By Andrew Ganz
Monday, Jan 14th, 2013 @ 2:08 pm
 
The heavy duty towing war between Detroit's Big Three has been escalated to a new level. Chrysler's Ram trucks division has upped the maximum towing capacity of a properly-equipped version of its 2013 model year 3500-series pickup to a staggering 30,010 lbs.
That's a hefty increase from last year's 22,750, and it easily surpasses the 23,100 lbs. maximum for the formerly class-leading Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD. The Ford F-350 remains rated at 22,800 lbs.

According to a detailed chart posted to the automaker's media website, one Ram configuration's towing capacity exceeds 30,000 lbs. - a regular cab, long box model equipped with two-wheel-drive, the most powerful version of the automaker's 6.7-liter turbodiesel engine, the 4.10 rear differential and either the ST or Tradesman trim level.

However, a number of Ram 3500 configurations are rated to tow at or around 29,000 lbs., which is still significantly higher than the truck's competitors.

While few owners are likely to test the limits of the 30,000 lbs. maximum capacity, the figure does give Ram major bragging rights.

The boost comes courtesy of an additional 50 lb-ft. of torque (for a total of 850 lb-ft.) and a new-for-2013 high-strength steel frame, rated at 50,000 lbs. per square inch. In addition, the automaker says that it has strengthened the truck's transmission and transfer case, redesigned its U-joints for added strength and upgraded the truck's cooling system.

The new smart cooling system can sense high heat conditions or low oxygen environments, at which time it draws cooler air from the front of the vehicle. For snowy or wet conditions, the trucks pull air from inside the engine bay to reduce the risk of dampness getting into the intake.

Further aiding the truck's towing capacity is a new Hotchkiss rear suspension system on 3500 models. Also new for 2013 is an available fifth-wheel gooseneck trailer mount for heavy duty trailers (plus a backup camera mounted in the third brake light to aid trailer hookups) and a 17,000 lbs. Class V trailer hitch. Dually models now include class-exclusive stability control for all four of their rear wheels.

The heavy duty Rams also gain the same interior upgrades as their half-ton siblings, including a redesigned dashboard with an available 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system.