(approx) 3 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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Hey guys, Adam here with americantrucks.com and today we're taking a closer look at and installing the MotorFab 3-inch Front and 2-Inch Rear Leveling Kit, available for all '09 to '20 Four Wheel Drive Ram 1500s without air ride suspension. You should be checking this out for your own Ram if you're looking to pickup a leveling kit to level out your trucks appearance, getting rid of the factory rake, if you're looking to add bigger wheels and tires to your truck comfortably without any modifications, and if you're looking to pick up some added ground clearance for some light offroading situations. Now, this particular leveling kit from MotorFab is a little more unique than some of the other basic options in the category. This is sort of gonna [inaudible 00:00:32] the line between the leveling kit and lift kit. You're getting a 3-inch lift kit spacer at the front end for the top of your struts and a 2-inch leveling kit spacer for the top of your coil spring perch at the rear.It's worth mentioning here guys that when you pick up a larger leveling kit size like your 3-inch here at the front end, it can cause some premature wear on some of your suspension components. Your CV angles are gonna be a little bit off, your upper control arm ball joint may wear out somewhat faster than otherwise stock suspension. That's something to keep in mind. Now, this kit here is a little bit more basic just includes spacers. There are other kits out there that include upgraded upper control arms for better wheel articulation, and it can prevent some downward suspension travel to prevent the wear and tear. So, that's something to keep in mind there. Factory ride quality is gonna be a little bit stiffer here with the suspension component being a little bit larger, also something to keep in mind. This is gonna be perfect for the Ram owners who have maybe some added front end weight sagging down that front end, you get a little bit of extra lift with the 3-inch here being the bigger option in the category.Things like a heavier front bumper, maybe a steel offroad bumper, a winch plate at the rear, maybe you have a snowplow at the front end in the wintry months. Those types of things sag your front end down, adding the bigger kit there counteracts that and brings the front up. Having the 2-inch rear leveling kit option added to this kit here is gonna help do the same thing but at the rear end. So, if you have a lot of cargo in your bed more often than not, things like toolboxes, tools, different hauling of cargo as far as furniture, moving things around like that. Maybe you have a trailer hooked up to the rear end more often than not, those types of things sag your rear end down and adding a spacer block to the rear spring is gonna counteract that as well. So, all in all, you lift both your front and rear counteracting some of the added weight. Now, if you don't have added weight on your truck, this is gonna act a little bit more like a lift kit, you're lifting the front end up and the rear.Now, being the 3-inch is a little bit larger than some of the other ones without any added weight, this is gonna make your front end actually a little higher than the rear. Adding that 2-inches at the rear will counteract that giving you a small bump in height while also bringing that rake even at the front and rear. Now, if you're not familiar with the term rake, it's essentially a term used for trucks coming off the factory line that have the front end a little bit lower than the rear. Now, that's called factory rake. Now, having the front end lower than the rear helps with towing and hauling applications because otherwise your rear end would sag and that counteracts that off the factory line with your stock suspension. So, having the leveling kit there is gonna bring that up even things out and a lot of guys like that a little bit more for appearance sake. Now, with a leveling kit you also are gonna fit bigger wheels and tires. Now, the rear leveling kit doesn't really affect that because off the factory suspension you can fit larger wheels and tires up to 35-inches, no problem.Not the case for the front, you need a leveling kit in place to fit bigger wheels and tires up to 35s. Now, with the stock suspension you may be able to fit up to 33s, but even that depends on your offset of wheels and how wide the tires are, there may be some rubbing. Adding up to 35-inch tires is recommended from MotorFab, you guys can fit this depending on your offset without any modification necessary. So, if you're looking to fit those bigger wheels and tires something more aggressive like an all terrain or a mud terrain, up to 35-inches can fit with this kit here. This is gonna fit at the top of your factory strut allowing you to install this with no spring compressor required which in my opinion is a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders. You don't have to worry about any specialty tools there. This kit's made of a laser cut steel making it a more durable kit than some of the more billet aluminum options in the category. This is gonna be a little bit pricier than a billet aluminum but still the kit comes in right around 150 bucks.Definitely more affordable than some of