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The 1993-2001 Dodge Ram FAQ from the RamTruck mailing list

This FAQ should cover 1993-2001 Ram trucks

ram.jpg


The original FAQ has been taken down from its original web site.

Introduction and Table of Contents

This is the FAQ list for the mailing list ramtruck, maintained by Hank Janssen, with contributions
from many other people (see the credits section). The contents of this
document are based on the contributors' opinions; neither the
contributors nor the FAQ maintainer accept any responsibility or
liability for any damages brought about by the information contained
herein.

This document may be freely
distributed and reproduced as long as it remains wholly unaltered and
includes this notice. If you do redistribute this document, especially
on a commercial basis, please contact the FAQ maintainer before doing
so. (Allpar did so and got permission.)

If you have suggestions for
improvements to this document, or if you fail to understand any part of
it, please feel free to send a note to the FAQ maintainer or to the
author of the relevant section. The initials of the author(s) of each
section can be found in brackets following each question.

1997-ram.jpg


Table of Contents

1 Definitions

  • 1.1 What do all of those acronyms mean (4x2, 4x4)?

2 Finding out about the Dodge Ram truck.

  • 2.1 Phone numbers.
  • 2.2 What is a 1500.
    • 2.2.1 General
    • 2.2.2 What are the engines available.
  • 2.3 What is a 2500.
    • 2.3.1 General
    • 2.3.2 What are the engines available.
  • 2.4 What is a 3500.
    • 2.4.1 General
    • 2.4.2 What are the engines available.
  • 2.5 What mileage have people been getting.

3 Maintenance

  • 3.3 General repairs/stuff

4 Performance upgrades and guidelines

  • 4.1 What can I do to make my truck go faster.
    • 4.1.1 Biggest performance bang for the $$
  • 4.2 What are kind of tires will/are the best for my truck.
    • 4.2.1 Tire Pressures.
    • 4.2.2 What are the biggest tires that fit on a 1500.
    • 4.2.3 What are the biggest tires that fit on a 2500.
    • 4.2.4 What are the biggest tires that fit on a 3500.
  • 4.3 What is an Borla Exhaust. (+ installation)
  • 4.4 Shocks.
  • 4.6 Axle Info.
  • 4.7 US Gear Overdrive/Underdrive.
  • 4.8 K&N Airfilters and FIPK.

94-ram.jpg
5 Customizations.

  • 5.1 Bed-liners.
  • 5.3 Brush Guards.
  • 5.4 Side Bars.
  • 5.5 Aero Tanks.
  • 5.6 Lights.
  • 5.7 Better brake pads.

6 The Cummins diesel engine

  • 6.1 Oil pressure delay.
  • 6.2 What kinds of oil are people using for the Cummins Diesel.
  • 6.3 Biggest performance bang for the $$ for diesels.
  • 6.4 What is this ISB engine I keep hearing about.

7 What about more 4x4 info.

  • 7.1 What's that lever for?
  • 7.2 Where are my hubs?
  • 7.3 Stock, shmock, I want to lift it!
    • 7.3.1 Available lift kits
  • 7.4 If its four wheel drive, why am I stuck?
    • 7.4.1 Brief description of traction aiding devices
    • 7.4.2 List of factory available LSD's
    • 7.4.3 List of aftermarket LSD's/lockers
    • 7.4.4 Why you can't use an LSD in a front CAD system
  • 7.5 Help, I'm stuck!
    • 7.5.1 Description of factory tow hooks, installation
    • 7.5.2 Aftermarket winch bumpers
  • 7.6 How to tow a 4x4

8 Various helpful sites.

9 Credits.

1 Definitions

1.1 What do all of those acronyms mean (4x2, 4x4)?

  • This is a list of common abbreviations used in this FAQ.
  • 2WD 2 Wheel Drive.
  • 4WD 4 Wheel Drive.
  • CC Chrysler Corporation.
  • FIPK Fuel Injection Performance Kit.
  • OBD
    II 2nd generation On Board Diagnostics (Federally-required computer
    system to check engine problems that could lead to any increase in
    emissions)
  • ISB Interact System B (refers to Cummins B-series diesel with new Interact System computer controls)
  • TST is a company that makes Cummins uprate kits
  • TSB
    Technical Service Bulletin (repair issued by manufacturer in response
    to common problems amongst a similar group of vehicles) You can find a
    list of them at Alldata DIY
2. Finding out about the Dodge Ram truck.

2.1 Phone Numbers (the following numbers are only valid in the US)

  • 1-800-992-1997 Chrysler Customer Service
  • 1-800-255-9877
    Auto-mobility Headquarters (info about reimbursements for aftermarket
    adaptation of new vehicles for people with disabilities)
  • 1-800-253-0823 order a catalog of replicas of Chrysler vehicles
  • 1-800-4-A-DODGE get a Dodge catalog or other product info
  • 1-812-342-6741 TST line. HP upgrade kit company for the Cummins.
  • (the following number is valid if you're not in the US) 810-978-6428 Chrysler International
2.2 What is a Ram 1500?

This section describes the various 1500 models available. These are based on the 1997 model year.

2.2.1 General. The 1500 Series truck come in several (base) options.
  • [*]Dodge Ram 1500 WS 2WD Regular Cab Short bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 WS 2WD Regular Cab Long bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 LT 2WD Regular Cab Short bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 LT 2WD Regular Cab Long bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 LT 4WD Regular Cab Short bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 LT 4WD Regular Cab Long bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 ST 2WD Club Cab Short bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 ST 2WD Club Cab Long bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 ST 4WD Club Cab Short bed.
    [*]Dodge Ram 1500 ST 4WD Club Cab Long bed.
2.2.2 What are the engines available (1997).

