The Ram MegaCab has proven itself to be a beast of a truck. With the extra cab space, near-indestructible Cummins powerplant, and relative affordability of Ram trucks as compared to the other HD truck lines, Ram has firmly planted itself in the forefront of the custom lifted truck scene—and we have the backlog of potential Ram cover trucks to prove it.
When longtime friend of the magazine, OG Negative Camber member, and all-around good guy Mike Sutton picked up a well-bought ’17 Ram 2500 recently, we knew we had a new testbed for some killer Ram tech for the magazine. At the point we got our hands on the truck, it was bone stock, save for the usual debadging and window tint. We decided that getting the truck sitting at a respectable—and level—height was at the top of our priorities. A 6-inch lift, 20-inch wheels, and 37-inch tires were on the agenda.
| Before: We started out with a brand-new, bone-stock ’17 Ram 2500 Cummins— debadged, of course.
BDS Suspension offers a plethora of options for lifting your HD Ram. You can choose from leveling or a 4- to a 6-inch kit, and there are several different versions of each, depending on your plans for the truck. From there, you have a ton of add-ons to choose from—and we them all! Our order included the 6-inch four-link suspension system, along with the optional front adjustable track bar, dual steering stabilizer, and front dual shock hoop. Also included in our order were a total of eight shocks from Fox Racing. For wheels, we picked up a set of Center Line’s new 20x10 LT3 wheels in black with machined edges. For an aggressive look but still plenty of road manners, we chose 37x12.50R20 Trail Grappler M/Ts from Nitto. With this combo, we knew we’d have the looks and performance we were after.
This was a very involved install and is not for the faint of heart. There was a fair amount of trimming, drilling, and welding involved. Follow along below as we knock it out in a couple of days. And log onto BDS Suspension, Center Line, and Nitto’s websites to see what they offer for your tuck.
| We went big with BDS Suspension. What you’re looking at is actually the majority of five separate part numbers. First, there is the 6-inch four-link suspension system. Then we dressed up the basic kit with almost everything else they offer, including the recoil traction bar system, the dual steering stabilizer kit with Fox shocks, the adjustable front track bar, and the front dual shock hoop.
| Center Line has some new truck wheel styles out, so we ordered up a set of 20x10 LT3s in black and machined. Nitto was our tire choice, and we went with its Trail Grappler M/T in a size 27x12.50R20. This will prove to be a good-looking combo on the silver Ram, which still has a lot of chrome trim on it.
| With the truck on the lift at SuttonWorks in Desert Hot Springs, California, we tore into the disassembly of this extensive BDS install by removing the bolt for the upper track bar mount. We also removed the sway bar end links at this time.
| Next, we removed the stock steering stabilizer, along with the factory mount that attached to the front axle.
| Then the tie rod was removed from the factory pitman arm. It, too, will be removed soon.
| We installed the driveshaft spacer with plenty of Loctite and torqued the supplied longer bolts as per the directions.
| The upper track rod mounting bolt was the next to go. As you can already tell, there is a lot more to the BDS system than just drop-down brackets and link bars.
| With the stock shock removed, the lower dual-shock mount requires a little welding and grinding. Basically, we added a second mount for the outside shock and then gusseted it to the frame.
| We then added a second bracket from below, adding a ton more strength. We did our welding with the bolt in place so it would fit through all three holes later.
| On the passenger side, once the factory radius arm is removed, some minor clearancing is required for the four-link bracket to mount up. This is the front section.
| It was pretty easy, as exact measurements were provided. This is the rear section.
| Now the driver-side radius arm was unbolted and removed.
| Finally, the coil and upper shock bolt are removed.
| The crossmember bolts are temporarily removed to make way for the BDS four-link bracket.
| Holes are marked and drilled onto the frame to mount the four-link bracket, then bungs are welded into each of the upper holes.
| Now the four-link bracket could be locked down for good.
| The BDS upper and lower arms could now be bolted up to the cleaned and painted front axle.
| This photo shows two things: our new, lengthened stainless steel brake line installed, and a puller being used to remove the factory pitman arm.
| It takes a 1 13/16-inch socket to remove the factory pitman arm and install the BDS unit.
| Next, we tackled the shock hoops. By snugging the upper bolt in place, the two lower mounting points can be located, marked, and drilled. Then the holes are filled with rivet nuts. Finally, all three mounting points are bolted down snug.
| Now the coil can be mounted in place. All our drilling and bolting was finally starting to produce some results.
| The Fox shocks were now mounted in place in the BDS shock hoops with the provided hardware.
| After all the work down at the lower mounts was complete, we were happy with the results.
| Some modification of the drag link was required. Basically, the tabs that reside in the coupler need to be trimmed.
| Once trimmed per the directions, the drag link was reassembled.
| At this point, both the drag link and the adjustable track bar were installed. All the rest of the loose ends, like the sway bar end links, were reattached and torqued to spec.
| Earlier, we removed the stock steering stabilizer and mounting bracket. Here is the new mount coming off the cleaned and painted front axle.
| With the inner mount in place, the outer mounts were bolted up, along with the dual Fox shocks. At this point, we’re calling the front end complete.
| Out back, we removed the stock shocks and rerouted the emergency brake cable per the directions. Then we removed the stock U-bolts and slid the 4-inch block in place.
| The new U-bolts were torqued down and trimmed to the proper length.
| The new Fox shocks were then bolted up to the stock locations.
| But we’re not done yet! The axle mount for the BDS Suspension recoil traction bar system was located on the rear axle. It sits perfectly between the U-bolt and the shock mount.
| With the traction bar in place and approximately adjusted, we marked the holed for the bottom of the frame.
| Once everything is drilled and bolted down, BDS recommends a spot weld for good measure. We went one further and ran a bead at each end.
| The traction bars were bolted up, adjusted, and greased. With that, the BDS-equipped Ram was ready for reveal!
| What a huge difference this 6-inch BDS kit with all the bells and whistles makes on this Ram. And with all the extra precautions and preventive maintenance BDS bakes into its kits, this truck will no doubt be going down the road for a long, long time. The 20-inch Center Line wheels and 37-inch Nitto tires continue the newly aggressive look. Keep an eye out for more on this ’17 Ram, as we plan to use it as a testbed for plenty more builds!