What’s The Difference From One Year To The Next?
The Ram Brand generation opinions regarding the newer models of Dodge Ram Trucks are immeasurable as far as internet research goes. We thought we’d break it down a bit and give our take on the subject. For clarity's sake, it does have discernible differences between various years and models beyond optional equipment.
The Clear Generational Standard
The earlier Generations into the 2000’s were pretty clear regarding years and generations. Ram does have a history of releasing the Heavy Duty trucks re-design a year after the Half-Ton update. The pool of half-ton diesel buyers is deep so it makes sense to FCA US LLC & Chrysler to appeal to this group first.
For example, the 2002 Ram 1500 had the full chassis and body update, but the 2500 and 3500 did not see the same update until 2003. The 2009 Ram 1500 got a chassis and body update, the 2500 and 3500 did not see the body update until 2010. In 2013 things got weird, the Ram 3500 got a full suspension re-design, but the body stayed the exact same. The 2500 followed with an even more extreme suspension re-design, but just like the 3500, the body stayed exactly the same.
How Do The 4th And 5th Gen Measure Up
The question remains: What would be the difference between a 4th Gen Dodge Ram truck and the 5th Gen? Across the word walls of the forum-verse many users want to have a 4.5 Gen page dedicated to their particular generation of the truck, but find it quite difficult to say exactly what makes their model uniquely qualified for its own dedicated page.
Subjectively, Owners feel that since their 2019 Ram 2500 has a different grille and headlight shape, that alone makes their truck a 5th Gen. Specializing in the Dodge Ram 2500/3500 platform at Thuren Fabrication, we are of the opinion that there’s a place for the 4.5 Gen because we have yet to see a true 5th Gen Ram 2500/3500.
Let's Break It Down
Shedding some light on the subject by first referencing the Half-Ton truck, which historically leads the generation changes:
- 3rd Gen Ram 1500 Half Ton 2002-2008
- 4th Gen Ram 1500 Half Ton 2009-2018
- 5th Gen Ram 1500 Half Ton 2019-current
In the above years, there were across-the-board changes to the Ram 1500 and it was fully committed by Dodge. Full stop. Without lingering about, the suspension was different, or vice versa the body was different. The 2019 Ram 1500 gets the badge of a true 5th Gen as the entire platform was updated. The cab, the dashboard, the seats, the doors, the fenders, the bed, the taillights. Everything was changed when compared to the 2018 Ram 1500.
Explaining The 4th Gen 2500/3500 Ram Truck The Best We Can
Below is our take on the 4th Gen through 2022 Ram breakdown for the 2500 and 3500.
- Ram 2500 4th Gen = 2010-2013
- Ram 3500 4th Gen = 2010-2012
- Ram 2500 4.5 Gen = 2014-2022+
- Ram 3500 4.5 Gen = 2013-2022+
- Ram 2500 and 3500 5th gen? We have not seen one yet……
Is the 4.5 generation worth restructuring the forums? As the saying goes; good things come to those who wait. Let's see what the differences are and finally put to bed the discussion of Who’s on 1st What’s on 2nd, or rather Who’s truck is a 4.5 Gen and when 5th Gen 2500 and 3500 will show up to the party.
If people are calling the current truck the 5th Gen Ram simply because of a grill and headlight change, realistically the 2013-2014 complete suspension re-design would have been worthy of the 5th generation designation. When Dodge doesn’t fully commit to a platform redesign or stagger-steps the implementation for internal company reasons, it can become subjective amongst consumers quite quickly.
The 4th Generation Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Truck
The Ram brand and FCA US LLC have made some interesting decisions regarding their HD truck line. The 4th generation 2500/3500 had minimal changes to the chassis itself, compared to the 2003-2009 3rd Gen. Many suspension parts can be swapped between the 3rd and 4th gens. The very visually distinct and complete across-the-board body changes are what made the 2010 model year change to the 4th Gen designation.
What Exactly Is A 4.5 Generation Ram Truck?
The Four-Point-Five Gen Ram is a reality we will all have to accept due to the brains at Dodge. In their infinite wisdom, they decided to alter the suspension and undercarriage but leave the cab and bed the exact same.
In 2013, the Ram 3500 chassis is 100% re-designed, but the cab and body remain identical to 2010-2012. From 50 feet away you can’t tell a difference in the truck year by the body lines or grill shape. Since not one single suspension part swaps over from 2012, it seems fitting we call this 3500 truck a 4.5 Gen starting from 2013. These all-inclusive chassis changes followed the Ram 2500 in 2014 which defines it as a 4.5 gen as well.
Why are we not calling the 2019-2022 Ram 2500 and 3500, a 5th Gen?
In 2019 the Ram 2500 and 3500 got a small facelift. A very small one. Essentially the grill and headlights are different compared to 2018, and the tailgate has a very small change (approx. 1.5 inch) to the bottom of it.
Everything else body-wise is virtually identical. Doors, bed, main cab, tail light outline, etc all the exact same. Unlike the 2019 Ram 1500 which had a complete update to all of the aforementioned components.
There is zero correlation between the 2019 ram 1500 and the 2500/3500 of the same year beyond the badging. We suspect the usability of the cross-platform parts situation will become a reality when the 2500/3500 receives its 5th Gen update.
5th Gen Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500: Where It should All Come Together…eventually
As for the New Ram 5th Gen truck line-up, we suspect the 2023 to 2024 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 will get a similar cab to the current Ram 1500. This makes the most sense as we can’t imagine Ram Trucks would completely skip making the 2500 and 3500 look like the Ram 1500 similarly.
Waiting for the inevitable?
As most of us anticipate an update to the HD line of Ram Trucks next Fall, the rumor mill seems to be talking only about Styling and Tech. Zero information has been definitively released regarding any suspension, engine, or transmission updates.
We will keep our ear to the grindstone and update you as soon as we know of any suspension updates so you can know what we’re working on.