the lift kits out there while still giving you a small bump over the factory suspension. Now, it also has a black anodized finish over top of the laser cut steel to add with corrosion and rust resistance. Now, if you're located in a wintry weather area like we are here on the East Coast, we see some road salt in the wintry months, which as you know can take a toll on steel components in the under-body of your truck rusting things out. So, the black anodized finished goes a long way to protect against that. It also has all the hardware included in the kit to get the job done. Now, the install here is gonna get two out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. Anybody can tackle this in the driveway at home with some simple hand tools, but you wanna have some mechanical expertise on deck. Installing this on your RAM can be labor intensive a little bit, especially if you're not familiar with taking suspension components apart.I'm gonna take you through every step of the process but if you don't feel comfortable tackling it yourself, no shame handing in over to a professional to get done properly. It'll take you about three, maybe four hours from start to finish to tackle all four corners of the truck, what do you say we get started. Tools used in the install include an air gun and an impact gun, quarter-inch ratchet, 8, 16, 17, 21 and 15/16 deep sockets, 13-millimeter swivel socket is recommended, 8-millimeter hex socket or Allen key, hammer and a pry bar of various lengths, flathead, handy panel removal tool, 15 and 18-millimeter ratcheting wrenches, and a 21-millimeter wrench. All right, to get things off, I'm gonna show you guys how to uninstall your factory strut here on our front driver side. Now, of course, you wanna get your wheel out of the way that's step number one, we're supported on a lift, but if you're working on a floor, make sure you have a floor jack properly supporting the weight of the vehicle.Moving on from there, we'll have to disconnect the ABS lines from the knuckle and from the brake line itself just to make sure that when the knuckle drops down out of the upper control arm, we're not putting too much stress on those brake lines. All right, so for this ABS line, just follow it down to the back of your knuckle here that's connected with a plastic clip. It's gonna wiggle that back and forth till it pops up. Now, you wanna follow that guy up to the top here, that's connected to your brake line, that, you're just gonna pull apart just like that. Now, we have more slack on our brake lines, so we're not putting tension on them. Next up, grab a 16-millimeter deep socket and we're gonna remove the factory nut off of our sway bar end link. All right, set that aside. All right, next up, we're gonna disconnect our tie rod end. Now, before we get started, you wanna know that this is a 21-millimeter nut. Now, in some cases, if you use an impact gun on this, the entire stud will spin in that ball joint.You may need a 10-millimeter socket and a 21-millimeter wrench to get the nut off while holding that stud steady. For our first time I'm gonna use our 21-millimeter deep socket in my air gun to get this guy off. All right, so ours didn't give us any trouble but that is still worth noting. Now, before I take this guy out, I'm actually gonna leave it in and just put that nut a couple of threads on just to keep the entire hub assembly from rotating while tackling the upper control arm. All right, so next we're gonna do the upper control arm to the knuckle. Now, Ram uses a castle nut here which has these open gaps all the way around and through one of the gaps going through the studded stuff, is a metal retaining pin. We're gonna use needlenose pliers to pull that pin straight out. All right, set that aside. Now, for this I'm gonna use an 18-millimeter ratcheting wrench. I highly recommend picking up a set of ratcheting wrenches for this install. There's a lot of different aspects of this that ratcheting wrenches will be a lot easier to use.All right, so once we broke that loose, I can back this off with my hand. Now, big thing to remember is we have to dislodge the ball joint from the knuckle. You can see this stud didn't break free with that. So, I'm gonna leave this nut on a couple of threads, we're gonna grab our hammer, and we're gonna swing and tap against here to dislodge that. And then we'll use a pry bar to pull it down and take our nut off. Now, for this you wanna grab a ball peen hammer and we're gonna tap right up against the side here of the knuckle.All right, with that dislodged, you'll see that the upper control arm moves freely in there. Let's take our nut off and it comes with that larger spacer. Once you have the castle nut and spacer out, set those aside. All right, so from here we can go back to the tie rod end, take that nut off, lift the tie rod end out. And I like to hang it up over that sway bar end link and then put our nut back on the stud just so we don't lose it. Here we can lift the upper control arm out of the knuckle, there we go.Now, what I like to do is just grab the upper control arm castle nut and thread it right back on again so we don't lose it just like the tie rod end. All right, next up we're gonna tackle the bottom strut bolt holding it to the lower control arm. Now, the nut here, I'm gonna