SCORE Journal


SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 73 of 85

POWER PLAY The Ram 1500 TRX Battles For Off-Road Truck Supremacy By Dan Sanchez For decades, Ram (then Dodge Ram) pickups had the off-road market covered with the Ramcharger SUV and the Power Wagon. Heck, even Chuck Norris drove them, so you knew they were tough vehicles. After several decades, Ram continued with the Power Wagon and most recently the Ram Rebel as their specialized off-road trucks that are well-known for their capabilities and off-road specific features that out-perform standard trucks in their class. It wasn’t until now that Ram decided it was time to compete at the next level of off-road performance truck market and introduced us to its Rebel 1500 TRX. Why now? Perhaps it was time for Ram to demonstrate it has the engineering, powertrain, and styling to participate in the extreme performance truck arena, as well as in the muscle-car market with its Dodge Hellcat and SRT line of vehicles. “Ram has a strong history of high-performance trucks and TRX adds to that while expanding the light-duty lineup with the segment’s best combination of performance, capability, luxury, and technology,” said Mike Koval, Head of Ram Brand, FCA - North America. They started by equipping it with a variant of the Hellcat 6.2L, supercharged, Hemi V8 engine that produces 702 horsepower and 650 ft.-lbs. of torque. (The 6.2 in the Hellcat Dodge Challenger makes 717hp/656 ft.-lbs). The engine with a TorqueFlite 8HP95 eight-speed automatic transmission makes the Ram TRX the most powerful mass-produced truck from an OE, that propels from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a 1/4-mile acceleration time of 12.9 seconds at 108 mph, and a top speed of 118 mph. Those numbers alone are impressive even for a street-truck, but Ram engineers knew that wouldn’t be enough to sway hardcore off-road enthusiasts. So they decided to use a Baja racing inspired suspension system. This includes a Dana 60 rear solid axle equipped with a 3.55:1 ratio gearing and full-floating hubs and a locking differential, all coupled to a fine-link, coil spring system. The front suspension is independent with forged aluminum upper and lower A-arms with coil springs. No “Baja inspired” suspension system is complete without some serious shocks go to along with it. Ram kept with its OE partners and used a new Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shock that is 2.5-inch in diameter that is exclusive to the TRX. The shocks feature nitrogen-charged remote reservoirs and use an algorithm to continually monitor multiple vehicle sensors such as vehicle speed, throttle position, brake torque, steering angle, ride height, and more to change valving to each shock absorber. Also, the TRX has selectable modes for street, sport/road performance, and a Baja mode. They even have rock shields for the rear shocks which are a nice detail. What this all adds to is more than 13-inches of wheel travel front and rear, which allows a set of Goodyear 35-inch diameter All-Terrain tires on 18-inch beadlock wheels to flex inside composite 8-inch wide fender flares. This catches the attention of any SCORE fan, but if you’re thinking it’s just for high-speed desert fun, the truck with its’ lightweight coil spring suspension can still tow 8,100 pounds and has a cargo capacity of 1,310 pounds. Did we forget to mention that this is a four-wheel-drive truck? The TRX is outfitted with a new BorgWarner 48-13 full-time active transfer case with upgraded internals for improved strength and durability. Ram TRX features a low range of 2.64:1 for rock crawling and can be flat-towed while in neutral. While hardcore rock crawlers will be saddened that there’s not a solid axle Dana in front too, it’s hard to deny the TRX has some crawling capabilities too. If you’re not already impressed with the performance capabilities of the Ram 1500 TRX, then the body styling and interior will surely be like an extra helping of toppings on your FroYo. The hood scoop on the TRX is functional, and according to Ram engineers, provides up to 50-percent of the air to the supercharger. A new “Ram” front grille is aggressive looking while a front skid plate provides some protection from rocks and cacti. Additional protection is added to the sill plates and optional rock rails and powder-coated aluminum running boards are available. Inside, you can opt for the basic premium cloth and vinyl upholstery, or upgrade to full leather with suede inserts with red and carbon fiber accents. These are all part of various Equipment Group options available, but whichever you choose, the front seats will all feature improved side bolstering. A M.O.L.L.E system is also available as an option to the seatbacks. A flat-bottom, leather steering wheel is part of the TRX package with aluminum paddle shifters if you don’t want to shift from the floor shifter that has a metal grip wrapped in leather. Electronics include a new head-up display with five different content areas as part of the TR2 Equipment Group. A seven-inch center touchscreen display operates the stereo system and navigation and includes Uconnect to keep drivers and passengers connected to a variety of mobile services. The display can also change to showcase the truck’s various drive modes that include Performance Pages that show o-60 mph times, g-force and engine performance, Off-Road Pages that show ride height, transfer case position, pitch and roll and more. The pages also allow the driver to see from the forward-facing camera and digital rearview mirror. Although the Ram 1500 TRX wasn’t tested in the Baja desert, engineers claim it has thousands of miles testing in extreme conditions. One of these was a new high-speed desert durability test track in which the TRX was subjected to thousands of high-speed desert off-road miles. While the Ram TRX is equipped with all the right components, it would be great to see how it would do in Baja at speed. For that, SCORE fans will have to wait until one of its owners will bring it out for a run. As of now, there were only 702 trucks built, and all of them are spoken for. SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-September-2020