Project Lead Sled, Part 1: 2009 Dodge Ram Suspension Photo Gallery
Ekstensive Metalworks Slams Our Ram
Harley Camilleri –
Jul 1, 2012
Photo 1/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram inmotion | Project Lead Sled, Part 1: 2009 Dodge Ram Suspension
Photo 2/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram inmotion | 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.
Photo 3/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram control Arm Support | 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.
Photo 4/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram tubular Support | 2. A tubular support was bent to go around the oil pan and welded between the control arm mounts, effectively allowing the same support as factory designed but much higher above the ground.
Photo 5/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram crossmember | 3. Pulling a straight line across the front crossmember marked it for cutting. It was cut just to the bottom of the control arm pivots to maximize ground clearance.
Photo 6/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram crossmember Plate | 4. Plating the crossmember gave it all its strength back.
Photo 7/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram upper Control Arm Mounts | 5. Dodge trucks are notorious for extreme amounts of negative camber when laid out. To combat that issue, the upper control arm mounts were raised considerably, putting the front alignment into proper position for extremely lowered driving. You can also see the upper airbag mount welded in place.
Photo 8/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram spacer | 6. To measure for the shock mount, a steel spacer was used to simulate a collapsed airbag between the lower control arm and 'bag mount.
Photo 9/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram airbag Mount Location | 7. Ekstensive makes its own lower control arms for air suspension, but leaves the mounting area blank to be drilled as necessary depending on the ’bag placement. Here, the measurements were being taken to correspond with the airbag’s mounting.
Photo 10/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram firestone Airbag | 8. Completely collapsed, the Firestone 'bag was straight and true.
Photo 11/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram tie Rod Ends | 9. Both tie-rod ends were converted to Heim joints and bolted to the steering knuckle with 1/2-inch Grade 8 bolts after drilling out the stock taper. The spacers were machined to length to place the tie rods parallel with the control arms at ride height, minimizing bumpsteer.
Photo 12/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram nt400 Tire | 10. The same measurement above and below were then cut. Bolting the 26-inch wheels on and raising the wheel up, allowed measurements to be taken on what the tire would hit at full drop. Everything from the front supports to the firewall had to be cut in a circumference greater than the tire to ensure adequate space.
Photo 13/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram sheetmetal Firewall Cover | 11. Sheetmetal was cut to fit the now huge holes in the firewall. Seam sealer coated anywhere two points were welded together and everything was sprayed with black enamel to hide it from view.
Photo 14/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram trailer Fenders | 12. Ever-popular trailer fenders were welded into place to add structural strength back in the front of the truck.
Photo 15/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram wire Loom Relocation | 13. Many of the underhood accessories required relocating. Ekstensive made custom mounts for the ECM, ABS brain, air intake, wire loom, and more.
Photo 16/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram baer Brake Caliper | 14. One of the detail items that many trucks miss is the inner fenders. Ekstensive dressed our Ram with sheetmetal skins to make the area appear smooth when viewed from the outside. This extra touch added a nice, finished look to the fender area.
Photo 17/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram transmission Crossmember | 15. Moving rearward, the transmission crossmember hung well below the frame, so it was removed and the mounting horns were cut off with an acetylene torch.
Photo 18/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram new Frame Mounts | 16. Two plates were created from 1/4-inch steel and then drilled and threaded. These served as the new frame mounts.
Photo 19/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram frame Mounts | 17. Two similar plates were drilled to correspond with the threaded holes and the plates were bolted together.
Photo 20/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram transmission Crossmember | 18. As you can see we had to use a later photo, but it’s easy to tell how simple the design was for the new transmission crossmember. A tube was used to span the two bolt-on plates and welded together.
Photo 21/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram front Fuel Tank Crossmember Notch | 19. Gaining ground clearance was handled so we moved on to other clearance areas. The rear axle will travel much farther into the body than it would have ever before and the first contact point was the front crossmember for the fuel tank. A simple notch was created to remedy the situation.
Photo 22/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram rear Fuel Tank Crossmember Notch | 20. The rear fuel tank crossmember had a similar issue and required a smaller notch for clearance.
Photo 23/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram two Link Forward Bars | 21. Ekstensive has been using two-link forward bars for years. You can see how a welded spacer and longer U-bolts were used to mount the bar to the narrowed axle.
Photo 24/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram two Link Bars | 22. Viewing up from the bottom gives you a great view of the rest of the two-link bar and standard step notch.
Photo 25/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram triangulated Sliding Link System | 23. Instead of a Panhard bar to locate the axle, a triangulated sliding link system was planned. After creating the rear standoffs from 2x2-inch box tubing, the center mount was positioned on the fabricated tubular crossmember.
Photo 26/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram sliding Link Installed | 24. The sliding link was bolted in place behind the axle. This position allowed the continued use of the factory fuel tank, which was a major requirement for us here in California. With the sliding link, we get zero binding and solid axle positioning with no worry of side-to-side movement.
Photo 27/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram airbag Mounting Location | 25. Plenty of space existed under the bed for the rear ’bags to be mounted on the sliding link itself. The spacing also provided the airbags with the proper 2:1 leverage ratio.
Photo 28/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram spacer Cups | 26. You get a little better idea of what the system looks like here. The spacer cups were used to space the 'bag mounts accordingly.
Photo 29/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram upper Mounts | 27. The upper mounts were created from tubular steel and welded to the frame so the upper ’bag mounts could be placed in final position.
Photo 30/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram airbags Installed | 28. With the Firestone airbags mounted and the shocks in place, you get a feel for the whole system from this worm’s view.
Photo 31/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram viair 444c Compressors | 29. Our old air suspension setup’s twin Viair 400C compressors were retained, but we added two additional Viair 444C compressors to quickly refill our 7-gallon tank.
Photo 32/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram copper Tubing | 30. For longevity’s sake, copper tubing was used to plumb the whole air system. More impervious to damage than plastic tubing, copper has the added benefit of being far less perceptible to heat-related issues.
Photo 33/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram muffler | 31. It was heartbreaking to do, but it was necessary to cut up our Ram’s Corsa exhaust system. From the catalytic converters back, the whole system had to be redone to tuck everything above the ground level when laid out.
Photo 34/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram wheeltubs | 32. Wheeltubs replaced the Ram’s wheel wells in the bed and a custom notch cover was created. Everything was welded in and seam sealed to keep our Bedrug high and dry. As was done in the front, rear inner fender liners were created to make everything appear as smooth as possible at a casual glance.
Photo 35/35 | 2009 Dodge Ram bodydropped | 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.