2009 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Long Term Road Test - Cargo Space

2009 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Long Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (3)
  • Comparison (1)
  • Long-Term

2009 Dodge Ram: Weekend Warrior Duty

June 24, 2010


No lumber. No towing. No hard hat job sites. Just bicycles and fruit.

A couple of weekends ago a put our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram though the Suburbanites Truck Test.

The rigorous battery of tests included:

1) Haul the wife and kids around like any other car, SUV or minivan.

2) Haul the family and their bikes to the beach for a leisurely afternoon ride.

3) Haul us down to Irvine (60 freeway miles or so one way) tothe pick your own strawberries farm. (And no I didn't do donuts in the farm's dirt parking lot. Okay, so I did.)

By Sunday night I concluded that the coil sprung Ram is my favorite of the full-size truck choices. It's perfect for my city boy needs. Itsride and comfort levels are exemplary and its interior appointments are without a doubt class leading.

Still, not so sure I would get the Ram Box.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Closure

June 22, 2010


After my trip up to Truckee, I was able to squeeze one last use out of the Ram. It was time to put an end to that damn storage that's been a pain in my side for the last few months. Three pieces of furniture were all that remained in the once packed 10'x15' space. In two trips we closed the account and I gave up my garage for the foreseeable future.

It was suggested by a few readers comments that I'm not an enthusiast if I prefer the Ram over the GT-R and that I only like the Ram because I had something to move. Am I going to deny that I used the Ram to do a lot of dirty work? Obviously no. It has been immensely helpful to me in the last year. But in all honesty, I loved driving this thing empty. It came with the added bonus of being able to haul my stuff around.

Don't get me wrong, I like the GT-R. It was a blast to drive, but I prefer trucks. I don't think that makes me less of an enthusiast. Just makes me a truck guy. Why don't I buy it? Believe me, if I could buy this thing, I would. It just aint' gonna fit into my life at this moment with a mortgage, an engagement ring and car payments. I've only so much money to go around, but it does make me look to about two years down the road when I can plunk money down on a truck of my own. A year in the Ram has really shown me that I should have bought a used pick-up as I had planned instead of my Mazda 3. The deal I got on the 3 was so smoking good at the time that I went for it.

In the mean time, I'll definitely be looking forward to the next truck that comes into the office. And yes canadaphant, I think the Ram might miss me. (That comment made me laugh for half the afternoon).

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 33,287 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: One Last Road Trip

June 21, 2010


The Ram will be leaving us shortly. I had very little time left to replace the stove at my family's cabin north of Lake Tahoe. I reserved the Ram for an extended weekend, went home and packed.

Our cabin was closed for the winter, so it was important that my lady and I left early so we could get there with some daylight left to turn the power back on and flush the plumbing of all the antifreeze. Come early Friday morning we left L.A. for a stopover in Truckee to pick up the new stove.

I love trucks and this has been one of my favorites of all time to drive. I think it looks great, it's super comfortable, it's powerful and is a blast to drive. I felt sentimental as I drove the many hours north to Truckee, knowing that this would be my last trip in the Ram.

I used the Ram to close my family's cabin for winter last season. I used it to move into my house. I used it on a couple of really nice camping trips. I drove thousands and thousands of miles in our Ram and I loved every minute of it. In fact, the Ram would always be my first choice of vehicle in the long-term fleet, over the GT-R, over the Viper, over anything. It has been my favorite long-term vehicle in the last few years.

When I got to Truckee, the guys at the Sears helped me load the stove into the back. I used the integrated box divider to snug the box into the bed and with the adjustable cargo tie-downs I was able to get three ratchet straps around it all. I know these cargo management features are not unique to Dodge, but they're super convenient and efficient.

During the drive up the mountain, the strong engine made it feel as though there was no oven in the cargo bed. The Ram effortlessly powered up the steep grades. We got to my cabin later than I hoped. I unloaded the new stove from the bed, loaded up the old one and took it to the dump 40 miles away.

When I got back, I discovered that a pipe hadn't drained properly so it froze and burst over the winter. A bunch of sediment had gotten into the pipes and blocked the drain line. The primitive plumbing in our cabin made it so I had to shut off the main, making staying for the weekend rather unpleasant. A plumber friend of ours in the area couldn't make it out till Monday. That meant it was a quick turn around for us. The next morning it was back into the truck for a long drive home.

