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February 19, 2015
Everything seemed normal as I was driving my daughter to school in our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. Well, almost normal. Five minutes earlier it had cranked an unusually long time (3 or 4 seconds) when I'd started it at home. That rather innocuous incident marked the third such occurrence in three consecutive days, so I made a mental note to tell the dealer about it at the next oil change before I backed out of my driveway and set off.
That plan abruptly changed as I rolled up to a green light and began a right-hand turn. A single-note chime resonated through the cabin, and I glanced down to find a brand new check-engine light glowing on the dash. Ten seconds later the engine died abruptly as I was slowing for the next red light.
I was gently brushing the brakes going no more than 20 mph when it happened, but the sudden loss of power brought me to a stop three truck-lengths short of the line. It was as good a spot as any for something like this to happen. This was a little-used shortcut with almost no traffic. But I was out in the second lane. I needed to move on or move over. So I pushed the start button and attempted a restart.
It was no good. The starter simply cranked and cranked until it timed-out after 25 seconds. I tried again and got the same result.
February 17, 2015
After a round of home improvement projects over the last couple of months, I had a side yard full of wood scraps and other junk to get rid of. Despite not having a protective bed liner, our Ram 1500 handled the task with ease, and without a scratch.
February 10, 2015
This trim panel has been misaligned on our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel for as long as I can remember. Hasn't changed my life at all. In fact, I still love this truck.
Click though to see what it should look like.
February 9, 2015
January wasn't the most eventful month for our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel but we still managed to pile on another 1,400 miles, tow a car, haul a motorcycle and back over our neighbor's flowers.
Numbers are on the other side.
February 4, 2015
There's still plenty of rubber left on our Ram's 275/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires as we approach 25,000 miles. This is what the wear bars look like on both the front and rears as of this writing. Notice how much rubber remains above the wear bar. About 7/32-in of the original 11/32-in remains. In other words, there's plenty of life left in these tires.
January 27, 2015
I've had a lot of good experiences with our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel's UConnect system. This isn't one of them. I almost always check traffic on the 91 freeway before I jump on to travel a few exits to a place we frequent for dinner. Over the holiday I did just that. Often this check is performed with a smart phone from my driveway, which has proven reliable. This time, however, I only glanced at the Ram's nav screen.
I regretted it.
January 16, 2015
I'm not Dan Edmunds. The dude is a towing expert, all concerned with tongue weight and balance, brake gain and hitch drop. Nope. I'm not that guy. In fact, I've hardly towed at all. But I'm here to tell you that our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel makes towing easy.
January 9, 2015
We put only about 1,500 miles on our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel in December. We didn't tow and there were no road trips. In other words, it was a slow month. Best fill (17.1 mpg), worst fill (27.9 mpg) and best range (700.2 miles) remain the same as last month.
Click through for all the details.
January 6, 2015
The DEF gauge on our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel sank into the red zone as I towed Josh's racecar southward towards home. I know what you're thinking: "Didn't they add DEF just a few weeks ago?"
Well yes, and no. Yes, we last filled the tank on October 25. And, yes, the day I added it was November 30.
But you must remember this: We put over 5,000 miles on our Ram in November alone. That's anywhere from three to five months for most people. We had driven 5,335 miles since our last DEF add, and a good percentage of those were towing miles.
Also, the DEF tank wasn't quite empty when I added my 6 gallons. The warning lights had not yet come on. I could have stretched it out another 500 miles or more. But the needle was clearly in the red, and I don't like handing over a vehicle with an impending issue to the next guy or gal.
Besides, I'd never yet added DEF to any vehicle. I was curious.
December 31, 2014
One of the many upgrades with the Laramie trim level of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is this "wood" trim. It's on the doors front and rear along with a few sections of the dashboard.
December 30, 2014
Alert FEMA and the media. It rained for more than 24 hours in Southern California recently. Couple of times, actually. Yes, it's predictable and boring to discuss the weather, especially rain in the Southland, almost as predictable as the bad behavior of the wet weather drivers who live here. Nice to have the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel on days like this.
December 29, 2014
Getting out of our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel the other day I noticed this small issue. The rubber door trim that insulates the rear of the cabin from wind noise and other such issues is falling off.
December 26, 2014
I pulled the front passenger door handle on our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and it stuck...
December 24, 2014
Recently we tested a 2015 Volkswagen eGolf. We test all electric vehicles with a full charge, and oftentimes, they are so depleted by the end of testing that they don't have range to get home. To get around this, we tow them to and from the track. This time we used our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as chauffer...