  • V6 Only. (3.9L) (V6 is only option) Dodge Ram 1500 WS 2WD Regular Cab Short bed. Dodge Ram 1500 WS 2WD Regular Cab Long bed.
  • V6/V8/V8.
    (3.9L/5.2L/5.9L) Dodge Ram 1500 LT 2WD Regular Cab Short bed Dodge Ram
    1500 LT 2WD Regular Cab Long bed. Dodge Ram 1500 LT 4WD Regular Cab
    Short bed. Dodge Ram 1500 LT 4WD Regular Cab Long bed.
  • V8/V8.
    (5.2L/5.9L) Dodge Ram 1500 ST 2WD Club Cab Short bed. Dodge Ram 1500 ST
    2WD Club Cab Long bed. Dodge Ram 1500 ST 4WD Club Cab Short bed. Dodge
    Ram 1500 ST 4WD Club Cab Long bed.
2.3 What is a Ram 2500?

This section describes the various 2500 models available. These are based on the 1997 model year.

2.3.1 General

  • Dodge Ram 2500 2WD Heavy Duty Regular Cab.
  • Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Heavy Duty Regular Cab.
  • Dodge Ram 2500 2WD Club Cab Short bed.
  • Dodge Ram 2500 2WD Club Cab Long bed.
  • Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Club Cab Shortbed.
  • Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Club Cab Longbed.

2.3.2 What are the engines available.

  • V8/V10. (5.9L/8.0L)
    • Dodge Ram 2500 2WD Club Cab Shortbed.
    • Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Club Cab Shortbed.
  • V8/V10/Cummins Diesel. (5.9L/8.0L/5.9L)
    • Dodge Ram 2500 2WD Heavy Duty Regular Cab.
    • Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Heavy Duty Regular Cab.
    • Dodge Ram 2500 2WD Club Cab Longbed.
    • Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Club Cab Longbed.
2.4 What is a 3500.

This section describes the
various 3500 models available. These are based on the 1997 model year.
This is pretty much the biggest one you can get, dual wheels in the
back, and really designed for heavy duty towing.

2.4.1 General

  • Dodge Ram 3500 2WD Regular Cab Duallie.
  • Dodge Ram 3500 4WD Regular Cab Duallie.
  • Dodge Ram 3500 2WD Club Cab Duallie.
  • Dodge Ram 3500 4WD Club Cab Duallie.

2.4.2 What are the engines available. V8/V10/Cummins Diesel. (5.9L/8.0L/5.9L/Diesel)
2.5 What mileage have people been getting.

What mileage people have been
getting with their Rams is of course very subjective due to setup and
driving conditions. But here are some mileage numbers.

  • Me, 2500 4x4 97 Cummins
    Diesel. about 21 miles to the gallon, 35% city 65% highway at speeds of
    75 miles. Only have a K&N drop in air filter.
  • Chris 2500 V10. 10.5 city 12 Highway. CC 4X4, Auto, stock tires. I have a K&N element.
  • Franco C. Saiano <> 97 2500HD SLT 4X4 V-10/5 speed, I'm getting about 9-10 MPG in 2WD with no payload. I
    get about 11.5 average with 65% city driving and 35% highway. I have a
    '96 v10 CC 4x4 with a K&N drop in filter, dynomax dual exhaust
    cat back and a FloThru tailgate. I believe that my setup gives me about
    1.5 to 2.0 MPG more than if I left the truck entirely stock. I use 87
    octane, after much trial and error. I found the 87 gives me the best
    performance and mileage.
  • Michael
    P. Lebow I don't get it, I am a big lead foot, and I get 11.5 city min
    and 15 highway. This is corrected speed, and on a 4x4 2500 extended
    cab. Its white, maybe that helps. Oh, 5sp, cruise at max (87MPH) and
    BFG 245/75r16. Inflation pressure makes a difference. 80 is best but
    doesn't wear well. So 50-60psi is what i run. only change was new
    tranny fluid and synthetic gear oil for diffs. Oh and a K&N.
3 Maintenance

3.3 General repairs and stuff

4 Performance upgrades and guidelines

This section provides you with
some insight as to what some people on the ramtruck mailing list have
done to their truck to improve the performance and guidelines to keep
in mind when you want to improve the performance.

4.1 What can I do to make my truck go faster.

Here are some things people on the list have done to get that extra mile.

4.1.1 Biggest performance bang for the $$

Here is a list that went around
on the list some time ago, it shows what people suggest to do to
increase the performance of their (gas) engines.

Mike: Optimal order for purchase: 1: Cat-back 2: Headers 3: Mopar chip 4: Throttle body from magnum performance

Christopher Siano:

The performance computer is the
biggest bang for buck improvement you can make. Just remember the
minuses. 93 Octane fuel, hates to tow, and don't carry too much of a
load. Keep the old computer for those times you need to use cheap fuel,
tow something, or haul a major load.
Steve Belt:

1st: Borla Cat-back 2nd: TBI Pro-Street w/ Mystery Shaft 3rd: Borla Headers

I haven't considered the SBEC,
because I'm not too comfortable with the down sides. Maybe after all of
the other things are done, I'll look into it. With the gear change
done, it is now a possibility. What I will do, however, is give you
feedback after each item is put on the truck, as this may help you
decide.

