2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 - The Lightning Storm Is Over
Mopar Builds A Performance Truck, And Ford Ain't Happy
From the August, 2004 issue of Mopar Muscle
By Randy Bolig
Photography by Chuck James, Randy Bolig
Ex * cess n. 1) Action or conduct that goes beyond the usual, reasonable, or lawful limit 2) Dodge SRT-10
It's official. the ultimate performance pickup is here-and it's a Dodge. Dodge pulled no punches when they pulled an all-aluminum V-10 directly off the Viper assembly line and stuffed it into a '04 Ram pickup. Sitting on specially built engine mounting points, the V-10 engine delivers 90 percent of its 525 lb-ft of torque between 1,500 to 5,600 rpm. The V-10 features a six main-bearing-cap crankshaft and cross-bolted main-bearing caps. Despite using larger diameter aluminum alloy pistons than the previous generation's 8.0-liter Viper engine, the pistons weigh less and are included along with new, lighter, and stronger connecting rods. The cylinder heads on the V-10 are semipermanent mold (SPM) 356 T6 aluminum alloy with low-profile, die-cast, magnesium, cylinder head covers featuring steel internal baffles and anti-slosh foam. The valve covers were our only disappointment with the under hood appearance. We thought the valve covers should say SRT-10 and have a Ram logo, but that's just us. A heavy-duty cooling system is employed to handle the needs of the new Viper engine, and a custom dual-exhaust system is mounted to new exhaust manifolds. It may have a dual exhaust, but it enters and leaves a single muffler. A modified Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission is shifted by a chrome Hurst shifter and grabbing gears is a cinch. The T56 is fully synchronized with an electronic reverse lockout, and a new 4.5-inch aluminum driveshaft runs from the Viper-sourced transmission to a Dana 60 rear axle with 4.11 gears.
Don't Think for a minute that this truck can only go straight. We put it through the paces on a winding road, and on 30-mph-rated corners we felt nary a lean at 80 mph. For a truck that weighs a tick over 5,000 pounds, this thing flat out handles! Working with the hydroformed Ram 1500 frame, PVO dropped the Ram SRT-10 an inch in the front and 2.5 inches in the rear. New front-and-rear strut assemblies and a rear sway bar were added to handle the increased cornering loads and virtually eliminate body roll. This truck corners better than some performance cars we've driven. The PVO engineers added Bilstein monotube shock absorbers, a new front knuckle design, and shorter, stiffer, performance-tuned springs. Custom, 22-inch, Viper-style wheels were fitted with 305/40 R22 Pirelli Scorpion tires for extra adhesion. the rear leaf springs were modified with the addition of leaf-spring snubbers for power launches. It's basically a traction bar from the factory. To bring the SRT-10 to a put-you-through-the-windshield halt, the standard ABS-equipped brakes are fitted with new 15-inch rotors on the front and 14-inch rotors on the rear.
The Proof Is In The BeatingWhen the truck arrived on Tuesday for our thrashing...er, I mean evaluation, I signed my life over and went back to my office to finish the day's work. fifteen minutes after I sat down, I realized-I have the keys to an SRT-10, and here I am sitting at my desk! I left the office.
At first glance, the truck looks like a show truck. The plastic fairings, the wing, and the 22-inch wheels make you wonder if it's simply a poser. One of the Ford guys even commented that the wing would make it tough to throw a big screen TV in the back. Leave it to a Ford guy to worry about how to get his television home. After turning the key and pushing the start button-oh yeah, to start the truck you have to push the "Engine Start" button-I headed out into traffic. The SRT-10 is tame enough to drive around town without a hiccup. The 850-rpm idle and the docile nature of the truck (until you reach about 3,000 rpm) are great for everyday commuting. Not that you would commute with an SRT-10 unless you have a large bank account for fuel. We averaged about 8.4 mpg in town and squeaked out 12.4 on the highway. But let's remember, this truck was not designed to be an econobox. Things really come alive at about 3,500 rpm, and you can instantly throw passengers and cargo all the way to the back just by mashing the pedal. A quick acceleration test put the speedometer at triple digits, and that was even before we got to fourth gear.
What about cornering? It seems really odd to speak of cornering when talking about a truck, but this one does. The suspension on the SRT-10 is definitely race inspired. Road feel through the suspension is very evident, but understandable since this is not a New Yorker. If you like a nice smooth riding truck, you ain't looking at the SRT-10 anyway. We secured a private winding road and ran a couple passes to get a feel for it; then proceeded to let it all hang out. The quick turn rack-and-pinion steering means minimal effort at the wheel. At first, oversteering was a concern. We were amazed at how nimble a 5,000-pound half-ton truck can be. Body roll was nonexistent, and if you are not belted into the seat, cornering will throw you against the door.
