It’s 2005 and the full-size Crew Cab pickup truck segment is growing at a rapid rate as more people are starting to use their pickup trucks as family vehicles. The Dodge Truck division (which is now known as the RAM) is ready to introduce its updated lineup of 2006 Dodge Ram pickups to the public. While other pickup brands have offered Crew Cab variants of their pickups, Dodge is to the game, only offering its smaller four-door Quad Cab configuration as an option.
That would change in August of 2005, as the Dodge brand shook up the full-size pickup market with the introduction of the ‘Mega Cab’. Using the 160.5-inch wheelbase from the Ram Heavy Duty Quad Cab long-box (8-foot box) model, Dodge Trucks engineers re-proportioned the cab and the pickup box by replacing the 8-foot box with a short box (6-foot, 3-inch). This allowed Dodge designers an additional 20-inches of cabin space to play with. The result was a cab length of 111.1-inches, which was more than 12-inches longer than a 2006 Ford F-250 Super Crew.
While the Mega Cab configuration continues on today as part of the Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty lineup, many have forgotten that half-ton models were also available in the Mega Cab configuration for a limited time. While badged as a Ram 1500, these weren’t your typical half-ton pickups. Built on the third-generation Ram Heavy Duty platform, the 2006 Ram 1500 Mega Cab retained the 3/4-ton Ram 2500 chassis, frame, axle, and 8-lug wheels as its Ram Heavy Duty siblings. The “heavy half-ton” still featured much of the suspension from the Ram 1500, giving it a softer ride in comparison to the Ram 2500 Mega Cab as well as different capability numbers.
Choosing the 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Mega Cab, meant there was only one engine option. The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 was rated at 345 horsepower (257kW) and 375 lb.-ft. (510 Nm) of torque at the time. The HEMI was mated to a Chrysler-sourced 5-speed 545RFE automatic transmission. Because the Ram 1500 Mega Cab models retained the axles from the Ram Heavy Duty, this meant customers could choose from a 3.73 or 4.10 axle ratio, compared to the Ram 1500 non-Mega Cab HEMI models which offered 3.55 or 3.92 axle ratios at the time.
This set the Ram 1500 Mega Cab apart from the Ram 1500 offerings and making it the half-ton of choice for towing. The 2006 Ram 1500 Mega Cab featured a maximum payload of 2,430 lbs. (130 lbs. less than the 2006 Ram 2500 Mega Cab), a maximum trailer weight rating of 8,750 lbs. (4,250 lbs. less than the 2500 Mega Cab), and a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 15,000 lbs. (or 5,000 lbs. less than the 2500 Mega Cab). When you compare it to today’s 2021 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 6-foot, 4-inch 4×4 pickup with the HEMI eTorque mild-hybrid system, the 2006 heavy half-ton has 740 lbs. more payload capacity. However, the new half-ton has 2,340 lbs. more of maximum trailer weight and a higher GCWR by 2,000 lbs.
|2006 to 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab Estimated Towing Capacities:|
|Model:||Axle Ratio||GVWR||Payload||Base Curb Weight||Base Curb Weight Front||Base Curb Weight Rear||GAWR Front||GAWR Rear||GCWR||Max Trailer Weight|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 SLT 4×2||3.73||8,510||2,430||6,082||3,383||2,699||4,750||6,010||14,000||7,750|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 SLT 4×2||4.10||8,510||2,430||6,082||3,383||2,699||4,750||6,010||15,000||8,750|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 SLT 4×4||3.73||8,510||2,040||6,469||3,673||2,796||5,200||6,010||14,000||7,400|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 SLT 4×4||4.10||8,510||2,040||6,469||3,673||2,796||5,200||6,010||15,000||8,400|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 Laramie 4×2||3.73||8,510||2,330||6,179||3,441||2,738||4,750||6,010||14,000||7,650|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 Laramie 4×2||4.10||8,510||2,330||6,179||3,441||2,738||4,750||6,010||15,000||8,650|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4||3.73||8,510||1,880||6,628||3,839||2,789||5,200||6,010||14,000||7,200|
|Mega Cab Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4||4.10||8.510||1,880||6,628||3,839||2,789||5,200||6,010||15,000||8,200|
The 2006 Ram 1500 Mega Cab came with two different front suspension setups. For two-wheel-drive (4×2) models, there was an independent front suspension (IFS), while four-wheel-drive (4×4) models featured a rigid-beam front axle, with a refined five-link, coil-spring suspension. When it came to the rear suspension, both 4×2 and 4×4 models came with a heavy-duty solid axle and longitudinal leaf springs that featured two-stage springs.
