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Custom Chassis - Drive Line - Suspension - Wheels and Tires - LOWERING or STANDARD Discuss anything related to Custom Dodge Ram Wheels, Tires, Brakes, Suspension Mods, Chassis Mods and Tuning, Towing options, Driveline, Differentials, Sway Bars, Lowering Springs, Strut Braces, etc.


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  #1  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:31 AM
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Default Bell Tech Lowering Kit Feedback

I thought I'd post a little something about my experience with the Bell Tech 963SP Lowering Kit. I've read in the past several people asking about the panhard rod bar which some refer to as a track bar and the issues with it related to lowering the truck.

I went with Bell Tech because of my research results, price and ride quality. Bell Tech addressed shock stroke by offering 2 different shocks for the lower height, high quality springs (more on this later), and engineered elastomers / bump stops.

The McGuaghys kit was my other choice but obviously didn't go with it. I didn't agree with a couple of things with this kit. 1 being the stock shocks were not addressed. Some agree while others don't. To each their own. 2 is the generic bump stop provided and just cutting of the elastomer. 3 if you used their lowering spindles you increase the front track width. 4 complaints of the softness of the rear springs. 5 the fitment of the panhard rod bar / track bar re-locator bracket.

So I move on to my feedback of the Bell Tech kit...I know several people here have this kit and the feedback is just my $.02 and is not meant to offend anyone it's just to provide another point of view and information. The kit was professionally installed and aligned. The front end was not able to be adjusted back to stock specifications contrary to what Bell Tech states. So I'm left with some negative camber. It's at an acceptable amount but will wear tires. The rear end shifted to the passenger side by about 1/4'' due to the radical panhard rod angle from lowering. The shift is not too visibly noticeable with stock balloon tires but really noticeable with larger rims and lower profile tires. Bell Tech did not address this issue. The ride is really nice, impressively nice overall for a lowered vehicle. Well...until the roads get a little rough or while driving on bucking types of roads. This is when the rear of my truck shimmies left to right. Hit a large bump on a sweeping curve while on a California highway at speed and you might need a change of undergarments. While this hasn't caused me to crash I can see a potential hazard become a real life issue. So I have the shop look over the truck and their install. The shop informs me that Bell Tech should've addressed the panhard rod angle and that in a perfect world shouldn't be angled more than 10% of the overall length from parallel. Bouncing on the rear of the truck you can see and feel it shift side to side from the panhard rod pulling the same way it shifted the rear end to the passenger side. The shop is custom fabricating a bracket to bring the rear geometry back where it should be. An adjustable panhard rod will only address the axle location and not the geometry which means it will still shimmy. I'll post results and picts when it's done.

Now on to the quality of the springs. The passenger side has sagged more than the drivers side. There is a 1'' height difference.This was observed while on the alignment rack. It was suggested that I wait to see if they settle more or even out. If not we may try swapping the springs left to right later to see if it evens out that way. I'll try to update with the results later on.

Bell Tech's customer service is horrible. McGaughy's customer service is better.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:21 PM
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I am interested to hear some other thoughts on these issues especially on different models. I have a 2009 2wd QC and i have the 963SP kit. i am planning on install tomorrow morning. But now you have me worried. I don't want to screw up a already good truck. my plans was to maybe improve the handling and and looks, but not at the risk of poor quality.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:43 PM
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well you did more homework than i did or thought i did. i have the 2011 quadcab bighorn edition, and i did the install myself. louisiana has horrible roads, it road smooth as could be stock and now is quite stiff, i figured it was due to the roads and sporty springs. i have not noticed or inspected the rear of the truck but now am thinking about doing that. i have the stock rims and tires and the right/passenger sits noticeably lower and has actually rubbed the plastic liner, im almost to the point of removing the kit but love the lowered look...keep us posted on your findings, i know ill be following closely
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:54 AM
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I just finished my install this past weekend. I too noticed about a 3/4" diff in right to left height in the rear when I measured. But I can't really see it just by looking at the truck. And I can see where the rear axle has shifted to the passenger side about .5". I have even bottomed out the rear once already and have to be very causious of the road condition. This is my first lowered truck. So I wasnt sure what is. Normal or not good
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:19 AM
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Have you guys checked to see ride height with you in it?

When we set up suspension on drag cars when we lower them we set ride hight with someone in the car and usually when they are out its .5-.75" difference side to side
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:19 AM
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and of you guys that are having problems are you 2wd or 4wd
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:42 AM
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my measurements are off if it was figured for a driver in the truck. driver side rear already sits 3/4" lower without my 220lb butt, and i have a 2wd QC. it really isnt a big deal to my cause like i said i cant tell. But i do plan on adding 22s in the future and i dont want the side to side shift to be noticeable
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:15 PM
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Ok guys I just got back from spending half the day at the shop. I had the panhard rod relocated to correct the geometry issues and the sway bar links shortened. The truck rides great now. No more side to side wobbles when hitting or going over bumps. It tracks straight now. It even rides smoother.

To answer the question about measuring ride height with or without the driver (me) in it is yes we measured it both ways even different times with less than 1/4 tank of gas and with a full tank of gas in it. What I found was anything less than a full tank of gas in it would make it approximately 7/16'' higher on the drivers side than the passenger side. Still not acceptable in my opinion. Next I will be pulling out my rear springs to see if one settled more than the other and swap sides to see if that makes a difference.

My truck is a 2wd CC.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:28 AM
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Wow man that looks like great work!
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:35 PM
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You also might not have the top spring bushing settled on the way on, should be interesting I'm doing mine today, the kit I got only came with Springs and shocks for all 4 corners.
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