During the nine hour drive back, my lady and I both loved the comfort the Ram offered to us weary travelers. I never got numb butt/things. My back didn't get stiff. The only thing I got tired of was driving. I had been in the truck for almost two days.

When I pulled into the office this morning, I checked Trip B. I put 1,371 miles on it over the weekend. A lot of driving, a lot of dead bugs on the grille, a lot of good memories.

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2009 Dodge Ram: Ram Box is Cooler

June 14, 2010


It took me a full year, but I finally figured out a practical use for the Ram's Ram Box. Yes, we had a good party. By the way, that's nine bags of ice. Please don't drink and drive.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2009 Dodge Ram: DIY Home Improvement

June 09, 2010


Living in the same town as your car-testing colleagues is a good thing, especially when you have a last-minute need for a truck.

The Sundayafternoontext conversation between me and Manager of Vehicle Testing Mike Schmidt (fellow Long Beachian) went something like this:

Me: What are you driving?

Schmidt: Ram.

Me: You busy?

Schmidt: Why?

Me: C'mon.

Schmidt: What do you need to move?

Me: Ganahl lumber yard. Need 200 ft of baseboard and door casing.

Schmidt:Game's at 4. Better be quick.

Turns out,my"rental" truck came with free labor.

That Mike Schmidt's one nice guy.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Loaded

June 02, 2010

Here's what 408 pounds of orange Austrian two-wheeled badassery looks like in the back of the Ram. Couldn't even detect its presence. Other than being paranoid about losing it and driving accordingly, there's was no real reduction in the Ram's performance. Over the course of 420 miles, it rode virtually the same and its power was still more than adequate. When it comes to the combination of towing, hauling and ride quality, I haven't experienced a better truck.

But it's hard to eat a pizza on the tailgate with a motorcycle in the bed.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor

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2009 Dodge RAM 1500: Tied Down All Weekend

May 04, 2010

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 bed cleats.jpg

Our long-term 2009 Dodge RAM 1500 spent another weekend hauling motorcycles around. Combine a functional ride like the RAM with HEMI power, and you begin to appreciate the stout integrated cargo tie downs. I've never put huge trust in any mounting point that wasn't welded in place, but the RAM's setup is starting to win me over.

Mounted along each long side at the top of the inside of the RAM's bed, the aluminum rails are notched every few inches and provides two composite tie down cleats per side. Each cleat is flared and looped, making it easy to cinch rope or hook-in tie downs. The spring-loaded knobs in the center of the loops rotate out to loosen the cleats, letting you position it along the rail.

The way the plastic cleats interact with the aluminum rail, even the slightest side tension tends to lock the cleat in place. You'll constantly hang the cleat up just moving it loose along the rail. Actually setting the cleat into one of the notches and then snugging it down with the threaded knob almost seems like overkill. Once secured into a notch, the cleats did not budge even when hauled on with some serious Ancra tie down straps.

The adjustable placement, combined with the welded loops in the corners of the bed made for drama-free hauling', a bonus when constantly succumbing to the HEMI's urge to lunge away from stop lights. Hauling duties complete, the RamBox setup is a sweet spot to stow tie-downs, as the deep well towards the back of each box caches such ropey cargo without it constantly sliding around.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 27,175 miles

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2009 Dodge RAM 1500: Clean Bike, Dirty Truck

April 27, 2010

2009 Dodge RAM bike hauler.jpg

Well here's an unusual mix. Normally we'd be hauling filthy dirt bikes in the back of our typically preened Dodge RAM (with weekly washes, none of the fleet ever gets that crusty). Thanks to Romans mud puddle adventures and an assault on the Honda 250X with a determined pressure washer, the somewhat pristine bike spent part of the weekend on display in the back of our long-term Dodge RAM 1500.

Our 4x4 RAM's bed sports a fair amount of elevation, making creative driveway positioning a must for motorcycle loading unless you like launch-pad ramp angles. Though the RamBox option narrows the bed, there still tons of room in back for any one bike, and the adjustable cleats of the tie down system make cinching it down a snap. A factory bed-liner might be nice to help ward off corrosion, though I'm not sure if it would improve grip.