use a 15/16 deep socket on my impact gun, and I'm gonna use a 21-millimeter wrench to hold the bolt head on the inside. At this point, you can grab a ball peen hammer and just tap the end of that to pop it through, some cases you may be able to pull it straight out. If not, you can grab a flathead screwdriver and just stick it in there and hammer the back into that.All right, so now we can focus on the top three strut tower nuts. I'll grab a 15-millimeter wrench and I'm gonna use again the 15-millimeter ratcheting wrench. Again, this really comes in handy. We're gonna loosen up these three top nuts. All right, so now our strut is free. I'm gonna use a pry bar here between the lower control arm and the strut body at the bottom to pry this guy out of position.All right, so for the assembly here it is extremely simple. We're gonna grab our 3-inch spacer and you're gonna grab the hex bolts included in the kit. Now, these are 8-millimeter hex screws. What you're gonna do is figure out the top and bottom of the spacer because they are side-specific. The top of the spacer has the smaller threaded holes on top. Flip that over and those smaller threaded holes are now larger on the bottom. That's where you're gonna insert these. Now, these are gonna be your new studs that hold the entire strut and spacer assembly to the strut tower in the truck. So, you're gonna start threading that on, grab your impact gun or your ratchet with an 8-millimeter hex socket or an Allen key, you're gonna tighten this down.All right, so now you're gonna do that for all three of them. All right, so once you have the studs on, again, this is gonna be your top and the factory nuts will hold this to the truck. Now, what you're gonna do is grab your strut assembly, and you're gonna drop the spacer on.Now, this only goes on one way, so just try and figure out which way it goes on. If it doesn't fit, rotate it. So, I got to rotate one more and it drops on. Grab the nylon lock nuts included in the kit, and a 17-millimeter deep socket and you're gonna drop this guy into the stud from your factory strut head and that's gonna hold the spacer to the strut. So, I'm just gonna throw this guy on a couple of spins, do that for all three and then we'll tighten them down. Perfect. Now, I'm gonna grab my impact gun and swap out the 8-millimeter socket for the 17 and gun these on. All right, and now we're gonna throw this back in the truck. All right, so now I have my factory nuts right here in our upper control arm. What we're gonna do is slide the entire strut assembly back into the strut tower, lining up those studs to the holes. Grab one of your factory nuts and thread it on to hold this guy in place. And so now this guy's in, take one of each of the other nuts and thread it onto the remaining studs.All right, so the first thing I'm gonna do is pop the strut back into the lower control arm where that factory bolt is gonna go through. I like to use a pry bar for this just to help me guide this guy back in. All right, so next what we're gonna do is try to get our factory bolt through the bottom of our strut. Now, it's gonna take some finessing as far as lining these two up. What I like to do is use a pry bar and a screwdriver to help line these up. So, the pry bar gets a screwdriver in there, and now the screwdriver I can use to move the strut into position to line up the bolt hole on the other side. All right, so the screwdriver is preventing it from popping loose and I can use this pry bar to lift up and put the bolt through the inside. Screwdriver is out of the way, we can use our hammer and our pry bar to tap this guy all the way through. All right, with the stud through, grab your 15/16 nut and put that through, now we can tighten it down with our socket and wrench. All right, so now I have my 21-millimeter wrench on the bolt head and my 15/16 socket in my impact gun on the nut.All right, so now we can focus on our upper control arm getting that back into our knuckle. We're gonna take the castle nut and spacer off. From here, we're gonna lift the knuckle into place and pull down on the upper control arm. Now, you may want a pry bar in one of the coil springs just to pry this down so you get a couple of threads coming through. All right, so the goal is just to get the castle nut on at least a couple of threads to hold it in place, and then you can let go. At this point, grab your 18-millimeter ratcheting wrench or whatever you use to take this guy off and we're gonna tighten it down. I recommend putting a pry bar in the coil spring here just in case, just to make sure it doesn't pop out. All right, now we're gonna take this guy out and tighten it all the way down. Now, when you're tightening this down, you wanna make sure you're taking note of where that open slot is. You wanna line that up to the hole in the studs, so we just have a little bit extra to go. Perfect. Now we can put our retaining pin through. Alright.So, now I have my retaining pin. I'm gonna put it in my needlenose pliers, and this can take some finesse to get in there. It's pretty tight, everything's kind of rusty, you just wanna push this straight through. And then once you do, you can take your needlenose pliers to bend the other side. Now we know that that's not sliding out. All right, so next we'll do our tie rod