Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Electronic Range Select (ERS) Operation - Six-Speed Transmission

Ram Truck 1500 2500 3500 (2009 - 2018) Owner's Manual / Starting And Operating / Automatic Transmission / Electronic Range Select (ERS) Operation - Six-Speed Transmission

The Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control allows the driver to limit the highest available gear when the shift lever is in the DRIVE position. For example, if you shift the transmission into 3 (third gear), the transmission will not shift above third gear, but will shift down into second and first gears normally.

Use of ERS (or TOW/HAUL mode) also enables an additional underdrive gear which is not normally used during through-gear accelerations. This additional gear can improve vehicle performance and cooling capability when towing a trailer on certain grades. In ERS mode, gears 1 though 3 are underdrive gears, and ERS 4 is direct drive. ERS 5 and 6 (Overdrive gears) are the same as the normal fourth and fifth gears.

You can switch between DRIVE and ERS mode at any vehicle speed. When the shift lever is in the DRIVE position, the transmission will operate automatically, shifting between all available gears. Tapping the ERS (-) switch (column shift) or tapping the shift lever to the left (-) (console shift) will activate ERS mode, display the current gear in the instrument cluster, and maintain that gear as the top available gear. For example, if you are in DRIVE and are in third (direct) gear, when you tap the shift lever/switch one time in the (-) direction, the display will show 4 (ERS 4 is direct gear). Another tap down (-) will shift the transmission down to ERS 3 (the added underdrive gear). Once in ERS mode, tapping ERS (-) or (+) will change the top available gear.

Automatic Transmission
Column Shift Lever

Automatic Transmission
Console Shift Lever

To exit ERS mode, simply press and hold the shift lever to the right (+) (console shift) or press the ERS (+) switch (column shift) until "D" is once again displayed in the instrument cluster.

WARNING! Do not downshift for additional engine braking on a slippery surface. The drive wheels could lose their grip and the vehicle could skid, causing a collision or personal injury.

NOTE: To select the proper gear position for maximum deceleration (engine braking), simply press and hold the shift lever to the left (-) (console shift) or the ERS (-) switch down (column shift). The transmission will shift to the range from which the vehicle can best be slowed down.

CAUTION! When using ERS for engine braking while descending steep grades, be careful not to overspeed the engine. Apply the brakes as needed to prevent engine overspeed.

Overdrive Operation

The automatic transmission includes an electronically controlled Overdrive (fourth and fifth gears). The transmission will automatically shift into Overdrive if the following conditions are present:

  • the shift lever is in the DRIVE position,
  • the transmission fluid has reached an adequate temperature,
  • the engine coolant (antifreeze) has reached an adequate temperature,
  • vehicle speed is sufficiently high, and
  • the TOW/HAUL switch has not been activated.

When To Use TOW/HAUL Mode

When driving in hilly areas, towing a trailer, carrying a heavy load, etc., and frequent transmission shifting occurs, press the TOW/HAUL switch to activate TOW/ HAUL mode. This will improve performance and reduce the potential for transmission overheating or failure due to excessive shifting. When operating in TOW/HAUL mode, transmission upshifts are delayed, and the transmission will automatically downshift (for engine braking) during steady braking maneuvers.

Automatic Transmission

The "TOW/HAUL Indicator Light" will illuminate in the instrument cluster to indicate that TOW/HAUL mode has been activated. Pressing the switch a second time restores normal operation. Normal operation is always the default at engine start-up. If TOW/HAUL mode is desired, the switch must be pressed each time the engine is started.

WARNING! Do not use the "TOW/HAUL" feature when driving in icy or slippery conditions. The increased engine braking can cause the rear wheels to slide, and the vehicle to swing around with the possible loss of vehicle control, which may cause an accident possibly resulting in personal injury or death.

Torque Converter Clutch

A feature designed to improve fuel economy has been included in the automatic transmission on your vehicle.

A clutch within the torque converter engages automatically at calibrated speeds. This may result in a slightly different feeling or response during normal operation in the upper gears. When the vehicle speed drops or during some accelerations, the clutch automatically disengages.


  • The torque converter clutch will not engage, and the transmission will not shift into the top overdrive gear, until the transmission fluid and engine coolant are warm [usually after 1 to 3 miles (2 to 5 km) of driving].

    Because top gear is disabled, and the engine speed is higher when the torque converter clutch is not engaged, it may seem as if the transmission is not shifting properly when cold. This is normal. Using the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control, when the transmission is sufficiently warm, will demonstrate that the transmission is able to shift into and out of Overdrive.

  • If the vehicle has not been driven for several days, the first few seconds of operation after shifting the transmission into gear may seem sluggish. This is due to the fluid partially draining from the torque converter into the transmission. This condition is normal and will not cause damage to the transmission. The torque converter will refill within five seconds after starting the engine.


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