Before towing we had to do some quick math:
December 22, 2014
With the Thanksgiving festivities behind us, it was time to prepare for the 1,040-mile drive home. But this wasn't a simple matter of loading ourselves into the cab and sliding our suitcases under a tarp in the bed and waving goodbye. Before we could set out I first had to drive across Bend to pick up a trailer.
One of my co-workers had bought a rally-prepped Subaru RS 2.5 from someone that just happened to live nearby. The transaction had been in the "deposit" stage for some weeks while he made plans to come up and get it, but then we both realized two things: I was going to be in Bend for my own reasons, and I had already signed out the 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel so I could collect the contents of my daughter's dorm room at the University of Oregon.
I stopped for more diesel fuel on the way over to grab the trailer even though I didn't strictly need it yet. A fresh top-up would isolate the non-towing miles from the towing ones in the logbook. So with "just" 372 miles on the clock the attendant added 15.824 gallons.
That works out to 23.5 mpg for a tank that included a fair bit of messing around on dirt roads, sightseeing and driving around town. Taking all three tanks together, the entire 1,513-mile trip to this point had gone down at 24.7 mpg.
December 16, 2014
The second phase of our trip saw us leave the Oregon coast behind in our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel and head inland to Bend. Along the way we stopped in Eugene to pick up our eldest daughter at the University of Oregon. I also refilled it (had it refilled; pump-your-own-gas in not allowed in Oregon) with more diesel before the four of us headed farther east.
This was only our second fuel stop after 1,140 miles on the road. The first had been in Willits, Calif., some 557 miles behind us. Our friendly Eugene station attendant added 21.451 gallons, which works out to 26.0 mpg. Not bad for a tank that was almost exclusively comprised of meandering two-lane roads that hugged the coastline, wound alongside rivers and climbed over more than a few grades and hills, including a handful of trips up Dad's half-mile long 15-percent driveway.
Bend is on the east side of the Cascade Range, and when we arrived there was snow on the ground. It had snowed a few days earlier, and it was fairly cold, but not yet Polar Vortex cold. Still, this gave us the chance to appreciate a couple of cold-weather Ram features.
December 11, 2014
Regular readers of the escapades of our long-term test fleet are well aware of my semi-regular forays north to my parents' place on the stunning Oregon coast. This time our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel got the nod. This choice wasn't much of a choice because I had two additional objectives beyond visiting Mom and Dad and spending Thanksgiving with my wife's family over in Bend, Oregon.
I needed to stop at the University of Oregon in Eugene to load up my eldest daughter's dorm room. The Toyota Highlander could have handled that, but I also volunteered to tow a racecar back to southern California for a co-worker. How could I not? He happened to buy his rally-prepped Subaru Impreza 2.5RS from a guy that lived no more than five miles from where we'd be devouring our turkey.
December 10, 2014
Our 11-foot-tall Christmas tree (plus stand) didn't exactly fit in the bed of our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, but as you can see, the truck got the job done.
December 4, 2014
November was a busy month for our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Nearly 5,200 miles were added, and about half of them resulted from a Thanksgiving road trip to Oregon I still haven't told you very much about.
The above photograph hints at what was going on, for half the time, at least. Yes, I towed a trailer containing a rally car all the way back. You can't see from here, but the bed and cab are all loaded with tires and the contents of my eldest daughter's dorm room. And the wooden splash panel on the nose of the trailer is concealing a massive steel Jobox tool box filled with a few hundred pounds of spare car parts. The car itself is packed with more tires, three packed suitcases and trash bags full of clothes and bedding.
So it should come as no surprise that I reset the Ram's worst tank this month. After all, I towed the lot from Bend, Oregon over Santiam Pass to Eugene and then south along Interstate 5 over numerous other passes until we crested the Siskiyou Summit and rolled down into Yreka, California for a stretch and some more diesel fuel.
But that new "worst" tank was still a respectable 17.1 mpg. Not bad for towing in the mountains with what I figure is about 6,000 pounds of added weight, possibly more. And the subsequent all-towing tanks that finished the 1,040-mile trip home were 19.4 and 20.5 mpg.
It would seem that diesel pays its biggest dividends to those that tow.
December 2, 2014
Evidently the Edmunds staff likes our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I know I certainly do, but it takes more than one fan to reach 20,000 miles in 7.5 months around here.
