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2014 Ram Cummins 2500 Suspension Review: Carli Pintop 2.5 Lift System

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on December 27, 2016
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If you have considered significantly improving the wheel travel and ride of your Ram 2500 or 3500 truck, then you have likely heard of Carli Suspension. Carli specializes in high-performance long-travel suspensions for Ford and Ram heavy-duty trucks.

We recently had the chance to spend a week behind the wheel of a 2014-current Ram 2500 Cummins with the Carli Suspension Pintop 2.5 Lift System, which provides a level stance via a 3-inch lift up front and a 1-inch lift out back. The system includes King 2 1/2-inch remote-reservoir front shocks, King 2 1/2-inch piggyback-reservoir rear shocks, linear-rate front coils, multirate rear coils, billet front sway bar drops, front and rear bumpstop extensions, radius arm drop brackets, an adjustable front track bar, a rear track bar drop bracket, rear sway bar end links, and shock reservoir mounts. Our truck was upfitted with the optional Carli fabricated radius arms, limit straps, high- and low-mount steering stabilizers, torsion-style front sway bar, and front diff guard. This truck also had a custom weld-on front axle truss.

The Carli’s 2 1/2-inch shocks are not just run-of-the-mill, high-end King shocks. They feature stocklike mounting provisions for less noise and ease of installation. Inside you will find shock oil that’s good to minus 55 degrees F, Carli-spec shock pistons and valving, and solid 17-4 stainless steel shock shafts that won’t rust.

The Pintop 2.5 Lift System makes room for 35-inch tires with minimal or no fender trimming. With more significant sheetmetal cutting you can fit up to 37-inch tires. In either case, wheel width and backspacing are key. The kit is designed to work well with wheels that are 17 to 18 inches in diameter and 8 to 9 inches wide. For 35-inch tires, you will want stock to 5 inches of wheel backspacing. For 37-inch tires, you will want a wheel backspacing of 5 1/2 to 6 inches. Our test truck was fitted with 37s.

Up front the Carli Pintop 2.5 Lift System provides 10 inches of useable wheel travel. The front coil springs are side-specific to match the coil bucket seats, preset, shot-peened, powdercoated, and guaranteed never to sag. The Carli-spec King 2 1/2-inch remote-reservoir shocks are designed to bolt into the factory shock mounts.


For the best ride and handling on an unloaded truck, Carli recommends 40 to 45 psi of air pressure up front, and 35 to 40 psi in the rear for both 35- and 37-inch E-rated tires. The harsh bumps and expansion joints that might normally rattle the heavy Ram with the stock suspension are smoothed out with the Carli Pintop 2.5 Lift System. Some of this can be attributed to the larger-diameter tires. However, proper coil springs and shock valving go a long way in making a 3/4-ton truck even more road friendly.

The head toss caused by uneven driveways and other large road bumps is significantly reduced. This is where the lighter optional Carli torsion sway bar really shines. For an even better on-road ride, you can remove the factory rear sway bar if you don’t plan to add anything to the truck that would make it top-heavy, such as a slide-in camper.

The included Carli adjustable front track bar centers the axle and is designed to provide a tighter feel to the front end by eliminating the soft OE rubber track bar bushings. Our test truck came with the optional Carli torsion-style sway bar, high- and low-mount steering stabilizers, diff guard, and Carli custom welded axle truss.


In the dirt is where the Carli Pintop 2.5 Lift System really shines. The front wheel travel is increased to 10 inches, the rear to 12 inches. This is the leveling kit for you if you like blasting down dirt roads or desert two-track. The Carli kit provides high-quality shocks and springs, but more importantly you get the correct shock tuning and suspension geometry. With the Carli kit, it is easy to forget that you are piloting a 7,500-pound truck with a 1,100-pound diesel engine out front. You can’t exactly hit 3-foot whoops with wanton disregard, but the suspension smoothly absorbs consistent whoops up to 10 inches deep and can handle much larger one-shot bumps with ease. If the whoops get to be a foot or more deep, the ride gets rough quick and you have to slow down.

Overall, it is an incredibly quiet lift system, thanks in part to the stocklike shock mounting. Our Carli-shod Ram rides much smoother than a stock truck at any speed. The 2 1/2-inch King shocks are certainly working to control the weight. They got hot, but they never faded. We occasionally heard a loud pop when we hit excessively large bumps and bottomed the suspension, but we could not find what was making the noise. It could have simply been a front coil shifting in the coil mount. We also noticed some minor shock contact with the hard brake lines up front at full compression, but this could be easily remedied by slightly bending the lines out of harm’s way.

The optional front radius arms are internally gusseted for strength and feature provisions for limit straps. They are said to slightly increase ride quality thanks to the friction-free rebuildable 3-inch Currie Johnny Joints at the frame connection points.
Dollar for dollar, the Carli torsion-style sway bar is perhaps the best individual component you can add to improve the on- and off-road ride quality of your Ram 2500 or 3500. The lighter sway bar gives the axle the ability to articulate more freely over rough terrain than with the stock sway bar.
If you like driving fast off-road, you should add the optional limit straps to your Carli lift system. They will help keep the heavy front axle from beating up your shocks and shock mounts.
The Carli Pintop 2.5 Lift System provides 12 inches of useable rear wheel travel. A track bar drop bracket is utilized for improved suspension geometry, and the factory track bar is retained. Our truck had the rear sway bar removed for a smoother ride, but sway bar extensions are included with the Carli kit.
Like the front coils, each rear coil is shot-peened, preset, powdercoated, guaranteed not to sag, and maintains the factory payload capabilities. The Carli-spec King 2 1/2-inch piggyback-reservoir shocks bolt into the stock mounting locations.
Extended. The Pintop 2.5 Lift System can crawl too. Suspension articulation of the Ram 2500 is greatly improved thanks in part to the Carli sway bar treatments.


Carli Suspension

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