Let's Talk About Building Your Suspension And Answer Some Questions
Most people contact us and say they want a suspension setup that "levels" the truck. The reality of Level is tricky because when you line up 10 trucks with a different front to rear height bias, most of the people that want a level truck would choose the trucks that are about 1/2" to 1" taller in the rear. Here's why.... (timestamp 0:32)
If you were looking at a measured Dead Level truck from the front corner, this angle will give the illusion that the front is higher than the rear. Most people don’t like this look because the idea of dead level actually measures out to be a truck that looks a bit high in the rear. We suggest measuring your truck's front to rear bias at the fender openings (see video for full explanation). Each truck will measure out a bit differently that's why it's important to measure out your truck before you purchase any suspension components.
- How To Measure Your Truck's Ride Height
- Considering additional weight
- 2013+ RAM 3500 Models
- 2013+ Dodge Ram Variations
- Air Ride Assist Rear Leaf Spring Model
- 2013+ Non-Airbag Rear Leaf Spring Model
- 2014+ Ram 2500 And Power Wagon
- Rear 4-link on a 2500
- Rear Air-Suspension Trucks
- 2014+ Power Wagon Coils
- 2003-2012 Dodge Ram 2500-3500, AND 2013 Dodge Ram 2500
- Why You Need To Upgrade Your Track Bar
- Levelling Coil Spacers On 1994-2012 Ram Trucks
- Shock Information
- Sway Bar Information for Dodge Ram Trucks
- Control Arm Information For Dodge Ram Trucks
- Leaf Springs And Rear Suspension
- Towing Heavy Loads With Modified Leafs or LT Leaf Packs
- Lifts Over 3" Tall, And The Reasons They Are Difficult To Build, Properly
How To Measure Your Truck's Ride Height
The stock look of the factory setup tends to leave the truck looking severely nose down or as if the front of the truck is weighed down. Even if you like this look, dialing in the suspension should be a priority.
The key to upgrading your suspension is that of having options, not only the ride quality but the look as well. (timestamp 2:09)
*Raising the front suspension height will transfer some weight to the rear resulting in the rear dropping roughly 1/4 inch.
Finding the front to rear bias measurement:
- Park on the most level ground you can find (tip: most smart phones have a level app)
- Measure the front from center of hub to highest point of fender opening
- Record measurement
- Measure the rear from center of hub to highest point of fender opening
- Record measurement
Using the measurement information you gathered, apply the lift you would like to the stock measurements. This will give you an accurate idea of what to order when upgrading your suspension components.
*for future reference: we are developing a lift/height result list so you will know exactly what lift you will get, depending on your platform, without accessories, in stock form, when installing our coils. Stay tuned!
Considering additional weight
Because most of us utilize our trucks for their intended purposes, towing or loading the bed might be a concern all while maintaining a level suspension. To compensate for more weight in the bed simply do just that, load the bed with your usual weight i.e. motorcycles, sod, gravel, wood etc. Park on level ground and take the same measurements as stated above, order your suspension components accordingly.
Another thing to consider is the added accessories you've installed or plan on installing in the future. Our posted lift heights are based on the most common Quad-Cab trucks without accessories installed. Naturally it should be understood that installing accessories will affect the lift height. Anticipate roughly 1/4 inch difference from our advertised lift height.
With or without accessories, the Dodge platforms are not created equally. Mega-Cabs run heavy in stock form therefore 1/4 inch subtracted from the advertised lift height should be considered. If you own a Regular-Cab truck, it will sit much higher after our coil spring install (approx. 1/2 inch higher). Also, trucks with the RamBox installed weigh approximately 200 Lbs (empty) more than standard bed trucks.
How it all adds up
All things considered, truck configurations in their various forms reflect weight and affect your suspension kit options. Trim packages, accessories, base models vs Longhorn/Laramie editions all have different weights and should be taken into account when buying Thuren Fabrication Suspension components. (timestamp 3:30)
2013+ RAM 3500 Models
To achieve proper leveling for the 2013+ Ram, Thuren Fabrication Front Coils & Shocks is all you'll need. The hours of research and development we have gone through resulted in creating a valving and length combination that provides the best ride possible when used in conjunction with our coil springs.
If you desire a different shock manufacturer for your truck, contact us before you buy so we can advise you on spec approved part numbers for your build. The generic aftermarket manufacturer products will not perform with Thuren Fabrication coil springs.
Additionally, After roughly 20,000 miles of useon the stock trackbar, consider purchasing our track bar due to wear and tear of your components and to complete your setup.
It needs to be fully understood that the new platform (2013+Radius arms) using coil spacers to gain lift height is risky business. Unlike the 1994-2012 platform, the location and design of the coil spring mount mandate a shorter coil spring be used.
The limitations of this stock design put a lot of undue stress on the OEM coils with lift spacers installed as the suspension cycles through its range of motion. If coil spacers are installed, dropping the bump stops the same measurement as the coil spacer is important to maintain the OEM geometry and stay as close to stock form as possible.
