UNIVERSAL TRACK BAR TECH
As small as 1/16" of side-to-side deflection in the trackbar assembly, can play a part in handling issues. Rubber/soft bushings, and exaggerated bends in the trackbar design, are the 2 biggest reasons we feel upgrading the trackbar on 2003-2013 Rams, is basically mandatory. Installing 2 piece soft Polyurethane bushings in the stock trackbar is no help, and can almost end up performing worse, after the first week of driving. Even if the bushing ends of the factory trackbar WERE made solid, that still does not address the flexy OEM bar shape, which ends up acting like a big spring. The OEM trackbar as a whole, is just a bad design.
To clarify the track bar's importance, if you remove the trackbar, you can't even get out of your driveway. Back to the spring analogy.... This is where the design of the trackbar, as a whole, plays a huge part. Here is why.... The trackbar is THE ONLY support for the steering. As you steer left, you compress the trackbar. Steer right, stretch the trackbar. If the trackbar is allowed to compress and extend, the truck can basically steer itself when you encounter forces at the wheel, which can turn into DW oscillations. This is why death-gripping your steering wheel when you get DW, almost makes it worse, as you are HELPING the truck have a mind of it's own. This is why we say the trackbar design, as a whole, must be as solid and rigid as possible. This makes the truck stay on track, and inputs you make through the steering wheel, will actually get to the wheels!
Addressing the, "solid joints on the trackbar will feel rough in the steering wheel", myth.
The trackbar needs to be solid. Technically, you could almost consider the track bar a steering component. Yes, we use vibration absorbing bushings on control arms and such, but do you use rubber bushings for steering tie rods and ball joints? Nope, you want TIGHT! On top of that, in all reality, a tighter trackbar will have LESS feedback through the wheel. The reason for this is if the trackbar flexes and the bushings compress, the axle shifts when you hit a bump, and then kicks you some of that in the steering wheel. If the trackbar can do a better job keeping the axle from shifting from side to side, you will get the best driving experience.
Centering the axle after a 2-3" lift
Most often you will not be able to get the axle perfectly center. It's not that our trackbar does not have enough adjustment, but rather if you make the trackbar too long, you will get metal-to-metal component contact when you bottom out the suspension. With and around 3" of lift, 39-1/8" center to center is the MAXIMUM length you can go. Your axle will probably not be perfectly center at this measurement, but don't stress on it. There is no ill-handling effect only very slightly cosmetic.
Track bar info regarding lifts taller than 3"
Our trackbar will USUALLY fit aftermarket lift kits supplied trackbar drop bracket, and you must keep that drop bracket in place. From 4" to 6" of lift the trackbar drop bracket is usually a physical 3" drop. If you modify and make your lift taller, here is some info that can help you..... At the MAXIMUM, you can have a 4" bias in trackbar drop bracket in relation to lift height. That means our trackbar CAN work with up to a 4" lift MAX, not that I condone it really. So, if you had an 8" lift you need a physical 4" drop bracket, MINIMUM. 5" drop would be best with 8" lift. We get people that put 3" spacers on top of their 6" lift, not changing the 3" trackbar drop, wondering why they are having problems. Taller lifts are very tricky don't take matters in your own hands! If you create your own 12" lift, you better make sure you find or make your trackbar drop a physical 8", MINIMUM.
Aftermarket differential covers and the track bar
99% chance our trackbar will not fit with aftermarket diff covers, and we get people upset our track bar does not clear their larger diff cover. Not sure why one aftermarket part would seem at fault more than the other, but oh well. That said, you have to decide if you want a part that will improve the handling and safety of the vehicle, or something pretty and nice looking, that can potentially make changing the diff oil easier. Our trackbar has the bends reduced, and is as close to the OEM diff cover as possible, intentionally as a huge part of the design. Our trackbar NEEDS to be the way it is. Making the bends bigger to clear bigger diff covers would degrade the design.
2013+ RADIUS ARM SUSPENSION, AND THIS TRICKY NEW PLATFORM
These trucks were a real pain to design good aftermarket parts for, as they continued to have little surprises come up, as we started to push them harder off-road. We are making HUGE ride quality and off-road performance gains on this platform, but it was not easy.
Keep in mind what I say here is specific TO OUR PARTS ONLY. The way the components are designed for these trucks, will mandate many other possible specifics, so do not apply what I say here to other suspension brands. Stiffer or softer coils, shorter or longer shocks, etc, will play in the way the WHOLE package is designed. The 2003 to 2012/13 4-link trucks could almost be slapped together with 10 different brand components, and it would not be a huge issue. You can't do that on the new radius arm platform
2013+ Ram "radius arm platform" track bar notes
Dodge improved the trackbar quite a bit on this new platform(2013+ 3500/2014+ 2500), but it's still not perfect. The bends have been relaxed so the bar is less "springy", and the rubber bushings have been improved by having less deflection. Still, with std rubber torsion bushings, it's only a matter of time before they do go soft or fail. I estimate that at approximately 20,000 miles, you will want to plan on upgrading the front trackbar, especially if adding increased suspension travel and a bit of lift.
Suspension drop brackets, and why we don't need them
When initially coming up with a "plan of attack", as this new platform came out, we had to see what could be done with coil spring rates. I also was concerned with making this as easy as possible for the customer. The difficult part was trying to get the coils to the spring rate we wanted, which is between 350-390lb/inch. Getting these rates to give 2.5" to 3" lift without coil bind at full maximum bump travel, making sure the coil free length was long enough to provide at least 10" travel, creating a coil that will last many many years without sagging, and designing a coil that will stay mostly straight as the suspension cycles, was not an easy task. This was very difficult because the OEM spring rate was about 560lb/inch, the coils are very short, and the spring seats are angled. Why Dodge put the upper and lower spring seats at an angle makes zero sense to me, but this makes the coils want to almost push themselves out of their holders. We pulled it off though, and we are very happy with the outcome.
Our coils ended up being a design that just walks the line, regarding all the above mandates I had. We can barely get full unrestricted bump travel without coil bind, the coils stay pretty straight through the travel, 10.5" travel possible, and right at about a 380-390lb/inch rate. For reference our proven 2003-2012 coils at the 2-3" height that people love, are right at 370lb/inch. But, those trucks being short 4-link lets the new radius arm platform ride better, even with the SLIGHTLY stiffer coils, being that they use long and low pivoting radius arms.
Being that we could utilize full compression travel, we did not have to add any drops to the suspension. This is because we are only adding 3" of down travel to the factory range of motion. If we went to softer coils, multi rate coils, or more lift, we would have had to drop the radius arms, and bumpstops too. I was concerned with driveline vibration also if we went too far from stock range of motion. Keeping the range of motion happy, clearing 37's running hard off-road, 10"+ travel, and still getting about 2.75" of lift, was perfect.