In typical California fashion, sundown brought a swift drop in temperature, turning the steel bed surface into a condensation plate. The nocturnal reload ended with unintended gymnastics as a frictional coefficient that would make ice seem gritty sent the low-siding front wheel and my first leg off towards the front of the bed. Luckily, by using the plastic tailgate cap as a shin grater on my trailing leg, I eventually halted the split. I should know better than to load in the dark.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor

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2009 Dodge Ram: Will It Make a Good Old Truck?

April 19, 2010


Our Dodge Ram is a seriously nice truck. On top of its beefy towing and hauling towing capacities, it's got a comfortable ride, a huge interior and enough luxury features to rival a Lexus ES350's. Other than fitting into compact parking spaces, you can pretty much do it all with this thing. But it does make me wonder what our Ram will be like in 35 years.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Better Than a Gas Station Burrito

April 15, 2010


If you're really cool, you'll remember that Senior Video Specialist (I'm only going to type that out once) John Adolph and I took our last long-term Dodge to Bonnevillein search of quiche, that as Editor in Chief Scott Oldham put it, was "to die for!"

This time, John Adolph, video mercenary Charlie Barkhorn and I loaded into another Dodge and headed to Vegas to cover theFuel Sipper Smackdown. Now in its third installment, The Smackdown took the usual route from San Bernardino to Las Vegas, by way of Death Valley. Far from the leisurely trip you think it was, we spent more time in the Ram then we did anywhere else, including the buffet, and dumped over 850 miles onto this thing in two days.

Observations? Oh yeah, we got 'em.

The Nav:
Dodge, Fiat, whomever, it's time to get a new system. While it's nice enough to look at, not being able to enter a new destination while moving almost caused us to punch this thing back into the dash. I can understand being concerned about the driver being distracted, but if you have a sensor telling you there's a passenger in the passenger's seat (and that said passenger is wearing their seatbelt) you might want to forward that information along to unlock the nav system. Changes in destination necessitated pulling over, putting the Ram in park and then fumbling through the stupid menus only to find that the system wasn't up to date enough for more than a few parts of Las Vegas. Don't let it happen again.

Also, like our Caravan, the nav calculates the time remaining on some unknown average speed that is not reflected by the posted speed limits. Check out the picture below to see what I mean.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Haulin' TV

April 13, 2010


And that's what a 52-inch LG DLP television looks like in the back seat of the Ram. Fit perfectly. It measures 56"x36"x15" so the Ram is the only vehicle in our fleet that would allow me transport it standing up.

Yes, I moved last week. No, it wasn't fun.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: How a Truck Bed Should Look

March 26, 2010


Now there's a truck bed. I have no problem whatsoever with the scratches thatdecorate our 2009 Dodge Ram's bed. Shows it's being used as intended. Gives it character. Heck, this one's not even really that bad.

I would go so far as to say that if one's truck bed doesn't have such scratches, the owner didn't need to own apickup in the first place. Need to tow but don't haul? Get an SUV. Want to go off-road? Here's a Jeep.

"What of bedliners?" you say. I hate them. Stuff slides around too easily on their cartoonishly ribbed surface. The cutouts in their lower corners usually give poor access to the tie-down cleats beneath. My hauling needs often include plastic gas cans, and bedliners and gas cans don't play well together on account of static electricity buildup. I could go on.

Besides, to my eyes, those things arelike a bra on the nose of a Porsche -- looks worse than going natural. And who are wesaving the paint for? The next guy?

"What about spray-in bedliners, such as those named after large African mammals?" That's just paint of another color. Sure, it's thicker, but that stuff still scratches through, albeit with more difficulty. I'd take it if it were factory installed, but on an after-sale basisI'm not interested.

What's the big deal? This is a truck bed. You can't see any of thiswith the tailgate up. Scratches are totally consistent with the point of the vehicle. They'rea kind of badge of honor. How come people get bothered by this?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 24,564 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Drywall Approved

March 24, 2010


Igrabbed thekeys to our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500the other day. I neededto pick up some insulation and drywall.Plenty of width. Even with the RamBox bins. The4x8-foot sheets slidinto the bed just fine. It was almost as ifDodge planned it that way. Now if only they could do something about making drywall less heavy.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 24,230 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Buuuudyyyyyyyyy!

