The optional center high-mount stop lamp (CHMSL) camera on a 2016 Ram 2500 pickup. (Photo by Aaron Marsh)

"Marriage saver": Can this Ram pickup option save couples frustration?

Oct. 27, 2015
Is $325 a good deal to save a marriage? Read on: At a Ram Trucks event last week, a few execs jokingly referred to the brand's pickup bed camera — which can supplement the standard reverse camera off the rear — as the "marriage saver."

Is $325 a good deal to save a marriage? Read on: At a Ram Trucks event last week, a few execs jokingly referred to the brand's pickup bed camera — which can supplement the standard reverse camera off the rear — as the "marriage saver." Fleet owner got in for a closer look.

Officially, it's a center high-mount stop lamp, or CHMSL, camera, which engineers at the Oct. 20 event at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Chelsea Proving Grounds tended to pronounce as a word, "chimsel." Troy Davis, chief engineer for the Ram Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab products, also referred to it more straightforwardly as the rear cargo cam.

Why's it a marriage saver cam, though? Bob Hegbloom, head of the Ram brand for North America, touched on that point in discussing that the cargo-area camera is one of various features customers asked for.

Backing up a pickup truck to hook up a gooseneck trailer like this one to a 5th wheel can be tricky. The CHMSL rear cargo cam available on Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups claims to make the task easier. Click photo to enlarge. (Photo by Aaron Marsh)

"We put the CHMSL camera in our heavy duty trucks. If you've ever tried to back up and hook up a 5th wheel into a gooseneck, it's absolutely difficult," Hegbloom said. "We call it the 'marriage saver' because you don't have someone telling you how close you have to go — you can see it."

"We put in the integrated 5th wheel and gooseneck prep package; we've had bed lights in the cargo area of the bed," he added. "All of these features that customers look for, we've incorporated into our vehicles."

The CHMSL camera is available on the 2500 and 3500 pickup lines as a $325 option for 2016. To add it, though, you'll need the upgraded radio/media player with 8.4-in. touch screen, explained Jeff Johnson, brand manager for the 2500 and 3500 pickups. The player has an apps-type operating system that allows users to select favorite function icons and place them in a home screen deck.

PHOTO GALLERY: Closer look at Ram heavy duty pickups rear cargo cam

To get the optional CHMSL rear cargo cam — a $325 option for 2016 — you'll need the upgraded 8.4-in. radio/media player. Click photo to enlarge. (Photo by Aaron Marsh)

"Another new thing in 2016 is a little change in the software in the radio," Johnson told Fleet Owner. "You can now go on here and add apps buttons; these are all the different controls. You can customize this tray down here to whatever you want," he said, demonstrating the software's ease of use.

"If you're somebody who tows a lot, you might want the cargo view cam — you might want that button — easily available to you. You can drag and drop it" into the startup tray, he noted. The system is similar to using the OS in an Apple iPhone or iPad.

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

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