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Best overall front suspension for 04 Ram



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Old 03-07-2014, 07:33 PM   #1
Flex Master
 
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Best overall front suspension for 04 Ram

Sooo... I'm looking for some info and or opinions on what type of suspension would be the best all around for my next wheeler project.

I've got an 04 dodge 1500 quad cab right now that is reaching the end of it's daily driver life and I'm looking to swap in one tons and a few other goodies to make it into an all around, do anything rig. A/c and a heater and more creature comforts than my CJ sure would be nice I've got a good plan on attack for everything except the front suspension design.

I'd like to be able to drive down to corpus from Austin and not worry about weird handling or anything like that on the road and also be able to hit trails and some rocks as well if I wanted to. The stock IFS is basically junk and I've replaced so many a arms and cv shafts it's not even cool anymore. The truck is nearing 200k miles and it runs/shifts good but the front and rear suspension and axles are needing a lot of work if I keep running them and I'd rather put the $$ into better parts.



I'm keeping leafs in the rear ( new set with as little lift as possible) and going to swap in a 11.5 AAM axle with 4.88's and the front is getting a ford HP D60 with same gears and a locker.

My main question is what would be the best way to set up the front? Leaf springs would be easy but would leave a lot to be desired, or so I'm thinking. I've been looking into either a 3 link with panhard bar or a wristed radius style setup. I've never driven either type on the street so I'm not sure on the handling but I've read about some squirrely handling with a 3 link when braking. I've also read that the wristed radius handles better on the street while offers decent flex even though it has some binding. Mostly depending on joints I suppose. I'm looking at Johnny joints or 1.25" heims and possible a combination of either and some large rubber or poly bushings on the axle end.

Any thoughts?

There's not enough room for bronco or superduty coils since the frame is 36" wide so I'm thinking about 14-16" travel coilovers. I'd like to keep it fairly low as well.


Other details:
Steering box will have to be mounted to replace rack and pinion or full hydro...

Np243 will be replaced with a nv271 from a ford with swapped in input...
The 243 has problems now and or needs a complete rebuild.

Looking to run 40" radials on 17" wheels and pushing the front axle forward 3-4" to help clear everything.

Any other opinions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated and considered. Sorry for the long winded post!
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:20 PM   #2
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A later model radius arm style dana 60 wont work with the coils?
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:01 PM   #3
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I'm afraid not. The frames are too wide on the ifs dodge 1500's for coil springs to fit outside of the frame like they do on stock vehicles.

I'm sure they could fit if I wanted 20" of lift or something like that and mounted them underneath the frame rails...
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:14 AM   #4
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That sucks. Id say hit up Deaver for some custom leaf springs. KISS method for a multi purpose ride. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:37 PM   #5
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I would go with johnny joints or similar style (rubber isolated)over heims or the various other "metal on metal" rod ends due to the vibration absorbtion of the rubber.

I'm not trying to sound condescending but I don't know how much you know about linking a front end. If you could build it with a lot of adjustability you could probably find the right spot.

The front suspension geometry and pinion angles are what determine the road manners. Too much or too little pinion angle and you through off steering since turning the wheel modifies caster/camber/toe. This is also where death wobble comes from.

As for braking, the same principles of squat and antisquat from the rear come into play accept it's dive and anti dive.

For me, this is hard to get my head around since you want to have enough dive to get the weight applied to the front since that's where you want the majority of your braking to take place but you don't want so much dive that you're slamming your bumper to the ground everytime you touch the pedal.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:01 AM   #6
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Check out Dodge Offroad (DOR) they can set you up on a front long arm that is very adjustable to make it easy to modify. Plus Danny can come up with a ton of advise for you. They have a forum also you can ask them questions. I think I would have just swapped an 9.25 AAM axle under it myself. Good luck hope it works out. Sounds like a nice build.


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Old 03-14-2014, 06:44 AM   #7
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Question

Thanks for the suggestions.

I've never linked a vehicle before but I've been doing a lot of reading and searching on other sites to learn as much as I can.

I'm planning on doing a cut and turn on the Hp d60 and setting the caster around 6* to help with road manners and the return to center on the steering.

I like how beefy the AAM 9.25 front axle is but I also like having serviceable bearings and the locking hubs so the front shaft isn't turning all the time. It's not as easy as you would think to just swap in a AAM axle with coils since the frames are entirely different between the 1500's and the 2500/3500's. I'd have to cut the frame in front of the cab and splice in a front section from a 2500/3500 to use the coil spring setup.

After doing more searching I'm most likely doing a wristed radius arm setup and a set of 14" coilovers. I'll start up a build thread once I get all the parts collected.
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Last edited by mudskipper4x4; 03-14-2014 at 06:45 AM.. Reason: Auto correct...
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