And then previous to the above I did 1st: K&N 2nd: New plugs 3rd: Magnecor plug wires 4th: TransGo Shift Kit
4.2 What are kind of tires will/are the best for my truck.

This is a tricky question. The
bigger/smaller the tire than a stock tire will throw your speedometer
off, sometimes enough that you need a speedo gear adjustment to make
your speedo sane again. Here are a few people and the tires they
recommend/have on their own truck(s);

Steve Belt (About the stock
tires.) To me, these tires seem ill-suited for application on a 3/4 ton
truck. By the way, they were 245/75R16s. I have since switched to BFG
Mud/AT tires. As far as I know, these tires have extremely strong side
wall strength. I have accidentally nailed many a curb or hard rock.
There is no sidewall bruising evident after 9k miles. The tread, while
showing a bit of wear, also looks great. The tires perform well on and
off road. They are a bit noisy, due to the tread pattern, and I
probably wouldn't want them on a 4x2 truck. BFG makes an All-Terrain
tire that I recommend to every Ram Truck owner that wants to "upgrade"
from the stock Goodyear rubber.

Dennis A. Grindrod Sr: I bought 4 new Dunlop 265x15
radial rover tires and I must say they rode like a dream on a 500 mile
trip to Pa. The difference between the stock Goodyear 245x16 and the
Dunlop 265x16 is night and day. I put these on my RAM 2500 360ci.
5 speed 2WD.

4.2.1 Tire Pressures (1993-97 models)

Several people seem to have
changed their tire pressure on their trucks to counter for heavy loads
and or tire wear. Here are some of the pressures people seem to be
using (Tire pressure is also directly related to the
type(s)/truck of tire you have on your truck):

Tim Edwards : I have a 2500 HD
Cummins with the factory 245 70R16's on it. I run 55 to 60 pounds in the front and 45 in the rear when
light. Add air to give a full foot print on the road when you load
the rear of the truck. One note, at 9000 miles one of the tires grew a
flat spot and caused all kinds of problems until it was diagnosed. When
on the front end it made the truck drive like it needed a front end
alignment. Goodyear is replacing the tire for $60 based on tread
wear.....

Joe: I have an 2500. With the
diesel, I usually run about 54 front, 46 rear. My D rated 255-85-16s
can go up to 60 lb for 3000 lb load.

Bob Ballard: (96 1500, 4x4) I
have 25,000 on my Wranglers RTS and they still look like new. No
feathering, cupping. I do not like the tires at all because of their
behavior in the mud, snow and so forth. I usually ran with 38psi up
front and 35psi rear and rotated every 6,000 miles.
4.2.2 What are the biggest tires that fit on a 1500?

Several people on the list indicated that the biggest tires that fit a stock 1500 2WD (probably same for 4WD) are 265/75R16.

Bryan Wilemski put 285/70R16 on his 1997 RAM 1500
4x4. It rubbed sometimes on max wheel turns but he adjusted the max wheel turn to prevent that; Don Orlowski used BFG LT 315/75R16 tires on his 1999 Dodge 1500 Quadcab 4x4 and "there is rub at full lock but that's it." He gets around 60,000 miles per set - and is on his third set, with 160,000 miles. He got the truck new from the dealer.

4.2.3 What are the biggest tires that fit on a 2500?

Rolando Gonzalez: I have
33/12.5/16.5 on my 1997 2500HD 4x4. They have
rubbed only once on the front.
You won't be able to turn the front tires if you put 35s.
4.3 What is an Borla Exhaust.

(+ Installation) A Borla Exhaust is a Dual Exhaust. Used to provide a more "powerful" sound and increase performance.

Darin L Brummett: I have a
Borla Cat-back exhaust and the K&N FIPK installed on my 1500
4x4 5.9L. The Borla Cat-back system mates to the output of the stock
cat (single pipe 2.75 inch, I think) and runs thru a muffler where it
is split in to two pipes (2.25 inch, again I think) and exits behind
the right rear tire. They also make a version that exits out the rear.
The Borla has Cat-back system adds a wonderful V8 rumble compared to
the stock exhaust but isn't too loud. My experience has been added
horsepower, increased MPG and increased drivability (especially on
mountain roads and highways). It has also lessened the auto
transmission downshifting problem going up hills.

J Lacey:

Borla Stainless-Steel Cat-Back,
part# 14591, for 1996 V8
. Their
cat-back exhaust is straight-forward to install,
can be done by single person 1/2 day, comes with zero instructions.
Mine is 2-pipes exit behind the R R tire and the hanger there is welded
and pointed 90° off so you have to go to a local installer with
a torch when finished. 30 days after installation I crawled under
and where it clamps before the muffler found 2 leaks; could feel them
with fingers when truck running. Their clamps ain't going get it! For no explainable reason the pipes they include are notched (3/4 in.).
Back to the local exhaust installer with Ming welder who immediately burns
hole in THEIR pipe right where that useless 3/4 in. notch is (cause it
is THIN! ). Can't be fixed, and no one in this town has stainless pipe we could purchase. So had to use the usual exhaust pipe, fitting in a piece about 20" long,
BUT I'm sure there goes the "Life-Time Warranty." No more leaks! I
believe Borla actually intends us to clamp these systems together but
they are going to leak.