end, I'm gonna take this nut off the tie rod, pop this guy into position on the knuckle. All right, take the 21-millimeter nut and thread it back on and then your socket to tighten it down. All right, so now we can take our 15-millimeter ratcheting wrench and we're gonna tighten up the three nuts at the top of the strut tower.Now, the last step of the install here is gonna be reconnecting our sway bar end link. Now, because we just added our leveling kit, the sway bar now doesn't have enough threads popping through the top to put our factory nut back on.How we're gonna beat that is lowering our truck down to the ground and use a hydraulic floor jack to jack up the bottom of the suspension assembly to bring that stud up through enough to put our nut back on. So, right now let's lower the truck and get the hydraulic floor jack in place. All right, so now I got my hydraulic floor jack, I'm slowly jacking up the lower control arm and as you can see, this stud is gonna start popping its way through. All right, so I'm gonna pop that spacer back on and then our nut. Now, we can grab our 16-millimeter deep socket and tighten that down.All right, last couple of steps, we're gonna reconnect our ABS line to the knuckle and to the brake line up here. All right, to kick off the uninstall in the rear, we've got our Ram up in the air, and I have two pole jacks supporting our rear axle. Now, if you're working on the ground, you'll want a hydraulic jack under the pumpkin or the differential, or you can put two hydraulic jacks, one on both sides of the differential. Now, that's gonna help support the weight.As we disconnect some suspension components that's gonna hold that up and then we'll slowly lower both sides down to release the tension on the spring in order to insert our leveling kit. Now, with that out of the way, I have an 18-millimeter ratcheting wrench which is gonna go a long way to help us get this off and I also have a quarter-inch ratchet with an 8-millimeter socket. I'm gonna first focus on disconnecting our sway bar end link. Now, I'm not going to disconnect the side connected to the frame, I'm gonna disconnect the sway bar from the end link. To get around that, I'm going to put my 18-millimeter ratcheting wrench on our nut here. And I'm gonna put the 8-millimeter socket on the end to hold the stud steady and then I'm gonna loosen this guy up. That way, stud stay still and we can get the nut off. Keep in mind, guys what you do for one side, you're gonna be doing the exact same thing on the other simultaneously. For the rear with a solid rear axle, you're gonna do both sides at the same time.All right, from there, take it off by hand. Now, what I like to do is once that's disconnected, pull the end link out. What I like to do is just put the nut on the end just so we don't lose it. All right, so now we're gonna do this on the other side. All right, with that other side out of the way the sway bar is free, you can swing that down. Next up, we're gonna disconnect our panhard bar. Now, the panhard bar connects the axle to the frame. So, it's connected to the axle on our driver side and the frame on the passenger. So, we only have to do one side, just got to get it disconnected from one or the other. So, I'm gonna start here. Now, this bulk is all the way through and has a nut on the other side with a tab. So, because of that tab, we're not gonna need to hold the nut side, that'll hit the frame and hold itself. So, I'm gonna use a 21-millimeter socket to get this guy off. All right, so the nut came off, there we go and that's free. All right, now on the opposite side of our coil spring is our shock, you need to disconnect the shock from the bottom here where the 21-millimeter bolt goes through.Now, I've got a 21-millimeter wrench holding on our nut and my 21 socket on the bolt head side. All right, so now we can just repeat that on the other side to tackle the shock pole. All right, at this point, the only thing keeping this axle up right now are these two pole jacks. Now again, if you're working on the ground, you'll have a hydraulic jack most likely. That is the case, this is the part we're going to start decompressing. So, we're gonna slowly lower these pole jacks down one by one, to evenly bring this down and decompress our spring. Now again, if you're using that hydraulic jack, don't send it, you wanna make sure you're going very slowly decompressing it. Otherwise, these things can get a little violent shooting out of their spot. So, slowly decompress, and then we'll pop the spring off. So, I'll do a couple of turns on one side, because now this is uneven. I'll do the other side and kind of bring it down incrementally.Now, once it starts decompressing, you'll start to hear a little bit of creaking coming from the coils. That's letting you know it's close to fully decompress and you just saw it fall out. So, this guy is completely loose and we're good bring it down. Same thing on the other side. Once you can twist it, there's no more pressure or tension on it. Now, at this point, we're just bringing it down low enough that we can get the spring actually out in order to insert the spacer. All right, there you have it. Now, in order to fit the 2-inch rear kit underneath of our spring here, we do have to pull this down quite a bit, and that's putting