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Ram Spring Issues
What happens when you add a heavy winch
and bumper to the front of a Ram?
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From Dave Fritz - my email address -

With a Reunel bumper (330 lb) and a Warn 12k lb winch (another 130 lb), my front end only had 2.5" of travel to the bumpstop with a camper on the truck. To maintain  suspension travel I put in a set of Skyjacker 2" front springs and shocks ($257 1-800-821-2985).  I now have a minimum of 3.75" of front compression travel with a heavily loaded camper. If you don't haul a camper off- road, the extra springs MAY not be necessary. If you are planning to lift your truck, tell the lift supplier about your proposed front end load and they will size the springs properly.

For anyone contemplating a heavy winch bumper:   The stiffest factory installed spring available is a number 048, available on 3500 chassis cabs with lots of HD options.  My 1994 2500 had the HD snowplow prep with a number 039 spring on the passenger side and a number 046 spring on the driver side. FWIW: Sues 2001 2500 QC SB has an 046/047 combination.

The stock 039 that comes on many diesel trucks will be OK,  but the front will sink about 1" with heavy bumpers and some weight in the bed. If you have a diesel with the 038 spring, you WILL need to find replacements if you add weight to the front because the 038 can barely support a stock diesel front end.

Skyjacker sells a progressive spring with 2" of extra height and a stiffer pitch than the stock springs, which will leave the front end about 1.5" higher than stock with a 500 lb bumper or plow. The Skyjacker replacement springs are the same diameter as the number 039 springs which are installed on many diesel trucks. With the 2500HD Ram, taller shocks and springs are the only front suspension changes needed to handle the bumper addition.

Any 1/2 ton truck WILL need front spring help (IMHO) unless it has the HD snowplow option.

The Dana 60 seems to handle overloads as long as the truck stays on the ground. Flying leaps with a diesel and winch bumper will bend the passenger side axle tube (a weak link known among the hard-core 4x4 crowd). My stock wheel bearings never complained. I did have the ball joints and track bar replaced under warranty at 22,000 miles, but they had been bad from the factory and the dealer stalled me until the parts became too loose to allow front wheel alignment. For 37,000 miles, my front end showed no signs of distress and the wheel alignment remained stable. Then I had Dynatrac build a 5200 pound Dana 60 reverse cut axle with manual hubs and an ARB air locker.  

At the October 1997 TDR rally in Mesquite Nevada I talked to another Ram/Reunel owner who found spring numbers 047 and 048 available from the Dodge parts department for diesel trucks that needed more spring. They are the same height as the 038, 039, 046 springs but are wound from heavier stock. Note: There have been a couple of '98 3500 Chassis Cab models with 037/038 springs that passed through the local dealer lots in 1998. He had put the 047 on the passenger side, the 048 on the driver side, and used a 2" spacer on top of the spring to get lift.

Personally, I don't like spacers and prefer a taller spring to get lift. I don't know how much off-roading his truck sees because everything on the truck was unblemished and color co-ordinated, and for most of the Roundup his truck sat in a far corner of the parking lot under a custom fitted truck cover.  I have seen photos his truck at PowerWagon rallys in four wheel magazines. Some of the photos were obviously staged, but others were taken with his truck working real trails.

In the past, 2500 and 3500 Diesels came with any of the following combination of springs:

Driver  Pass   typical options, but trucks vary widely     Spring Specs Page

 038     038    2500 regular cab w/ automatic  -  Grrr...  IMHO the 038 spring is undersized for the diesel!!!
 039     038    2500 regular cab w/ manual,  automatic with tow package
 039     039    2500 & 3500 reg cab w/ manual or automatic,  plus  tow &/or camper package
 039     039    2500 & 3500 Club Cab or Quad Cab w/ manual or automatic
 046     039    2500 &3500  reg cab manual w/ tow package and snowplow prep
 046     039    2500& 3500 Club Cab or Quad Cab w/ manual and  tow package
 047     046    2500 QC 6 speed w/ tow, camper, and snowplow prep 2001
 048     047    '98 3500 ISB Chassis Cab w/ tow, aux rear springs, plow prep, manual

 037     038    2500HD 4x4 with 360 snowplow prep AT       From: Bill A <walleg01@snet.net>

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From Mike Demski

My local Dodge dealer parts dept told me the following specs for my 96 1500 4x4:

From Bernard Rate

I now have spring ratings from the dealer here:

Subject:      Re: [RAM] Lifted my truck... (kinda long)
Date:          Mon, 18 Aug 1997 11:55:47 -0400 (EDT)
From:         Mike Demski <mdemski@wwnet.com>
To:             ramtruck

> can I install 2500 series springs into my 1500?

Front and rear springs? The 2500 gets a bit of rear lift from a taller rear lift blocks. The rear lift block on a 2500 is about 4-5/8" tall and the rear lift block on my 1500 4x4 is 3-1/4" tall. Also, the 2500's rear lift block is a bit wider than the 1500's rear lift block. I don't think it would fit using the stock 1500's u-bolts. Anything is possible, but I wouldn't recommend doing it that way.

What is the truck going to be used for? (off-roading, street, show?) I went with a suspension lift kit (Warn Black Diamond 3") designed with provisions for track bar & sway bar relocation, and a drop pitman arm to help preserve proper suspension geometry after the lift is applied. The kit also came with a stronger (boxed steel) set of upper and lower suspension arms. I personally feel better having a kit designed for this task and containing the above mentioned components.


Re:    [RAM] Bumper on Ram x2
    From:     Mike Demski <mdemski@wwnet.net>
    Date:     Tue, 16 Dec 1997 01:42:31 -0500
    To:         RTML
 

( Unrelated info edited out - Dave)

However, let me bring up the other side of the coin here.  If you want a very strong steel bumper, you are going to add a  considerable amount of weight.  This would not make the 1/2 ton truck owners very happy.  The 1/2 ton payload weight, etc. is low enough already.

When I looked seriously into a Ruenel extreme duty winch bumper up front , I was biting my lip realizing that if I really wanted to put this extreme bumper up front with a winch, I should have bought the 3/4 ton Ram (especially if I put extreme duty steel bumpers front and rear).  The late model 1500 just won't cut it.

Yes, I do wish the Ram bumper was more substantial, but to do it right would take some more design mods by Dodge IMHO.

 Mike Demski - mdemski@wwnet.net
 96 Ram 1500 4x4 CC SB 360 - Mike & Debbie's Ram
Mike has a Lifted Ram Page featuring several Rams with tall springs, lift kits, and big tires.

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Subject:    Re: [RAM] Front protection
    Date:         Fri, 16 Jan 1998 09:09:45 -0500
    From:        Bill A <walleg01@snet.net>
    To:            RTML

Dick Campagna wrote:

> If you're going to hang that much weight on the front end of your truck,
> you've got to consider  some serious suspension work, too.  And don't
> forget that hanging weight on the front will lighten the truck's butt end.

You can add up to approx 300 lbs to the front of a 1500 with no probs/modifications. Any more and you'll probably start noticing the truck is a little nose-heavy. BTW 300lbs is a helluva lot of equipment. But if you're replacing the stock bumper remember you're removing about 75 lbs.   Bill A


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Last page update October 25, 2001