(approx) 4 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
$179.95 (kit)FREE Shipping
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Hey, guys, Adam here with americantrucks.com, and today we're taking a closer look at and installing the Supreme Suspensions 3.5-inch front 1.5-inch rear leveling kit, available for the '09 to '18 four-wheel-drive RAM 1500 without air suspension and excluding the TRX model. You should be checking this kit out if you're looking to accomplish three things, reduce factory rake while lifting the front and rear of the truck, fitting larger wheels and tires on your truck up to 35 inches, and getting additional ground clearance up front to help with some light off-road situations.First and foremost, fitting larger wheels and tires on your RAM isn't too hard. Off the factory line, this generation RAM comes with anywhere from 30-inch up to 33-inch all-season tires. Ours has factory 33s. Now, if you're looking to fit up to 35s comfortably, then you'll need a leveling kit like this one. The rear is no problem, but 3.5 inches is more than enough for front end lift to help with up to 35-inch tires without modification. With some of the more aggressive mud-terrain tires, you may experience slight rubbing at full turn depending on your wheel offset, but definitely, 35s are doable as you can see on our '14 RAM. When it comes to leveling out your truck's appearance by reducing the factory rake, a 3.5-inch front and 1.5-inch rear leveling kit like this one here from Supreme Suspensions makes it happen. Now, if you're not familiar with rake, just know it basically is your truck's front end sitting lower than the rear in order to help with towing and hauling. You're nearly eliminating that rake with this lift kit here while lifting the entire truck up in the process.Getting additional ground clearance is easily attainable with the leveling kit as well. You're lifting up the entire truck couple of inches, so naturally, you'll be able to drive right on over the smaller obstacles that you would have otherwise come in contact with at the front or rear. The stock bumper sits pretty low from the factory, so with any additional height there, it can make a difference getting over those smaller hazards on and off-road. Now, this particular kit from Supreme Suspensions is CNC-machined from aircraft-grade billet aluminum with a black anodized finish to help with corrosion and oxidation resistance. Keep in mind, guys, the physical front spacer here measures in right around 1.75 inches, but with the change in suspension geometry in the front and rear along with spring compression, you'll achieve a final lift height of 3.5 inches in the front. Now, the rear spacer is true to size at 1.5 inches.Now, the price for this kit comes in right around 200 bucks. It's a pretty affordable mod that makes a huge difference with appearance and fitment for your truck. Now, because 3.5 inches is one of the largest leveling kit sizes for your truck, your suspension geometry will have more aggressive angles. So, you may want to consider upgrading your upper control arms to prevent some long-term wear on your factory ball joints.The installation for this leveling kit comes in at two out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. You don't need a spring compressor or any big specialty tools like that because the front spacer here sits right at the top of your factory strut without needing to disassemble it. It'll take you about two, maybe three hours from start to finish to knock out both sides along with the rear. Keep in mind, guys, you want to get an alignment once everything is said and done. Be sure to torque everything back down to factory spec if you're tackling it yourself. I'm going to walk you through the whole process. Let's get started.Tools used in the install include an air gun and an impact gun, a 1/4-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 kick things off, I'm going to show you guys how to uninstall your factory strut here on our front driver side. Now, of course, you want to 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. Just going to wiggle that back and forth until it pops up. Now, you want to follow that guy up to the top here. That's connected to your brake line. That, you're just going to pull apart just like that. Now we have more slack on our brake line, so we're not putting tension on them. Next up, grab a 16-millimeter deep socket, and we're going to remove the factory nut off of our sway bar end link. All right. Set that aside.All right. Next up, we're going to disconnect our tie rod end. Now, before we get started, you want to 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 going to 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 going to 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 going to 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 stud itself is a metal retaining pin. Going to use needle-nose pliers to pull that pin straight out. All right. Set that aside. Now, for this, I'm going to 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 of 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 going to leave this nut on a couple of threads. We're going to grab our hammer and we're going to 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 want to grab a ball-peen hammer and we're going to 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. 