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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all -

I saw a 2015 RAM 1500 Tradesman, 4x4, V8, 6-speed today at a dealer that has the traditional steering column shift lever vs. the dash-mounted electronic dial shift knob.

1) Is the steering column shift lever a mechanical linkage to the tranny, or is it electronic like the dial shift knob?

2) Were the trucks with the steering column shift lever built earlier than the current dial shift knob models?

3) Is the column shift lever more desirable for any reason??

Thanks...
Regards
 

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The column shift models are equipped with the 65 RFE transmission and utilizes a cable connection to the shifter. Knob equipped trucks have the 8HP70 transmission which is shift-by-wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
RamTech/earlzach - Thanks for clarifying. I am leaning toward the V8 Hemi and 6-speed. Trying to keep cost down. I'm currently driving a '97 K-1500 Silverado, 5.7 V8, 4-speed automatic with over 300K miles...so, the Ram V8/6-speed will be step up for me.
 

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It's worth it to get the 8 speed.
 
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RamTech/earlzach - Thanks for clarifying. I am leaning toward the V8 Hemi and 6-speed. Trying to keep cost down. I'm currently driving a '97 K-1500 Silverado, 5.7 V8, 4-speed automatic with over 300K miles...so, the Ram V8/6-speed will be step up for me.
...You want the 8 speed, test drive a 6 and an 8 and you'll see why. Plus if you keep this truck for 18 years like you did with your Chevy, you will recover the extra $500 cost of the 8 speed in fuel savings over the 6 speed. More importantly, it will be more enjoyable to drive.
 
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The 8 speed transmission is one of the biggest advancements Ram has. Nothing else is like it.
 

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Drink the kool-aid, this transmission really is that good. Ask mineralram, he was dead set against the 8 speed when he bought his '13, and just got a '15 with the 8.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey guys - I appreciate the advice. I agree...I would like to get the 8-speed, but the additional cost is approx. $2,340...there's an $1,840 credit to the overall cost if I get the 6-speed. If this truck was going to be an everyday vehicle, I could gladly justify the additional expense. I'm paying cash...been saving pennies since I bought my last new truck in '97. While I'm sure the 8-speed is a smoother ride, the 6-speed has to be better than the 4-speed I'm driving now.

Thanks for your help...
 

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Hey guys - I appreciate the advice. I agree...I would like to get the 8-speed, but the additional cost is approx. $2,340...there's an $1,840 credit to the overall cost if I get the 6-speed. If this truck was going to be an everyday vehicle, I could gladly justify the additional expense. I'm paying cash...been saving pennies since I bought my last new truck in '97. While I'm sure the 8-speed is a smoother ride, the 6-speed has to be better than the 4-speed I'm driving now.

Thanks for your help...
Probably not that much better!

Keep in mind that this is NOT like the (real) 6-speed transmissions that you hear about in current GM, Ford, and Toyota trucks.

The 65RFE is actually a reprogrammed 5-speed that uses gear ratios that are not all that different than your 4-speed in your 97. The only difference is the extra overdrive gear (0.67:1). In fact, the 65RFE shares the exact same gear ratios from the 4-speed transmissions used in Chrysler SUV's and Dodge trucks in the late 90's/early 2000's.

I had an 08 Ram and it's just an "OK" transmission IMO. It's the HEMI that will help make up for it's shortcomings and ultimately set it apart from your old Chevy.

I know it's been said (and I know you're considering the cost/savings) but the 8-speed is where it's at in terms of overall drivability, performance, and fuel efficiency. It is what sold me on my 14 Sport.

It sounds like you'll be happy either way though. Just wanted to add my 2 cents!

Good luck:smileup:
 

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65RFE Gear ratios:

1st 3.00:1
2nd 1.67:1
2nd Prime 1.50:1
3rd 1.00:1
4th 0.75:1
5th 0.67:1
Reverse3.00:1


46RE Gear ratios:

•2.45:1 (first gear)
•1.45:1 (second gear)
•1.00:1 (third gear)
•0.69:1 (fourth gear)
•2.21 (reverse)
 

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Take the plunge and go for the 8 speed, I will be the first to admit I was a hater of the 8 speed at first but after driving it for 5 days so far you will appreciate it.
 

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Biggest thing is the fuel economy difference, I just did a road trip and got 22 MPG with my Hemi, the Rams used to suck fuel until the put the eight speed in it.
 

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8-Speed ratios:

1st 4.71:1
2nd 3.14:1
3rd 2.10:1
4th 1.67:1
5th 1.29:1
6th 1.00:1
7th 0.84:1
8th 0.67:1
R (RWD) 2.65:1
R (AWD) 3.06:1


65RFE Gear ratios:

1st 3.00:1
2nd 1.67:1
2nd Prime 1.50:1
3rd 1.00:1
4th 0.75:1
5th 0.67:1
Reverse3.00:1


46RE Gear ratios:

•2.45:1 (first gear)
•1.45:1 (second gear)
•1.00:1 (third gear)
•0.69:1 (fourth gear)
•2.21 (reverse)
 

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They are throwing that big discount on the 6 speed cuz nobody wants one. 8 speed is where it's at.