We know what you guys are thinking-what about at the drag strip? We filled the tank up-again-and headed for Lakeland Motorsports Park. Our first shot at the eighth-mile went like this: GREEN LIGHT; throttle, lift, throttle, lift, throttle, lift, oh the heck with it, floor it. We had a 2.71 60-foot and tripped the lights with a 9.34 e.t. For our second pass, we warmed the tires up a little more (read: blistered them) and staged. Tires are the definite limiting factor when it comes to launching. The lack of sidewalls give the tires no chance of cushioning the shock of an all-out assault on a launch. When the light came down, a soft-footed launch netted a 2.10 60-foot time. For some reason, wheelhop occurred after hitting second gear. We did trip the lights at 8.80.3 at 85 mph. Pulling right back into the lane, we had a 2.14 60-foot time and the e.t. was 8.83 at 85 mph. We then gave the truck a rest; after about a half hour we headed to the staging lanes again. But while we were sitting in the staging lanes waiting our turn, some guy in a Chevelle decided to oil down the starting line. so there we sat. Just as we were getting tired of waiting for the clean up and ready to head home, the guys at the track decided to run everyone in the tower lane only. So we gave it one last try, and the truck ran an 8.79 e.t. at 86 mph with a 60-foot time of 1.99. When converted to quarter-mile time, that's roughly a 13.8 e.t. Even with a manual trans, it was fairly consistent. I know a lot of you guys are thinking that's not very fast. But keep in mind, this thing was built for top-end speed and weighs slightly over 5,000 pounds. The 300-pound driver and his driving ability may also have something to do with the times.
Has Dodge built the ultimate truck? Each individual will have his or her own opinion, but we feel the SRT-10 brings back the build-it-to-kick-everyone's-butt philosophy. which is what DaimlerChrysler needs to do, and it's about time. They need to start facing the reality that performance sells. It did in the '60s, and it does today. Is this a sign of things to come in the future? It's hard to say, but if it is, the future looks bright.
|SRT-10 Dyno Test |
Barometric Pressure: 30.22
Air Intake Temp: 72.6
|RPM ||POWER ||TORQUE ||A/F |
|2,300 ||185.2 ||423.0 ||14.9 |
|2,400 ||185.0 ||404.8 ||14.8 |
|2,500 ||196.1 ||411.9 ||14.8 |
|2,600 ||196.6 ||397.1 ||14.9 |
|2,700 ||202.7 ||394.4 ||14.8 |
|2,800 ||217.8 ||408.5 ||14.8 |
|2,900 ||224.3 ||406.2 ||14.9 |
|3,000 ||239.7 ||419.6 ||14.9 |
|3,100 ||242.7 ||411.2 ||14.9 |
|3,200 ||252.1 ||413.7 ||14.5 |
|3,300 ||261.4 ||416.1 ||13.8 |
|3,400 ||274.4 ||423.8 ||13.1 |
|3,500 ||282.0 ||423.2 ||12.3 |
|3,600 ||289.6 ||422.6 ||11.8 |
|3,700 ||294.2 ||417.6 ||11.5 |
|3,800 ||303.3 ||419.2 ||11.4 |
|3,900 ||316.4 ||426.0 ||11.3 |
|4,000 ||327.4 ||429.9 ||11.1 |
|4,100 ||334.4 ||428.3 ||10.9 |
|4,200 ||342.7 ||428.6 ||10.7 |
|4,300 ||347.5 ||424.4 ||10.6 |
|4,400 ||355.7 ||424.5 ||10.4 |
|4,500 ||364.8 ||425.8 ||10.2 |
|4,600 ||374.5 ||427.6 ||10.1 |
|4,700 ||382.9 ||427.8 ||10.0 |
|4,800 ||380.2 ||416.0 ||10.0 |
|4,900 ||389.5 ||417.4 ||10.0 |
|5,000 ||398.7 ||418.8 ||10.0 |
|5,100 ||400.2 ||412.1 ||10.0 |
|5,200 ||409.6 ||413.7 ||10.0 |
|5,300 ||413.7 ||410.0 ||10.0 |
|5,400 ||416.1 ||404.7 ||10.0 |
|5,500 ||415.7 ||396.9 ||10.0 |
|5,600 ||420.0 ||392.9 ||10.0 |
|5,700 ||415.0 ||382.4 ||10.2 |
|5,800 ||411.9 ||373.0 ||10.2 |
|5,900 ||407.9 ||363.1 ||10.3 |
|6,000 ||409.0 ||358.0 ||10.2 |
|6,100 ||403.1 ||347.1 ||10.2 |