Awhile back I rebuilt the front end on my 1999 Ram 2500 to replace worn components and freshen up the truck. During this rebuild Metalcloak control arms were installed to replace the stock arms. This created an unintended issue where the track bar contacts the differential cover during normal driving conditions. The Metalcloak control arms are 1/2" longer than stock to push the axle forward on lifted trucks. Though the manufacture claims they work on stock height trucks and that is mostly true. The replacement Moog trackbar has a larger ball joint than the stock one. This is the game that is played with a mix of aftermarket parts on any vehicle. To remedy this issue, I elected to lift the truck slightly.
When looking at lift kits for 94-02 Ram 2500's there are way too many options at any price point you could want. The wide variety of lifts are not equal in manufacturing quality, safety, and ride quality. For my application I wanted to improve ride quality, improve the look of the truck, and improve the durability of the suspension. With those three goals in mind, I will explain why I selected the components I did. The main kind of suspension lifts that you find for these trucks is the leveling coil spring spacer kits that install on top of the coil. These kits provide a quick lift to achieve a look/tire clearance but do nothing for ride quality and in some cases reduce ride quality. One step up brings you into the 1-3" kits from various manufactures like Rough Country and Skyjacker. These kits usually still have the coil spring spacer and add in a lift block for the rear along with longer travel shocks. Ride quality may stay the same or slightly improve with these kits mainly due to the shocks. I am not a fan of spacers to achieve lift as generally create some bad suspension geometry and can induce even more axle wrap in the rear. Some of these kits can be optioned with lift coils in the front and add a leaf packs in the rear. I prefer the idea of replacing an entire component to achieve a lift rather than add spacers/blocks, so I elected to go the coil and leaf pack route on my truck. Unfortunately, in my searching many of the full kits are intended for either V8 or diesel trucks and the V10 is in the middle closer to the diesel trucks in weight. This meant that no off the shelf kit what ideal for my application so I would have to piece one together.
When looking at lift coils the spring rate is very important. Many of the cheaper lift coils are a stiffer spring rate than the stock coils. Going stiffer will certainly raise the truck but at the cost of poor ride quality. I reached out to CJC Offroad to get their suggestion as they are a dealer for many of the premium aftermarket suspension manufactures. They carry Carli Suspension and Thruen Fabrication lift coil springs for these trucks and are familiar with their applications. The springs from either manufacture are intended for use with the diesels but Thuren makes an XS coil that is much softer than other lift coils and slightly softer that the stock coils. These coils are advertised to give a 2.75” lift on a diesel and I expect roughly 3” lift with a V10. Running these coils should give me improved ride quality.
In the rear I did not want to lift the truck much as I want to be able load things easily in the bed. Many add a leaf raise the spring rate of the leaf pack to raise the truck. That method is opposite of my goal. Fortunately, Carli Suspension offers both a mini pack and a full leaf spring to lift the rear. The mini pack replaces the large straight overload leaf on the bottom of the pack with 5 thinner leaves. They claim this does not reduce load capacity but greatly increases the range of motion in the spring. Their full leaf spring is supposed to be an even bigger ride improvement over the mini pack but at the cost of reduced load capacity. Both options advertise a 1-1.5” lift depending on cab and bed configuration. For my application the mini pack made more sense and was significantly cheaper.
When lifting, the stock shocks become too short and will give poor ride quality due to them being out of their range of motion. Since I was going with the Thruren XS coils upfront it made sense to pick their custom valved FOX 2.0 IFP shocks that are designed to work with their coils. In the rear I chose the matched Thuren FOX 2.0’s that are valved for stock and aftermarket leaf springs. Other shock options would likely work and offer improved ride, but it made sense to use components that are designed to work together. I also like the fact that the FOX 2.0’s are rebuildable and way more robust that OEM style shocks.
The last component I needed to replace was the track bar. When these trucks the stock track bar is too short and will pull the axle to the driver side and make the truck crab walk down the road. There are many adjustable track bars on the market of varying quality and style. The most popular is the 3rd gen conversion style that uses a conversion bracket to get rid of the ball joint style 2nd gen bar. Reading forums, you can come across threads that report some of the “affordable” conversion brackets breaking. After reading enough of those bad experiences I am warry of installing a conversion bracket. I came across an adjustable track bar from Rare Parts that mounts in the factory location with no modification. This makes things easy for install and it is beefy compared to the stock track bars. I hope the oversized ball join lasts longer than stock track bars.
Other parts that need to be considered when lifting are the sway bar links and control arms. In my case the Metalcloak control arms and Suspension Maxx sway bar links I installed previously are already intended for 0-3” lifts.
I plant to install these parts later this year when I travel back home where my Ram 2500 is currently stored. Stay tuned for a full install and road test.