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  #1  
Old 08-19-2013, 11:37 AM
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Default Looking for a leveling kit (maybe?)

So I just got a 2013 Ram 1500 Tradesman/Express 4x4 crew cab (5'7" bed) and I LOVE it. Holy crap, I drove it about 100 feet before I knew it was mine...seriously and upgrading from a 2003 Dakota 4x4 it's a LOT bigger too. (Love that as well).

The only thing I've noticed about it is that the front end clearance is about 8.5"... The big thing is that stupid air dam they stick under the front bumper, I know it helps with fuel economy and such but I've read somewhere that it also helps a good deal with truck stability.

Has anyone just straight up removed the air dam? I'm kind of tempted to...I occasionally have to visit construction sites for work, and while I try to avoid doing stupid stuff with my truck it's kinda scary to see me clear a curb by less than 2 inches (some curb is 8" so it's even worse).

I'll be honest I'm not crazy about the way the truck LOOKS even with the air dam, I feel like the older models had the air dam too, but it was much smaller...somewhere around 2" instead of 6" and I'd be OK swapping one of those onto my truck if it could be adapted.

The above being said, I'm leaning towards a 2.5" leveling kit for the front that will lift the front even with the rear if I'm not mistaken. I've been told (by the Chrysler salesman that I bought the vehicle from) that most leveling kits do not void the warranty (I'm under the assumption this is correct since it came from the dealer) as long as they are not TOO high, and that whatever mechanic I had do it would be able to tell me if it did. I'm NOT doing it at the dealer as they wanted $800 to do so...within a week of me buying a brand new truck from them...no thanks. I'd do it myself, but I don't really have the tools or access to a shop, I have some of the know-how, but would just as soon have it done at one of the offroad shops in the area. I figure it's gonna run me about ~$350-$400 all said and done.

I have a BUNCH of questions...

Does this change how the vehicle rides significantly? I'd like to hear from someone who has one and didn't have the leveling kit to start.

Does it butcher fuel efficiency? (If I was going for fuel efficient I wouldn't have bought a truck, but if all of a sudden I'm getting 5mpg the wife's gonna kill me).

Is there something other than a leveling kit (cheaper but still reliable) that I can do to increase ground clearance in the front?

If I remove the air dam will that also cause my belt to slip in rain? It appears as though it may cover against water splashing up and under...so I'm not sure.

Was wondering if anyone else had the same problem with the low ground clearance on the 2013 Ram (or any from 2009-2013 really) and what they did about it. I figure this is an offroad topic cause it kinda fits the bill, but I'm also gonna post something like this in general 2013 Ram forum as well.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:20 PM
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1) I've removed my airdam (not by choice, I ripped it off off-roading) I personally like the look without it. haven't noticed a MPG drop or stability change. It's just a silly piece of plastic. (I have a 2007, 3rd gen ram though)



2) Leveling kits 90% of the time will not affect your ride OR void warranty. There are the rare cases were a truck just hates the change in suspension but it's rare.

your best bet is to go with bilstein 5100 adjustable shocks as opposed to a spacer. They are just a bit more money, but well worth it. There is nothing wrong with a spacer kit though. (like from BDS, hellbent steel, etc)

bigger tires/level/body lift/suspension lift are the ways to increase ground clearance (for the body at least, ,still have your front diff to think about). For example I went 2" on my level, and 2" bigger in tire size and removed air damn so I'm looking at 3" inches, minus air dam... 6" of added clearance? for the bumper. Your front diff is still in the same spot (unless you get bigger tires). You get 1/2 of whatever increase is tire size you go. So if you bump from 33" to 35" you gain 1" of OVERALL truck height.


Your belt shouldn't get wet without the air dam, or your MPG won't drop noticeably. Sure you won't be as "aerodynamic" as before, but negligible.

Please don't post this a second time in another "sub-forum" it is perfect where it's at.
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Last edited by gonefishin776; 08-19-2013 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonefishin776 View Post
Leveling kits 90% of the time will not affect your ride OR void warranty. There are the rare cases were a truck just hates the change in suspension but it's rare.

your best bet is to go with bilstein 5100 adjustable shocks as opposed to a spacer. They are just a bit more money, but well worth it. There is nothing wrong with a spacer kit though. (like from BDS, hellbent steel, etc)

bigger tires/level/body lift/suspension lift are the ways to increase ground clearance (for the body at least, ,still have your front diff to think about). For example I went 2" on my level, and 2" bigger in tire size and removed air damn so I'm looking at 3" inches, minus air dam... 6" of added clearance? for the bumper. Your front diff is still in the same spot (unless you get bigger tires). You get 1/2 of whatever increase is tire size you go. So if you bump from 33" to 35" you gain 1" of OVERALL truck height.


Your belt shouldn't get wet without the air dam, or your MPG won't drop noticeably. Sure you won't be as "aerodynamic" as before, but negligible.

Please don't post this a second time in another "sub-forum" it is perfect where it's at.
This ^^^ Lots of good info right there!
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for the replies; sorry for the double-post (had it up before I knew best where to put it).

These shocks, if I were to have a shop do it, about how much do you think it would cost? They look AWESOME. I'm pretty sure I need 2.5" of front lift for it to be even, and they go to 2.75. Looks like they are ~$100 a pop online? So $200 for shocks, ~100 an hour for labor, maybe $400? Just guessing?