At its core, the Ram 1500 is my current favorite full-size truck, EcoDiesel or otherwise. I like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine and the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 just as well. The more I drive any of them I become an even bigger fan of Ram's decision to fit coil spring rear suspension. I quite like the 8-speed automatic transmission, too, even if it does necessitate the use of a rotary shift knob. And the interior and the latest iteration of the U-Connect system are nothing less than fantastic.
For the record, the 20,000-mile mark was reached about halfway through a trip to Oregon and back that I'll be telling you about soon. I hadn't yet driven a Ram pickup on my semi-annual 2,000-mile excursion, but without spoiling too much in advance I can say the whole family has been happy with the choice.
November 28, 2014
It was the morning of the day I planned to head north to Oregon in our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I had a story to finish and some errands to run before my daughter got out of school and we could wade out into Friday evening traffic and get going. In the midst of it all the Oil Change Due warning popped up on the truck's information screen.
This wouldn't have been a surprise to any normal vehicle owner, but we swap this truck around amongst the staff. No one prior to me had seen the 500-mile countdown clock begin issuing its notifications. I was mentally assuming 20,000 miles, so the warning at 18,490 miles was a bit of a surprise. I'd completely forgotten that Josh had taken it in for its first oil change a bit early at 8,975 miles instead of 10,000 miles, and that dealer hadn't affixed a reminder windshield sticker behind the sun visor.
So at 11:00 a.m. on a Friday I rushed over to McPeek Dodge/Ram in Anaheim to see what the service department could do for me on short notice. I was in luck. Only two cars were left waiting in front of me from the morning rush. I didn't have time to let them tackle the tire rub issue, though, so I didn't bring it up. As it was I would have to wait 90 minutes for the oil change and tire rotation I absolutely needed.
Half expecting this, I camped out in the waiting area with my laptop to get some work done, surrounded by a pair of Vipers and a couple of R/T Challengers.
November 24, 2014
When we left off Laguna Seca Track Day, Part 1, I had arrived in my typical late fashion to the hotel the night before the two-day car/motorcycle track weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel had performed well on the drive to Monterey, hauling my sportbike in the bed while towing my turbo Miata on a trailer.
Early the next morning it was a quick drive to the track, and that's when things got interesting.
November 18, 2014
The front seat of our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is showing some wear after 16,800 miles of service. This seat is a comfortable place to be. I spent over 400 miles in the saddle yesterday and had no complaints. And I'm not sure how this plays into seat wear, but by the looks of things, our staff is right-cheek dominant.
November 17, 2014
You may recall earlier this year when we headed to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for what some guy termed "The Greatest Event in Track Day History."
Well, this past weekend we headed up to the Monterey area for another one of these Friends of Mazda two-day car/motorcycle track weekends. But this time instead of using the Silverado as bike hauler and our long-term Vette as track car, we loaded my Honda CBR600RR into the bed of our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, while towing my turbo Miata on a U-Haul trailer.
Much adventure ensued.
November 12, 2014
Senior Editor Josh Jacquot mentioned back in July that the tires on our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel rub the wheel wells in certain situations. Josh is probably going to try to garnishee my wages for saying this, but he's actually only half right.
How is this? Because only one of the wheels rubs. And it's the exact same situation every time.
That opening photo, of the driver's side front wheel area, shows the rub point on the fender liner, right near those two bolts. I wasn't sure what was going on for awhile, either, until I started turning the wheels full-lock both directions. The rubbing only occurs when you turn the steering wheel full lock to the right, at which point the left-side tire rubs up against the fender liner.
So the question is: Why is it doing this?
November 11, 2014
A buddy and I loaded our Honda CBR600RRs into the bed of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel last weekend and headed to Buttonwillow Raceway Park for a moto track day. Fellow Edmunds editor Mark Takahashi joined us, finally unleashing his beast of a Yamaha R1 on the track, too.
And wouldn't you know it, we got some of the rain we've so desperately needed here in southern California.
Of all the days Mother Nature chooses to drop the watery stuff, of course it's when we're trying to ride motorcycles around a race track.
While the track day wasn't the biggest success ever for us, thanks to constantly changing conditions (it eventually started pouring in the afternoon, and we packed it in for the day), the Ram was another story.
November 7, 2014
Our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel had a busy month, setting two new records for range and fuel economy, and adding 2,456 miles to the odometer. The two new records were achieved in consecutive fill-ups, where the Ram went 700 miles on one tank of fuel and averaged 27.9 miles per gallon on the next tank.
