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Inside Design: 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10:

The Viper Powered Performance Truck...

It ain’t bragging if you can do it. With a maximum speed of 150 mph and the biggest engine in a performance pickup, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 backed up its claim as the baddest truck on the block.

The Ram SRT-10 made the most of its 500 horsepower Viper engine with a combination of high technology, performance icons and some old-fashioned hot-rodding.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10. (Ram).

“When it came to creating a 150 mph, PVO-designed Dodge Ram pickup, only the best would do,” said Dan Knott, then Director – Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO). PVO would change it’s name to SRT or Street Racing and Technology the following year. “We took the best parts available, a Viper V-10, a Dodge Ram 1500 chassis and body, Hurst shift linkage, and a Dana 60 rear axle. Pirelli tires, Bilstein shocks, a custom designed power hop damper and the braking system from the Ram Heavy Duty ensure that we can get the Ram SRT-10 slowed down for the corners.”

More than just a big engine, Ram SRT-10 added the largest standard wheels, tires and brakes offered on a production pickup. Unique in a world of look-alike trucks, the Ram SRT-10 was a radical, custom-built performance truck, straight from the manufacturer. The Dodge Ram SRT-10 blended performance cues direct from the Dodge Viper SRT-10.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10. (Ram).

The Power and the Glory:
From the beginning, the engineers at PVO knew that this monster truck was a snake. The 8.3-liter Viper V-10 delivered 500 horsepower and 525 lb.-ft. of torque.

Resting on unique engine mounts; the V-10 engine delivered 90 percent of its whopping 525 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500 to 5600 rpm. The cast aluminum cylinder block had interference-fit cast-iron liners and cross-bolted main caps.

The Ram SRT-10 also featured a unique oil pan, throttle linkage, new “Hi-Flow” exhaust manifolds, special transmission mounts and a modified Ram Heavy Duty radiator tailored to fit the between the NASCAR inspired grille baffles.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10. (Ram).

The rest of the V-10 was straight from the Viper, with a six main bearing crankshaft with cross-bolted main bearing caps. Despite larger diameter aluminum alloy pistons than the previous generation’s 8.0-liter Viper engine, the pistons weighed less and were included along with all-new, lighter and stronger cracked-steel connecting rods.

Cylinder heads on the Viper V-10 were semi-permanent mold (SPM) 356 T6 aluminum alloy. Low-profile die-cast magnesium cylinder head covers featured steel internal baffles and anti-slosh foam.

The Viper V-10 boasted a single-piece, central dual-plenum, cast aluminum intake manifold and a single, non-staged two-barrel throttle body for higher peak horsepower RPM. The intake manifold was an all-inclusive Integrated Air and Fuel Module (IAFM) with tubular fuel rails, injectors, sensors, wiring and throttle body. A Ram Heavy Duty cooling system was modified to handle the needs of the new Viper engine. A custom dual exhaust system was mounted to new exhaust manifolds.

The Dodge Ram SRT-10 focused its power through a purpose built Hurst shifter and a modified version of the Viper SRT-10’s Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission. The T56 was fully synchronized with electronic reverse lockout. A new 4.5-inch aluminum driveshaft ran from the Viper-sourced transmission to a Dana 60 rear axle with a 4.11 ratio to deliver the massive torque to the road.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10. (Ram).

Asphalt-Searing Performance:
Despite rocket-like straight line acceleration, the Ram SRT-10 was also designed to carve corners and challenge the laws of physics. The engineers at PVO modified the rack and pinion steering system from a Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and custom tuned the independent front suspension.

Working with the hydroformed Dodge Ram 1500 frame, one of the stiffest in the industry at the time, PVO dropped the Ram SRT-10 one-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.

“The Dodge Ram SRT-10 delivers simply phenomenal handling,” said Knott. “But without sacrificing ride quality. This is a truck that you can run to the store in, and then start tackling apexes on your favorite set of twisties. And, depending on your right foot, the V-10 can make the straight-aways really short.”

To make the most of the excellent handling characteristics of the Dodge Ram 1500, the PVO engineers added Bilstein mono-tube shock absorbers, a new front knuckle design and shorter and stiffer performance tuned springs. Next came unique aerodynamic aids to keep the Ram SRT-10 planted at high speeds and 22-inch custom “Viper-style” wheels fitted with 305/40 R22 Pirelli Scorpion tires for extra adhesion. The rear leaf springs were modified and leaf spring snubbers were added for smoother power launches.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10. (Ram).

Drag Ready:
To ensure that the Ram SRT-10 made the most of its 525 lb.-ft. of torque, PVO designed a unique power hop damper to stop axle hop under full acceleration runs. A Bilstein shock absorber was fitted between the frame and axle, and now clean launches, even on slicks, were just a right foot away.

“The power goes down smooth, even as all hell is braking loose under the hood,” added Knott. “This set-up will wrinkle slicks on an ET run just as easily as it ruins the competitions day.”

Big brakes, another Dodge Ram staple, were also modified for the Ram SRT-10. The standard ABS-equipped brakes were fitted with new 15-inch rotors on the front brakes. Rear brakes were modified Ram Heavy Duty with 14-inch rotors. Front and rear brakes featured unique red calipers. The front fascia featured NASCAR-inspired brake cooling ducts to provide plenty of cooling for track sessions.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10. (Ram).
2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
Drivetrain layout Front engine, rwd, 2-door, 3-pass, truck
Engine type 8.3L, 90° V-10
Valve gear OHV, 2 valves/cyl
Max horsepower @ rpm 500 @ 5600
Max torque @ rpm 525 @ 4200
Specific output, hp/L 60.2
Power-to-weight, lb/hp 10.3
Weight dist, f/r, % 55/45
Transmission 6-speed manual
PERFORMANCE DATA
0-60 mph, sec 5.2
1/4 mile, sec @ mph 13.86 @ 101.49
Braking, 60-0 mph, ft 122
600-foot slalom, mph 62.3
CONSUMER INFO
Base price $45,000
Powertrain warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
EPA mpg, city/hwy 10/14

 

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Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only a Co-Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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