Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Off-Road Driving Tips And Vehicle Characteristics

Your vehicle has excellent on and off-road capabilities.

These off-road capabilities will allow you to explore those wilderness trails where few travel, providing a source of exciting and satisfying recreation. Before you venture out, you should contact your local governmental agency to determine the designated off-road vehicle (ORV) trails or recreation areas. You should always tread lightly and only use established roads, trails or ORV recreational areas. The National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or local Department of Natural Resources are a wealth of information and usually have maps with marked trails.

Skid Plates And Underbody Protection

Steel skid plates protect the major driveline components of the truck including the fuel tank, transfer case and steering damper. In addition, this vehicle is equipped with boxed cross members and fore/aft rails. This additional protection allows the vehicle to be utilized in severe off-road situations that would be considered impassable by a normal truck.

Ramp Travel Index (RTI)

The ramp travel index is the distance, in inches, that you can drive your vehicle with one wheel on a 20-degree ramp without lifting any other wheel off the ground. This distance up the ramp divided by the wheelbase of the vehicle and multiplied by 1,000 is the RTI. This vehicle has an RTI of 655, which means you can articulate one front wheel 32 inches in the air while the other three wheels remain in contact with the ground.

Water Fording Characteristics

Water fording characteristic is the vehicle's ability to cross a body of still water, where the powertrain and drivetrain are safe from water ingestion. This vehicle has high water fording characteristics with the ability to cross a pool of water, without stopping, 24 inches deep at a maximum speed of 10 mph (16 km/h) and a pool of water 30 inches deep at a maximum speed of 5 mph (8 km/h), both with an entrance ramp angle of 1.3 degrees.

CAUTION! The door sill height is 25 inches. Water may intrude into the interior of the vehicle at greater depths.

Simultaneous Brake And Throttle Operation

Many off-road driving conditions require the simultaneous use of the brake and throttle (two footed driving).

When climbing rocks, logs, or other stepped objects, using light brake pressure with light throttle will keep the vehicle from jerking or lurching. This technique is also used when you need to stop and restart a vehicle on a steep incline.

The Basics Of Off-Road Driving

You will encounter many types of terrain driving off-road.

You should be familiar with the terrain and area before proceeding. There are many types of surface conditions: hard packed dirt, gravel, rocks, grass, sand, mud, snow and ice. Every surface has a different effect on your vehicle's steering, handling and traction. Controlling your vehicle is one of the keys to successful off-road driving, so always keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and maintain a good driving posture. Avoid sudden accelerations, turns or braking. In most cases there are no road signs, posted speed limits or signal lights. Therefore you will need to use your own good judgment on what is safe and what isn't. When on a trail you should always be looking ahead for surface obstacles and changes in terrain. The key is to plan your future driving route while remembering what you are currently driving over.

CAUTION! Never park your vehicle over dry grass or other combustible materials. The heat from your vehicle exhaust system could cause a fire.

WARNING! Always wear your seat belt and firmly tie down cargo. Unsecured cargo can become projectiles in an off-road situation.

When To Use Low Range

When driving off-road, shift into 4L (Low Range) for additional traction or to improve handling and control on slippery or difficult terrain. Due to the lower gearing, low range will allow the engine to operate in a higher power range. This will allow you to idle over obstacles and down hills, with improved control and less effort. Also, use 4L (Low Range) in rain, ice, snow, mud, sand, to get heavy loads rolling, improve traction, or whenever 4H (High Range) traction will not do the job.

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