A TALLER RAM FOR BIG­GER TIRES

Sky­jacker’s 4-inch lift makes way for 35s

Four Wheeler - - Contents - By Jay Kopy­cin­ski ed­i­tor@fourwheeler.com Pho­tos: Jay Kopy­cin­ski

Sky­jacker’s 4-inch lift makes way for 35s

THE SUB­JECT WAS A ’13 RAM 1500 4WD. The owner was look­ing for a rise in height of the truck and the abil­ity to run 35-inch tires. Sky­jacker was the an­swer. The com­pany of­fers both 4- and 6-inch lift kits for these trucks, but the 4-inch kit fit the bill just fine and was a com­plete lift so­lu­tion.

The in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion was raised us­ing taller knuck­les, and the proper ge­om­e­try was main­tained by mov­ing the lower A-arms and front axle assem­bly down­ward us­ing new cross­mem­bers. The fac­tory front struts were re­tained with the ad­di­tion of spac­ers, so the orig­i­nal spring rate and ride were main­tained.

The Ram has a stan­dard straight-axle in the rear, lo­cated with a linked sus­pen­sion and coil springs. The Sky­jacker kit in­cluded new dual-rate coil springs to pro­vide lift, and a drop bracket was used to cor­rect the an­gle of the lat­eral track bar. We opted to in­stall the kit that in­cluded new Black MAX 8500 shocks in

the rear. These in­clude twin-tube con­struc­tion, ad­vanced foam-cell tech­nol­ogy, and a sin­tered­iron pis­ton. Fur­ther, the multi-stage valv­ing of the shocks is ve­hi­cle spe­cific.

With two peo­ple spin­ning wrenches we com­pleted the job in about 14 hours in a home garage us­ing com­mon me­chanic tools. In­stal­la­tion re­quires a 17⁄16-inch or met­ric equiv­a­lent socket for the Cv-shaft nut and a large torque wrench. Mi­nor cut­ting and some drilling on the frame are also needed. Sky­jacker provides clear, de­tailed in­struc­tions to com­plete the project.

Once done, the truck had a bolder stance and room for 35X12.5R20LT Bf­goodrich All­ter­rain T/A KO2 tires on 20x10 Helo HE791 MAXX wheels. As ex­pected, the ride up front was un­changed. The ride from the rear of the truck was sup­ple as well with the dual-rate coils that will stiffen under a heavy bed load. In the dirt, the truck felt smooth and flexed well. The ap­proach an­gle of the truck in­creased about 8 de­grees up front and about 5 de­grees in the rear with the added lift and new tires. Of course that’s much ap­pre­ci­ated out in the dirt. Ground clear­ance went up by ap­prox­i­mately an inch due to the larger tires. The truck is taller, has bet­ter clear­ance, and rolls bet­ter over all ter­rain with the new lift and tires. Fol­low along for some high­lights of the in­stal­la­tion process. 1. Here are the 4-inch kit com­po­nents, which in­clude re­place­ment front cross­mem­bers, a skid­plate, knuck­les, rear coils, rear shocks, and front strut spac­ers, along with all the other hard­ware needed to com­plete the lift.

2. Af­ter set­ting the fram­erails on jack­stands and pulling the tires, we started by re­mov­ing the tie-rod ends, brake calipers and ro­tors, sway bar links, ABS wiring, and the Cv-shaft nuts. Once the top and bot­tom ball joints were popped free, we pulled each fac­tory knuckle off.

3. The kit reuses the orig­i­nal wheel hub as­sem­blies, so we un­bolted each from their re­spec­tive alu­minum knuckle.

4. Next, the fac­tory front struts were re­moved from their at­tach­ment points on the frame and each lower A-arm. These came out eas­ily with the lower A-arms droop­ing down.

5. Each lower alu­minum A-arm had to be re­moved as well.

6. The rear cross­mem­ber that spans the frame was re­moved, and the drive­shaft was dis­con­nected from the front dif­fer­en­tial and tied up out of the way. Seven bolts that hold the dif­fer­en­tial assem­bly to the frame were re­moved, and the assem­bly was pulled from the truck us­ing a floor jack.

7. With the dif­fer­en­tial clear of the frame, a short por­tion of the rear cross­mem­ber bracket was cut off to make way for the new Sky­jacker cross­mem­ber. We used a 4-inch grinder with a cut­off disc to do the quick job.