2013+ Dodge Ram Variations
2013+ models vary in weight simply due to the various trim packages and options available straight from the dealer. Because of these variations, it’s important to obtain measurements for your truck prior to purchasing new suspension components.
Air Ride Assist Rear Leaf Spring Model
Recently we’ve seen a lot of Air-Assist Rear Leaf Spring truck owners wanting to upgrade their suspension. We’ve determined that this model sits a bit lower in the rear in comparison to the other rear leaf spring Ram trucks.
2013+ Non-Airbag Rear Leaf Spring Model
2013+ non-airbag 3500’s sit ½ inch taller in the front compared to the 2500’s and this is in stock form. We list the front coil springs according to our measurements for each model so it’s important to measure your truck so you get the desired lift height and don’t have to return your ordered coils to get the proper ones. We’ve found that most customers like the ride and appearance of a one inch lift in the rear but we don’t offer that option just yet.
2014+ Ram 2500 And Power Wagon
To achieve proper levelling for the 2014+ 2500 Ram and Power Wagon, Thuren Fabrication Front Coils & Shocks is all you'll need. After roughly 20,000 Odometer miles of use, you should consider getting our track bar. To get the most use and performance from our shocks they must be used in conjunction with the coils we sell. If you desire a different shock manufacturer for your truck, contact us before you buy so we can advise you on spec approved part numbers for your build. The generic aftermarket manufacturer products will not work with Thuren Fabrication coils.
For reference, The Power Wagon OEM front track bar runs ¼ inch longer than the 2500 OEM track bar. We suggest the same 20,000-mile track bar replacement for the Power Wagon as well as the 2500 Dodge Ram.
It needs to be fully understood that the new platform (2013+Radius arm), using coil spacers to gain lift height is risky business. Unlike the 1994-2012 platform, the location and design of the coil spring mount mandate a shorter coil spring be utilized.
The limitations of this stock design put a lot of undue stress on the OEM coils with lift spacers installed all while the suspension cycles through its range of motion. If coil spacers are installed, dropping the bump stops the same measurement as the coil spacer to maintain the OEM geometry and stay as close to stock form as possible.
Rear 4-link on a 2500
A great idea in theory but a bit tricky to build. The handling of the 4-link suspension can also be a handful if softening the ride while adding suspension travel, to address these issues, take a moment to read our rear track bar upgrade data to better understand how to fix these quirks.
Rear Air-Suspension Trucks
The trucks with rear Air-Suspension tend to ride a bit lower than the coil spring set up, if you want to lift your rear suspension, we have an easy to install sensor links for your Air-Bag systems. Our links trick the computer into thinking the truck wants to be roughly an inch taller than stock settings. If you want to keep the rear in stock form, select our one-inch front lift coils so as to not make the front too tall.
2014+ Power Wagon Coils
The stock coils are almost exactly the same height as our rear coil kit but the stock configuration ride can be a little rough. Ride quality both on and off-road can be achieved by installing our rear coil spring kit.
2003-2012 Dodge Ram 2500-3500, AND 2013 Dodge Ram 2500
These model years have the stock front 4-link suspension and rear leaf spring setup. We have spent days in research and development to get this setup dialed in. This combination has been around for a long time and we’ve come to the conclusion that a 3-inch lift in the front and a ¾ to 1-inch lift in the rear is the best setup for all-around performance. If you purchase our 2-inch coils for the rear suspension a lift isn’t needed.
A truck in stock form will measure out to be 3 inches lower in the front, the natural thought is that you need a 3-inch lift to level your truck. Problem is, after installing the front 3-inch lift, it has transferred more weight to the rear and therefore lowered the rear a ½ inch.
If you lift the front in this manner without lifting the rear as well, it’ll appear nose high. Adding a rear lift will give your truck the most level appearance from all angles. Remember that after you have measured your front to rear bias, and obtained as close to dead level as possible, it can appear to be nose high from certain angles. Rely on your measurements to remember that it is not.
Why You Need To Upgrade Your Track Bar
The 2003-2012 Ram 2500-3500 and 2013 Ram 2500 stock track bar works well with the stock configuration but anytime you upgrade your suspension, wheels, tires, and/or lift your truck the stock track bar becomes an issue. We've concluded that the OEM 2013+ trackbar can go about 20,000 miles, and function just fine with our suspension components.
If you’re nearing 20,000 miles we suggest upgrading to our track bar for a solid configuration. For a more detailed explanation please review our FAQ section of the track bar product page.
Levelling Coil Spacers On 1994-2012 Ram Trucks
For the most part, running coils spacers on these models is not an issue. The OEM coil springs are robust enough to handle installing spacers but can become an issue down the road.
Running coil spacers extend the distance of suspension travel before the bump stops come into play, therefore the bump stops should be lowered as well. The OEM coils were not designed to compress to a smaller height and cracking or breaking may become an issue. Suspension sag coils also become a reality over time because of the distance of travel now an option due to the lift. These are both rare occurrences but still a possibility.
