Turning A High-End 2-Inch Kit Into A Bulletproof 4-Inch System
A few years ago we decided it was time to start upgrading our heavy-duty Dodge Ram 2500 tow vehicle. Due to the weight and size of the truck, we knew that a quality suspension system was a must. After much thought and research we chose a 2-inch performance system by Lorenz Industries. The system was not cheap but the quality of the parts and design made it worth it. It was also the least expensive of the high-end Dodge kits since it used steel instead of aluminum where lightweight materials were unnecessary.
The Lorenz kit was great in the deserts in California where high speeds make a low center of gravity important. But this truck has been moved to Colorado and is spending more time on rocky mountain trails that require a bit more ground clearance. At the same time, we wanted to go a few steps further than what most of the high-end kits come with. We were still running stock control arms, a stock track bar, and even our 35-inch tires were starting to look a bit stock-ish. But the truck handled really well the way it was set up and we did not want to diminish any of its performance characteristics. Therefore, we decided that the task was on us to make a truly high-performance suspension, using as many of the already-purchased high-end suspension components as we could to keep costs down. We believe we came up with a great recipe to add to your Dodge, whether you already have a high-end suspension on your truck or not, since all of these parts will work with a pre- or post-modified Dodge Ram 2500/3500 4x4.
To gain a couple extra inches in front, we went to Daystar to supply an inexpensive urethane spacer that would allow us to keep our high-end Lorenz coils and their spring rates, while giving us a couple more inches of clearance and also a little cushion (from the urethane) on top of the coil.
In the rear, we used Off Road Design's new zero-rate add-a-leaf 1-inch blocks that tie into the leaf spring pack. A 1-inch block would not make any axlewrap problems, and being tied into the leaf springs via the center pin would remedy any concerns of blocks spitting out during extreme suspension strain.
The factory control arms and track bar had to go as well. It was almost embarrassing having badass Sway-A-Way remote reservoir shocks while still retaining the old-and-busted factory arms. DT Pro Fab, well known for their excellent track bars that fixed so many previous-generation Dodges, had a newly-designed HD track bar for this current generation truck. They made some more options in their control arm choice as well. To account for the way the axle moves rearward when the front end is lifted, DT not only offers stock-length control arms, but also .5-inch and 1-inch longer control arms.
Even after we were properly linked and sitting at an elevated height, we would still have not increased travel at all over what the 10-inch stroke Sway-A-Way shocks that came with the Lorenz kit yielded. After some careful measurements, we realized we could upgrade to 12-inch stroke shocks in front if we lowered the bumpstops 1.5 inches. We again turned to Daystar for some longer urethane bumpstops, and were ready for some 12-inch shocks. But we weren't about to take it in the shorts on a whole new pair of front shocks when we already had some great shocks with some excellent valving. Instead, we sent the shocks back to Sway-A-Way to be rebuilt with 12-inch shafts and bodies, retaining our original reservoir, valving, shock ends, and everything else.
We were almost done making our Dodge dream kit, but we still had to add some new sway bar links to replace the inadequate factory ones, and install a new drop pitman arm to account for the fact we used DT's 4-8 inch lift track bar instead of the 0-4-inch lift version. Tuff Country has recently released some rod-end sway-bar links, so those were a no-brainer to add, and Pro Comp has an inexpensive and readily-available drop pitman arm that we were able to purchase at a local off-road shop.
At this point, 37-inch tires were a must. With the DT control arms kicking the axle a bit farther forward, we knew we would have no rubbing issue on the lower part of the front fenders. We wanted a tire specifically built for a heavy-duty fullsize truck, but with a tread pattern aggressive enough for some hardcore off-roading. The obvious choice was the Toyo 37-inch Open Country M/T that had an aggressive but quiet tread design, and sidewalls and load ratings made to support heavy trucks.
Please feel free to poach any ideas here. Heck, that's why we write about them! If you're an HD Dodge owner, any one of these upgrades could benefit your truck, and we'd love to see more owners putting together their own truly high-performance suspensions.