Borla Stainless-Steel Header,
part# 17077.
First, in September, they sent
the old style, fits only the '94-'95, and acted so surprised when I
called to say I did not have the emissions connection on the header
they thought. It was then I alerted this list by posting the part# of
17077 for the 1996 V8. Sent them
back; they said they would have to make special for me, 2 weeks. Sure
enough, then came another large box - in October - contained 1995 Jeep
header. Sent them back; they said they would have to make special for
me, another 2 weeks. Finally arrived in November with zero
instructions, which the company contends is not uncommon, and they
faxed me a drawing, saying these were for export and off-the-road use
only.

This is not a bolt-on system - it requires welding, they did not tell us that. Passenger side installs easy. Driver side must go on
from beneath after removing the starter and forcing tranny return lines
to the side. Not a tough job. Small connection pipes they provide are
pretty much right on but they ask you to have your local installer weld
an end on your cat-converter so there is going to be an added cost.
Actually what we did, because of experiencing leaks with clamping on
the cat-back exhaust system, was weld the whole damn system. Just tough heading out thru local traffic on a
Saturday for the shop sounding like Richard Petty!

Noticeable
performance change?
Cat-back: cannot say yes, but sounded nice and did improve mpg
slightly. Headers with cat-back: can installing these 2
items make one feel a 5000 lb vehicle move quicker; would I not simply
be kidding myself, wanting to believe the $$ spend improve everything?
Could be. But I
believe I can actually tell, can feel, this Ram has gained in
performance. It feels, sounds, MARVELOUS!!!

Would I do either or both
systems again? I think so. But after some months of having both I am
having much trouble keeping the header bolts tight. Have had to drill
the bolts and safety wire them. Also, the exhaust header gaskets
that come with the Borla system are crap - I have blown out 3; that
means have had to change three of them - and Borla will tell you so!
Get the FelPro #1413 as they are much better and are holding so far.
4.4 Shocks.

The general perception of those
driving a 1993-97 Ram seems to be that the shocks that come from the factory
are not the best ones by any stretch of the imagination. Many people seem to lean
towards the Rancho 9000 ajustable shocks.
4.6 Axle Info.

Chris Siano at AutoSite.com provided the following info on axles:

Dana 44-F

Application: 1500 and 2500 4x4 Regular Cab, 1500 4x4 Club Cab (with
NV231HD and NV241 transfer case)

Capacity: 3,850 lbs
Type: Hypoid
Ratios available 3.54,3.92,4.09
Ring gear diameter 8.5"
Pinion mount overhung
Pinion shaft diameter 1.376" inner bearing
1.35" outer bearing
Differential Pinions Two
Axle Shaft material Low carbon Alloy
Axle shaft diameter 1.31" inner,
1.34" outer
axle spline pitch 1.25"
Spring Centers 42.15"
Universal Single Cardian
Turning Angle 36 Degrees
Fluid capacity 4.8 pints
wheel bearing Tapered Roller
Tie Rod type Ball and socket
Tie rod diameter 1.25"
Tie rod thickness 0.156"
Ball centers 61.16"
housing pressed tubes
wall thickness .39"
Dana 60-F

Application: 2500 and 3500 4x4 regular cab, 2500HD and 3500 4x4
Club Cab (with NV241 and NV241HD transfer case)

Capacity: 4,850 lbs
Type: Hypoid
Ratios avail 3.54,4.10
Ring gear Diameter 9.75"
Pinion mount Overhung
Pinion shaft diameter 1.63" inner bearing
1.25" outer bearing
Differential Pinions Two
Axle Shaft material Low carbon Alloy
Axle shaft diameter 1.31" inner
1.34" outer
axle spline pitch 1.5"
Spring Centers 42.15"
Universal Single Cardian
Turning Angle 36 Degrees
Fluid capacity 7.6 pints
wheel bearing Tapered Roller
Tie Rod type Ball and socket
Tie rod diameter 1.25"
Tie rod thickness 0.22"
Ball centers 60.15"
housing pressed tubes
wall thickness .50"
Chrysler 9.25

Application: 1500, 1500 4x4 All Engines

Capacity: 3,900 lbs
type semi-floating
Ratios 3.21, 3.55, 3.92
Ring gear diameter 9.25"
Ring gear face width 1.375"
pinion mounting overhung
pinion shaft diameter 1.88" inner
1.31" outer
Differential pinions two
axle shaft material Induction Hardened
diameter at bearing 1.62"
axle spline pitch 1.29"
Spring Centers 44.50"
Fluid capacity (2/4WD) 4.75/4.75 pints
wheel bearings Cylindrical Roller
Chrysler 9.25

Application: 2500HD, 2500HD 4x4, 2500, 2500 4x4 w/V8 Engines and auto
transmission (if Sure-Grip is ordered, Dana 60 is used, except for Ram
2500 4x4 models with 3.55 gear ratio.)

Capacity: 5,500 lbs
type semi-floating
Ratios 3.55, 3.92
Ring gear diameter 9.25"
Ring gear face width 1.375"
pinion mounting overhung
pinion shaft diameter 1.88" inner
1.31" outer
Differential pinions two
axle shaft material Induction Hardened
diameter at bearing 1.70"
axle spline pitch 1.29"
Spring Centers 44.50"
Fluid capacity (2/4WD) 4.75/4.75 pints
wheel bearings Cylindrical Roller
Dana 60

Application: 2500 HD, 2500 HD 4x4, 2500, 2500 4x4 Manual
Transmission w/V8 engines.

Capacity: 6,200 lbs
type Full-floating
Ratios 3.54, 4.09
Ring gear diameter 9.75"
Ring gear face width N/A
pinion mounting overhung
pinion shaft diameter 1.63" inner
1.25" outer
Differential pinions two
axle shaft material Induction Hardened
diameter at bearing none
axle spline pitch 1.31"
Spring Centers 44.50"
Fluid capacity (2/4WD) 6.3/7.3 pints
wheel bearings Tapered Roller
Dana 70

Application: 2500 HD, 2500 HD 4x4, 8.0L V10 and Diesel w/Auto
Transmission.

Capacity: 6,500 lbs
type Full-floating
Ratios 3.54, 4.10
Ring gear diameter 10.5"
Ring gear face width N/A
pinion mounting overhung
pinion shaft diameter 1.75" inner
1.25" outer
Differential pinions two
axle shaft material Induction Hardened
diameter at bearing none
axle spline pitch 1.375"
Spring Centers 43.26"
Fluid capacity (2/4WD) 7.0/7.8 pints
wheel bearings Tapered Roller
Dana 80

Application: 2500 HD, 2500 HD 4x4, 8.0L V10 and diesel w/Manual
Transmission.

Capacity: 7,500 lbs
type Full-floating
Ratios 3.54, 4.10
Ring gear diameter 11.0"
Ring gear face width N/A
pinion mounting overhung
pinion shaft diameter 1.75" inner
1.25" outer
Differential pinions two
axle shaft material Induction Hardened
diameter at bearing none
axle spline pitch 1.375"
Spring Centers 43.26"
Fluid capacity (2/4WD) 6.8/10.1 pints
wheel bearings Tapered Roller
Dana 80 Dual Rear Wheel

Application: 3500, 3500 4x4 All Engines.

Capacity: 7,500 lbs
type Full-floating
Ratios 3.54, 4.10
Ring gear diameter 11.0"
Ring gear face width N/A
pinion mounting overhung
pinion shaft diameter 1.75" inner
1.25" outer
Differential pinions two
axle shaft material Induction Hardened
diameter at bearing none
axle spline pitch 1.375"
Spring Centers 43.26"
Fluid capacity (2/4WD) 6.8/10.1 pints
wheel bearings Tapered Roller
4.7 US Gear Overdrive/Underdrive.

There seems to be a product out that can improve the mileage by providing you with an extra 'gear'.

Stan Steele:

This is a transmission that
bolts to your transmission to give you more Overdrive or a extra gear.
It works on all trucks great with V10s or diesels. if you have a 4.10
it would change to 3.28 in Overdrive and a 3.55 would go to 2.84, you
reduce your RPM by 500 or 20%. you gain 10-15MPH at the same RPM.

You up shift at any speed or
down shift at any speed. You shift it with a switch on the shifter or a
floor mounted dimmer switch. You can start in HI or direct drive it
does not matter. You have to shorten the rear drive shaft and lengthen
the front drive shaft. It does move the transfer case back but all the
hardware comes in the kit. Very well done and very easy for anyone to
install. P.S. you can split shift it also like a 10speed 1&1H
2&2H and so on. The Overdrive is less than 100lbs on the truck.
You will need to have the drive shafts made at a shop.
4.8 K&N Airfilters and FIPK.

An easy and pretty cheap way to
increase a little performance is to replace your stock air filter with
an higher air flow filter. Many on the list (myself included) have
either a drop in replacement filter or what is called an FIPK (both
made by K&N) These filters work on the principle of providing
the engine with more air and thus increasing it's mileage and
horsepower. Although these improvements have not been seen by all (I
noticed maybe a mile to the gallon more, and a slightly faster throttle
response)

They do offer one additional
benefit, they are guaranteed for the life of your vehicle (or 1 million
miles). So once you buy one, you never have to by another. You have to
clean them every so many miles, (mine stated every 40.000 or so miles)
and they are again as good as new.

Several people on the list
noted though that this filter might not be helpful in very dusty
environments. The thought was that due to the higher airflow rates more
dust might get by and foul the air intake.

Some people noticed a slight
increase in sound with this filter installed. (A very faint high pitch
whine from the air filter intake).

An K&N Airfilter is just that, a drop in replacement filter for your stock airbox.

5 Customizations

5.1 Bedliners.

Joe has the following to say about rhino liners and drop-in liners;

RHINO PROS AND CONS: -
non-skid - not removable - last forever - More expensive than drop ins.
- Any color - Can create extra hassle if truck in accident. (list
members have said that some body shops will not take a vehicle with
spray-on) - quiet - If dents occur, you see them. - no unusable bed
space - Need to be concerned about the installer. - over or under rail
(actually whatever you want) - protects bed from minor dents - can be
sprayed around bed accessories (5th wheel hitch)

DROP-IN PROS AND CONS: -
Removable - rubs paint off bed from shifting motion - protects bed from
minor dents - minimal amount of unused bed space - over and under rail
- can get hacked - Removable, you have the option - can rattle to
return your truck to "stock". - - Easily replaced if truck in accident.
- Less expensive than spray-on. - Hides dents that do occur. - Non-skid
surface available. - Lasts forever (life-time warranty on Duraliner). -
Installs easily.
J Lacey:

RHINO LINING From my place in
the Pan handle of FL, Montgomery, AL is the closest Rhino dealer. Drive
up for my 9am appointment. These guys clean & wash the bed,
rough it up with grinder/sander, clean again with acetone, then apply
the goo (after the sanding I sort of liked the white swirl-look in the
bed; too bad we couldn't have left it at that!) 3 coats bed and
sides, come back and add 2 more to bed (5 ttl). Dries within minutes of
spraying and I was headed home by 2:30PM. TIP: Watch the guys with the
knife - they cut the excess off. Be sure they do not get into your
truck itself with knife.
5.3 Brush Guards.

There are many flavors of brush guard available after market, here are some that list members have installed/like:

Mark Brown: TJM Bull Bars,
imported from Australia by Hella Inc. 800-247-5924 they offer two
applications(T1,T17) for late model Dodge Rams. Reunel Mfg.
800-338-2077 offers extreme duty bumpers for Rams. (Editors note;
expensive, but the most heavy duty bumper on the market for a RAM
today.)

Jay Eberhard: I have the Mopar
Grill/Brush guard. They come Chrome, anodized or black aluminum or
black steel. I have the anodized aluminum

Andi Vogt: I went with Warn's
full brush guard and winch mount. It looks great and supports the winch
very nicely. The only draw back is it's low clearance while 4x4ing. I
had to remove mine on the trail as my longer wheelbase added with the
overhang (AKA rock magnets) caused me to need to take too many angular
approaches. I found the uninstall as easy as the install. (Unlike my
tow hook install.) I had to make two vertical cuts in my air dam to
install the brush guard.
5.4 Side bars.

Andi Vogt: I use Grizzlies on
my 1500 Short box. I selected Grizzlies because they are a touch
shorter than Smittybuilt and mount to the frame leaving only a 2" gap
between them and the lower side panel of my Ram. They don't cause any
rubbing either with my slightly over sized 32x11.5 Sport Kings. They
are not as good a quality as Smittybuilt, ie. chipping black paint and
rust, but they are made of the same tough high grade steel that Smitty
is. I beat the heck out of them in Moab, and they protected my truck
stupendously. A little sanding and touch up paint and they are as good
as new. They also come with a no-skid strip which I have been thankful
for more than once.

5.6 Lights.

Quite frequently the question
comes up about increasing the brightness/color of the ram headlights.
Several people have made suggestions. As with everything, check with
your local authorities for the legalities of the headlight
modifications. [Allpar note - the bluish tint
is actually somewhat dangerous since it both increases glare for other
drivers, and reduces your own night vision]
5.7 Better brake pads.

The Rams are heavy trucks, and
sometimes take some effort to stop. Several people have been advocating
better brake pads, they are made by Performance Friction and are called
Carbon Metallic. Any self respecting car parts dealer should be able to
get them without much problems. Check when buying, but the part number
for for the 2500 4x4 and diesel& V10 is #04594.

6 The Cummins diesel engine

The 2500 and 3500 series are
available with an optional 5.9 L inline 6 cylinder Cummins diesel
engine. This is a completely different beast than any of the gas
engines, and as such has an chapter devoted to it.

6.1 Oil pressure delay.

Various owners have reported
seeing the following; When starting the engine it seems to take the oil
light a few seconds to go off, and the oil pressure a few seconds to
start registering the operating pressure.

Keith Gardner: Mine has done
that since new. It happens because all of the oil finds its way to the
pan (a thin coating remains, but not much). The oil pump just needs a
little time to pump oil out of the pan and into the motor. I think the
owner's manual states that you should have pressure within 10 seconds
of startup (it may be 5, I'm not real sure).

6.2 What kinds of oil are people using for the Cummins Diesel.

The Cummins diesel engines
takes special "heavy duty" oil, not the regular motor oil usually used
in gasoline engines. The engine oil must be rated "API CG-4/SH"

david_thom: Try Chevron Delo
400 SAE14W-40 or Castrol RX Super SAE 15w-40. Both of these have labels
stating that the product meets or exceeds Cummins performance
specifications.

Joe: I use Castrol 15-40RX
Super. Both I and my engine machinist like the stable base stock
(compared to Pennzoil, etc). I get about 5 or so more pounds of oil
pressure with this oil than with the stuff the truck came with (Cummins
or Dodge oil). Other guys swear by Shell Rotella T, Chevron Delo 400,
etc. I see Texaco and Pennzoil have oil meeting the specs of 15-40,
CG-4, and SH. S additives are for spark ignition, but some say they are
needed with diesels that have roller lifters or have HEUI injectors
like the PowerStroke. C additives are for compression
ignition--diesels. B engines use solid lifters and conventional
injectors (Bosch). Caterpillar developed HEUI jointly with Navistar.
Dodge recognizes only 4 oil filters for warranty. Any other, and you
are taking your $8000 engine in hand, so to speak. These 4 are really
the same as far as I can tell, the part numbers being Mopar, Case,
Cummins, and Fleetguard. The last is LF3349 and costs me a couple $
less each than the Mopar #. Case and Cummins designed and built the B
engine as a joint venture. The Rocky Mount NC plant says something like
Consolidated Engines, I am told. Fleetguard is a Cummins subsidiary.
They make a "Microglass" filter that is really good according to many,
but Cummins says it is not really needed with the duty cycle and change
intervals specified by Dodge. I stick with a 2500-3000 mile change
interval, and the LF3349 filter for "without question" warranty.

Mike Leckey, Jr: I have used Shell Rotella T 15w40 for 7 years. First in my 1990 Cummins, and now in my 1996 CC Cummins.

Editor writes; I myself use Chevron Delo 400 15W40.
6.3 Biggest performance bang for the $$ for diesels.

The Cummins diesel on the Ram
is incredibly powerful. More powerful than even the 2500 or 3500 can
handle. Here are some hints to what you can do to get more performance
from the Cummins.

Lance Kirk:

Without any thought, the
biggest "bang to the buck" (IMHO) is to purchase one of the power
increase kits that are advertised in the Register. The one I've dealt
with is from TST Products out of Indiana. This is a small "family type"
business where the owner use to work for Cummins but now just sells
power mods. for the engine.

He sells three kits, all of
which cost $349 (this includes postage). The kits will take your stock
215 HP / 440 LB Torque engine and allow you to increase to: #1- 230 HP
/ 605 LB Torque or #2- 260 HP / 685 LB Torque or #3- ??? HP / 770 LB
Torque (Sorry don't recall the HP on this one, but it was like around
290)

(#3 and possibly #2 were NOT recommended for automatics)

Each of these kits comes with a
video tape and detailed instructions showing you how to install the
kit. Plus you can call him and ask any questions about the product or
if you need help doing the install.

Sounds great right. So why
doesn't everyone do it? Well there are a few problems. The biggest is
that you will without any thought kiss your warranty good-bye. The
second is that the truck (transmission, driveline) is not designed for
this extra increase in torque and if one is not careful you can and
will start overloading and busting things. (Although the guy who sales
this product said they haven't had many problems with this as long as
you don't do stupid things like popping the clutch.)

I have purchased the 685 LB
Torque kit but have not yet installed it because I'm currently arguing
with the dealer over some other warranty work. So I don't want to
modify the engine until all of this other work is done under warranty
and see that it was done right. So it will be awhile yet. Someone else
on the list, Jeff Hammer, if I got his name right, has installed the
605 Torque kit and apparently loves it. (I would ask him for further.)

For what it is worth, the guy
didn't push or suggest the 770 Torque option unless you are looking at
making some other modifications as well because it is so powerful.
6.4 What is this ISB engine I keep hearing about.

Starting with the 98 model year
Cummins is introducing a new diesel engine that is replacing the one
that they have been putting in the Ram. This is the new ISB engine, its
main reason for existing seems to be to meet the new emissions
regulations.

7 What about more 4x4 info.

This section hopefully provides
the reader with some more background on 4x4 operation. A lot of the
info provided in this section came from Scott Nixon, Thanks very much
for the additions Scott.!

7.1 What's that lever for?

Ram trucks equipped with 4WD
have a full time chain driven transfer case (NVG231HD in 1500s, NVG241
or NVG241HD in 2500s and 3500s) that should only be engaged on low
traction surfaces. Usage on pavement can cause damage due to driveline
binding; usage on rain slicked pavement is open to debate. Some insist
it is still a bad idea; personally I am willing to trade extra tire and
driveline wear for the safety and stability 4WD adds. A good indication
is if the rear wheels slip under moderate throttle input (pedal to the
metal neutral drops DON'T count :), you're probably safe slipping it
into four wheel drive.

All available transfer cases
are shift on the fly for 4Hi and can be engaged by pulling the shift
lever towards you. The drivers manual recommends this only be done
below 55MPH. If done while parked, it may take a little movement for
the system to engage (see below).

Engagement for 4Lo provides an
extra 2.72 gear reduction for use in deep snow, loose sand, and
whenever high torque/low speed operation is desired. For automatics,
come to a near stop (1-3MPG), put the transmission in neutral, slide
the transfer case into 4Lo, and then put the transmission back in gear.
Shifting back into 4Hi is done by reversing the above procedure. Going
all the way to 2Hi may be easier.
7.2 Where are my hubs?

All new Rams use a Central Axle
Disconnect (CAD) system to disconnect the front driveline when in 2WD,
instead of the more traditional hubs. The system consists of a dog
clutch that slides over to connect the two halves of the passenger side
front axle when engaged. Some wheel movement may be required to get
both halves to align.

Owners who purchase a 4WD truck
for winter use only should keep in mind that the vacuum diaphragm that
engages the dog clutch needs to used every month or so to keep it
pliable. This also allows the transfer case to be lubricated. In other
words, if you have 4WD, find a nice dirt road and use it!!
7.3 Stock, shmock, I want to lift it!

7.3.1 Available lift kits Here
is a list of some of the Lift kits that people on the list seem to use
when they want to rise above the crowds. TBD
7.4 If its four wheel drive, why am I stuck?

Andi Vogt: IMHO, engaging four
wheel drive is like driving a different vehicle. There are new rules
and governing factors that need to be heeded. In snow and ice, A 4x4
can help you to maintain traction, but as with any vehicle, excessive
speed, inattention, and bad luck can send you careening out of control.
After all, ice is ice and no vehicle is ever fully control-able,
whether front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive.

People get stuck using 4 lo all
the time. Factors such as tire tread, gearing, soil type, and
overzealousness influence your Ram's ability to successfully maneuver
many road conditions. If you are in a mud bog you need to handle your
Ram differently than on slick rock. Even 4 wheelers with decades of
experience get in over their heads.

Four wheel drive is a very useful tool, but a tool none-the-less. It takes training and experience to learn it's quirks.

