VIDEO: Ram Puts Their Trucks To Extreme Cold Weather Testing

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When it comes to extreme cold weather like we have been having this year in most of the country, most people don’t generally like it. Where possible, many people almost become complete shut ins not wanting to go outside at all. If you look at your local grocery store the day before a known big storm is coming it, you will most likely see the bread aisles empty along with water and other basic goods.

Houghton_MI

Image courtesy of Google Maps. The balloon marks Houghton, Michigan.

Well, that isn’t the case with the OEM’s. As far as they are concerned, they only have a few months to perform all of their cold weather testing. So, not only do they look forward to the extreme weather, but they also seek it out by going places that are known to have the worst of the worst weather. Recently, Ram shared with us a video they made showing just a few of their tests they perform to ensure their vehicles are reliable in the most extreme conditions.

For Ram, they test in Houghton, Michigan. “Houghton is home to subzero temperatures and is regularly blanketed in snow averaging 260 inches per year,” according to Ram. This isn’t a place for the faint of heart. In this video they perform three specific tests over three days, but in reality, testing is going on over months for years. It isn’t uncommon for OEMs move large groups of engineers to a specific area for the entire winter. Taking a small town with a population of a few thousand to tens of thousands by the time all of the OEMs have moved in.

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Slush

The first test Ram performs in the video is a slush test. This is where they are driving through a mixture of water and ice to soak the undercarriage of the trucks. As soon as they drive through the bath, they pull the trucks into a freezer and let the water ice up.

By allowing everything to ice up, they are able to simulate the driving conditions that people regularly face on roads with ice and water. They mixture will pack into many crevices of the undercarriage and freeze. Ram Engineers want to ensure that this action doesn’t prohibit the function of anything. In the video, they are specifically looking at the fuel filters and all of the heat shields on the exhaust system.

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Snow Packing

Many people don’t realize how big of a potential issue this could be. Snow is able to pack into many areas including the intake of a vehicle. As they snow packs in, it creates blockages and if the design isn’t done well, it can actually cut off all air to the engine. This will not only kill an engine while the vehicle is driving, but it can potentially harm the engine as it is being starved for air. If the engine dies while the truck is on the freeway, this could lead to potential wrecks and if the vehicle dies in the middle of nowhere, well someone could become stranded and at the mercy of the elements.

For years manufacturers have drug chains, pieces of fence and all sorts of custom setups to kick a large amount of snow up into the front of the vehicles while driving. It appears that Ram uses a chain setup with cross bars to hold the chains in place.

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Plowing

Since three-quarter and one-ton trucks are meant for work, what better way to ensure they can get the job done in cold weather testing, than to hook a plow up and move some snow? That is just want Ram does to ensure the vehicles can handle the rigorous environment of plowing.

Having a truck that is tough isn’t just a motto for the domestic manufacturers; it is a necessity for all of them. All three of the domestics perform countless tests to ensure their trucks are tough. For Ram, these are just three of the many tests they run to ensure their trucks will get you there and back again.

About the author

Chad Westfall

With diesel running through his veins from childhood, Chad has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. From editorial work to wrenching, there isn’t much he hasn't conquered head-on. When he’s not writing and shooting trucks and tech, you’ll find him in the shop working on turning the ideas floating around in his head into reality.
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