BDS Suspension has been around for more than two decades. Based out of Coldwater, Michigan, they manufacture a full line of suspension lifts and accessories for popular vehicle applications. You no doubt have seen some of their parts on featured rigs and tech articles in this magazine over the years.
With each new truck model that hits the streets, the company needs test mules for new product development, testing, and ultimately to share in the promotional efforts. While some trucks are sourced from customers, oftentimes it’s easier to purchase the vehicles to use for extensive testing, as is the case with this 2013 Ram 3500 Cummins that BDS dubbed Project Slate. The truck was purchased in late 2012 and was used in the development of most of BDS’s current kits, from 2-inch leveling kits all the way up to the 8-inch, four-link system it is currently outfi tted with. Over the years this truck has lived up to the BDS’s motto “use it, abuse it.” Used for more than just a clean daily driver, it has been rock crawling in Moab, charged up the Silver Lake sand dunes in Michigan, and pulls tow rig duties for events and four-wheeling trips from coast to coast.
The team from BDS stuck with a less-is-more approach: building a clean, purpose-built rig rather than a flashy, over-the-top show piece. Up front, the truck received a facelift with a color-matched Fusion bumper going on in place of the factory chrome unit. This offers up a place to mount the 30-inch Rigid E-Series combo light bar for improved auxiliary lighting. The factory halogen headlights were swapped for a set of smoked projector units from Spyder Auto. With larger tires going on this rig, a set of Bushwacker Extend-A-Fender flares were fitted for extra tire coverage along with N-Fab wheel-to-wheel steps to allow easier access to the cab. In the rear, the bed received a Reflex spray-in liner and Extang Trifecta bed cover. A matching Fusion rear bumper and Spyder Auto LED taillights cap off this exterior; all accessories were painted to match the factory Granite Crystal Metallic paint.
UNDER THE HOOD
The 6.7L Cummins received a few upgrades in the form of a Bully Dog ECM unlock and Diesel GT tuner. A Diamond Eye Performance exhaust system was added as well. Future plans for this truck include more induction modifications to push the power level higher.
UP IN THE AIR
With this truck being the test mule for the majority of BDS’s late-model Ram HD kit development, the truck has seen its share of suspension setups from small to big. It’s currently running an 8-inch four-link system with dual FOX 2.0 remote reservoir shocks, dual stabilizers and BDS replacement rear leaf springs. Along with the lift, the transfer case has been clocked down using BDS’s indexing ring and highclearance transmission crossmember to run the factory driveshafts. The 8-inch lift gives enough clearance for the 40×15.50 Nitto Mud Grapplers mounted on 20×10 SOTA Novakanes. With the truck seeing regular towing duties, a set of Air Lift air bags was added with custom mounts and the wireless one-compressor system.
For a test mule, this thing’s a peach. Its nice to see an aftermarket manufacturer that isn’t afraid to four-wheel its show rigs and use them for what they were truly intended to be used for—which is everything. DW[divider]SPECIFICATIONS[/divider]
2013 DODGE RAM 3500 4WD
6.7L Cummins diesel
Bully Dog diesel GT tuner
Diamond Eye DPF-back exhaust system
8” BDS 4-link long arm system
BDS shock hoop w/ dual FOX 2.0 remote reservoir shocks
BDS adjustable track bar
BDS GlideRide rear leaf springs
Air-Lift load leveler 5000 air bags
WHEELS & TIRES:
20×10 SOTA Novakane
40×15.50×20 Nitto Mud Grapplers
BODY & PAINT:
Fusion front bumper
30” Rigid E-Series combo light bar
Spyder Auto smoked projector headlights
Bushwacker Extend-A-Fender flares
N-Fab wheel-to-wheel steps
Extang Trifecta bed cover
Spyder Auto LED taillights
Fusion rear bumper