2013 Ram Owners Can Use a Radio Dial To Choose A Gear

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Chrysler has been hard at work on its new Ram 1500 and one of their interesting ideas is a blast from their past, a shifter dial to replace the traditional shifting lever. Yep, just like changing stations, you can change what gear your transmission is in. Weird or cool?

2013 Ram TorqueFlite shifter

The new 2013 Dodge Ram features a TorqueFlite shifter knob to change gears. An odd idea or will it catch on?

The new 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 debutted at the 2012 New York Auto Show with its new shifter that really does look like a radio knob. It is named the TorqueFlite 8 which is like the push-button transmissions Chrysler built in the mid-1950s.

According to Autonews.com, “The pickup has a rotary dial to the right of the steering wheel for the P-R-N-D functions of the automatic transmission. There also are button controls for manually selecting gears 1-8 of “Drive” for those who don’t want gear selection to be done automatically.”

The TorqueFlite name was first used by Chrysler in 1956 when it was added to the Chrysler Imperial sedan. It was a push-button type system with buttons normally located at the driver’s side. The first TorqueFlites featured three forward gears plus reverse. Each gear would have a button like P, R, N, D, First, Second. The idea lasted until 1965 when the column shifter gained favor. The name continued though and was last used in 1993.

The name is still trademarked by Chrysler and its revival concides with many recent changes to the Ram 1500 aimed at improving gas mileage. Chrysler has been working on some new items like including Grille Shutters, Stop-start system, V-6 with 8-speed transmission and a CNG-Bifuel Ram.

However, unlike the TorqueFlite, most of these changes the driver may not notice. The TorqueFlite will definitely standout. Yet, will it be as a “Wow, isn’t that cool, I wish other trucks were like that” or “What the hell is that knob for, how do I shift this thing?” What do you think?

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Mickey says:

    Just a different way of going through the gears. Sorry that don’t impress me. No I don’t want a truck with a radio dial to shift.

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      Mickey – My favorite part of this feature is that you could accidentally change gears when you’re not paying attention and trying to adjust the volume on the radio, or the air conditioner fan speed, or anything else that’s usually controlled with a dial.

      My guess is that this is a “gee-whiz” feature that people won’t really care about, but I could be wrong…I guess we’ll see. Paddles would be cooler, as Anon says.

      • Mickey says:

        I agree Jason. It may seem nice till that first bang of the tranny being shifted when you didn’t want it to.

        • Zhulander says:

          I’m sure the tranny is smart enough that she won’t allow a shift which results in a bang.

      • Armando Penuela says:

        This is the worse idea ever. Almost hit my son ,accidentally after I stop ,turn the AC off then my truck continues running. Today it happens again ,then I hit my garage door. Can Dodge be liable.??

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mickey- paddles shifter would be cool….

  3. Haphazard says:

    I would be concerned about kids in the vehicle messin’ around. Heck, if a kid threw something around the vehicle and hit the dash/knob…what happens?

    • Wilma says:

      You’d end up with a driver sitting at a light possibly unaware that he’s going to go in reverse when he hits the gas…

  4. Haphazard says:

    this could cause a great deal of tranny confusion.

    • Armando Penuela says:

      Ity happens to me today. Got home,stop, accidentally I turn the AC knob off, then the truck continuous running, then I hit my garage door. SUCKS.

  5. Joanna says:

    What is needed is a way of preventing such an event or correction if it does happen. With my stick, engaging the wrong selection is just blocked out by the system.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a way for dodge to blame human error on thier faulty transmissions… What happened?you say something broke? Well the warranty is void because you obviously changed gears and not the radio. Sorry. We all know dodge is trying to cover thier butts with this new 8 speed wonder tranny. This is a ridiculous waste of engineering and a costly electronic part that will get dirty or wet and then not work. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

    • Idaf Slovinsky says:

      Waste of engineering? They are just following what most other manufactures are already doing.

    • James says:

      That “waste of engineering” allows Ram trucks to get the best fuel economy in their class, both with the V6 and V8 engines. And 8 speed transmissions are here to stay, along with 9 speeds and more. The CAFE ratings necessitate that “fix”. As far as the shifter goes, I’m sure it’s as easy or easier to bump a lever sticking out than it is to rotate a knob. Since the lever is no longer pulling a cable to mechanically change a gear it makes sense to put some type of space saving device in there.

      • David in Vegas says:

        I have owned my 2013 Ram for 5 weeks now and I hate this rotary knob. I can’t count how many times I rotated to Park when I meant to rotate to Drive and vise versa. Worst of all is when you think you are in Park and take your foot off the brake only to start rolling into that object in front of you. It’s only a matter of time before something or someone gets damaged.

        • Chris says:

          Dude, just pay attention! I have this same truck and it took about 2 days to get it figured out. Sure, it’s different but not that difficult. C’mon brother.

          • David in Vegas says:

            You’re right. after initiating a little discipline I’ve come to like this new shifting system and the fantastic fuel economy that comes with it. Just wish they put it on the console instead of on the dash. Wait, then I would spill my coffee in it, never mind.

