If you have climbed under a new 2014+ RAM heavy duty truck, you are likely aware of the new suspension arrangement Dodge introduced that features coil springs in the rear and a radius arm in the front. With Dodge’s new suspension options for their line of HD trucks being so vastly different, Carli decided to focus first on the lion’s share of configurations, the RAM 2500 Coil Sprung Rear vehicle.
This is Dodge’s first major redesign of their suspension in 20 years so it was imperative we looked at this truck with a fresh mind and a clean slate. To put it bluntly, Fiat didn’t make things easy for us, but we’ve laughed off more daunting challenges so we quickly rolled up our sleeves and dug in. We bought a brand new – fairly optioned 2500, threw it up on the lift, lifted the skirt, and went through it with a fine tooth comb. Although there are a few design and engineering issues on Fiat’s part that will hinder a comprehensive Carli component offering (i.e. airbags for more payload), we are happy overall with their decision to go to the long radius arm system and implement rear coils.
The hit list is going to include the usual areas of attention to extract maximum performance, quality, payload, and appearance. Rear coils were designed to give the perfect stance while maintaining respectable payload capacity for the 2500 platform. Like previous generations of our systems, we will offer a broad range of shock options tailored to the customer’s needs, such as the Commuter, Back Country, and King Pintop 2.5 Systems. 2014 RAM’s will not be left without complimentary component options, as we have already designed Torsion Sway Bars, Stainless Stabilizers, Radius Drops, Track Bars, Radius Arm replacements, etc.
Being the new truck that it is, we had to adhere to our true form and put the components through their paces to intentionally bring any defects or design flaws to the surface. With a few tweaks of spring rates, numerous valving changes, and track bar redesigns, we are very proud of what the new truck has become. From trailering another Diesel Dodge back and forth to Phoenix, to dirt trips out in the desert, and general shop mule duty where it sees pallet freight in excess of 2,000 lbs, our test truck has been proving itself to be a legitimate contender for all your Heavy Duty truck needs.
Peruse our offerings below to see what Carli has to offer for your Heavy Duty RAM 2500.
RADIUS ARM DROPS
One of the most important components to be included in our systems, Carli’s Radius Arm Drops maintain your vehicle’s critical caster and coil geometry. RAM’s new suspension setup has proven itself to be quite complex in its idiosyncrasies, and as a result we have engineered a simple solution to overcome the less-desired nuances of the new trucks. Using Chrysler CAD files, we developed a simple-to-install Drop that is truly bolt-on with no welding required. Due to their unique design, the vehicle chassis and powertrain can be serviced or replaced without removal of the Radius Arm Drops. Constructed out of 1/4″ Cold Rolled Steel and CNC formed, these precision components rotate your axle back to OEM settings, locating your lower coil perch angles where they were intentionally designed; this also alleviates the coil bowing that is encountered when you lift the front and don’t address the coil bow issue, something that will never be truly addressed with a “coil only” approach. Carli Radius Arm Drops for 2013+ RAM trucks will keep your investment driving like the day it left the showroom floor.
Coils for the new RAM’s are custom designed for specific engineering inclusions, such as unique Driver/Passenger side front coils, maximum allowable wire diameter, and specific spring rates for ride quality and payload. Both coils have a lighter spring rate than stock, but the rear coils feature a Multiple Rate design that allows the progressive spring rate to ramp up when more weight is applied. This translates to a superb ride without sacrificing your truck’s capabilities. We spent countless hours trying to find the perfect spring rate to match ride quality with payload weight.
BUMP STOP DROPS:
Bump stop drops will be a part of every kit to maximize wheel travel without damaging the shocks. Rear bump drops are machined out of billet 6061 Aluminum, while the front are a fabricated design that bolt into the factory mount. You may also purchase them individually in Front or Rear sets.
ADJUSTABLE TRACK BAR
The track bar is the most important link under the front end of a straight axle, heavy-duty truck. It’s both a suspension and steering component and any deflection in the bar or wear in the bushings are immediately felt by the driver in the form of excessive steering input, floating front end, wandering, and last but certainly not least, the dreaded death wobble. Exacerbate the bar’s susceptibility to the above by lifting the truck and increasing the load while pulling the axle off-center and so completes the recipe for disaster.
Enter the Carli Adjustable Track Bar. The goal, a link that deflects less than the stock bar, dampens vibrations without causing the sloppy handling associated with the stock bar, ensure service life far in excess of a factory unit while being rebuildable (vs. replaceable like the factory bar) all while being adjustable to center the axle on leveled vehicles. Many years have seen many iterations but we’ve landed on a design we feel impervious to future improvement.