March 15, 2010

I love trucks. Having said that, there are two reasons I'd NEVER get one:

First, I live on the west side of LA. There is a ton a traffic, lots of small streets and the parking can be a massive pain in the a** with such a large vehicle.

Second, I don't want to be "that guy." That guy who owns a truck. Every dirt bag you know that you haven't talked to in three years will call you up and ask how you're doing, how's the lady, how's this or that. They don't care about you. The jerk has a couch they want to ditch in an alley someplace and they can't fit it in their Civic. You (the truck owner) are now their best buddy in the world.

It's for those very reasons I asked for the keys of the Ram. Our company is "that guy" and I hit them up for a favor. Granted, it was very handy to have the truck for the flea market I went to, the four truck loads of boxes I had in storage and hauling away the unwanted cabinets. But in the end, I was that schmuck. I was living the free-loader's dream.


The only hiccup to the dream was a temperamental key fob. It wouldn't always unlock when I hit the key. I used the key to unlock the door but when I opened it the alarm went off. I stood there with sirens blazing hitting the unlock key until it finally worked several stressful minutes later.

I'm ashamed to say that I started to entertain other low-life schemes of truck use. Maybe I could pick up those fence segments at Home Depot. Maybe I could buy those bags of fertilizer and mulch for the garden...

Maybe I can call in another favor.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 23,057 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Track Star

March 09, 2010


Okay, I'm sold on our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram as a track support vehicle. I've used it a few times in this capacity, and each time it excels. This past weekend saw it serving tow and track supportduty from Los Angeles to Sonoma, home of Infineon Raceway. That track, by the way, is completely awesome. But I digress.

First, the Rambox. It's nearly as long as a Miata is wide, judging by the way it swallows an entire spare Miata steering rack complete with tie rod ends. Holds spare dampers, tiedown straps, tools... basically it's a great place for all the grimy stuff you don't want in the cabin but still want locked away. Knowing of the Rambox's fragility, though, I'm extra careful about what I put in there, and make sure pointy stuff is protected.

The Rambox does force you to be smart about packing the bed, but it'll hold everything I need --seven spare tires, a fueling rig, jerrycans, spare rusty suspension parts,a big plastic box full of important stuff that I never realize I actually have with me when the need arises, various and sundry other bits.

Flip-up rear seats are fantastic. Yeah, other trucks have them, too. I'm glad for that. Great feature.

Ridiculously tight turning circle. I mean really impressive.

Huge cabin. Lots of cargo capacity.

Hit the jump to see a list of a few items I wish the Ram had:

1. Stronger detents in the rear doors. They're weaksauce. If you open the doors all the way, the lightest breeze or a finger tap will close them, whacking you in your tookus. Heck, even the simple act of opening them briskly has them bouncing closed again. Very annoying.

2. A tailgate damper. I'm in a hurry at the track. I want to click the tailgate handle as I walk by without breaking stride sothat I can fetch the crap that needs to go in the bed. Yeah, it's only a few seconds to ease it down. But other trucks have damped tailgates; why can't the Ram?

3. An analog clock in the cabin. When the truck's switched off, there's no way to know how much of a hurry I need to be in while I'm rounding up items in the cabin. Can't wear a watch at the track; it'd get destroyed and/or risk breaking my wrist. And my arms are full of stuff, so no reaching into my pocket for the ol' cellphone watch.

Minor stuff. Great truck.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2009 Dodge Ram: Truckload of Girl Scout Cookies

February 23, 2010


February in my house means Girl Scout cookies. Lots and lots of Girl Scout cookies. Loyal IL readers may already know that as a troop leader and cookie mom, I'm responsible for picking up our entire troop's order from the "cookie warehouse," and I'veused long-term vehicles for this chore in 2007 (Kia Sedona), 2008 (Hyundai Veracruz)and 2009 (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo).

This year, the 2009 Dodge Ram was my accomplice, and we made our way over to the temporary warehouse in the wee hours of Saturday morning. In the past, we've been required to bring our own labor, but this year, two willing Girl Scout volunteers loaded Troop 4723's 88 cases in less than five minutes. Eighty-one cases fit snuggly in the Ram's 76-inch bed, and the remaining seven were tossed in the rear seat of the Dodge's Quad cab.

