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.
"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.
"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.