When running 2.5 inch or larger diameter shocks, *coil spacers will not be an option. As the suspension cycles, the shock moves from side to side, and coil spacers limit this movement. Think about your end game before purchasing suspension components because the geometry is being affected and might not even give you more ground clearance.
*Be sure to read the 2013+ Ram coil spacer notes for a more defined explanation.
Anytime you upgrade your suspension you’ve changed the geometry designed by the OEM manufacturer. When lifting your truck 2-3 inches higher it is necessary to purchase the appropriate shocks to compensate for the additional travel of the wheel to vehicle ratio.
The idea is to maintain the stock configuration but at a lifted height for maximum performance and to remain safety conscious. Stock shocks do not have the proper range of movement for your truck once it’s lifted. Rear shocks can handle a 1 inch lift before requiring a shock upgrade.
Sway Bar Information for Dodge Ram Trucks
The 2003-2009 Dodge Ram will require longer sway bar links if you lift or level your truck. The stock sway bar link on 2010 models can handle up to a 3 inch lift, loosening up the top nut a few turns to relax the tension on the rubber sandwich joint will be necessary.
If you want to run the OEM sway bar, Thuren Fabrication XHD sway bar links are the strongest replacement on the market. For a complete upgrade you can order our Active-Rate sway bar in conjunction with our XHD links to improve ride quality both on and off road.
Control Arm Information For Dodge Ram Trucks
In stock form the OEM control arms will handle up to a 3 inch lift. Beyond 3 inches it will become a necessity to upgrade your control arms for range of motion and durability. For a more detailed explanation visit our control arms product page.
Leaf Springs And Rear Suspension
Thuren Fabrication Long-Travel Leaf Springs were designed to be the best handling softest ride quality leaf springs on the market while maintaining durability and responsiveness. Expect sag to mirror that of a ½ ton truck leaf spring setup. For more information please stop by our leaf spring product page.
A Wallet Friendly Option
The Long-Travel Leaf Springs are the ultimate in ride quality and handling but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, check out our Overload Leaf modification. The Overload Leaf modification technique was designed in-house and works well with stock leaf springs for an increase in travel.
Modifying The Overload Leaf
After disassembling the stock leaf pack, obtain the overload leaf (the thick tapered leaf under the main curved leaf) and cut it down by a total of 14 inches, 7 inches from the center. Reassemble the leaf pack and reinstall it onto your truck.
By performing this modification you have increased the linear free travel of movement within the leaf pack. Please understand this modification does have a negative aspect when loading the bed with heavy objects. An increase in sag is the result but for a little bit of effort, you’ll have an increase in performance as well.
Many people will just want to remove the overload leaf completely. We do not suggest this. The above technique is the only way to make sure the main leaf pack is not over-stressed.
Towing Heavy Loads With Modified Leafs or LT Leaf Packs
Performing the overload leaf modification or installing our Long Travel leaf springs compensation for heavy loads might become a concern. We recommend installing 6-inch airbags of your choice and Daystar Airbag Cradles. This will allow the airbag to float freely above the axle and not affect ride quality.
*Note: it has come to our attention that some truck owners might run their airbags at 0 PSI. In concept, this might make sense except for the fact that airbags with zero air pressure actually build pressure with the action of the axle moving up and down. To have a smooth ride it’s imperative that a small amount of unrestricted travel is achieved while driving. A restricted airbag at zero PSI will drastically affect the ride quality.
Lifts Over 3" Tall, And The Reasons They Are Difficult To Build, Properly
Anytime you lift your truck over 3 inches every component within your suspension set up is affected and therefore you’ve invited in additional cost, additional safety concerns, and a lot more aggravation when trying to dial in your suspension.
Any lift over 3.5 inches will require drop brackets and the geometry of the suspension has changed dramatically. The issue arises because the drop brackets for a 6-inch lift are the same as the brackets for a 4-inch lift and for good reason, maintain geometry. The reality of your 4-inch lift is that with a 3-inch track bar and bump stop drop, you’ve only increased your compression by 1 inch.
While looking great, the performance of your suspension has maintained close to that of a stock configuration, and here lies the problem. Ride quality has not increased and in reality a proper, but expensive option, is at a 6-inch lift. If you take this route, be prepared for the build sheet to get longer with components being affected such as Long Arms, a Track Bar Drop, Drop Pitman, Full Leaf Springs to cancel out blocks, extended Brake Lines, possible Driveline Modifications, and on and on.
High lift kits exist and provide a bit of ground clearance but tend to leave out the previously mentioned components that will inevitably need attention. Without attending to these components your handling and drivability will most certainly be compromised.
Through research and development, we prefer our 3 inch systems to the high lift kits for the 2003-2011 Ram. Our 3-inch lift systems are just that, a designed and engineered system versus simply being a lift kit. It’s built to fit 37-inch tires and is as impressive as any 6-inch lift out there. With the money, you save you can get high-end shocks to build out your rig’s suspension while saving time on the install.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or visit our product pages for more information.