It's the first time I've used an open-bed truck to transport the cookies, and I have to admit, it sure beat climibing into the back of an SUV or minivan.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 21,013 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram: How Many Girl Scout Cookies Can It Carry?

February 22, 2010


On Saturday I used our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 to pickup my 10-girl Girl Scout troop's entire cookie order. Before I post the full story tomorrow afternoon, anyone care to guess how many cases (12 boxes of cookies to a case) fit securely in the Ram's 6-foot 4-inch bed?

We completely removed the Dodge's "Multi-Position Box Divider/Extender," and the load was approximately six inchestaller than the bed's side walls. The bed was completely full, so we put the last six cases in the cab's rear seat.

Although we did not use the RamBoxes during the actual cookie transport, four cases of cookieswould've fit nicely in each box.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 20,990 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: HazMat Disposal

February 08, 2010

HazMat 010-1600.jpg

You know that pile of old paint cans, solvents, and other accumulated stuff in the garage that you've been ignoring? Well, I got rid of mine this weekend. I was thankful for the Dodge Ram's nifty adjustable bed-divider that kept the cargo from moving around on the way to the disposal site.

I was also grateful for the smooth riding suspension, even with what amounts to an empty bed. I also mangaged to raise the running, average fuel economy (at least according to the onboard computer) from 14.1 mpg to 15.3 over the course of 275 miles.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 20,398 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: 20,000 Miles

February 04, 2010

Milestone Banner.jpgdodge_ram_20000.jpg

Last night on my ride home, our Dodge Ram passed 20,000 miles.

It's been bumped and bruised, towed a LeMon or two, hauled a lot of stuff, hauled a lot of a$$, and it's still going strong.

And it does all this with a pretty spiffy interior that includes heated seats and a glorious heated steering wheel.

We like it. What about you?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Obligatory Home Depot Run

December 28, 2009


I just got the keys to our new house. What do I do next? Get the keys to our Ram and make the first (of many) trips to Home Depot.

The back patio was gross. Covered in gunk, paint and mold I headed straight to the rental department and got a big ol' power washer. I forgot to bring any tie downs, so thankfully the Ram was equipped to hold the $1,000 power washer in place. I didn't want to damage something on the first home project. That indignity is saved for a time when someone can witness my stupidity.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 16,120 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Bed Questions Answered

December 04, 2009

CotW_05.jpg 2009 dodge ram bed

The other day in the open thread, commenter yellowmiata askedfor apictureofour Ram's bed with a piece of sheetrock in itto see how much the Ram Boxeslimit the space. Well, I don't have any sheetrock lying around, but I did measure the inside ofthe bed for you. And after doing a bit of research on the sizes of sheetrock available (and learning quite a lotabout sheetrock/drywall/gypsum board in general. Sheetrock always sounded like aFlintstones character to me; now I know better), I think it's safe to say that a4x8-foot sheet of drywall will not fit in the bed of our truck.Jump forthe measurements.

Length: 66.5 inches

Length with bed extender stowed: 64 inches

Length with bed extender in use: 84 inches

Width: 49.5 inches

Width from tiedown to tiedown: 45.5 inches

Depth (just for fun): 20.5 inches

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Ram Box

October 29, 2009


How much can we squeeze intothe Ram Box in our
2009 Dodge Ram?

Answer after the break...


One Bryn, Senior Editor for Edmunds.com.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Light It Up

October 20, 2009

I went for an extended romp in the Mojave over this past weekend. After spending quite a bit of time in the harsh climate, you get dried out.

At about 1am, I woke up plenty thirsty even though I had been putting down the water all day. I stumbled out of my tent and out to the truck to grab a something to drink. I was pretty sure I'd have to hunt for the water in the moonless night, but to my surprise, the thing light up when I popped the hatch! It was like Vincent Vega opening the case in Pulp Fiction.


