New Life For An Old Dodge Ram
When Dodge introduced the redesigned Ram in 1994, the truck was a radical departure from its competition at the time. The new pickup was a combination of unique big-rig and aerodynamic styling that set it apart in a big way. This new Ram hit the truck-buying public right between the eyes and the result was that Dodge's market share in the fullsize pickup market tripled. This second-generation Ram 1500 had an impressive run and it continued in production through 2001 before it was redesigned.
Aside from styling there were/are a lot of things to like about the four-wheel-drive Ram--its coil-sprung solid front axle being one of the big ones. This setup offered a great ride and it was durable and easy to lift. Today used Rams are in demand and there is still great aftermarket support.
For this reason we wanted to illustrate how one of these rigs can be easily modified to better handle off-highway travel. We started with a bone-stock '95 Ram 1500 that had spent its entire life near our Four Wheeler Midwest Bureau doing thankless chores around the farm. Even though it has low miles, it wears the battle scars of a hard life, including dents from a jackknifed trailer incident. We wanted to improve the truck's functionality while not killing its ability to work. Hence we opted for a 5-inch Skyjacker Single Flex suspension lift that would allow us to fit a set of meaty 315/75R16 Mickey Thompson MTZ Radial tires on 10-inch-wide Mickey Thompson Classic Lock wheels.
For this story we actually got to work with a shop we've never worked with before and that was exciting. Forreston Auto Body in Forreston, Illinois, completed the install. Don't let the name fool you. The team at Forreston Auto Body has a history of installing four-wheel-drive suspensions and accessories. You can read more about them in the accompanying sidebar.
So how does the Skyjacker kit do what it does? How did the suspension of our 14-year-old Rust Belt truck react to being disassembled? What do we think of the Mickey Thompson tires and wheels? Read on.