2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Paul Wiley Cockerham Paul Wiley Cockerham Editor
May 21, 2004



Feeling shy? Lacking self-confidence? Ten solid years of psychoanalysis might straighten you out, but lay down the same amount of scratch up front for Dodge’s insane Ram SRT-10 — the fastest, most powerful pickup truck available in this great land of ours — and you’ll feel better in a hurry. Stepping on the throttle delivers a hypo rush of pure machismo unlike anything else you can experience.

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Make sure you get one in Flame Red, like our tester, and be prepared for nonstop social interaction with total strangers. Jaded Manhattanites and good ol’ boys alike will stop and stare, basking in the blinding glory of the fastest production truck ever made, while mutters of “unbelievable” and “awesome” dribble from their lips. And then the inevitable chorus of “hows” begins, as in “How fast? How much horsepower? How much torque? How much does it cost?” With 5139 pounds of conversational material at your side, your wallflower days will be over.

No antidote

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10

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And how’d you like your self-confidence tweaked with Viper venom? The Viper’s 8.3-liter, OHV, aluminum V-10 leaves 500 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque at your disposal, so you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you could reach 60 mph from a standing stop in only 5.2 seconds. Ninety percent of its torque is available from 1500 rpm to 5600 revs.

The Performance Vehicle Operations group had plenty of room under the Ram’s bulbous hood to park the Viper mill, although numerous detail modifications were required, such as a new intake system, oil pan, mounts and cooling revisions. The engine is hooked up to a modified version of the Tremec T56 six-speed found in the Viper, the only transmission offered. A new 4.5-inch aluminum driveshaft runs to a Dana-sourced 60 rear axle pulling a 4.11 gear, and lighting up the Pirelli Scorpions in the first two gears is embarrassingly easy. A way-cool Hurst shifter puts you in control of all this chaos, but the throws are somewhat long and vague for rapid-fire dragstrip runs.

This isn’t just a powertrain-on-steroids story, though. Imagine a Trans-Am racer with a 55/45 front/rear weight distribution ratio, and you get a sense of how well the Ram SRT-10 handles — which is to say, surprisingly well.

A modified steering rack from a Ram Heavy Duty provides a light touch and crisp response. The HD was also sourced for the brakes, which use 15-inch rotors in front and 14-inchers in the rear, under the mandatory red calipers. Anti-lock is standard, and the front units benefit from brake cooling ducts off of the front fascia. Altogether, the Ram SRT-10 stops almost as spectacularly as it starts.

PVO engineers also dropped the body 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 increased cornering loads and all but eliminate body roll. Credit also goes to shorter springs and the Bilstein shocks all around. The ride is firm, comfortable on smooth surfaces, but a bit shuddery on bumpy roads as inertia takes hold of the 22-inch alloy wheels. Speaking of dampers, a fifth unit is mounted between the frame and the top of the differential housing to keep the rear axle planted under torque loads.

Super truck

Visually, there’s no hiding the fact that aero engineers from Dodge’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck program got their two cents in during the design process. A deep front fascia with splitter reduces lift while assisting with front brake cooling. The hood features an air scoop that’s not hooked up to anything. A rear wing manages drag and adds up to 165 pounds of downforce at speed. The wing can be removed and stowed farther up the bed rails for the silly few who will actually want to carry cargo with this thing. These, and a rear fascia as well, are all unique to the Ram SRT-10.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10

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The interior features wonderful black leather buckets with just enough side bolstering. Combined with the adjustable pedals and tilt, carbon-fiber and leather-trimmed steering wheel, luxurious comfort is easily achieved. The rake of the roofline at the windshield crowds headroom when entering and exiting, as it does on all Rams. A full complement of silver-faced gauges, including a pillar-mounted oil temperature gauge are easy to read. The 160-mph speedometer is legit, by the way, as Dodge had NASCAR hotshoe Brendan Gaughan set a two-way, flying kilometer speed record of 154.587 mph, certified by the Guinness records gang, at its Chelsea, Michigan, test facility last winter, in a production Ram SRT-10. Heck, Gaughan didn’t even fold in the rear-view mirrors during his record runs.

Having the fastest, most powerful American pickup truck in your product line, or driveway, isn’t necessarily a logical or politically correct thing to do in these troubled times, but then again, we’re talking pure ego boost here. Ford might get the muscletruck crown back when the next-generation F-150 Lightning strikes in two years’ time. The Chevy Silverado SS is a refined, 4WD competitor, but is pricey and way short on power. If you’ve simply got to have the baddest monster around, for now, the Ram SRT-10 is it.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10
Base price: $45,850
Engine: 8.3-liter pushrod V-10, aluminum block and heads
Drivetrain: Tremec six-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive
Length x width x height: 211.6 x 79.9 x 74.4 in
Wheelbase: 120.5 in
Curb weight: 5139 lb
EPA City/Hwy: 10/15 mpg
Safety equipment: Front airbags, front seatbelt height adjustments, remote keyless entry, anti-lock brakes, security system
Major standard equipment: Dana M60 heavy-duty rear axle, limited-slip differential, Hurst shifter and linkage, heavy-duty cooling system, dual rear exhaust, front and rear body-colored fascias, fog lamps, 22” alloy wheels, Bridgestone Pirelli Scorpion 305/40R22 Z-rated tires, 508-watt Infinity AM/FM/CD stereo with subwoofer, carbon fiber/leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, power adjustable pedals, power steering, power windows and door locks
Warranty: Three year/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, seven years/70,000 miles powertrain


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