Lead Time

Fox is struggling with production, that a simple statement to describe a very complex problem. We’re looking at early 2021 before Fox will have the bandwidth to approve our custom shock prints for production – from this point, it’ll likely take 3-4 months to produce. Mid 2021 is our estimate on these Fox Kits. This is the downside to running proprietary shocks, lots of red tape and hoops to jump through BUT we will have, by far, the best riding – most refined and complete product offerings available for this specialty model.

King is easier. We should start shipping the Leveling Pintop and 3.25″ Pintop System by the end of this year! Pricing we expect to be completed within the next couple months.

Carli Air Ride Systems

The Ram 2500 evolved into something different in 2014. The days of an upper overload on the rear leaf spring pack and higher rated door sticker being the only separation between a 2500 and 3500 are long gone – hell, a 2500 isn’t even straight forward anymore. We live in the age of the internet – long before hitting a dealership, people hit the web in search of their next, new vehicle. Afterall, there’s enough information online from which one could learn all they’d need to know – dealerships are selling a commodity, pricing is really all that sets them apart (think Dave Smith Motors, for example). Bargain shoppers narrowing their truck search by price and available rebates, with no knowledge of the available rear ends and their respective applications, may find themselves purchasing a vehicle 180° from their intended purpose. Conversely, people duped by the allure of “air ride” purchasing the specialty model in starry-eyed remembrance of the childhood cruise in the backseat of grandpa’s 1989 Lincoln Towncar will be sorely disappointed in the lackluster ride of an air-ride HD truck. It aint your grandpa’s Lincoln…

We’ve done a TON with the coil spring rear ends – everything from Fox 2.0″ Shocks (Commuter) for the truck that stays on-road all the way to the 3.0″ Kings front and rear (Dominator) for a truck equally comfortable passing side-by-sides in whoop sections as it is on the tarmac. The only shortcoming of this platform is its ability to haul. A quick search on enthusiast forum reveals inumerable complaints of stock trucks with sagging rear ends and rhythmic sway on the highway when loaded near capacity. Ram must’ve realized the shortcomings of this platform and, in preparation, designed the Air-Ride.

We’re now comfortably versed in this platform. Simply explained, it’s identical to its coil sprung counterpart but swaps the spring for an airbag. Don’t let the simplicity of this change this fool you; this truck is a totally different animal. We tested the truck to capacity – nothing phased it. We hit some hard and fast dirt roads to find there’s nothing magical about these airbags – they ramp up in spring rate very quick like any other; thus, they’re rough in the dirt when compared to the coil spring trucks. Extensive R&D of our 2.5″ and 3.25″ Systems confirmed flawless operation of all air-ride functions with our modifications. As the chassis and geometry is the same, our lifts for the platform are essentially the same up front.

The rear is the same sans rear coil springs, plus airbag riser/spacer, extended sensor position link, and swaps the factory 7/8″ bump spacer for a slightly longer bump stop drop to ensure the airbag cycles correctly. On the 3.25″ systems, we also needed to shorten the travel of the rear shocks by about 1.5″ – from our extended travel design used in the coil spring platform – to keep the airbag in place. Now, we’re getting into the “WHY” we’ve never cared for airbags as a primary means of suspending an HD truck. So, there’s slightly less uptravel and substantially less down travel when compared to the coil spring trucks and they won’t make dirt roads disappear underneath you. The upside, the truck will level any load within its stated capacity and haul it down the highway without ever knowing it’s there. This is something we’ve never experienced in the 2500 platform.

In the coil sprung trucks, we got super creative. We tried to engineer long-travel airbags but the space constraints made it impossible. Going in-board the frame where we normally mount the bags puts us at the coil spring – any more inbound and they’d be worthless, too close to the center for support. Outboard the frame-rail – too close to the tire for the size of the bag needed to support the load of a 2500. Only remaining option, between the axle and frame in place of the factory bump stop. Issue here, the collapsed dimension of an airbag with an internal bump-stop (required as you’re replacing the factory bump) with the mounting brackets exceeds the size of the factory bump stop by several inches. This translates into LOST up-travel. We went outside the box to develop a load-leveling system and ran out of time to devote to it.

I digress… Now that we’ve completed the Air-ride platform, it all makes sense; for those with moderate loads chasing the best on and off-road ride, the coil spring truck is perfect offering the best ride we’ve experienced in an HD truck to date. Those that are not concerned with the softest ride or hard-charging dirt-road performance; those who bought their HD Ram to be consistently hauling while not necessary knowing what will be in the back of the truck or how heavy it will be – the air ride is the truck.

