Project Mega Ram Suspension Phase 1
Lorenz Industries Bilstein 5100 Suspension System
As we roll over 25,000 miles on our Dodge Ram 3500 Mega Cab, most of it hauling or towing, we have finally chosen our suspension system. After much research and feedback from other Ram owners we have turned to Lorenz Industries. Lorenz Industries specializes in Dodge Ram Suspension systems and only sells direct to the customer - no dealers. This means lower prices and excellent customer service. We spoke directly with Sean about our needs and questions and received answers very promptly.
Lorenz has a number of different suspension systems for the Dodge Ram with options to fit most any budget and to fit your specific requirements. For Project Mega Ram we were looking for just enough lift to allow some new 35" BFG Mud Terrains while improving our ride. 95% of the time will be spent on the highway and many of those miles the Dodge Ram will either have a trailer in tow or have the bed loaded down with toys.
We did not need or want a full long-travel race suspension, nor did we want a cheap coil-spacer leveling kit. After looking at the options available from Lorenz and consulting with Sean, we found that the the Bilstein 5100 system by Lorenz fit our needs perfectly. This system provides approximately 2" of lift in the front of the Dodge Ram and around 1/2" lift in the rear. Wheel travel is 9 to 10 inches, unlike the Sway A-way system which will increase wheel travel to 10 - 11 inches.
The front suspension is composed of new Bilstein 5100 shocks, Lorenz extended sway bar links, and Lorenz HD 2" Lift Coil Springs. You have two options on the coil springs. For a stock bumper the springs have a 6% increased spring rate and for a heavy duty winch bumper you can choose new coils with a 23% increased spring rate. The stabilizer bar extensions place the Stabilizer Bar back into the OEM position with the taller coils. This combination provides a superior system to the cheap leveling kits out there that only provide coil spacers.
The Bilstein 5100 shocks use the stock OEM mounting configuration and feature Bilstein's single-tube high gas pressure design. The Bilstein 5100's use a patented digressive self-adjusting valving to deliver a smooth ride at any speed. Combine that with the high flow piston and larger piston area you have a shock that can control large diameter tires like we plan on installing.
In the rear you have a couple options. You can go with the mini leaf pak or the dual purpose leaf pack. The mini leaf pak is a 5 leaf pack that replaces the factory overloads and secondaries. This is the least expensive option with improved off road and daily driving characteristic.
The dual purpose leaf pack is a more expensive option but will provide a superior ride both on road and off-road. This is a complete spring pack replacement. The spring pack is dual part made up of a 6 pack of primaries and a 5 pack of second aries. that are arched in reverse. The primaries are very pliable and designed to give you a silky smooth ride on the highway. The secondaries are designed to carry a load and are only engaged WITH bump stops installed. The removable bump stops are the key to making these work. With the bump stop installed your spring rate is increased and your OEM load carrying capacity is maintained. The dual purpose leaf pack is designed to give your truck a level stance when unloaded. The truck will still squat when loaded.
In this phase we installed the rear springs and the rear Bilstein 5100's. In the next phase we install the front system. Then in Phase 3 we will install our Hellwig air bag kit and eliminate the need for the bump stops .
The rear is made up of two new leaf spring packs, new unbolts, bilstein 5100 shocks, and some bump stops
One thing you may need to purchase is a T-60 Torx bit. We have a decent selection of tools in our garage but we didn't have a Torx bit this large. The bolt holding both the front and rear of the spring pack requires the T-60 bit. A quick trip to the hardware store and we were ready to proceed.
You will also want both metric and standard impact sockets for this installation. If you don't have them then this is a good excuse to visit your local tool store and go buy some. :-)
Working by myself in the garage with basic tools it took me about 4 hrs to install the new Lorenz spring packs and the new Bilstein 5100 shocks on the rear of our Dodge Ram. The installation is very simple. The only hard part is lugging around the spring packs. They are very heavy.
With the installation complete we loaded up the truck and trailer and headed out for a weekend with our toys. Since we were loaded down we had the bump stops installed and did not get to test the suspension unloaded. We will do that during hunting season and report back in Phase 2. With the suspension loaded we did not notice a big difference in how our Dodge Ram rode which is really what we expected. We expect to see the difference when unloaded.