When you're tired, thirsty and just want to get back to bed, the little things like this are a blessing.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 9,890 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Rambox -- Brilliant Idea, Sorry Execution

October 13, 2009


Unlike Mr. Hellwig, I'm a big fan of the Rambox. The saddlebags are perfectly suited to the way I use a truck, providing storage for dirty or heavy items which I don't want to carry in the cab. They greatly increase the truck's lockable storage space and create only a minimum compromise to my use of the bed. And, until now, they've done this perfectly.However...


After our little adventure in the dirt about ten days ago I noticed that the trailer hitch (an admittedly heavy, sharp item) had worn holes into the walls of the Rambox. I haven't looked, but I'd bet the Ram's owner's manual says something about keeping items like this in the Rambox. Even so, a dirty, sharp, heavy trailer hitch is exactly the kind of item usersneed to carry in the Rambox, so it should be designed for such use.


The top photo shows the holes in the rearmost section of the Rambox and the bottom photo shows the hole worn into the fender well. Yes, that's daylight you can see through the holes.Again, this isdisappointing. I love the Rambox and its utility, but it's far less usable than I had initially hoped.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ about 8,700 miles.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Is the Rambox Worth It?

October 12, 2009


I like the fact that Dodge tried to be innovative with the design of the new Ram, but I'm not finding the new Rambox option all that helpful. It seems like a good idea on paper, but I've used this truck for various chores and rarely have I found a good use for the sidewall boxes.

Maybe if we had harsher weather I would feel more compelled to jam stuff into the narrow storage boxes. Or if I used the truck as a utility vehicle for a daily job. But on a personal use vehicle, the Ramboxes just take up bed space that I'd rather have instead.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Tree Trimmer

September 21, 2009


This weekend our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 was on chore duty. Overgrown trees and shrubs scaled the wall and had to be cut back. A couple of passes with the trimmer and it was all over. The bed was full of clippings and the job done.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: "Going To The Mattresses" -- and other truck stuff

September 10, 2009

Dodge Ram with Mattress.jpg

Withcontrol ofour Long-Term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 over the past week I tried to cram as many truck-dependent duties into my loan period as possible. Everything from a bed replacement for the ever-growing boy to a vacuum cleaner upgrade for the ever-responsive household systems manager ("thanks dear")was on this list.

Beyond cargo hauling I knew there were family transportation needs over the holiday weekend, with two birthdays celebrations and a shopping run included in the fun. As expected, the Hemi-powered Crew-Cab Dodge Ram merely scoffed at my definition of "demanding truck duties."

Loading and hauling the new mattress, boxspring and frame home couldn't have been easier. The tie-down rails made securing the load easy, and while the obstructed rear view could have proven aggravating during parking maneuvers the Ram's rearview camera made it a non-issue.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Shortbed, Longboard, Loads of Tech

August 28, 2009


The hillsides of Southern California weren't the only thing on fire this week. Back-to-back south swells had the beaches firing, which meant I needed transport for a 10-foot surfboard. Which meant I needed our long-term Dodge Ram 1500 pickup.

Even though it's a shortbed, it accommodated my longboard just fine. And it received the approval of the locals at the beach. "Cool grille," commented one while walking by with his board. "Bitchin' truck," remarked another while peeling off his wetsuit. "Are you really from Michigan?" another asked after spying the license plate.

But besides having room for my board and getting the thumbs-up from the bros at the beach, I found the Ram's in-cabin tech came in handy. The ParkSense Rear Park Assist System helps avoid bang-ups when backing this beast. Too bad you can't add an extra sensor for a surfboard.

I'm also a fan of Chrysler's UConnect hands-free phone system for its simplicity. Just push a button on the head unit (which should instead be on the steering wheel ... and is one of my few gripes with the system) and it walks you through pairing a phone by voice even while you're driving. But only if you have the passenger do it.

Or at least tell the system that the passenger is doing it.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology, Edmunds.com

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Equestrian Center Trip No. 2

August 24, 2009

2009 dodge ram horse manure

This one goes out to kissel1.

My husband desperately needed horse manure and a bale of straw for his vegetable garden, so we took our annual trip to the LA Equestrian Center in Burbank over the weekend. Last year, we easily fit 2 bales of straw and about the same amount of manure (about4 large trash bags full) in the back of the long-term Tundra.For this trip, we packed the bed of our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 with just 1 bale of straw along with4 bags of horse poop (sorry I didn't get the money shot of the bags open in the bed this year).