November 6, 2014
By day four of my road trip in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, I'd gone 1,200 miles and I was in a bit of pain. The truck didn't cause this discomfort, though. On day three, I had run an 8-mile Spartan Race in northern California then driven 500 miles to participate in an obstacle course called Tough Mudder the very next day.
If anything, the truck's excellent ride quality (combined with the ability to plug in a massage pillow) made the Ram a much better friend to me than I was to myself. So far, the truck had performed flawlessly.
November 5, 2014
Along the second leg of my 1,300-mile road trip, our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gave me a warning on the center screen that it was time to add some diesel exhaust fluid. I noticed the gauge was low before the trip, so I pre-purchased three boxes of DEF ahead of time. At my next stop, I added 7.5 gallons of DEF and logged the mileage. Here's a breakdown of all the DEF we've added to the Ram so far.
November 4, 2014
The first leg of my road trip in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was easy. I went 450 miles in eight hours without any discomfort. Day two in Nevada City, I ran errands and drove over the rolling hills near Tahoe National Forest. At this point, I was about 600 miles into my trip and things were going very well, but the most painful miles were yet to come.
November 3, 2014
After just six months in our fleet and right in the middle of my 1,300-mile road trip, our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel hit the 15,000-mile mark. We took the truck in for its first service a few months back, but it hasn't required any maintenance since then.
October 31, 2014
Our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel seems to be a road-trip favorite around here. It's got a big fuel tank, excellent seats and since it's the only pickup currently in our fleet, it's the default vehicle for hauling big items. My cargo was the hood from a 1970 Chevrolet Nova and it was too big for the available crossovers in the Edmunds garage, so I signed out the Ram last weekend for a road trip of my own.
My route went from Los Angeles to Nevada City, Sacramento, Temecula and back home to L.A. Seems like a complicated route just because car part, right? That's because it was just part of the journey.
October 23, 2014
I use cruise control more than most. Don't ask me why, but anytime I have clear road ahead of me I usually set my speed and hope that no one gets in my way for a while.
After using the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel's setup countless times I've grown to appreciate it for the most part, but it has its drawbacks.
October 20, 2014
We all know that L.A. traffic is no picnic. It's wildly unpredictable and wholly unavoidable. It isn't, however, like this. Ever.
Look closely. What you see here are surface streets in red and freeways in green. That means that the Ram's nav traffic thinks that all major surface streets (displayed in this particular scale) are jammed. Gridlocked. Every one. I've seen all sorts of weirdness on L.A. roads, but never anything like this.
October 16, 2014
I spent a week in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500, but unlike Josh who took the Ram on a multi-state road trip, I didn't have anywhere special to go. I took the truck to and from the office, to the grocery store and the beach, all of which are less than 5 miles from home. After seven days and only about 100 miles of driving, I decided I'd rather have our old long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado for this kind of city driving.
October 14, 2014
It's tough work helping a senior couple move from their home that they've lived in for over 35 years into a smaller new house. Fortunately our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was there to save the day. I honestly don't know what I would have done if I had to take one of our long-term SUVs — the Cherokee or the Highlander — for the job instead.
Here are the different ways I got to use our Ram like a truck.
October 9, 2014
In Sacramento temperatures are hitting the high 90s. But despite that I decided to do the sundress test on our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel's seats. Meaning I was going to jump in the hot dark gray leather seat that had been baking in the sun all afternoon, while wearing a mere sundress. Hard-core, I know.
October 8, 2014
If someone hasn't already created one, there should be a ride-sharing app for pickup trucks so you can just call one up on your smartphone when you need one! My uncle has wanted to work on his backyard shed for a long time but could never find a way to get the construction material to his home. Obviously his daily driver Corolla wasn't going to cut it and Home Depot won't deliver for such a small order.
October 6, 2014
I hadn't been in Sacramento 24 hours when it started. My uncle asked if I could haul some random items for him in the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. His daily driver is a Corolla so he was in dire need of something that could carry the two pieces of plywood, two tables, a bird fountain, and a potted plant that my parents gave him. That I gladly did. But then the next day, he asked if I could also do him a solid and help him pick up some plywood from Home Depot for a shed he was building. And then I wondered if this was just going to lead to more favors asked.
October 3, 2014
After 35 years, my parents are moving out of their home and needed some help so naturally I asked if I could borrow our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. So for the next week and a half, I'll be blogging about how much of a lifesaver this truck is. First here's how it did with hauling a dog.