        • Armando Penuela says:

          It happens to me today. I hit my garage door, BIG DAMAGE,need to replace the whole door…..Stupid gear knob. What an engineer idea.

    • richard head says:

      you will never know until you actually get into one and figure out first hand how the shifter dial actually works will you?

  7. Haphazard says:

    What happens if someone actually does turn it to the wrong gear? Is it possible to do? If so, besides loss of torque….how would the driver know how to correct this?

    Weird….next thing you know it will be like a touch screen shifter.

    Who makes their Transmissions anyway?

    • Idaf Slovinsky says:

      Usually there is some sort of blocking element to prevent incorrect gear shift.

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      I’m pretty sure that the input will be ignored…it’s all digital. Still, you’ll have to change the position of the dial before you can use the selector. At least that’s what it looks like.

  8. Ahh! mad says:

    ZF makes these particular transmissions.
    They have a reputation.

  9. Mickey says:

    I think the radio dial and tranny shift together will be my excuse to the officer when I tell him I was listening to “I Can’t Drive 55” and the truck did just that.

  10. Eiluj Bdumfawk says:

    I think it cool, it new way of looking at making room in car. Purse now go where shift was.

  11. Braden Dodger says:

    What was wrong with the normal column shift>? Its not in the way, its easy to switch in and out of gears when loading or hooking up trailers. Plus its a good place to rest your hand when your cruising lol

    • Wilma says:

      Just don’t rest your hand on the knob, it might turn accidently! Also probably don’t play with any balls in the truck.

  12. Ahh! mad says:

    Will this also apply to my RAM for removing the shaft which seems to jam into the ‘knob hole’ thus preventing the tranny from engaging in reverse?

  13. Indymike says:

    It failed once and history will repeat .. face it guys and gals like to grab ” the stick ” and control it:)

  14. Amanda says:

    Hate the shifter i go go for the ac knob and i get the gear shift lucky i was @ a stop sign and not on a freeway going 60 and accidentally slamming into reverse turning on the ac or volume on radio STUPID DESIGN pit it back on the column where it belongs

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Wow! You didn’t lose your transmission did you?? There should be an emergency over ride to stop this from happening.


    • Chris says:

      You have to be pushing the brake to go into reverse. Maybe try to just pay attention to what your doing.

  15. ryan says:

    just more one more thing that will go wrong and you will have to pay to fix cuz you cant do it your self thats all it is…

  16. George says:

    Seems the females like the knob more than the guys. Personally I don’t want to drive a TRUCK with anything less than a floor shift. I think the Dodge execs did not do their market analysis

  17. Shawn says:

    I have recently been looking into getting a bigger vechical. I like the Dodge Durango, but there is one tiny little feature completely deterring me from it the dial knob for a shifter… WTF… I’ve alwayz driven a stick shift so for me it doesn’t make sense. I drive fords and wanted to try Dodge out!!! But I’ll just stick with ford since they have the lever shifter.. its very sad!

  18. Mark says:

    I have owned Dodge trucks for over 20 years. I recently leased one of these with the rotary dial. As a long time truck enthusiast I have to say I was very disappointed in Dodge. Fortunately there are other companies with products out there offering the truck experience that I expect. Dodge gets a thumbs down on this one.

  19. Johnny says:

    Is it possible to put the truck into reverse while driving with the rotary shifter?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      It works probably the same as any other shifter. The newer vehicles allow you to put them in reverse while driving in theory. Actually, the computer overrides the driver in this case and shifts the vehicle to neutral instead – preserving the transmission.


  20. Christian says:

    I own a 2014 RAM 1500 and I was driving at 5 or 10 mph when my son moved the shifter into Reverse, I completely stop the truck and changed the shifter into D. I’m not sure if I hurt the transmission, I drove the truck for almost 500 miles that day and i didn’t notice anything unusual on it. The only thing was that the temperature reader wasn’t in the middle like between Cold and Hot. Also the pressure of oil was low. Does this mean anything? I have only 3k miles on this truck.

    I don’t feel very safe with this new rotary shifter, you get confuse while trying to change your radio or a/c. Besides that the mpg is really good on this RAM.

  21. New dodge says:

    Really easy to get used to. Works like it should. And no it will not into reverse at 60. I tried it and it just goes into park. Kinda cool when somebody’s following you. The reverse lights come on and the backup camera.

  22. New dodge says:

    Goes into neutral not park. My bad.

  23. Rigmover says:

    Just returned from the local dealership, was looking to change my 2009 1500 sport for a new one. First time I had heard anything about the rotary dial. For me its a deal breaker.. a poorly thought out gimmick, not practical and trying to change gears on steep incline by pressing buttons on the wheel is downright dangerous. Real pity as I was ready to buy and would have driven out in a new truck. Now will have to go through the whole review process to find something that will not be as good as what I have, the only consolation is that it will have a guarantee.

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