2.5″ Leveling Systems: 2.5″ Front, 1″ Rear

Leveling System

Pintop Leveling System

  • 2.5″ Leveling Coil Springs
  • Front, Adjustable Track Bar – Pintop Only, option with Leveling
  • Fox 2.0″ OR King 2.5″ Shock Package, Air Ride Specific
  • 1″ Airbag Spacer
  • Extended Rear Sensor Link
  • Rear Bump Stop Drop Brackets

As pictured above, this truck has stock, 20″ Laramie wheels with 35×12.5″ Toyo MT tires. The leveling systems are designed for those that want a leveled stance. Changing to larger tire is optional – many leave the factory wheel and tire combo.

We do not need to deep dive the base kit components, they’ve been sufficiently covered in our other articles covering the coil-spring trucks. Same goes for the shocks, we’ve spent PLENTY of time detailing our tuning process to hone the ride of these HD trucks – the same applies here as these shock packages are all air-ride specific tuning we developed during this R&D cycle.

So let’s look into the airbag spacers. For the leveling system, this required some engineering as you can’t just throw a 1″ spacer on; the length of the factory stud doesn’t facilitate this. We designed a 2-peice spacer. Half bolts to the bag, half bolts to the axle – in between, chromoly spacers to support the load, then it all bolts together.

It installs seamlessly. The whole assembly snaps together like an ultra-satisfying adult lego set. The pins pressed into the upper half of the bracket mark the rear and provide a failsafe for the airbag.

The links; what’s to say about the links? The factory links are cheesy polimer ends. This part sees no real load but polimer isn’t our style. We machined exact length rods for the 2.5″ Systems and 3.25″ Systems from aluminum rod then thread the ends to accept our zinc-steel ends. The ends snap into position with authority and are provided with a spring clip keeper for insurance.

 

Lastly, the bump stop drops. Nothing much to detail here. The Leveling Systems will be provided with a 1-7/8″ Bump Stop Drop. These bolt in place of the factory 7/8″ bumps providing a 1″ total drop over stock to compliment the 1″ airbag spacer provided. The bags bump out exactly as they do factory and are essentially shifted down 1″. The rear shocks provided with the leveling system maintains the stock rear travel.

37s are doable on the Leveling Systems. They require a wheel no more than 9″ wide, +12 to +18mm offset with minimal trimming. These 37″ x 12.5″ Nitto Ridge Grapplers were mounted once the truck was completed.

3.25″ Lift Systems: 3.25″ Front, 2″ Rear

Commuter System

Backcountry System

Pintop System

  • 3.25″ Leveling Coil Springs
  • Front, Adjustable Track Bar
  • Front Bump Stop Drop Brackets
  • Radius Arm Drop Brackets
  • Choice of Torsion Sway Bar or Drop Brackets for the Factory Sway Bar
  • Fox 2.0″ IFP, Fox 2.0″ Remote Reservoir OR King 2.5″ Shock Package, Air Ride Specific
  • Rear Track Bar Drop Bracket
  • Rear Extended Sway Bar End Links
  • 2″ Airbag Spacer
  • Extended Rear Sensor Link
  • Rear Bump Stop Drop Brackets

This truck is running aftermarket Raceline Wheels wrapped in 37×12.5″ Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires. The 3.25″ Systems are designed for those that want a leveled stanceand up to a 37×13.5″ tire on a wheel no more than 9″ wide, +12 to +18mm offset with minimal trimming.

The detailing on the leveling systems above describes the air-ride specific components in about as much detail as they can be described. The link construction for the 3.25″ Systems is the same as the Leveling, just a different length. Same goes for the bump stop drops. The spacer construction is simpler on the 3.25″ system as we’re able to utilize the factory stud on the airbag to mount it to the spacer AND bolt the spacer to the axle without the two fasteners interfering.

Fun fact: Ram only uses one nut to secure the airbag to the axle on the Driver’s side – there are two studs on the bag and there’s sufficient room for a nut but neither truck on which we designed these lifts came with a nut on the front stud of the driver’s side. For good measure, we’re going to provide one.

Conclusion

We will be offering these systems for the DIESEL ONLY!

The air-ride Platform is amazing in its own right. For the HD truck owner who prioritizing hauling over all else, it’s the clear choice. Both lift height we developed maintain perfect functionality of the air suspension (load leveling and alt. trailer height) so the end user is only left deciding which lift height better suits their application.

The 3.25″ System offers better front and rear geometry with less yaw (lateral suspension movement) all while boasting more front suspension travel. The Leveling system offers a more budget minded solution designed to squeeze the maximum performance of which the factory geometry is capable.