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Above and Beyond: Installing Fabtech’s 6-inch Performance System On A 2015 Ram 1500

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on June 19, 2017
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It’s undeniable that the late-model Ram 1500 pickup delivers a great ride thanks to its well-dialed IFS and multi-link coil-spring rear suspension. The super-smooth handling is great too, but the truck lacks adequate ground clearance for most off-road driving. We wanted to increase off-road performance and improve the stance of our daily-driven ’15 Ram 1500 Tradesman-package truck while retaining our Ram’s comfort. To achieve these goals on our non-air suspension truck, a quality and rugged aftermarket suspension kit was in order so we contacted Fabtech to acquire the company’s 6-inch Performance System for ’13-’16 Ram 1500 trucks.

Advanced Performance
Fabtech has evolved into one of the leaders in the industry and has over 20 years experience in aftermarket suspension design. Its state-of-the-art software and fabrication equipment, along with seasoned engineers and fabricators, has allowed the company to develop products that are constantly on the cutting edge. The Fabtech team clearly understands that with the design of the 6-inch Performance System for Ram trucks the consumer can achieve increased ground clearance while retaining things like the factory-like suspension and steering geometry. This is accomplished a variety of ways, including Fabtech’s proven IFS technology with extended length steering knuckles for proper factory electronic stability control functionality. Heavy-duty 1/4-inch-thick steel lower control arm crossmembers provide superior ground clearance while the integrated front differential skidplate adds protection. The Performance System kit we installed includes front Dirt Logic 2.5 coilover shocks, while the back has Dirt Logic 2.25 shocks and new springs. The shocks have stainless steel bodies and provide excellent damping control for the aggressive driver. Fabtech also offers a Performance System that includes remote-reservoir coilovers. Additionally, Fabtech also offers two Basic System kits for the ’13-’16 Ram 1500 4WD trucks.

We saw Fabtech’s technology up close and personal while at CT’s Automotive in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, as owner Chris Tom and his team installed the kit under our Ram. Our installation required about 10 hours. We were impressed by the quality of the parts and the fact that they bolted on with precision and ease.

The Fabtech 6-inch Performance Kit includes everything you need to raise a ’13-’16 Ram 1500 4WD, making room for 35-inch tires. The system, which took CT’s Automotive about 10 hours to install, qualifies for Fabtech’s FIVE SIXTY 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Sum of its Parts
The final product met our expectations by combining with larger diameter tires to increase our Ram’s approach and departure angles and overall ground clearance considerably, which means less chance of getting stuck in snow or dragging vital components over large rocks while on the trail. The truck also has a mean stance. The only noticeable difference on-road between the stock and modified Ram is a slightly stiffer ride and a bit more transmission shifting while traversing the high mountain passes in the Colorado Rockies, which is mostly attributable to the larger diameter tires. Other than that, the truck drives and handles just like it just rolled out of the factory. Being that it’s a daily driver, we’ve had a chance to rack up roughly 1,000 highway miles as well as a few more hardcore off-road miles before this review and we’re quite satisfied with its overall performance.

Here are some of the highlights of the install. If you want more information on the kit or a look at the detailed installation instructions, please visit Fabtech’s website.

Here, CT’s Automotive owner, Chris Tom, is assisted by technician Mike Blanchard in removing the Ram’s front differential. Installing the Fabtech kit requires removing the entire front suspension from driveline to struts, steering knuckles to swaybar, to the differential and its supporting crossmembers.
The Fabtech suspension kit comes with all the necessary drop bracketry and hardware to lower the factory front differential. Here you can see some of the new bracketry being installed.
The kit requires some cutting of the frame to accept the new suspension components. The Fabtech instructions give detailed information as to where the cutting is required and how much to remove. The instructions also include photos to help as a guide.
The new front Fabtech crossmember fits into the modified front lower control arm pockets using supplied bolts, nuts, and washers.
The Fabtech instructions note that due to variances in each truck, additional cutting and grinding may be required for proper fitment of the crossmember and differential. The measurements provided in the instructions are to be used as a starting point. Our truck required some additional grinding to fit the rear crossmember.
Technicians reinstalled the front differential into the truck by attaching the new Fabtech drop brackets to the factory frame mounts. The instructions note that the hardware is to be installed but left loose until later in the process. The driver front diff bracket is attached after the rear crossmember is installed.
Next up, the rear Fabtech crossmember was installed into the into the trucks frame pocket using the supplied hardware.
The factory lower control arms are reused. Here you can see them being installed on the new Fabtech crossmembers using the original alignment cam bolts.
The Dirt Logic 2.5 stainless steel coilover shocks bolted right in using the supplied hardware.
The Fabtech kit included an angled skidplate, which increases protection of the front differential from hard impacts.
There are other modifications to factory components including trimming of the inner tie-rod ends and the mods are explained in detail in the instructions. After the new Fabtech knuckles and factory components were installed per the instructions the completed Fabtech front suspension fasteners were torqued per the supplied specs.
The Fabtech instructions note what needs to be removed at the rear of the truck to begin the removal of the stock components and installation of the new Fabtech components. These parts include, but are not limited to, the shocks, springs, and link arms.
The kit includes bushings and sleeves that are inserted into the new Fabtech rear upper and lower link arms.
The new Fabtech coil springs were installed using the factory coil isolators.
With the bushings and sleeves installed, the link arms were installed to their respective mounts using the factory hardware.
The Fabtech instructions clearly note where to trim the factory track bar bracket prior to installing the new bracket and track bar.
The rear Dirt Logic 2.25 stainless steel shocks are installed using the stock hardware. The new shocks are designed to replace the factory shocks with a larger, more robust configuration and are pretuned to account for larger tires, providing the finest all around damping.
Here’s how the Fabtech 6-inch Performance System looks fully installed on the back with the new 35-inch Pro Comp AT II tires.
We were impressed that after the installation the trucks alignment was surprisingly good before it was dialed in on CT’s laser-alignment rack.

A Numbers Game
Before the installation, the Ram was rolling on LT265/70R17 (32-inch diameter) Toyo Open Country A/T II tires that were replaced with 35x12.50R18LT Pro Comp A/T Sport tires mounted on Fuel Revolver wheels. Before the lift, there was 8 inches of clearance between the bottom of the air dam and the pavement. After the installation of the kit and new rubber, the Ram gained 10 1/2 inches of clearance under the front air dam while the tow hitch-to-ground measurement went from 12 inches to 22 inches. Our truck gained approximately 1 1/2 inches more clearance between the rear differential and the dirt, thanks to the larger diameter tires.

Sources

Fabtech
Chino, CA 91710
909-597-7800
www.fabtechmotorsports.com
CT’s Automotive
970-264-1630
ctsautoshop.com

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