later. We’re anxious actuality primarily with the 4WD models.
First-generation models had a disposable auto and a bendable canvas top with roll-up ancillary windows was additionally accessible through dealers. The abeyance was acceptable blade springs advanced and rear, with recirculating-ball ability council as an option. Brakes were power-assisted advanced disc and rear drum.
Five altered engines were offered in assorted years in the aboriginal generation: a 225ci I-6, 318ci V-8, 360ci V-8, 400ci V-8, and 440ci V-8. The V-8 engines were the Chrysler LA alternation engines with accepted cyberbanking ignition, and the two bigger V-8 engines were phased out with the ’78 model.
Common transmissions included the A230 three-speed synchronized chiral (mostly abaft I-6 engines), NP435 four-speed chiral (6.68:1 Aboriginal gear), or the NP445 close-ratio four-speed chiral (4.56:1 synchronized Aboriginal gear). For an automatic, it was the three-speed Torqueflite 727.
Dodge assorted the arbor gearing over the years to board the assorted engines, transmissions, and annoy sizes. Commonly accessible arbor ratios were 3.21:1, 3.55:1 and 3.90:1. The advanced beeline axles were Dana 44 units, while the majority of rear axles were Chrysler 9 1⁄4-inch units. Some Chrysler 83⁄4-inch rear axles fabricated their way beneath ’70s Ramchargers, and we’ve heard alpine tales of semi-float Dana 60 rears, but we’ve never absolutely appear beyond one.
The ’74-’79s acclimated full-time 4WD with a cast-iron, chain-drive NP203 alteration case (2.0:1 low range). The NP203 acclimated an centralized cogwheel to acquiesce for capricious speeds amid the advanced and rear axles on harder surfaces. The alteration case had bristles settings: High, High Loc, Low, Low Loc, and Neutral. Aback placed in one of the Loc modes, the centermost cogwheel was locked, carrying according ability to both axles. Neutral could be acclimated for a ability ascent option.
While the declared accessibility of full-time 4WD with the NP203 alteration case seemed attractive, there were some downsides. Overall gas breadth suffered due to the alteration case differential, and the advanced arbor unitbearings (wheel bearings) would abrasion anon if not kept anointed on a approved basis. Mile Marker offered a kit to catechumen the alteration case to part-time operation, and freewheeling hubs could be swapped assimilate the advanced axles. A “Sure Grip” bound blooper was generally an advantage in the rear axle.
Starting with the ’80 Ramcharger, a part-time, aluminum case, chain-drive NP208 alteration case (2.61:1 all-embracing low range) was acclimated to alter the full-time NP203, and the caster adjustment afflicted from the antecedent generation’s 5-on-4.5 adjustment to a 5-on-5.5 pattern. The advanced arbor additionally ditched the weaker semi-float unitbearing architecture for the added abiding closed-hub and arbor adjustment that Chevy and Ford cartage had enjoyed. This was accumulated with the use of automated locking hubs on the advanced Dana 44 axle, but for the ’85 Ramcharger the hubs were replaced with simple drive flanges and a two-piece, vacuum-actuated centermost arbor abstract was active to advice abate abject losses. Aback in 2WD, a about-face collar broken the passenger-side axleshaft and the spider apparatus central the accessible advanced animosity would circuit instead of the accomplished advanced driveshaft and T-case advanced achievement shaft. The exhaustion actuator apparatus on these would eventually prove to be alarming and somewhat capricious in operation.
2nd Generation (1981-1993) For the ’81 models, there was a revised Ramcharger aback the Ram auto redesign was introduced. With this version, the welded-steel top was no best removable. Also, the bottom breadth for the rear bench was alone bottomward to action bigger rear basement legroom.
The 5.2L and 5.9L V-8 engines connected to ability the Ramcharger, and the ’88 models with the 5.2L got throttle-body ammunition bang (TBI). The beyond 360ci, 5.9L V-8 got TBI a year later. Multi-port ammunition bang was alien in the ’92 Ramcharger with the appearance of Chrysler’s redesigned Magnum 5.2L V-8 and again on the Magnum 5.9L for the ’93s. The Slant 225 I-6 was phased out way aback in the ’82 model.
The NP435 four-speed chiral manual was installed in a lot of second-generation Ramchargers. The Torqueflite 727 three-speed auto served through the ’91 Ramcharger and again gave way to the A518 four-speed auto (0.69:1 overdrive).
The NP208 connected to be the alteration case of best through the ’87 trucks. Also, the ’83s saw automated locking hubs and shift-on-the fly assurance to acquiesce alive in and out of 4WD at speed. Starting with the ’88s, the aluminum-cased chain-drive NP241 alteration case (2.72:1 low range) was acclimated until the aftermost year of the Ramcharger. The ’89s got rear antilock brakes.
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