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. And, 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 going to tackle the bottom strut bolt holding it to the lower control arm. Now, the nut here, I'm going to use a 15/16 deep socket on my impact gun, and I'm going to 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 end of that.All right. So now we can focus on the top three strut tower nuts. Now, grab a 15-millimeter wrench and I'm going to use again the 15-millimeter ratcheting wrench. Again, this really comes in handy. We're going to loosen up these three top nuts. All right. So now our strut is free. I'm going to 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, first up, we have to install our new studs onto the spacer here. Now, if you think this is going to be a more permanent mod for your truck, I'd recommend throwing in some Blue Loctite on each of the threads there. We're going to be taking ours right off, so I'm going to skip that step, but it is recommended. One side has threaded holes that are completely visible. You want to put that on the bottom. Now, on the opposite side of those holes, the medium-size here, that's where you're going to put your new studs through. So, you're going to take this guy and you're basically going to insert that into those holes and thread it in by hand. Now, I'm going to go down just a couple of threads on each, and these are going to be the new studs that hold the entire strut assembly to the body of the vehicle. Once you have those threaded on, grab an 8-millimeter hex socket or an Allen key, and you're going to tighten these three down. Perfect. Now we can put this on top of our strut.All right. So now we can take our strut spacer and place it on top of our factory strut hat. Now it only goes on one way, so if you're having trouble lining it up, just keep rotating it until it drops into place, but it will drop on just like that. Now, what I like to do is grab a 15-millimeter deep socket, just by hand, not with a ratchet or anything, and grab our factory nuts. The factory nuts are going to hold the spacer to the strut. The new nuts included in the kit hold the strut assembly to the truck. So, grab the factory spacers and drop them in onto the stock studs on the strut that are coming through the holes. And I'm going to use just the socket to get them started. You don't want to risk cross-threading it by just dropping them in and hitting them with an impact gun. So, make sure they thread on there. And, again, Blue Loctite is a good idea if you think this is going to be a little bit more of a permanent thing. Once you have that there, I'm going to swap the 8-millimeter off my impact gun for the 15 and tighten these 3 down. All right. Now we can install it in the truck.All right. So now we can line this up to our strut tower. All right. So, I'm just going to use one nut included in the kit on our first stud here just to hold it in place. Now we can reassemble everything else. All right. Now, before we put everything back together, it may be helpful to take the top of the sway bar end link nut off along with the bushing and bracket there, or the spacer, and we're just going to set that aside. It'll give us more articulation in the lower control arm.All right. So, at this point, I'm just going to lift that tie rod end out of the way so you can see, we basically need to get this fork on the bottom of the strut over the lower control arm to seat where those open holes are. I recommend using a pry bar, I think it's going to be one of your easier ways to get this done. You're basically just going to lift up and pry down so that it seats correctly on the lower control arm. All right. So, next part is to get the factory bolt back through the bottom of the strut. Bolt head is going to be on the inside facing out like that. Now, this gets to be pretty tricky getting the bolt holes to line up, so you might want to grab a smaller pry bar, and you're basically going to lift up until the hole on the inside lines up so you can get that bolt through.All right. So, I got a helping hand here. We're going to put the bolt in the opposite way it came out to help line it up. Grab a hammer and tap it through. All right. Now I know getting that bolt back in is a lot of a problem. It can give you a little bit of a headache here trying to get it back in the same way it came out. So, if you need to, you can flip the bolt around and put the bolt head on the front of the vehicle side going into the inside of the lower control arm. There's no problem doing that. Doesn't make a difference. So, that's what we did there just to get it to line up better. Grab your hammer and tap it all the way through. All right. So now we can put our nut back on the other side here. Grab your 15/16 wrench for the nut and your 21 socket for the bolt head and tighten them down. All right. Let's reconnect our tie rod end. So, I'm going to take off that factory nut that I put on there for safekeeping, lift up your knuckle, and drop that guy into place. Thread the factory nut back on. All right. Grab your 21 socket and tighten down that nut.Now, for the next step of getting our upper control arm to seat in our knuckle, I actually lowered the truck down toward the ground, and I'm using a floor jack, a hydraulic floor jack to jack up the lower control arm so it brings the knuckle up to meet the upper control arm halfway. Otherwise, the knuckle assembly there is a little bit too low. We can't extend the upper control arm down far enough, so jacking it up allows us to seat it in. So, that's what I just did here. So, at this point, I'm going to use my pry bar to pry down on the upper control arm, seat the stud through this hole, and then put the nut back on.All right. So, I'm again going to put my pry bar under one of the coil springs. Seat this guy in just like this. You want to be careful not to slip off of that coil so the studs come through the bottom. Grab the nut and the spacer assembly that was on there from the factory and thread that nut on. We want to get it on a couple of threads there, a good amount of threads so it can't pop off. That will hold itself on. Now, at this point, we can grab our socket and tighten this guy down while prying down on this so we can release some of that tension. So, I'm going to use my swivel socket and my 18 to go up here. Now, you can just use a typical ratchet and socket set. You can use a ratcheting wrench if that's easier for you. But I have this air tool, so I'm going to find this to be a little bit easier. I'm going to pry down a little bit and tighten it down. There it is. So now once you have that in place, the last step is to grab the retaining pin and put that through. While we're down here, and this is jacked up, we have our sway bar end link back through the sway bar. Drop your bushing back on and the spacer, followed it up with the 16 nut. Grab your 16 socket and tighten that down. Again, I'm using a swivel to make it easier. All right. Now, this step is a little bit more difficult to see because the inner wheel well liner is here, but you want to make sure you're putting all three nuts on all three studs. We already had one on the front, so we just got to hit those back