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Front Control Arms
When DJM Suspension introduced the 2/4" drop kit for the Dodge Ram in June '02, it was a good kit. Since then, many changes and improvements have been made and now most will say it is a great kit. The biggest problem, as it always has been, is that coil springs don't drop every truck exactly the same. This has been true for years. In the past, trimming the spring to achieve the desired drop was acceptable. Today this is no longer a real option.

The new Dodge is no exception to this fact. The springs designed for the 4-door model drop you just under 2". Put the same spring in a standard cab and the drop is less than 1". This isn't all that bad since the adjustable rear flip kit allows some fine-tuning to match the front drop. But if you were expecting a 2" and only didn't even get 1" you'd be upset. Making different springs for each model in the Dodge line would be confusing for everyone and there's still a chance that one set of springs may not give the desired drop.

With all this inconsistency fueling their fire, the engineers at DJM Suspension went to work building lower control arms. Using lower arms with the factory coil spring would make dropping this truck much more consistent, and factory coils and shocks would be used to retain the factory ride. A 2" drop was the first designed, with a 3" drop following. All of the best designs and cool stuff DJM has made over the years would be incorporated in these arms. To begin with, the arms would use DJM's exclusive twin tube pivot sleeves, include factory installed ball joints and use heavier materials than ever before. Even the factory bump stops are used.

DJM developed the lower control arms to be installed using all factory mounting brackets and hardware, making a smoother installation. DJM includes 16mm nylock nuts for the pivot bolts, which are used to replace the factory nuts. These work much better than the stock nuts and will not loosen after torquing the bolts. The twin tube sleeves used in this application keep the factory mounting brackets separated, ensuring smooth operation and reduced squeaking from bushings due to over tightening (twin tube sleeves and new nylock nuts are included with most DJM lower control arms).

Installation
When installing, clean and inspect the factory mounting brackets; remove any burrs or sharp edges that may rub against the bushings. Apply some waterproof grease to the sleeves, bushings and the mounting brackets. Then, hang the new control arm with the factory bolts and new nylock nuts. Tighten the bolts, then test the operation of the bushings. Rotate the arm up and down a few times looking and listening for squeaks or binding. Next you'll re-install the factory coil spring.

This kit also includes front sway bar end links with urethane bushings. When installing end links, do not over tighten. The bolts only need to be tightened enough to eliminate movement. Usually just a couple of threads past the nylock is all you will need. These bushings do not compress much when tightened, so over-tightening does not help the sway bar function better.

This control arm allows for the use of factory front shocks. The shock will bolt to the control arm, with the bolts provided. If you would like to change the front shocks you can. As you can see from the photo, the shock mounts to the arm with two bolts through a pin in the bottom of the shock. Aftermarket shocks may not include a pin of the correct length, so be sure to compare the new and factory pins before installing. New DJM control arms installed with new nylock nuts.

Installing the Rear Flip Kit
Because life can be tough enough on its own, DJM's Dodge flip kit includes everything you need to get the job done: new U-bolts, axle brackets, long shackles and bump stops. Using the flip kit alone would drop the truck too much, so a lifting shackle is required. The shackles have four adjustments, from about 4"-5". Because everything comes with this kit there is no guesswork, making the rear kit less difficult to install. DJM prefers to install the rear kit on their alignment rack because it is helpful when it becomes time to adjust the driveline angle. With the vehicle supported, only one leaf spring was removed at a time. This makes it easier to attach the shackle to the springs first. In our example the second hole from the end was used. The shackle is attached to the springs with factory hardware. The leaf was bolted to the front hanger and raised to attach the shackle. The lower axle bracket is placed on the leaf spring with the offset hole to the front of the truck. The axle fits into the bracket. Then the rear shackle is installed, applying some grease to the red bushings. New U-bolts are installed with the new bottom plate. Just snug up the bolts for now to keep everything in place. The U-bolts will get fully tightened after the drive shaft angle is adjusted. Once the other side is complete go ahead and bolt on the new shocks.

This kit uses two rear shocks of different lengths. The driver side shock is 2" shorter then the passenger side shock. With the kit close to completion, temporarily bolt the wheels on, and remove the jack stands. Take a look at the height; if you need to raise or lower the back, move the leaf spring in the shackle. The hole further from the bushing will bring it up; closer to the bushing will lower it.

Installing the Rear Bump Stops
The flip kit includes new rear bump stops with mounting brackets and hardware. Replacing the bump stops with the lower profile stops that are provided will give you better suspension travel and improve your ride quality. The factory rubber bump stops are bolted to the frame; simply remove the two factory bolts and remove the bump stop. The new bump stop installs in the factory holes using the bracket included in the kit. Using the 3/8" x 1" counter sink bolt, install through the counter sinkhole in the bracket closest to the stud in the bracket. DJM suggests using a little loctite on the treads. The bolt will thread into the frame where the factory bump stop was mounted. The stud should be installed toward the rear of the truck. The hole on the other end from the stud will line up with the hole in the frame towards the front of the truck. Keeping the front hole aligned, tighten the counter sink bolt. You may find it easier to start the front bolt into the frame to keep it aligned before tightening the counter sink bolt. Now you can install the bump stop on to the bracket. Thread the front bolt through both the bump stop and the bracket. You can adjust it front to rear to align with the top of the axle, and then tighten the bolts.

Checking and Adjusting Driveline
Now it's time to check and adjust the driveline angle. This is important because if the driveline is not aligned you may get vibrations when cruising down the road. What you want to do here is align the rear U-joint with the drive shaft. Since the Dodge has a one-piece drive shaft it is pretty easy. With the truck sitting at ride height, you want the drive shaft to be in a straight line. After installing the flip kit, the pinion will need to be rotated down, about 5 degrees, to line up the drive shaft. DJM suggests putting a mark on the axle and new flip bracket to see how much it moves, about 3/8" is a good start. There are several way to do this. You can put the truck on jack stands and, with two guys, turn the tires forward (with the parking brake on of course) while watching your marks. Set it back down and check the angle. Continue with this procedure until the driveline is straight. You could also use the above procedure with two large pipe wrenches to turn the axle.

With the drive shaft angle corrected, fully tighten the U-bolts. The plate below the leaf springs is 3/8" thick. If the plate begins to bend when tightening the U-bolts, they are tight. Next, install the top plate. The pin will line up with the holes in the top of the axle. Use the 5/8" x 3-1/2" bolts with a flat washer on top of the plate. Bolt this to the axle bracket and tighten. Be aware, however, that over tightening can bend the top plates. Check all the bolts to make sure everything is secure.

Next, it is time for a test drive. Start off slowly, you may find that it pulls or drifts one way or another. This will be corrected when the alignment is done. If you feel some vibrations in the driveline at highway speed you need to readjust the pinion angle.

Anytime you alter the suspension of a vehicle it is important to have the front-end aligned to factory specs by a qualified alignment shop. This is not only for safety reasons, but it will prolong the life of your tires as well.

Factory bump stop
U-bolts and spring plate installed.
bump stop
Factory bump stop.
Front U-joint
New bump stop installed on the passenger side.
Rear U-joint
Front U-joint.
Axle
Rear U-joint.
Top plate
A white line marked on the axle to see adjustment.
Top plate
The top plate installed.
Top plate
Another view of the top plate.
>Related Links:
  • Dodge Ram Accessories
  • DJM Suspension
  • Truck Accessories
  • Back toStylin Concepts Articles page
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