CAR­PORT CAR­NAGE CON­NEC­TION

Low Down Dirty Dodge gets some shiny new pip­ing

4WDrive - - Contents - WORDS AND PHOTOS BY BRYAN IRONS

BE­ING PRO-AC­TIVE IS SOME­THING WE ALL STRIVE TO BE AND DO… but on oc­ca­sion it just doesn’t work out that way and we find our­selves switch­ing gears to cor­rect the mis­for­tunes of our dum­b­ass past de­ci­sions. Such was the case with Edi­tor Stan­ley’s de­ci­sion to take my project Low Down Dirty Dodge daily driver wheel­ing… with noth­ing more than a set of AT tires… on a trail we had no busi­ness be­ing on… try­ing to show off to a group of city slick­ers… with stock run­ning boards at­tached… ya, we’re “SMRT” like that.

Af­ter bang­ing up the front bumper, mak­ing the ex­haust tip awk­wardly oval, spread­ing a mud track through the in­te­rior and turn­ing a run­ning board into a “frowny face”, we went home blam­ing each other for the ac­crued dam­age. We’re smooth like 30 grit, and yet some­how we man­aged to find wives and re­main mar­ried. A few ham­mer swings got the wrin­kled wreck­age back into a shape that a kinder­gartener could rec­og­nize, fol­lowed by a few hours of vac­uum duty to clean any re­main­ing ev­i­dence. Winter came and went and we soon re­al­ized that the chrome used in the Ram plat­ing fac­tory isn’t fit for bowl­ing tro­phies, what with the mi­cron thin cov­er­age. We live and work in Canada’s desert and can still hear the rust eat away at our trucks, and we knew this would not end well. With a lit­tle quick think­ing, we man­aged to slow the bumper’s grad­ual re­turn to the earth but the tube run­ning boards were too far gone for our tac­tics.

Con­se­quently, the proverb “an ounce of preven­tion is worth a pound of cure” had us drag­ging home pounds of stain­less steel from Aries Of­froad. It was time for new side steps and a front brush guard to pre­vent any fu­ture Dar­winian Award at­tempts from fur­ther de­pre­ci­at­ing the truck’s value. This isn’t a “one size fits all” type univer­sal kit; these units are de­signed specif­i­cally for our 2012 Ram. We re­ally have to urge that this is not a place to get a “jack of all trades, mas­ter of none” type unit. We’re glad we didn’t and here’s why.

The spiffy run­ning boards are beau­ti­fully crafted units de­signed for the abu­sive fu­ture many of them en­dure. While edi­tor Irons waits for a mid-life growth spurt, the ex­tended rear por­tion of the boards as­sist in reach­ing into the bed of the truck at the back of the cab. On top of that, lit­er­ally, are Aries grip plates which de­serve a men­tion for an ob­vi­ous rea­son; Aries’ en­gi­neers must have laughed them­selves silly as the fac­tory of­fer­ings are in the wrong place to as­sist in ingress/egress.

Un­wrap­ping the front brush guard from its pack­ag­ing, we couldn’t help but ad­mire the weld­ing and pol­ish­ing ex­cel­lence. We typ­i­cally skip the brush guard setup and go for a full bumper re­place­ment, but this truck doesn’t need an ex­tra 200kg of front-end bal­last and I kinda dig the “old man” chrome look. Hon­estly, flat black went from “belly but­ton” sta­tus to “hairy butt crack” overnight, no need to make it any worse. We needed the front-end pro­tec­tion and hav­ing a stain­less steel unit to fend off er­rant sticks and rocks in the dirt will help en­sure the rust bun­nies keep away from our truck a lit­tle longer.

All brack­ets and hard­ware are fully plated or stain­less, and all the in­cluded brack­ets are pow­der coated for longevity with some ad­justa­bil­ity built in to set the boards and guard at our pre­ferred height.

Hav­ing an empty car­port while the bet­ter half was out melt­ing down a VISA card was the per­fect time to get our new parts in­stalled. The in­struc­tions bor­dered on the “over­ly­compli­cated” side of things, it seemed that a tech writer get­ting paid by the word was in charge. The in­stall re­ally is easy and can be done at home by your­self in a few hours, but we rec­om­mend skip­ping the wob­bly pops un­til af­ter the front air dam plas­tic is trimmed for the Brush Guard. Check out the re­sults as we ditch the rusty wrecks and get the Low Down Dirty Dodge ready for more abuse.

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