a little bit of tension on our brake and ABS line. So, what we're gonna do is disconnect the ABS line connector, it's a little plastic pushpin from the frame, and then we'll unbolt this hanger or retainer here for the brake line. Now, I'm gonna use my panel removal tool for the ABS line that's on the side here, for that, and I'll just pry back and pry it off, just like that. All right, so that puts a little bit more slack on that line so now we can unbolt this.All right, for this I'm just going to use a 13 millimeter swivel socket. All right, and now this can come free. All right, at this point this is pretty flexible, I'm gonna lift up and pull our spring out of position. You wanna make sure when you pull the spring that isolator at the top comes with it. All right, so here is our lower coil bucket, you're just gonna place the spacer just like that with that little notch right on top. And the spring is gonna sit on this and then your isolator will sit between the spring and the top. All right, so now I'm gonna feed the spring back to the top of the perch. At the same time I'm gonna pull down on our axle and feed this guy over top of the spacer. All right, with that I had my buddy stand, pull down on our rotor here, having a helping hand always goes a long way. All right, so now we can repeat this exact process on the other side. All right, so on the other side here we start to disconnect our ABS line and brake line and then we'll do the same thing for the spacer.All right, so now we got the spacer on the lower coil bucket, now we can put our spring back on and my buddy Stan is gonna help me pull down on the axle assembly. So, now we can just raise up the rear axle and we'll do it incrementally one side at a time compressing the spring again doing it slowly, and then we're gonna reconnect our components. We'll start with our shock, move on to our panhard bar, finally our sway bar end link and then our break line brackets.All right, at this point, our shock on our passenger side is lining up, so I'm gonna grab my bolt and put it through. Grab our hammer to finish off the rest of the way and then we'll put our nut on. All right, so now we can do the other side.Now, the panhard bar is sometimes one of the more difficult things to put back together simply because the whole point of the panhard bar is to center your rear diff. And with everything disconnected, it can kind of shift to one side or the other. So, it can be difficult to get this aligned back up as far as getting the bolt through.At this point, ours is looking very close. So, I'm gonna tackle our panhard bar next. So, I'm gonna take our bolt, I'm gonna feed this guy through. And if you guys are having trouble centering this, you may need to use ratchet straps to put the weight of the vehicle back on the ground once everything's reconnected to try to center the axle and get this lined up. All right, with the nut on the other side, let's tighten it down. All right, so now I'm gonna reconnect our sway bar end link. All right, let's tighten this guy down. All right, now while we're on the side, let's reconnect the brake line bracket and put that 13-millimeter bolt back through and the ABS line on the side. All right, now repeat both of those processes on the other side.All right, with that brake line bracket back in place guys, all you have to do now is remove your pole jacks, torque, everything down to spec. And I definitely recommend looking up the torque specs for your specific year and package because this does cover so many years worth of four wheel drive Rams. With that taken care of, the rear wheels back on and you're good to go. That's gonna wrap it up for this one. So, if you're looking to pick up a front and rear leveling kit to counteract some added front and rear end weight, you can pick yours up right here at americantrucks.com.
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Features, Description, Reviews, Q&A, Specs & Installation
Quality and Innovation. You can level the front and rear of your Dodge RAM 1500 4WD with the MotoFab 3.0 inch Front and 2 inch Rear Leveling Kit. You can trust that these spacers are high-performance and will not crack over time like welded spacers.
Durable Material. High-quality billet aluminum is used to manufacture these spacers that are CNC machined for a precision fit in your truck. They have a durable black powder coated finish that was made to match the factory suspension.
Basic Installation. You can complete this basic installation in approximately 2-1/2 to 3 hours with general hand tools and moderate mechanical knowledge. You will not need to take apart the strut and spacer when installing this kit.
Limited Lifetime Warranty. This leveling kit comes with a limited lifetime warranty that covers craftsmanship defects. Read over the warranty information to find out what specific limitations apply.
Application. The MotoFab 3 inch Front and 2 inch Rear Leveling Kit is designed to fit all 2009-2021 Dodge RAM 1500 4WD models excluding Mega Cab models.
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Fitment: 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Details
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(approx) 3 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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