RAN­CHO LIFT & LEV­EL­LING KIT

A hard­work­ing Ram 3500 gets the sus­pen­sion, wheels and tires it de­serves

4WDrive - - Install - WORDS BY BRYAN IRONS @BRYANIRONS, PHO­TOS AND VIDEO BY BRYAN IRONS & PERRY MACK Ran­cho – www.goran­cho.com Amer­i­can Ex­pe­di­tion Ve­hi­cles www.aev-con­ver­sions.com Amp Tires – www.amp­tires.com

Af­ter Edi­tor Mack shipped us out for “sen­si­tiv­ity train­ing” for the 3rd (ac­cord­ing to him) LAST time, we feel obliged/pres­sured to fore­warn you of the fol­low­ing; we ARE go­ing to make an ex­am­ple of some stereo­types and you may be of­fended. If you are un­sure if you will be part of our heck­ling and sham­ing, please ex­am­ine the fol­low­ing ques­tions;

When look­ing for a new lift or lev­el­ing kit for your truck, is the colour of the com­po­nents your pri­mary con­cern? If you an­swered “yes”, you may want to turn the page.

Has the heav­i­est pay­load in your 1-ton truck been a full load of gro­ceries? Costco runs ex­cluded. Again, if your an­swer is

“yup” then you may want to dawn a flame proof suit.

And for any strag­glers who have made it this far: ever looked into get­ting a beard ex­ten­sion? If so, this ed­i­to­rial may not be your cup of tea, err, pump­kin spice latte.

With that ugly bit of busi­ness out of the way, let's carry on. The fo­cus of our in­ner thoughts and ex­pe­ri­ences this time is a work hard­ened 2016 Ram 3500. When the oil burn­ing be­he­moth isn’t ham­mer­ing down kilo­me­tres in Canada’s north­west work ter­ri­tory, it’s haul­ing around ex­ca­va­tors and dump trail­ers in south­ern BC. The rig worked well, but needed some gnarlier tires for travers­ing the mud and muck filled work­sites. For the heavy work this truck sees, we didn’t want to slam on a mas­sive set of tires with a huge lift and then have to re-gear the truck to com­pen­sate. A sim­ple lev­el­ing kit and a set of 35” tires was our so­lu­tion.

There is a wide ar­ray of ma­te­ri­als that the com­mon lev­el­ing kit can be made with. We’ve seen and tried them all and our ex­pe­ri­ence led us to a Ran­cho lev­el­ing kit. In gen­eral, we have a few things we keep an eye out for when look­ing for heavy duty sus­pen­sion com­po­nents. First thing we like are steel com­po­nents and pieces. With a truck this big, and a mo­tor as heavy as the 6.7l Cum­mins un­der the hood, ure­thane lift com­po­nents just don’t sit right with us as we have seen them fail un­der ex­treme duress. We also like to see the re-use of as many fac­tory com­po­nents as we can if they are up to the task. The OEM’s spend mil­lions on com­po­nent test­ing and devel­op­ment so the sim­ple parts like sway bar links and coil iso­la­tors should be re­tained if pos­si­ble. Along with a good set of in­stal­la­tion in­struc­tions and align­ment num­bers to take to a shop af­ter­wards, we also keep an eye out for qual­ity, plated hard­ware. If you see mis­shapen threads in your newly ac­quired kit, or bolts soft enough to de­form with your fin­ger­nail, it’s time to go find the re­ceipt and make a re­turn.

Our lev­el­ing kit in­cluded a set of Ran­cho’s RS9000XL ad­justable shocks. We don’t nor­mally rec­om­mend an ad­justable shock over one tuned specif­i­cally for your ve­hi­cle, but when loads change, your shocks need to as well. No need for mul­ti­ple sets, or quadru­ple steer­ing sta­bi­liz­ers, leave that for the mall crawlers on low pro­file tires. Ran­cho’s heavy duty RS9000XL’s are nine-way ad­justable, and not just for re­bound or com­pres­sion sep­a­rately, they are ad­justed as a set so the en­tire feel of the ride changes ac­cord­ingly with ev­ery “click”.

Along with the front RS9000XL shocks for the front, we or­dered up a set of the same for the rear of the truck. Be­cause we do not plan on lift­ing the back of the truck, the fac­tory re­place­ment size worked for us, how­ever they are also avail­able from Ran­cho for lifted ap­pli­ca­tions. For cus­tom ap­pli­ca­tions, Ran­cho’s on­line cat­a­logue has a sec­tion which out­lays shock char­ac­ter­is­tics as well as col­lapsed and ex­tended lengths.

Top­ping off our parts list here is our wheel and tire com­bi­na­tion. We wanted an ag­gres­sive all-ter­rain (A/T) tire that could han­dle year-round use and still han­dle tow­ing du­ties when called upon. For a rig that sees dirt and rocks off-road, we need a de­cent side­wall to pro­vide some cush­ion, and to cre­ate a larger foot­print when aired down off the tar­mac. Not some­thing you can do with 24" wheels and rub­ber bands for tires. To that end we scooped a set of AMP Ter­rain Grip­per A/T G rub­ber in a 315-70/17. It fit our de­sired specs with a lim­ited life­time war­ranty, 60,000 kms tread life war­ranty, and the three-peak win­ter snowflake for four-sea­son use.

As you can tell by see­ing the tire size we chose, we needed a 17" wheel that could han­dle 1-ton du­ties. Amp rec­om­mended an 8" to 11" wide rim and we found AEV’s (Amer­i­can Ex­pe­di­tion Ve­hi­cles) Ram Salta HD wheels. With a 4100-load rat­ing when tested with a 40” tire, we’ll be hard-pressed to break one of th­ese cast alu­minum mon­sters. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate that the Salta has an off­set of only 27mm and is de­signed to fit the Ram plat­form. This keeps the steer­ing ge­om­e­try within fac­tory spec and we are as­sured that the 17" di­am­e­ter will fit over our brakes with ease. The wheel will also fit in the spare tire lo­ca­tion as well!

All the parts se­lected for the truck have been based on dura­bil­ity and longevity. Ya, we coughed up a few more bucks than if we had gone with cheaper com­po­nents with the same “look”, but we ex­pect this truck to last for a while and it must be de­pend­able. With our parts in hand, yet again we headed off into our con­crete happy place for the in­stal­la­tion you will read about here. In ad­di­tion, we had Edi­tor Mack film­ing us as well. He called it “ev­i­dence” but you can judge for your­self here https://youtu. be/_xPmJAg2Dag or take a peek at 4WD Mag­a­zine on YouTube for all of our other off road re­lated ven­tures.

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