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94+ Ram A Pillar Grab Handle Installation

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Subject:      Re:A-pillar grab handle
From: (Paul Haller)

> Since my Ram didn't come from the factory with a grab handle I went out
> and bought all the parts necessary to install it from the dealer. I have the
> new molding, handle, bolts, anchors and the plastic covers for the handle.
> What I cant figure out is how the anchors get secured into the frame.
> The holes in the frame are the same size as the anchors and the anchors
> go in with no resistance at all and just fall out.

> Also I remember someone saying that they had put a handle on the drivers
> side. I would like to do this also, but how did you get around the problem
> of the molding sitting away from the frame?

I installed the handle to which you refer and retrofitted another handle to the driver side a pillar. Those nuts expand inside the pillar like you suspected but it isn't easy. Get a bolt and a couple of washers at the hardware store that fit those inserts. Put a washer on the bolt and find a box end wrench that just slides over the threads of the bolt without too much play. Now put on another washer and screw the insert onto the bolt by hand until it wont go on any further. Now you have an insert, washer, box end wrench, washer, bolt head combination. Put the insert into the hole use the box wrench as a handle and get a wrench that fits the bolt head and start tightening the bolt. This will cause the sleeve of the insert to crush inside the a pillar. GO EASY!! when the sleeve crushes inside completely if you keep tightening the bolt you will strip the threads of the insert. The dealer has a tool for installing those pesky inserts and it works just like a pop rivet tool. If you make friends easily they may install them for you while you wait... if you have already drilled the holes and the trim is off it takes about 3 seconds per insert! I have had success using the method I just outlined.

Regarding the trim on the driver side, just tape or hot glue 3 washers onto the back side of the trim lined up with the holes in the trim and install the handle with longer screws so you don't crush the trim. I did this to my truck last May and have had no trouble with the handles and I weigh 220 lbs.

-Paul Haller- 97 cc lb slt diesel white/driftwood

Subject:    Re: A-pillar grab handle
From: (Paul R. Haller

> Thanks for the help Paul. I have a couple of other questions if you
> don't mind. Did you use the passenger side molding to transfer the
> marks to the the drivers side molding so you knew where to
> drill? Does the handle on the drivers side obstruct your view any? and
> lastly, is it noticeable that the drivers side is not recessed like the
> passengers side?

The best way to put the driver side handle in is to remove the trim and check for obstructions behind the trim. If I recall, there are some clips that could interfere with the placement of the handle. Look at both the a pillar and the back of the trim.

Reinstall the trim. Mark the trim and using the handle as a guide and drill 1/8 holes through trim and into a pillar. Measure the trim to handle dimension on the passenger side and transfer this measurement to the driver side. Centering the handle is fairly critical so when drilling you get the holes in the a pillar where there is adequate material. Remove trim and enlarge holes in a pillar and trim to the appropriate size and install sleeves, trim, handle, and covers. Don't forget to put 3 washers behind the trim w/ hot glue or tape. The drivers handle doesn't interfere with sight lines in any way for me. It is centered with the a pillar so I don't even see it and I don't notice the difference in the trims. When I did it I bought the trim for the passenger side for 38$ but if I did it over I wouldn't waste my $. I would just put washers behind the original trim and then both handles would look identical. There is plenty of room for fingers unless you're built like Godzilla.

Good luck and remember to go easy when crushing those inserts. A little grease on the threads may also help prevent stripping. You don't want stripped inserts that you can't get out or re tapped in the a pillar. Once again, call your local dealer or just drop by, if you feel that this is beyond your abilities, and ask nicely to see if they will do it for could save you some grief.


You could also use just a nut and bolt and washer to crush the inserts . By holding the bolt head and running the nut down the threads with a washer between the insert and the nut to crush the insert you don't put any wear on the insert threads.

-Paul R. Haller-

Subject:    Re:A-pillar grab handle
From:       "James Sehlmeier" <jsehlmeier@GW.NOVELL.COM

I bought the parts for the driver side grab handle several months ago, but until I saw the washer idea on the list, I couldn't figure out how NOT to mess up the molding. I was wrongly told that the compression nuts would expand as the bolt went into it, which didn't work. When I went to a welder, he used a tool like a rivet set, but he had me switch to some 1/4" compression nuts that he had on hand because the Dodge parts are metric!

I also mounted the grab handle higher on the driver's side because of the way the console is higher on that side - it looks good. Look before you drill, because there is a 1" wide channel of steel that you want to stay on (on my '95).

Hope this helps...

James Sehlmeier jsehl@xmission Salt Lake area, UT