GM is coming out with an 8 speed this year & Ford is supposed to be coming out with a 10 speed next year. However, those will be brand new drivetrains with who knows what teething problems. The ZF has been around quite awhile in big Bimers and Mercs plus several years behind the Hemi's. It's proven.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey all,

Thanks for the info on gear ratios in the 6-sp vs 8-sp. Given that the highest 3 gears in both the 6-speed and 8-speed are essentially the same ratios, I assume the difference in highway mileage is almost solely attributed to the final gear ratio...3.21 with the 8-sp vs. the 3.55 with the 6-sp which I am considering? I guess we're looking at about a 3 mi/gal difference between these two configurations in a 5.7 Hemi, 4x4 RCLB pick-up? As I mentioned earlier, my truck will not be an everyday vehicle. Use will probably be 1-2 x/week (Home Depot, carrying motorcycle in bed on trips, light off-road to fishing holes, maybe haul a 5-6K lb trailer on bike trips on rare occasions)

However, if you tell me the shifting/ride with the 6-speed is 'rough' for a pick-up, that would compel me to spend more $$ for the 8-speed. Then again, I've read a few complaints on this forum about clunky downshifts through g 2-1 with the 8sp tranny. That would drive me nuts if I were unlucky enough to draw that card!! I plan to drive both trannies before placing my order. Lastly, the 8-sp/3.21 will pull approx. 580lbs less than the 6-sp/3.55 in my planned configuration, per the Ram Brochure.

I do enjoy thinking through the technical details when ordering vehicles...it's fun, and I don't want to make a mistake I'll have to live with for a long time....so your real-world experiences with these trucks are sincerely appreciated...keep 'em coming. This will help my decision-making for this order.

Thanks and Regards
 

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I just finished pre-delivery inspections on a pair of Hemi Rams where the only difference besides paint color was one having a 6 speed and the other having an 8 speed. My take is that if most of your driving is on the highway, it really isn't going to make much difference in overall fuel economy since the OD ratios are the same. In city driving, I would give the advantage to the 8 speed. That being said, how many of you bought a Hemi Ram just for fuel economy?
 

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The 8 speed is about performance. It keeps you in the power band all the time and seamlessly. There is no comparison to the old 6 speed. The 6 speed is old technology and going away.
 

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You might also think about resale value. A truck with the 8-speed will likely be worth more down the road.

There are more differences between the 6-sp and 8-sp than just gear ratios. This is an excerpt from an FCA press kit (http://media.chrysler.com/newsrelease.do?&fIId=12166&id=12220&mid=23) for the 2013 Ram:


"Fully electronic, both the 8HP45 and 8HP70 transmissions feature on-the-fly shift map changing, with manual shifting steering capability using wheel controls. More than 40 individual shift maps for very specific conditions optimize shift quality and shift points for fuel economy, performance and drivability. The intelligent software takes into account variables including engine torque gradients, kick down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, hill detection, friction detection and downshift detection to determine the appropriate shift map. Additional parameters integrated into the control strategy include vehicle speed control, electronic stability control interaction and temperature. The result is automatic shifting ideally attuned to the performance requirements of almost any driving demand.

The transmission efficiency and wide ratio spread provide the best possible fuel economy by operating at a lower engine rpm in both city and highway environments. Driving at a lower rpm also helps to effectively reduce emissions by nearly 11 percent. Internally, identical transmission gear ratios are used in both the 8HP45 and 8HP70 transmissions.

The addition of more gear ratios also helps reduce the gaps normally associated with upshifting and downshifting.

Gear changes are nearly imperceptible due to the evenly spaced gear steps between each gear ratio. Internally, both transmissions have four gear sets and five shift elements (multi-disc clutches and brakes). Only two shift elements are open at any time. With fewer open shift elements, drag losses due to multiple parts rotating relative to one another are reduced, improving fuel efficiency.

High efforts in shifting have been eliminated with gear selection controlled by a shift-by-wire system. Shift positions, selected by the driver via a rotary e-shift dial on the instrument panel, are transmitted electronically with no mechanical linkage from the shifter to the outside of the transmission. Elimination of this linkage removes any shift effort from the driver’s gear selection but maintains an intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel. Calibration also is improved for smoother shifting in garages or while parking.

Torque capacity for the 8HP45 is 332 lb.-ft. (450 Nm). The heavy-duty 8HP70 has a torque capacity rating of 516 lb.-ft. (700 Nm)."
 
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