2014 Ram 3500 McGaughys Suspension 6 Inch Lift Kit - 8 Lug Install
Building a Bigger, Better Dualie
Thanks to the aftermarket, dual-rear-wheel trucks have enjoyed as much customizing ability as their ½-ton brethren. With so many lift and lowering kits available today, it has become as simple as dialing up the desired company to order the components that will make your dualie your own. We can’t help but love the extra-wide rear ends of the 1-ton dualie trucks and how they lend a much more aggressive appearance than their regular-bed cronies. Whether hugging the tarmac or reaching for the sky, customized dualie trucks are definitely a cut above in the cool department.
McGaughys Suspension, located in Fresno, California, is no stranger to innovation. As soon as truck manufacturers release new suspension designs, McGaughys has always responded quickly to fill the marketplace demand for properly engineered lift and lowering systems. Since the Ram 3500 was upgraded with a restructured front suspension system consisting of a radius arm in place of the well-known four-link, we decided to catch up with the crew at McGaughys and peek at what was being designed for the new Ram 1-ton. Steve McGaughy showed us his newly fabricated parts before pointing us in the direction of a brand-new 2014 Ram 3500 4x4 all ready for its dose of attitude.
Healthily optioned with the well-appointed Laramie package and a 6.7L Cummins under the hood, this 2014 Ram 3500 Dualie was no slouch from the get-go, but its stock height wasn’t doing much for the fun factor.
Since the truck was safely on a lift and prepped for surgery, we jumped right in by unbolting the front sway bar endlinks and dropping the factory shocks from the Ram.
Live-axle Ram trucks are susceptible to steering problems if the drag link angles aren’t kept in proper range. To make way for the necessary changes, the drag link was unbolted from the pitman arm.
A new pitman arm was included in the McGaughys kit, so the original was unbolted before a two-jaw puller freed it from the steering box.
Enough parts had been unbolted from the front axle to allow sufficient droop to liberate the original front coil springs.
The front track bar bolt was removed to make way for the McGaughys drop bracket.
While the axle was lowered a bit, it was the perfect time to cut off the front bumpstop mounts. We were careful to only cut through the weld and not the frame or bumpstop cup.
McGaughys added 6 inches of lift to the Ram with longer front coil springs, fabricated radius arms, rear lift blocks, and all the accompanying brackets and hardware necessary to make everything work as the factory geometry was originally fashioned.
Even though the bumpstop cups were welded on, matching holes in the frame and cups allowed McGaughys to design a bolt-on bracket to lower the bumpstops for proper function with its lift kit.
Track bar angle was repositioned to stock with a new bracket that bolted into two stock frame locations, with a third requiring drilling through the support crossmember.
Only three bolts held each radius arm on the Ram. To make the swap easier, both factory radius arms had to be removed before proceeding.
The new McGaughys radius arms were fabricated from thick-plate steel, fit with stock-style pivot bushings for longevity, and powdercoated in brilliant metallic silver.
McGaughys designed its new front coil springs with a rising rate to allow a compliant ride under normal conditions, while still being able to perform under harsher conditions.
Large-bore, gas-charged shocks came with the kit, but Steve chose to option this dualie with Fox 2.0 shocks for a more compliant ride.
You might be fooled into thinking the dropped pitman arm wasn't low enough to be effective, but there was more to the install.
Ram designed its drag link with these offsets so the adjustable end could not be installed the wrong way.
To accommodate the McGaughys design, the offsets had to be chopped off flush with the threaded portion of each end.
Once threaded back together, we flipped the drag link end over so it mounted through the new pitman arm from the bottom up. With the modification and the dropped arm, the drag link laid at the same angle as factory.
New mounting brackets held the sway bar and allowed the stock ball joint endlinks to be reused on the front axle.
The aft suspension began by removing the factory shock absorbers and original U-bolts.
Lowering the axle away from the leaf springs allowed room for the lift block to be slipped into position.
New, longer U-bolts were fit around the axle and cinched tightly.
No cutting was required to relocate the rear bumpstops. Everything simply bolted in place.
Completing the rear suspension was another pair of Fox's 2.0 shocks designed to soak up bumps with oversized tires.
Wheels and tires can make or break a truck's look. We chose 22x8.25-inch American Force Evo wheels and 35x12.50R22 Toyo Open Country M/T tires to complete the Ram's transformation.