Customers had their choice between the mid-range SLT and the premium Laramie trim-level for the Mega Cab. For those choosing a Ram 1500 Mega Cab SLT, customers would get standard air-conditioning, AM/FM stereo with CD player and four speakers, an overhead console with mini-trip computer and compass, speed control, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, 17-inch chrome-clad steel wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel ABS, and part-time 4×4 electric shift transfer case (on 4×4 models).
Customers on SLT models could then opt for several additional features like a bed liner, trailer tow mirrors, power sunroof, power-adjustable pedals, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and Infinity® speaker system, full-screen navigation radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, DVD entertainment system, UConnect™ hands-free wireless communication system with Bluetooth™ technology, bucket seats with leathery upholstery, six-way power driver seat, 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels.
Those who were looking for more premium content could choose the luxury-oriented Laramie trim-level. On Laramie models, in addition to the SLT content, Laramie models came with bodyside chrome molding, dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, security alarm, and Sentry Key® engine immobilizer as standard equipment.
The Mega Cab option gave customers the largest cabin ever offered on a Ram 1500. The Mega Cab’s 143.2 cubic feet of interior space featured the industry’s most innovative seating and storage configurations, including the first reclining rear seats available in a pickup truck, tilting back from a 22- to 37-degree seatback angle for added comfort. The rear passenger area of the Dodge Ram Mega Cab offered a best-in-class leg room of 44.2 inches while rear seats also split 60/40, fold down, and move forward, providing numerous configurations for maximum interior cargo capacity and flexibility.
When you compare the interior numbers of the 2006 model and compare it to the Ram 1500 Crew Cab and Ram 2500 Mega Cab of today, you will realize just how mammoth the first Mega Cab trucks were. You can clearly see that the original Mega Cabs were larger than the current Mega Cab trucks of today. Part of the reason for the smaller dimensions is the better packaging in today’s updated fourth-generation (2009+) Heavy Duty cabins.
|Ram Cab Configuration Specification Chart:|
|Dimensions:||2006 Ram 1500 Mega Cab (DR)||2021 Ram 1500 Crew Cab (DT)||2021 Ram 2500 Mega Cab (DJ)|
|Seating Capacity (F/R):||2/3 or 3/3||2/3 or 3/3||2/3 or 3/3|
|Headroom:||40.8 in.||40.9 in.||40.9 in.|
|Leg Room:||41 in.||40.9 in.||40.9 in.|
|Shoulder Room:||67 in.||66 in.||65.9 in.|
|Hip Room:||64.9 in.||63.4 in.||62.9 in.|
|Headroom:||40.5 in.||39.8 in.||40.3 in.|
|Leg Room:||44.2 in.||45.2 in.||43.1 in.|
|Shoulder Room:||66.5 in.||65.7 in.||65.6 in.|
|Hip Room:||64.4 in.||63.4 in.||62.8 in.|
|Interior Occupant Room:|
|Front:||64.9 cu. ft.||63.9 cu. ft.||63.9 cu. ft.|
|Rear:||68.9 cu. ft.||68.5 cu. ft.||66 cu. ft.|
The 2021 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 6-foot, 4-inch 4×4 equipped with the HEMI V8 and eTorque mild-hybrid system tips the scales at 5,413 lbs. The 2006 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4 with its HEMI V8 weighed in at a massive 6,628 lbs., which is 1,215 lbs. more than the current 1500 and proving the point that it truly is a “heavy half-ton”.
The 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Mega Cab SLT 4×2 had the starting U.S. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $32,760 (or about $43,410 with inflation). Those who chose a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Mega Cab Laramie 4×4 would have had a starting MSRP of $41,075 (or about $54,426 with inflation). That was and still is a lot of truck for the money.
In recent years, the original Mega Cabs have become kind of a collector’s item for those in the truck community. But with these Ram 1500 Mega Cab models now hitting the ripe age of 15 years old, it is getting harder and harder to find these heavy half-ton pickups in good shape without rust and with low miles. The truck shown in this article is a 2006 Ram 1500 Mega Cab SLT 4×2 with only about 82,800 original miles on the odometer. Proving if you look hard enough, you can find them. As of this writing, the truck is located at Larry H. Miller Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram in Boise, ID and currently for sale for $17,876.
While RAM continues to produce its 2500/3500 Heavy Duty models with the fourth-generation cabin and the fifth-generation Ram 1500 being a completely different truck, it is unlikely we will see the return of the heavy half-ton anytime soon.