I'd really love to do this kind of thing myself, but I just lack the shop and some of the tools. Probably the biggest repair I did to my old Dakota was swapping the front drive shaft (bad CV joint) for a re-manufactured one and that was like 10 bolts, didn't even need to jack the truck up...sat high enough for me to crawl under.

@ Brandonjansen: You have a 2012, did you remove your air dam? Did it seem smaller than the 13's? Any chance you could upload a bigger pic of your truck to imgur.com and send me the link? Or upload it here (I don't know the uploading size(s)/rules all that well). Mine wont have a 6" lift kit as long as my wife lives (she'd kill me), but yours looks AWESOME. I just can't tell if you still have the air dam on yours and it's smaller.

How does the '12 handle with the lift on it?

Again, thanks to everyone for all their insight; I've had the truck for less than a week, and my wife was a little disappointed because I keep wanting to change things on it. I had to explain to her that I love having a truck like this to mod to my own personal taste...my old Dakota was fun, but it was a bear to keep running sometimes. Glad to have joined the Ram ranks.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:19 PM
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ya you are looking at ~3/4 hours for install by a shop at most, at their shop rate.

It's really easy to do with a buddy on your own. You just need average tools and RENT a spring compressor from your local auto shop.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:38 PM
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I still have the air dam on my truck. Didn't have any need to remove it.... I'm not sure if they've changed between the '12's and 13's though.

There's tons of larger pictures in both my lift thread and my wheel/tire thread linked in my signature below. You should be able to see everything you're looking for there. In the wheel/tire thread I was only running a 2.5" level as well so that would be a similar set up to what you're looking at. I just had bigger wheels and tires as well.

The truck handles just as well if not better with the lift (since I added the Bilsteins to the front as well). Obviously I have to take it a little slower around sharp corners now because of the increase center of gravity... but other than that it's awesome; really nice and smooth.

Thanks for the compliments as well!!

I know what you mean about modding.... my friends and family rag on me about it quite often too. Bought a brand new truck 10 months ago and I've put over 10 grand of parts into it since then. There's definitely people out there who think we're crazy, but they just don't understand.

As gonefishin said. The Bilstein install is fairly simple to do. If you can rent a few tools (mainly a spring compressor) you'll have no problem doing it. You'll save a couple hundred bucks as well which is always nice.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:41 PM
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Good to know, I do have a decent amount of tools, I need a new jack (long story short I have stands and no jack [trust me, really long story]) what kind of shops rent spring compressors? Like Pep-boys? Or Advanced? (I've never used one)

The shocks look like they're ~$110 (finally found the exact ones) The shop fee around town go around $100 an hour so that's not awful.

The tires I have currently are 270-70-17, so around 31"...any idea what size I'd be able to put on with a 2.5" leveling kit? This is a ways off...think my wife would get mad over me spending ~$400 on a leveling kit...should see what would happen if I dropped 1k+ on tires.

Lastly...there's a plate over the front differential...a "skid" plate if I'm correct. It kinda sticks out in front of the wheels a bit, looks like it would impede my front end clearance a little, and is about 8.5" off the ground as well. Is that the right term? Skid plate? Not sure there's much I can do about that other than remove/try to torch and bend it up (it sticks out to almost or just past the front of the front wheels. Could I just remove it? Or best leave it be?
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:48 PM
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From what I've heard on the forum any shop like Auto Zone, Advanced, Pep Boys etc should be able to rent you the spring compressor. Wouldn't be a bad idea to make a few calls first just to make sure though.

Yup, $110 each for the Bilsteins sounds about right. Contact either Andrew or Jeremiah at Bully's Performance. They'll hook you up with the best pricing on them, just be sure to mention that you're a forum member.

sales@bullysperformance.com

With a 2.5" leveling kit you can fit 35x12.5 tires. But to put them on your stock wheels you will need spacers in order to clear the upper A-arm.

Yes, what you're describing sounds like a skid plate. I would definitely leave it on there. As long as you're going straight over curbs or bumps (with both tires going over them as well) the skid plate clearance shouldn't be a problem. And if it is you're just better off smashing that skid plate against something than your front diff.
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EST 500 hp/1268 ft-lbs at FW | H&S MiniMaxx Custom Tuned | 4" Flo Pro Stainless TBE | Sinister EGR Delete | ARP 425 Head Studs | S&B Intake w/ Scoop
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:53 PM
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The look your truck has towing that car. That is the exact look I am after. Wow. I see the air dam and I don't mind it nearly as much on yours (not sure if it's not as big or it's the level kit). Again...WOW. That is exactly what I'm shooting for. Don't get me wrong; I love the 6" lift kit too, but my wife and my garage have put a strict height limit on my truck. I take what I can get (and still park inside at night). Maybe in the future...

It occurs to me that I'd need some offset wheels for those tires of yours to fit my truck, looks like that will be a future investment.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:58 PM
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Gonefishin, for some reason your truck pick didn't load for me the first time (probably interwebs on my end) it does now. Also very impressive!

Brandon, when you say I'd need spacers, what exactly does that entail? More front lift? I don't want to be staring at the sky...if that's what you're talking about. Or is it just another part? To be honest I like the stock 17" wheels a lot, but wouldn't be opposed to getting some with 12mm offset like yours (I'm assuming then I could do the 35" by 12" tires with just the 2.5" leveling kit then).
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