Even with the intrusion of the Ram Boxes into the bed's usable space (for this purpose, at least), there was plenty room for more, but we only needed that amount (a little straw and composted manure go a long way in a small urban backyard garden).

After shovelling horse doo into the bags in the hot mid-day sun, my husband was really grateful for the Ram's optional ventilated leatherseats.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 6,039 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Long Way Home

August 12, 2009

Well, I'm back from the long drive back in the Ram from Palo Alto, a town about 350 miles north of where I live. I took the Ram up there to pack it full of my girlfriends childhood memories that her aunt doesn't want to store in her garage anymore. At least I thought it was just some childhood stuff.

When I opened the door of the aunt's two car garage, I found half of it filled with boxes and furniture. Not only was it my girlfriend's stuff, but her brother's (who also lives in LA), and her late mother's. We sifted through a lot of it and tossed a bunch, then packed half of what she wanted to keep into the cab and the bed of our Ram. Thanks to the suggestion of hybris, I bought a bungee cargo net and a few ratchet straps for safe measure.


(By the way, can you tell where we stopped for a quick bite on the way back? Notice the folded mirrors to fit in the parking spot!)

I should have read all of hybris' suggestions and rented a bigger truck. Now I have to make a second trip and pick up the other half.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 4,589 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: The True End of Childhood

August 07, 2009

"I don't know how many boxes I have" my girlfriend told me over the phone two weeks ago. "The last time I saw that stuff I was leaving for college."

When I was charged with this mission, the first thing I thought of was to make sure I get our Dodge reserved for the weekend.


A lot of people think that when you move out of the house, either going to college or some other change in life, that's the end of childhood. I don't think so. I think when your parents call you sometime in your late 20's to mid 30's, and tell you to get all your crap out of their attic/garage because they need the room, that's the true end of childhood.

I just hope our Ram is big enough for the untold stack of boxes waiting for me in a garage 400 miles away from Los Angeles. There could be stacks of J. J. Fad cassettes, various Body Glove stretchy shorts, a few ratty-ass Cabbage Patch dolls, assorted VHS exercise tapes missing their protective covers and a sprinkling of Badminton trophies to finish off this mess.

I hit the road in a few minutes. I have a lot of questions in my mind as I roll out: I hope that I've got enough cord. I hope I have enough patience. I wonder when I can get some lunch.

The one thing I'm sure? That stuff ain't coming into my place.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: The Great Divider

August 06, 2009

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When Kelly and I ventured to the Santa Monica dump last week, I couldn't immediately figure out how to remove the adjustable cargo divider so I could easily toss the concrete out of the bed. After returning back to the office, a few minutes of investigative work down in the garage proved that it's actually a fairly easy mechanism to work. In my defense, the putrid smell of decomposing dump-stuff and the appearance of the great Tommy Chong is pretty distracting.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Desert shuttle

August 05, 2009

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Our new Ram long-term truck pulled yeoman's duty yesterday, hauling a pair of dirtbikes out into the Mojave and back. It was my first bit of time in the new Ram and I was seriously impressed. Our Laramie spec crew-cab feels more like a luxury car, as the coil-sprung rear axle makes a notable difference in ride quality.

We used the time travelling out and back to the desert to make some hands-free calls on the Uconnect system, which worked without a hitch and has a usable volume range and excellent sound quality. The Hemi V8 hauled us effortlessly over the 4000-plus foot El Cajon pass, and sounds muffled but sweet while doing so. The cabin is hushed, and the adjustable shoulder belt is appreciated with the comfy and adjustable power seats.

The Ram box option does narrow the load bed (about 16 inches), so if you're looking for pure volume out back, you might want to skip that option. The boxes are also not very deep in their centers (because of the intruding wheel well), so anything bigger than a large power-tool may not fit, though longer, low-profile items such as levels will drop in no problem. The added width of the boxes also makes it tough to reach into the bed (especially with the added height of the 4x4 model), a common complaint with the F150 and its tall sides.

On the up side, the Ram Boxes are convenient with a locking, push-button latch that makes access from next to the truck a snap. The tops are also wide enough and covered with a grippy (when dry) plastic cover that allows you to easily stand on the bedside (great for loading bikes).