The DATB Track Bars are 3/8″ wall DOM construction, FAR stronger than the brackets to which they’re bolted. This wall-thickness allows the end of the bar to be threaded to accept our 7/8″ x 7/8″ FK Bearing Chromoly Heim Joint. You’ll see many manufacturers running thinner wall and weld-in bungs as our previous generations did; running the thicker wall bar allows for more strength and one less welded joint – a potential point of failure. In place of a standard Jam-Nut, we’ve developed a tapered jam nut (mating surface similar to a lug nut) to ensure perfect centering of the joint while providing 100% more surface area than a standard Jam-Nut. We’ve taken a design used in off-road racing (Tube with weld-in bungs and jam nuts) and improved it to be FAR more reliable.
The frame end of the track bar saw a massive improvement in the DATB generation, as well. Our “CUB” joint starts with a proven FK Bearing 7/8″ Uniball at its center. Custom molded bushings are pressed on to encapsulate this Uniball then the assembly is pressed into the huge, gusseted frame-end housing of the track bar with a Stainless safety washer and retained with a snap ring. Custom Misalignment spacers center the joint in frame bracket and ensure full fore and aft movement of the track bar to be possible without bind or excessive bushing deflection.
Why is this new bar such an improvement? Previous generations of our track bars relied on a 2 piece hat-bushing and crush sleeve at the frame, weld in bung at the axle with a standard jam-nut and a .250″ wall main tube. Truth be told, there was nothing wrong with this design and we ran it through some of the most treacherous terrain Baja had to offer for many years. Product improvements each came with justification. The hat bushings in the frame end of the bar were VERY sensitive to installation error. If a person purchased our track bar and paid a mechanic to install it who did so using a standard pneumatic impact gun, the factory torque to yield hardware wouldn’t see it’s factory torque value, the bushing would wear out as you’re running an 8,000lb. truck on an un-preloaded piece of urethane and the customer would have nearly immediate handling issues. The customer isn’t a mechanic; all they know is they paid a premium price for a product and a pro to install it and it wore out in no time flat. No one wins, here. With the preloaded CUB bushing, there’s no fear of prematurely wearing the bushing due to a lack of preload as the pre-load is set by us in assembly and held by a snap ring so an impact gun installation is no longer an issue.
The axle end, again, weld-in bungs and standard jam-nuts have been used for MANY years. Like the hat bushings, they can be finicky to install as not everyone has the tools to yield the shank of a 7/8″ heim to its 660lb/ft. spec. Ensuring clamping force and thread interference was sufficient at a lower torque spec achievable by the weekend wrench, we increased the surface area to ensure we get the most clamping force possible.
REAR TRACK BAR DROP
New to the RAM trucks suspension layout is a rear track bar. We have included a track bar drop to bring the factory bar below the factory angle trying to achieve as clos to flat as possible. Without it, the rear end of the truck likes to crab walk when the axle swings up. Others might overlook this critical component, but if you drive a truck with and without, you will hands-down request the truck that has one of these installed.
RAM FUEL CAP
The factory RAM diesel fuel filler was designed without a fuel cap provision, leaving your expensive engine vulnerable to dirt, debris, and sedimentary deposits that lay on top of the factory fuel filler neck. The filler is sealed with a flap, but nothing other than this Fuel Cap will prevent the fuel nozzle from pushing in the caked dirt and letting it all fall into your fuel tank. The Billet Fuel Cap is sealed with a heavy duty O-ring to give a snug fit, while having enough wiggle room to remove it in the dead of winter with gloves. A high strength magnet capable of holding 4 pounds is pressed into the underside, allowing you to hang your cap on the fuel door hinge or other ferrous areas.
The Carli Suspension Rear Multi-Rate Coil Springs have been tested to a 2,000lb. capacity on a Quad-Cab, Short Bed Ram. These springs are a 15% reduction in payload capacity from OEM. Rear lift height achieved is cab-configuration dependent (i.e. single cabs will net more lift than mega-cabs).
What would a Carli kit be if it weren’t getting absolutely filthy out in the dirt or getting the shocks up to temperature? In true form, we have headed out several times to the deserts of Barstow, El Cajon, and Pheonix to really see how the new shock tunings are behaving out in real-world dirt conditions. Spoiler alert: these trucks can boogie just like the previous years.
Off the bat, we have had our hands full making sure our products will stand the test of time. We may not always be first to market with the new vehicle platforms, but we sleep easier at night knowing we didn’t go the easy route. RAM trucks threw this platform a few curveballs that have been challenging to overcome. The end result is a comprehensive system that compliments, enhances, and defines what quality truly means. We at Carli appreciate your devoted interest in our new lineup and look forward to many more years of pushing the Heavy Duty truck envelope.