two. And then from here, you're going to grab a 17 socket or a ratchet and tighten these 3 down. For these, I like to use a ratcheting wrench. I find it to be easier. Because this one is a little bit longer, I get a little bit more leverage.All right. Kicking off the uninstall for the rear here, first off, I have two pole jacks supporting the rear axle. We're going to start by disconnecting the bottom of our rear sway bar end link. Now, the end link connects it to the frame as well, but you want to do it on the sway bar side. Makes life a lot easier. Now, grab an 18-millimeter ratcheting wrench, which is what I recommend. I'm going to put that over the nut here. Now, the reason we're doing a ratcheting wrench is, number one, it's going to make life easier, but number two is because it's a good idea to grab an 8-millimeter socket and hold the end of that stud. Otherwise, it's just going to spin in that ball joint. So, this way, we can hold it steady and we can crack this guy loose. So now what I'm going to do is basically take the end link out, and I'm going to put that nut back on just for safekeeping. Now, pretty much everything that you do to one side you're pretty much going to repeat on the other. You have to do it simultaneously. So, do this on the other side and then we'll move forward.All right. Next up, we got to disconnect our Panhard bar. Now, this is the bar right here. One end is connected to the axle. The other end is connected to the frame. We only have to disconnect one side, so I'm going to do it here at the frame. Grab a 21-millimeter deep socket. There's a nut on the other side that has a tab on it, so we don't really need to hold the nut. It'll hold itself. So, let's get this guy off. So that's disconnected. Grab that nut from the back, put them together so we don't lose it, and set it aside.All right. Next up is the bottom of our shock. I'm doing this again on our driver side. You're going to have to repeat this on the passenger as well. Grab a 21-millimeter deep socket along with a 21 ratchet or wrench, and get this bolt off. All right. Again, at this point, it's very crucial you have a jack stand, hydraulic floor jack, or a pole jack holding your rear axle up because this is the last piece on this side holding this up and you want to make sure you're supporting this compression of the spring. So, I just jacked up on it a little bit to relieve the pressure from this bolt so we can pull it out.All right. So, at this point, you can see we have two pole jacks supporting each side of our rear axle. We have the springs basically being held up by just these pole jacks. We're going to start lowering these pole jacks one at a time to slowly decompress our spring. The springs are under a lot of tension, so you don't want to do this too quickly. Want to go slow just so we can relieve that tension there. Once the tension is relieved and the spring is free, we'll be able to lift it up, put our spring spacer in, and then start putting everything back together. All right. So, the spring is loose on the driver side. Spring is loose on the passenger side, so now we can start slipping our spring spacers in.All right. So, at this point, you can take your spacer, and it's basically going to sit right underneath of the spring on top of the spring perch here. Now, what you're basically going to do is just lift up, put the spacer in, and this can be really tight if you're basically pulling down on the rear axle and feeding this guy on just like that. The bigger the spacer is the harder that gets. This one is not terrible. But once you fit it in there, do the same thing on the other side, and then put everything back together.All right. Once your spacer is in place, we just have to jack everything back up into position and rebolt down all of the components: the sway bar end link, the shock itself, and the Panhard bar. So, this is something again you want to be very careful about because you're putting a lot of tension back on the spring, so you don't want to go too fast. You also want to make sure the spring is seated completely properly at the top and on the bottom. So, just make sure it's in the ring up there, which it looks like it is on both sides. We're doing this simultaneously again. And then start jacking it up until the shock matches up with the axle mounting holes. So, you just want to make sure you're jacking it up far enough for that to happen.All right. Now, when you're jacking up the rear axle, this is what you're looking for, the shock. The shock is the highest point off once it's fully lowered. So, when you're jacking it back up, you want to make sure you're lining this bolt hole up. Of course, if you need to, you can grab a hammer and tap that in. All right. Get this nut on there. Want to make sure you're getting both sides aligned so that you can tighten down both shocks. Grab your 21 socket and wrench and tighten that down. All right. So now we're going to reconnect our Panhard bar. Drop that guy into place, making sure it's lined up, and if it's not, you can sort of manipulate the axle to go one way or the other. And again, once you get it in there, if you need to, you can grab a hammer and tap it through. Grab that nut and put it on the backside. Grab your 21 socket and tighten it down.All right. So, really the last steps here are reconnecting our sway bar end link. Now, once again, you have both sides disconnected, it moves a little bit more freely. So, you want to bring the end link over and connect it there. Put the nut back on, thread it on as far as you can by hand, and then you're grabbing your 18 socket. And again, I'm using a ratcheting wrench along with an 8-millimeter socket to hold the stud and tighten it down. All right. Once you tighten up the other side, you're good to go.That's going to wrap up my review and install for the Supreme Suspensions 3.5-inch front 1.5-inch rear leveling kit, available for the '09 to '18 four-wheel-drive RAM 1500 without air suspension and excluding the TRX model. You can get yours right here at americantrucks.com.
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Supreme Suspensions DGRM09FK3515
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(approx) 4 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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