8. Re­lo­ca­tion brack­ets were in­stalled on the dif­fer­en­tial assem­bly so its mount­ing lo­ca­tion could be shifted down­ward for the lift.

9. Here’s one of the re­lo­ca­tion brack­ets used on the cen­ter hous­ing. Sky­jacker provides all the nec­es­sary hard­ware. Once we got all the bolts loosely started, we be­gan tight­en­ing each a bit un­til the entire assem­bly was fully se­cured. 10. Next came in­stal­la­tion of the Sky­jacker front and rear cross­mem­bers. These bolt into the fac­tory lower A-arm brack­ets on the frame and serve to move the new lo­ca­tion of the A-arm mount points down­ward. A skid­plate is also in­cluded in the kit to span the two cross­mem­bers and pro­tect the dif­fer­en­tial hous­ing.

11. The fac­tory lower A-arms were bolted into the Sky­jacker cross­mem­bers us­ing the fac­tory cam bolts used for align­ment pur­poses.

12. The orig­i­nal front struts were reused and ours were still in good con­di­tion. Spac­ers were bolted to the top of each strut and then each strut placed back on the truck. No spring com­pres­sor is needed for the 4-inch kit and since the A-arms have been re­lo­cated down­ward, the struts went back in as easy as they came out.

13. The orig­i­nal wheel hubs were bolted into the taller Sky­jacker knuck­les, which also ac­com­mo­date the fac­tory brake calipers and ABS sen­sor wiring.

14. The fac­tory Ram knuck­les are alu­minum, but the beefy Sky­jacker knuck­les are steel and quite heavy. Put­ting these in the truck is much eas­ier with two peo­ple. We found it best to just start the CV shaft into the wheel hub, then just start the lower ball joint stud into the knuckle. From there, we wig­gled and inched each of those fur­ther into their holes while also spin­ning the wheel hub to align the axle splines to the wheel hub as they en­tered.

15. Sky­jacker provided drop brack­ets for the front brake lines. We made a cut in each fac­tory bracket with a cut­ting disc and slid the fac­tory steel brake line out. We were then able to re­mount each line us­ing the provided drop brack­ets, and no bleed­ing was needed. ABS wiring was just rerouted slightly.

16. The orig­i­nal tie rods were con­nected to the new knuck­les. Longer front sway bar links (shown) are in­cluded in the kit and in­stalled eas­ily in the fac­tory mounts.

17. The front dif­fer­en­tial is dropped down­ward and is also an­gled up­ward a bit at the rear. The drop leaves the fac­tory front drive­shaft a bit too short. Sky­jacker provides a spacer plate and longer bolts to make up for the lost dis­tance.

18. We re­in­stalled the front Cv-shaft nuts and snugged them down. They re­quire 185 lb-ft of torque. We found a good way to hold the shafts for both re­moval and re­place­ment was to have one per­son stand on the brake pedal while an­other per­son turned the nuts.

19. With the front com­plete, we turned our at­ten­tion to lift­ing the rear of the Ram. The fac­tory coil springs and shocks were re­moved, along with the sway bar links. Sky­jacker in­cludes taller re­place­ment coil springs. Here you can see the dif­fer­ence be­tween one of our Ram’s fac­tory springs and a dual-rate Sky­jacker spring.

20. We un­bolted the fac­tory rear track bar at the frame and in­stalled a drop bracket at that lo­ca­tion. It’s held in place by bolts in sev­eral lo­ca­tions. This re­quires some drilling of new holes, and Sky­jacker provides a handy tem­plate for the work. Longer sway bar links were also in­stalled on the rear.

21. Sky­jacker rec­om­mends re­mov­ing the inner fender lin­ers for bet­ter ac­cess to the rear shocks and springs. Each up­per shock nut on the frame is not ac­ces­si­ble with a socket or a stan­dard-length wrench with the bed in place. A crow­foot wrench would work well. We had a cheap wrench we simply cut down so we could hold the nut on the back­side while each bolt was re­moved.

22. Bump­stop ex­ten­sions are provided and simply bolt to the top of the axle with in­cluded hard­ware. No mod­i­fi­ca­tion was needed to the rear drive­shaft length.

23. Here’s the com­pleted rear sus­pen­sion with the Black MAX 8500 shocks. No work was needed on the brake­lines or ABS wiring as they had am­ple slack in them, even af­ter the lift. fw

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