Mya liked the truck on the nearly 400-mile trip from L.A. to Sacramento. She never zonked out completely, but she seemed cozy back there with plenty of room to spread out.
The backseat was perfect for dog hauling, what with the seatbelts that protruded from the seat making it easy to buckle her harness in and the rear-seat vents to keep her cool.
I don't think Mya appreciated the Ram's impressive fuel range, however. I only stopped once on the way up; not even to gas up but just to grab some lunch and give her a potty break. Since I was determined to get to Sacramento ASAP and the Ram didn't need a refill, I felt she could wait four hours after. And she did.
The only issue Mya and I encountered with the Ram is its height. Although she proved herself spry with our 2010 Ford Raptor, age seems to have hampered her jumping ability quite a bit.
October 2, 2014
In the month of September, our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel added 2,400 miles onto its odometer and drank nearly 120 gallons of diesel fuel. That equates to 20 miles per gallon for the month.
October 1, 2014
Part of my towing trip with our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel entailed parking the truck in the paddock at Thunderhill Raceway. This wasn't your typical parking lot with defined spaces. It was a haphazard clusterpark of street cars, beat-down hoopty race cars, RVs, trailers, giant bro-dozers, minibikes, strollers and lots and lots of pickups.
It was there that I availed myself of the Ram's folding mirror feature.
September 30, 2014
Hit the jump.
September 23, 2014
I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've towed with our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I'm usually the guy around here using our long-term trucks for towing, and if I haven't used the Ram for towing yet then its likely nobody has. Dan, maybe.
This time I towed a motorcycle engine-swapped Toyota MR2 on a steel trailer from Los Angeles to Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California, and back. It was, roughly, a 1,000-mile round trip.
How'd it go? Hit the jump.
September 19, 2014
Earlier this week, I took the side rails off our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I knew I'd be doing some light off-roading over the weekend and the side rails were a minor liability. At approximately 9:42 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I headed north of Los Angeles to the closest OHV (off-highway vehicle) area, a place called Rowher Flats.
Rowher Flats has lots of staging areas and smaller courses (with varying degrees of difficulty) for dirt bikes, ATVs and short-wheelbase Jeeps, but the big, bulky Ram is better suited for the wide trail up the mountain. The Ram also has a low hanging front bumper which greatly impacts its angle of approach, so I made sure to avoid steep inclines and pointy obstacles in the center of the road. So how did the full-size pickup do?
September 18, 2014
So this weekend, to prepare for a bit of light off-roading, I removed the rails. It would give me more clearance along dirt roads. And I think they make our truck look a bit clunky. Plus, I'm always looking for an excuse to get my hands dirty. Cue the workshop music.
September 15, 2014
Our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 is a Laramie, so it comes standard with a rearview camera, but front and rear parking sensors (Parksense as Ram calls them) are a $395 option.
Since I live in a crowded city and I parallel park quite a bit (yes, I've parallel parked the Ram about a dozen times over the last week) parking sensors are a bumper-saving piece of equipment that I'd opt for, but this particular system has a few issues.
September 11, 2014
This simple outlet in our 2014 Ram 1500 is often one of its most useful features, at least for people who need to randomly fire up a laptop on the road.
September 5, 2014
During the month of August, we put 2,272 miles on the odometer of our long-term 2014 Ram 1500, which required just over 100 gallons of diesel fuel. Those miles included the tail end of a road trip where the Ram was busy hauling lots of people and gear, as well as plenty of city miles in stop-and-go traffic.
September 2, 2014
Possibly you remember the broken interior light in our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Last month when I took the truck in for its first service the dealer ordered the part. A few weeks later I received a notice that the part, a small bezel to locate the lamp in the seat bottom, had arrived and that it would be held until this week.
What? Held until this week? What if we couldn't get the truck there by then?
August 29, 2014
Of the Big Truck Trio, the Silverado gauges have a cool and techy design touch, with the large speedometer and tach buttressing a bridge of four octagonal secondary gauges. Nice modern theme, with a splash of Corvette. The new F-150 forgoes analog secondary gauges altogether for a full-blown customizable 8-inch digital display anchoring speedo and tach and lightsaber-like needles.
August 26, 2014
The sound system in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is awesome. The 8.4-inch touchscreen display and the 10-speaker stereo are standard on all Laramie's. There's plenty of bass to fill the cabin, and the touchscreen interface is one of the easiest to use on the market today. On top of all of that, this thing catalogs and indexes my music at lightning speed.
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