They also serve as near perfect benches, letting you call pickup-bed meetings if you're in a pinch for conference space. And though you give up some width, the combined volume of the two Ram boxes makes for great storage of smaller items that you might normally need to leave in the cab, or place in an aftermarket box that would shorten the bed length.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 4,270 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: "Dump" Truck

August 04, 2009


It's not exactly a secret around the office that I've been working on the landscaping at my house this summer. I've been using various long-term cars to haul various plants from various nurseries for weeks now, complaining loudly about the whole dirty, sweaty, process.

Having conquered most of the smaller areas, I'm now forced to deal with reducing the size of the wide, front flower bed, and hauling away the mess.

The first step: remove the buckling concrete border that snakes across the lawn. Turns out, a 10-pound sledgehammer and a shovel is all that's needed.

Oh, and a truck.

Step 2: load the broken slabs into the back of our already well-loved 2009 Dodge Ram pickup. No bedliner is a downer, and not willing to be the first editor to turn the shiny red Ram's bed into a box of scratches, I grab an old beach blanket out of the garage and build a protective plaid layer between the bright red metal and concrete filth.

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Two-wheel hauler

August 03, 2009

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We've got a long-term truck again? Hallelujah, it means a dirt-bike shuttle has returned. Headed out into the Mojave today (early, before the Sun's Anvil gets warmed up), the Ram gets tagged to haul a pair of dirtbikes for some wide-open-throttle therapy. How's it fare as a bike burro?

Well, we've the four-wheel-drive model, which ups ride height but puts the tailgate farther from the pavement. This means using the curb trick (backing the rear wheels right up to the curb at the driveway's mouth), to get the lip of the tailgate close enough to earth for solo flights up the ReadyRamp. We'll have to find a curve of the earth to mock this out in the Mojave, otherwise you end up with rocket-launch ramp angles.

Once the bikes are in, Ford's mocked step and handle would make the climb into the bed easier, but on the upside, the ReadyRamp from my dearly departed 2005 F-150 fits about perfectly on the Ram, locking into the tailgate's latches as a secure bed-extender. The plastic extender that came with our Ram will spend the day in the garage, as it's not designed to pull double duty as a ramp.

Our Ram is the Crew 5'7" with RamBox, a 5-foot 7-inch bed with the optional tool box in each side, which narrows the width of the bed by 15.7 inches (66.7 vs. 51 inches), making two bikes about as cozy as they would be in my Ridgeline (49.5 inches). They slide in with a slight bar maneuver, and unlike the Ridgeline, with the tailgate down you can use a bed extender, as even the rangy KTM 450 ends before the dropped gate.

The adjustable rail-side tie-down points work a treat, easily moving up to provide cinching points, and the welded loops in the floor up at each corner makes getting the two bikes latched down easy enough given the limited space. Once in and hopping out for a pic, you realize how much of these extended crew cabs pickups trucks are dedicated to crew, but the flip up seats makes for tons of room in back for two ridiculous gear bags.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 4025 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Moving day

August 03, 2009

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I got a new place recently and read in our blogs a few weeks ago that we were going to get along-term Dodge Ram. Hmmmm....perhaps I could put that to good use.

So this past weekend I moved all my crapand our Ram was very helpful. Our 5.5 foot long bed was a tad short on capacity, but the crew-cab was great for hauling my moving crew.

I told my friends who I invited to helpthat I didn't have much stuff and that we would be finished by noon. Six moving guys, three hand trucks, and seven hours later, we were finished. It always takes twice as long as you think.

I hate moving.

Let's hear your pick-up truck moving stories.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 4,100 miles

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2009 Dodge Ram: Man, We're Going to Need a Bigger Toilet

July 07, 2009

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We've recently taken delivery of a new workhorse for the Inside Line long-term fleet. And we're realizing already that while the optional RamBox storage constricts the bed size of our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Crew 4x4, we're going to have to pick-up our cargo-hauling game.

Our new two-piece porcelain throne looks positively Smurf-sized in the bed of our Hemi-powered Ram. The adjustable cargo divider, that comes as part of the RamBox option package,effectively and easily kept the boxes in place and left enough room in the bed to carry the contents a small plumbing-supply store.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests