A BDS Lift Improves Looks and Rides Great

A BDS Lift Improves Looks and Rides Great

The Dodge Ram name has been around since 1981 and has been redesigned several times over the years. The current body style is the Gen4, introduced for the 2009 model year. In 2009, the rear leaf springs were replaced with a multi-link coil-spring setup. This suspension is great at absorbing bumps and road impacts compared to the prior leaf sprung models; however, it it can be better and taller. 

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Typically, a lift for the Ram trucks with front coil-over strut suspension runs in the 4- to 6-inch range. This is true for both the early 2006-08 front-strut, rear-leaf trucks and the late model front-strut, rear-coil rigs. The common, cost-effective method is to just space down the front strut—BDS even offers kits that use this method. However, they also offer a better solution too.

BDS Suspension, in partnership with Fox Racing shocks, offers kits for Ram Trucks that replace the front strut and uses a Fox, long-travel, coil-over shock. There are many advantages to a coil-over shock: The first is that they provide more suspension travel, which takes advantage of the extra height to improve the ride on dirt and pavement. In addition, the Fox Racing shocks can be adjusted for ride stiffness, allowing fine-tuning to suit your needs. Also, the remote reservoir provides more fluid capacity to dissipate heat and keep your shocks running smooth over the rough stuff.

Out of the Box
1 The BDS suspension kit seen here has replacement front steering knuckles, drop-down cross members and a remote reservoir. You’ll find everything needed to lift your Ram truck, except the new wheels and tires you’ll want to upgrade to.

2 This basic BDS lift uses spacers and the OEM front struts. This is more economical, but you get the longer travel and other advantages of the coil-over shocks. Here you can see the stock strut compared to the Fox 2.5 coil-over remote reservoir shocks.

Removing the old equipment
3 Lead Tech Bill Bruner gets things started with the project by racking the truck and beginning the disassembly. Then he and our tech for this job, Jeff Van Den Hende, will remove the front differential.

In addition to the front fox coil-over shocks, the BDS kit (seen here) includes rear “BDS by Fox, 2.0 series rear gas shocks” standard. These match the front 2.5″ Fox coil overs for superior ride. Of course, the lift also allows the user of larger tires and cool aftermarket wheels.

We went to SoCal Supertrucks and followed along as they installed a BDS lift on a 2015 Ram 1500. This truck was setup with the out-of-the-box, 6-inch suspension height—however, the same kit can be “adjusted down to 4-inches or fined tuned anywhere in between”. It’s your call on what your trucks stance will be, and you can change your mind later if you’d like.

4 With the front differential and suspension components removed, Van Den Hende made a few strategic cuts on the frame, as required for the new DBS suspension.

Installing the FRONT
5 To locate the front differential in the correct, lower position, a forwarded and rear-dropdown bracket must be installed.

6 The BDS suspension comes with new steel-extended steering knuckles. These new knuckles, with the new taller fit, assure proper steering geometry.

7 Once the front frame has been trimmed as required by the instructions, the front differential can be reinstalled. It’s a job best done by two people. Here Bruner and Van Den Hende slide it into place.

8 With the front diff in place, Van Den Hende then installed the new suspension drop-down brackets from BDS.

9 Here you can see the front differential in place, with the kit’s drop-down brackets mounted.

10 New, longer, braided stainless-steel brake lines are installed up front.

11 Van Den Hende temporarily installs the steering knuckles and the lower A-arm. Then the unit bearing is installed. This is so the clearances for the brake rotors and new wheels can be checked before the kit installation is complete. If clearanceing is required, it is easier to do at this stage.

12 The BDS kit comes with new outer tie-rod ends. These match the new steering knuckles and also have Zerk fitting, so they can be greased.

Before lift installation began, the stock P275/60R20 (33×10.8) tires and wheels needed to be replaced. In addition to the BDS lift, a set of Dune wheels from Fuel Off-Road, size 20×9 were fitted with 35×12.5 Nitto Terra Grappler G2 tires. The Dune wheels have an inner mounting hole for the TPS (tire pressure sensor) to keep them out of harm’s way. An outer mounting hole makes the fill stem a standard, easy-to-reach and cheap-to-replace item.

The wider Nitto tires were covered with a set of aftermarket flares that were paint matched to the body. Of course, with taller tires, the ECM needs to be recalibrated, and a speedometer calibrator from Hypertech made this a simple task—installation of the suspension was done in just under a day. Afterwards, as with any front-end alignment, the truck needed an alignment after the kit was installed.

If you’re looking for a top-shelf upgrade for your Ram truck, BDS suspension offers one of the best in the business. DW

13 The tie-rod shafts on the electric steering box must be trimmed—just a little bit is all that’s necessary. (Yes, we said electric steering.)

14 With the test fit of the brake-rotor-to-steering-knuckle clearance checked, the front is partially broken down, so the assembly can be complete in total.

15 The Fox coil-over shocks come preset at 6-inchs of lift. They can be adjusted down to 4-inches or fined tuned anywhere in between.

16 The reservoir is mounted over the upper strut mount. In this location, it is out of harm’s way, but can be easily accessed to check the shock’s pressure, as is occasionally needed

Lifting the Rear
17 The rear is raised both with brackets and a new, longer coil (seen here).

18 At the rear, the trackbar must be level. A new bracket is bolted into the old location on the axle housing to help with this task.

19 The kit comes with new brackets for the rear and upper control arms. The driver side bracket (seen here) is bolted into place.

20 To mount the passenger side-rear, upper control arm bracket, a side hole must be drilled in an exact location. A full size template is in the instruction sheet. It is cut out and used to mark the proper spot to drill this hole.

21 Once the side hole is drilled, the new bracket is bolted into the passenger side-rear OEM upper control arm axle bracket. Grade 8 bolts are provided in the kit.

22 The new BDS rear springs are installed in the back. Be sure to reuse the stock rubber upper-spring isolator.

23 Fox 2.0 rear shocks are included in the kit. They are mounted shaft down.

24 Van Den Hende mounts and balances the Toyo tires on the Fuel wheels before installing them on the truck. The wheel clearance was checked on the new knuckles during the check-fit stage.

25 He then installs the rear trackbar, with the truck sitting on the ground. The truck is now ready for a front-end alignment and road test.

NOTE:
The BDS kit does not work on the 2013 and up trucks fitted with the self-leveling air suspension.

SOURCES:
BDS Suspension
517.279.2135
bds-suspension.com

HyperTech
901.382.8888
www.hypertech-inc.com

Nitto Tire
714-252-0007
www.NittoTire.com

SoCal Supertrucks
909.383.5454
877.80.SOCAL (toll free)
www.socalsupertrucks.com

FUEL Off-Road
www.fueloffroad.com