Project Lead Sled, Part 1: 2009 Dodge Ram Suspension

Ekstensive Metalworks Slams Our Ram

Harley CamilleriJul 1, 2012
Photo 2/35   |   Driving low was as easy as hitting the switches, but our current wheel offset wasn't ideal, so be on the lookout for a new set of wheels to be tucking even deeper in an upcoming issue.
One of the things we love to see is a custom truck completely flat on the ground with a killer set of wheels that look literally sucked up into the fenders. The stance can be hard to achieve, with some trucks being more difficult to work on than others. The main issue in achieving that in-the-weeds look is the diameter of the wheels and tires chosen. Fitting fairly diminutive 20-inch or 22-inch wheels under a fullsize truck does not require anywhere near the amount of modifications that a 24-, 26- or even 28-inch wheel and tire combination would need to clear.
Photo 3/35   |   1. After assessing what was hanging below the frame, the cutting of steel commenced. Up front, the removable control arm support was unbolted and the attending ears were cut flat to the pivot. Two small caps were made from plate steel and welded in place for strength.
With that in mind, we present you with Lead Sled, our '09 Ram in reborn form. Over the last four years, the truck has seen three sets of wheels and tires, plus two different suspension systems. Add to that, two custom paintjobs, plus a fender bender or two, and our poor Ram was in need of a serious makeover to feel like the tough truck it once was. For our first installment, we traveled to Houston, Texas, to see Bill Carlton and the crew at Ekstensive Metalworks. Ekstensive has been getting big trucks to lay low for years and we were certain that if there was a crew that could help us, it was the boys in Texas. A short 24-hour road trip later and we were standing with Mr. Carlton in one of the service bays at Ekstensive running down what we wanted to achieve with the truck while he just kept nodding his head and saying, "I got it man, quit worrying about it." He was right, and now our truck is one of the lowest and sickest-looking late-model Rams in the country. This is how they did it.
Photo 19/35   |   17. Two similar plates were drilled to correspond with the threaded holes and the plates were bolted together.
Photo 35/35   |   33. Thanks to a custom air suspension from Ekstensive and a chassis designed by Dodge that tucks the frame under the body, our Ram now looks body dropped with nearly all of the factory frame still in place.
Our Honest Opinion

With any suspension modification comes the test drive and alignment. Both were handled with aplomb, but we weren't satisfied. Editor Dan Ward and Contributing Editor Harley Camilleri loaded up the truck after a healthy lunch with the Ektensive Crew and drive straight home from Houston, Texas. From point A to point B, we drove 24 hours straight to the tune of 1,540 miles in a truck that had been together for only a matter of hours. If that isn't a testament to quality work, then we don't know what is. The new custom air suspension allowed us to hug the road with a ride that was head and shoulders above anything else we had on the Dodge to date. Plus, the "thumbs up" factor was raised considerably judging buy the amount we dreiceved on our way home.

Sources

Ekstensive Metalworks
Houston, TX 77093
281-442-1050
www.ekstensive.com
VIAIR Corporation
Irvine, CA 92618
949-585-0011
www.viaircorp.com

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