Part II: Suspension Tweaks, Tires, And Towing Accessories
In the last installment of our Silver Standard Ram story, you read about the installation of a Bedrug bedliner, an A.R.E. Z-Series cap, and Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks custom-built for KORE. All of these products work as advertised and have made our Ram a more useful and competent truck. This month, we add more KORE suspension components, Toyo Open Country M/T tires, and towing accessories from Andersen Manufacturing.
We didn't want to lift this truck at all, so we used KORE's new Fox shocks for stock-height trucks. KORE also offers many other accessories that are included with its suspension systems, so we picked a few more parts that would work with our nonlifted Ram. First, a KORE/Fox steering stabilizer works as well on our truck as an unlimited race truck. The stabilizer comes with high-quality billet brackets and does a much better job of damping lateral steering bumps than the stock unit. Second, we installed KORE control arms. The KORE arms are much heavier-duty than the easily bent stockers and feature synthetic rubber bushings on one end and spherical bearings on the other to keep binding at a minimum. Finally, we replaced our stock front antisway bar with a KORE Chase Series digressive tubular antisway bar that allows more travel at speed, making off-road bumps less harsh. It still supplies plenty of antisway control.
We've moved our Ram to snow and mud country, so we needed to go with a tire that would not only work on the highway, slickrock, or sand, but also in mild mud conditions or deep snow. The Toyo Open Country M/T is a great choice for these conditions, plus it has an "E" load rating and takes very little weight to balance. We mounted our LT35x12.50R17E Open Country M/Ts on the Ram's stock alloy rims. Remember, we have no leveling kit or lift of any kind, and the only place these tires rub is on the control arms when turning at full lock. This mild rubbing has to do with the width of the tire and the backspacing of the stock rims, not the suspension height of the truck. It's so mild that it doesn't bother us.
We plan on using our Ram for all kinds of daily-driver duties, including towing projects and other vehicles around. An oft-overlooked component for towing is the lowly receiver hitch and tow ball. We contacted Andersen Manufacturing about its Rapid Hitch, the original adjustable aluminum ball mount that never rusts and can be configured quickly to any drop (or rise) height to level your trailer behind the truck. It's V5-rated up to 10,000 pounds of trailer weight and 1,500 pounds of tongue weight (limited by ball capacity). The Rapid Hitch comes in three drop/rise sizes: 3-3/4, 5-3/4, and 10 inches, the size we chose, which can be adjusted from 4 inches to a full 10 inches of drop/rise. We also chose a 2-inch and 2-5/16-inch ball combo so we can easily tow any trailer we come across. As usual in our industry, the Rapid Hitch has been copied by imitators. We suggest making sure the one you're getting is from Andersen Manufacturing.
The Rapid Hitch is the perfect hitch for anyone who tows multiple trailers like us. We can flip the double ball over, change the drop to a rise, or adjust the height of the drop by simply removing the hitch pin and putting it back in place. As we already mentioned, with the height adjustment, we can keep our trailer level behind the truck. The tow ball we received from Andersen deserves mention too. The AlumiBall has an aluminum core that will, of course, never rust and has a nylon composite cap that eliminates the need for any lubrication.
Although the Rapid Hitch allows easy adjustability for a number of trailers or tow rigs, we also wanted one of Andersen's elegant Alumistingers, which, in our opinion, are the highest-quality and best-looking ball mounts on the market. The Alumistinger is a solid billet of aluminum alloy with no welds, giving it an 8,000-pound GTWR and 800-pound tongue weight capacity. The Alumistinger is available in 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, or 10-inch drop configurations.
These additions to our truck, while small, have made a big difference in its performance. In our next installment, we finish up the project with the installation of a Dynatrac locking hub kit.