Dodge Power Wagon

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Dodge Power Wagon
1946 Dodge Power Wagon.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerChrysler
Production1945–1980
Model years1946–1980
AssemblyWarren, Michigan, United States
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size pickup truck
LayoutFront engine, four-wheel drive
Powertrain
Engine
Dimensions
Wheelbase126 in (3,200 mm)
Chronology
SuccessorDodge Ram
 
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Dodge Power Wagon
1946 Dodge Power Wagon.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerChrysler
Production1945–1980
Model years1946–1980
AssemblyWarren, Michigan, United States
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size pickup truck
LayoutFront engine, four-wheel drive
Powertrain
Engine
Dimensions
Wheelbase126 in (3,200 mm)
Chronology
SuccessorDodge Ram

The Dodge Power Wagon is a four wheel drive light truck produced from 1945 through 1980. It was reintroduced under the Ram Trucks brand in 2005, and became an official model of the brand in 2013. This early version was based on the WC series of Dodge 3/4 ton Military trucks produced during World War II. The Power Wagon, as a civilian vehicle, continued the lineage of four wheel drive Dodge trucks from the 1930s, proving basic four wheel drive design concepts and representing a significant predecessor to the many four wheel drive trucks in modern use today.

History[edit]

The Dodge Power Wagon was introduced in 1946. It was originally meant to compete with Ford/Marmon-Herrington 4×4 military trucks such as the Brushbreaker, as well as military GMC truck applications, but it was the first to be offered directly to the civilian population. It was based on the 3/4-ton army truck's chassis with a civilian cab and a purpose designed 8-foot cargo box. It had a 126 inch (3,200 mm) wheelbase chassis and featured the 230 cubic-inch flathead inline-six engine, a two-speed transfer case, a 4-speed manual transmission with a power take off (PTO) opening which would send power to the front and back of the truck for operating auxiliary equipment and 9.00/16-8 ply tires on 16×6.50 inch 5-stud wheels. In 1961 the 230 was replaced with the 251 cubic-inch flat head six. The nominal one-ton rated Power Wagon's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) was 8,700 pounds. Its maximum payload was 3,000 pounds. Big-block 383 V8 engines became an option starting in 1967. From 1961 to 1971 the body was called the "sweptline," then transitioned to a more modern body image from 1972 through 1980 with varied grilles and paint schemes. In 1975 the 4-wheel drive became full-time with a 2-speed transfer case; this was changed back to part-time 4-wheel drive in 1980 due to the energy crisis. A huge boost in sales followed the 1974 release of the extended "Club Cab," popular with families and camper towing. The 4-door Crew Cab was far less common and is quite desirable to collectors for restoration. Utility and function was unmatched by few competing models, as the towing, payload, and snow plowing capacity of the Power Wagon equipped with "Dana 60" 8-lug axles was very popular with municipal and regional road crews.

The Power Wagon was sold through the 1980 model year. A number of engineering and styling improvements were made over the years, but the basic package remained surprisingly constant throughout its life and underwent one last major body change in 1972.

Variants[edit]

W100 and W200[edit]

The first light-duty Power Wagons came out in 1957 with the introduction of the W100 and W200 pickups (beginning in 1957 12-ton 2WDs were D100s and 4WDs were W100s). These trucks featured conventional cabs and front sheet metal and the cargo boxes used on the 2WD models. Their 4WD mechanical components—axles, transfer cases and transmissions—were sourced from outside manufacturers. Chrysler Corporation owned the New Process Gear Company (competitors generally used Spicer (Dana) transfer cases and Borg-Warner or in-house transmissions).

W300[edit]

A one-ton W300 light-duty/civilian type Power Wagon was released in 1958. For the next ten years the Power Wagon lineup consisted of the "military-type" W300M, and the W100, W200, and W300 "civilian-type" Power Wagons. Standard models included pickups and chassis cabs only. 1957 Through 1966, W100 Power Wagon Town Panels and Town Wagons were also standard models. In 1961 a W200 Crew Cab pickup was added to the line. Dana 70 axles were used in the front and rear of these trucks.