John Donovan: The stock
differential on the Rams is referred to as an "open" differential. The
diff.. splits the torque equally between the wheels. So if you imagine
a worst-case stuck with one rear wheel on the ground, and one in the
air. The one in the air take very little torque to spin, and therefore
the one on the ground also gets very little torque and you won't move.
Engaging 4 wheel drive turns the front wheels in the same manner as the
rear, if you get one front and one rear into a situation where they can
spin easily, even if the other 2 wheels can get a grip you will still
be stuck. See the section on "traction aiding devices" for more info on
what you can do to help get more traction
7.4.1 Brief description of traction aiding devices

For people who spend a lot of
time off road open differentials are unacceptable. However, as with
most things in life, gaining more offload traction involves tradeoffs
in cost or on-road performance. What all traction adding devices do is
limit the split of power between the pair of wheels on an axle. This
allows more power to go to the wheel that grips, but can cause
increased tire wear and handling problems.
7.4.2 List of factory available LSDs

John Donovan: The factory LSD
is the Dana trac-loc which uses clutch packs to bias the torque split
between the wheels. As factory systems go, this is one of the better
ones out there and for people who only occasionally go off highway it
really is a good choice. If you are doing a factory order, its only a
$250 option, and after the fact it will cost 2-3 times as much.
7.4.3 List of aftermarket LSDs/lockers John Donovan:

From the after market there are
several types of LSD/Lockers. The easiest to install is the lockright,
and fairly inexpensive at $350 of lest for most diffs.. The install can
be done by the "shade tree" mechanic in a few hours and does not
require resetting the ring & pinion gear. The lockright allows
a wheel to go faster than the drive shaft is turning it, but not
slower, and provides a 50/50 power split. The problem is on street
handling is effected. The truck will tend to chirp tires in turns, and
will also tend to go straight rather than turn. In low traction
rain/snow if you do spin the wheels the truck will tend to fish tail
because both rear wheels are spinning.

The second option is a gear
driven LSD, the most common being an Auburn. Unlike the factory clutch
pack system there is nothing to wear out, and it generally gives a
better torque split between the slipping and gripping wheel. The cost
is similar to the lockrights, but a professional install is STRONGLY
recommended because of the need to reset the ring & pinion.
Installation will run $100-$300 depending on the installers ability to
get the ring & pinion set up correctly without too many retries.

The third kind is a hybrid
open/locked diff. called an ARB air locker. Under normal operation the
diff.. operates as an open, but when air pressure (from a compressor)
is applied and the diff. behaves like a fully locked differential, like
the Detroit locker (see below). They are expensive at $500, plus $200
for a compressor, plus $100-$300 to install... the general rule of
thumb is a complete ARB system is $1000ish

The fourth kind of locker is
the "true" locker, and is also sometimes referred to as a Detroit or
Posi, after Detroit's posi-traction rear that first showed up in some
of the muscle cars of the 60's. When torque is put on the drive shaft,
the diff. locks the right and left wheels together so they MUST turn at
the same speed. This is very problematic in turns when the wheels are
driveling different diameter circles to go around the curve. Also as
you change throttle position you can cause the diff. to lock and unlock
which results in under/over steer conditions. Also because of the
locking nature of the diff. tire wear is greatly accelerated. The cost
is in the $400 range, plus install.

I've driven trucks with
lockrights, track-locs, and Detroit's and there is a big difference
between them. The Detroit is hard to beat off road, but is hard to live
with on road. The lockright is nearly as good offroad and is more live
able on road, but is not as strong... something to consider if you have
a V10 or Cummins up front. The LSD is almost unnoticeable on road, and
does help with traction. Sure its not as good as the other kinds of
lockers, but its MUCH nicer on highway.
7.4.4 Why you can't use an LSD in a front CAD system TBD

7.5 Help, I'm stuck!

And there you are with your big 4x4, stuck! So what can you do to get out equipment wise.?

7.5.1 Description of factory tow hooks, installation

Andi Vogt: Oh boy!!! I
installed my Mopar tow hooks a few months ago and what a devil it was!
My brush guard was already installed and used the same frame mounts
that the hooks needed to use.

If I were to do it again, I
would remove my airdam, remove my brush guard, mount the hooks to the
lower holes in the brush guard, hacksaw off the bolts extra length, and
reinstall the brush guard. Then I would cut out the slots on the airdam
for the hooks and reinstall. Had I done this originally, I would have
had less stress. I didn't do this however, because my brush guard and
winch are just a bit to heavy for me to remove by myself. Next time I
would hire a few muscles to help me.
7.5.2 Aftermarket winch bumpers

Bill A: AWDirect (800-243-3194
for catalog) has a winch kit designed especially for the Dodge Ram
using the stock bumper. Includes Ramsey Pro 9000 winch, cable and a
roller fairhead, all mounting hardware. $1169.00 They also have a
wrap-around push bumper (the type used on wreckers) specifically
designed for the Ram. $529.00, $629.00 for turbo applications.
8 Various helpful sites.

Here is a list of various sites that might be helpful in finding out more information
about the Dodge truck line.

9 Credits.

This FAQ would not be possible
without the help of many people, here is a list of those people who
have provided great input to this FAQ one way or another: Andi Vogt, Bill A, Chris Chris
Siano, Darin L Brummett, Dennis A. Grindrod Sr, J Lacey, Jay Eberhard,
Joe, John Donovan, Keith Gardner, Lance Kirk, Mark Brown, Michael P.
Lebow , Mike, Rolando Gonzalez, Scott Nixon, Stan Steele, Steve Belt,
Tim Edwards, Bryan Wilemski

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