Ram Beefs Up Frame, Suspension for New 1500

2019 Ram 1500 Air Suspension

Everyone knows that if you want to build something solid and reliable, you have to start with a good foundation. That’s why, almost without exception, pickup truck makers tend to make significant upgrades to their ladder frames when they want to make a better pickup truck. And for the 2019 Ram 1500, that’s exactly what Ram engineers did, essentially starting with a blank piece of paper. The new Ram debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show News

The newly designed fully boxed frame has a new shape and design to act as a better platform for the existing independent front and coil-link rear suspensions. The frame is now thicker in the mid-section (almost 9 inches tall) with stiffer and more specialized front and tail sections; the total weight of the frame is now 100 pounds lighter, 98 percent of which is made from high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel.

The front section of the frame is interesting because the Ram 1500 uses a unique pair of front “splayed” frame rails designed to provide better crash absorption and deflection in the event of a direct or offset collision, as well as making for a more solid attach point for tow hooks. And the whole setup reduces weight in the front end of the pickup as well. Additionally, all Ram cabs now have tire blockers behind the front wheels to force the wheels outward after a collision (and not into the cabin where passengers are sitting).

The 2019 Ram frames uses the same number of cross-members as the 2018 model, but now it uses cross-through welds inside the frame and out to provide more structural stiffness and extra strength. In fact, Ram is saying the new 1500 has a maximum payload capacity of 2,300 pounds and a max tow rating of 12,700 pounds. Although not stated, both of those capacities are likely for a 4×2 Hemi-equipped long-bed regular-cab half ton.

2019 Ram 1500 Front Splayed Rails on Frame

Active tuned-mass modules use reverse damping to quiet vibrations caused by cylinder de-activation of the V-8 engine. These modules are attached to the frame. Ram goes one step further, providing noise-cancellation technology designed to listen for frequencies in the cabin and release a noise-canceling sound wave to make the cabin feel quieter than previous 1500s.

Ram uses the same coil-spring rear end and independent front suspension it’s used before but with a few twists. The front suspension will remain coil-over with a double A-arm, but the lower arm is now made from lighter-weight aluminum and the upper A-arm is now made from composite materials, a first in the class. Additionally, Ram moved the front stabilizer bar (now 20 percent stiffer) behind the axle.

The rear suspension will continue to offer a choice (depending on trim) between the progressive coil springs with two control arms on each side and a bigger panhard rod locating the axle. The same rear-link setup works with the four-corner air suspension as well. Finally, Ram will use a brand-new shock absorber on all trim levels except Rebel, which gets a newly tuned Bilstein setup. The new shock absorber allows for an extra internal bypass that can be firm at higher speeds and smoother when slower inputs are sensed. The result, we’re told, is more comfort and control, no matter what the speed or conditions.

Finally, the 2019 Ram 1500 will offer a new rear locking differential for all trim levels (standard on the new 4×4 Off-Road Package and the Rebel), along with all six-lug axles across the lineup. An industry-first thermal axle heat exchanger to help warm up the gear oil faster will be included on 4×2 Ram 1500s, the result of which is to incrementally improve fuel economy.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Former Editor Mark Williams lives in Southern California with his wife and enjoys camping, hiking, skiing, big trucks and towing, and backcountry 4x4 driving. Email Mark Williams

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