W500[edit]

The two-ton W500 Power Wagon (only a chassis cab was built) was introduced in 1956 as the C3-HW, and lasted through the 1971 model year. This was replaced in 1972 with the W600 (also cab and chassis only), which was produced until 1977, when all Dodge medium-duty models were discontinued. To compensate for the loss of the medium-duty W600 a new W400 chassis cab was introduced in 1977.

Willock Chassis Swivel[edit]

From about 1952 through 1958 an option known as the Willock Chassis Swivel was available. With this option the frame was split into two pieces at the point where the bed of the truck met the rear of the cab. A longitudinal swivel system allowed these two pieces to rotate with respect to each other, with the result that almost without regard to the terrain all four wheels would always be on the ground. Somewhere between 50 and 100 examples were built. While Willock is no longer in business the chassis swivel is still manufactured by third-party vendors and can be incorporated into existing vehicles.[citation needed]

End of production[edit]

The Power Wagon nameplate was discontinued in 1981 with the introduction of the Dodge Ram, with the four-wheel-drive models being sold under the "Power Ram" nameplate through 1993. 1989 to 1993 models saw the addition of an optional 6-cylinder Cummins Turbo-diesel engine.

Power Wagon WM-300. This model was sold into the mid-1960s 
1963 Power Wagon ambulance, on display at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana 
1942 Fargo Power Wagon truck in Batey ha-Osef Museum, Israel. 
Red Dodge Power Wagon 
Custom conversion to 6 wheel drive 
1976 Dodge W200 CUCV 
1958 WM-300 carryall in US Navy livery 

2005–present[edit]

For 2005, Dodge resurrected the Power Wagon name on a version of the Dodge Ram 2500. It was a special off-road version of the Ram 2500 with a 5.7L Hemi V8 as the only engine option. Interior configurations remain similar to standard production Ram. As of 2010, the Power Wagon is only available as a Crew Cab Short Bed model. Special features of the Power Wagon include:

Upgraded suspension and larger tires naturally give the truck a taller ride height. Clearance lights and tow hooks are standard equipment. Fender flares are standard equipment as well. The fender flares assist with tire coverage due to the Power Wagon's wider tires.

Powertrain[edit]

Transmission[edit]

A six speed manual transmissions was standard, with an automatic transmission optional. As of 2010 the manual transmission is no longer an option. 2012 models have the 66RFE 6 speed automatic transmission, instead of the 545RFE 5 speed automatic in the previous models.

Transfer case[edit]

The transfer case was a New Venture 271 and had a 2.72:1 low range gear ratio. A transfer case skid plate was and is standard equipment. A manual shift-on-the-fly transfer case is the only available, the electronic shift on-the-fly has never been an option. As of the 2012 model year, the transfer case has changed to a Borg-Warner 44-47 manual shift-on-the fly. Low range is now 2.64:1.

Axles[edit]

The axles are manufactured by American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. The front is an AAM 9.25 and the rear is a hybrid AAM 10.5 with the larger axle shafts from the AAM 11.5. Despite the fact the axles have locking differentials, the rear axle is also a helical-type limited slip differential when unlocked. The axles are only available with a 4.56:1 gear ratio. Non Power Wagon 2500 Ram trucks only have 3.42:1, 3.73:1, or 4.10:1 gear ratios. 2010 models (along with other Ram trucks) received larger universal joints.

2012 Weight ratings:

2013 updates[edit]

The New Venture Gear transfer case is replaced by a Borg-Warner unit. Interior updated ala 1500 Rams.

2014 updates[edit]

The RAM Power Wagon will have a 6.4 Hemi V8 as the standard engine; the 5.7 Hemi V8 goes away. The 6.4 has 410 horsepower and is also available in standard Rams. The transmission and transfer case remain unchanged (Borg Warner 44-47). The axle gears change from 4.56:1 gear ratios to 4:10 gear ratios. The rear axle is now a 11.5 AAM axle (with selectable locker). The rear suspension now has a 5-link coil spring arrangement instead of leaf springs. The front suspension has been changed to a radius arm arrangement (3-link) instead of the 5-link used since 2005.

2011 Dodge Power Wagon 
Locker selection control/sway bar disconnect control 
Locker selection control/sway bar disconnect control 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]