Project Long-Range Clunker Suspension Install

Bed Full Of Better

We tried to avoid it, we swore to ourselves when we got this truck that we were going to leave it alone. But “inch-itis” reared its ugly head. When the time came to replace the 285/75R16 Goodyear Silent Armor tires that we originally put on our ’94 Dodge Ram, we decided we wanted something a bit more aggressive, and why not put a slightly bigger tire on it while we were at it? After some careful measuring of the old tires, we decided that we could likely fit a set of 315/75R16s on the factory rims. We wanted more aggressive, though, so Goodyear MT/Rs got the nod.

Once we had them on the truck, the rear fit fine, and the driver-side front was okay if a little tight. However, the side of the truck that was crashed into the guardrail before we got it didn’t fit well at all. We measured the driver side; we should have measured the previously smashed passenger side. Thanks to some tweaked control arms and really worn rubber bushings, it turned out that the axle was pushed back almost a full inch on the passenger side.

We never really liked the stinkbug look of the truck, and wanted to put a leveling kit of some kind on it, but we just couldn’t justify the expense. Well, after having that money tied up in the bigger meats, and finding that the control arms were more tweaked than we originally thought, it was time to replace some bent parts, get better tire clearance, and make the truck sit level all in one shot.

When you lift a truck with a solid axle and five-link/coil suspension, the tires end up closer to the rear of the wheelwell. It was already rubbing, so we went looking for a small leveling kit that came with new, longer control arms. While we didn’t find a leveling kit, we ended up getting a Rough Country 3-inch lift kit for the truck. The kit comes with new front springs, four new shocks, a sway bar lowering kit, new sway bar end link bushings (which we really needed), and rear lift blocks. It also comes with heavy-duty tubular control arms. The longer lower arm is shown here against one of the factory lower arms. We didn’t end up using the rear lift blocks but rather left the rear suspension stock. The Rough Country shocks fit out back even though they were intended to work with the lift.