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Excellent answer. I love it.
I don’t wheel mine hard, but I do find some instances where I do put the truck to the test. I’m very “function over form” but I can’t waste a good set of tires and rims,so I won’t be upgrading any of that till my tires are due for replacement.
I’m actually pretty happy with the factory rebel ride height, but after seeing one at 6” with (40’s I think) these trucks are BUILT to be lifted.
move never seen a factory truck that pulls off the look so well. It seems to me chevy trucks lifted that high usually seem out-of-place, as a big cube on stilts. If it were up to me I’d have 40’s on and no lift, and cut everything necessary to make it fit, but fabfours cut kit is only for 3/4 tonners and up, presuming the 1/2 tons don’t have heavy enough axles for such large tires without wearing on thingsreally badly.
 
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Discussion Starter · #102 · (Edited)
Excellent answer. I love it.
I don’t wheel mine hard, but I do find some instances where I do put the truck to the test. I’m very “function over form” but I can’t waste a good set of tires and rims,so I won’t be upgrading any of that till my tires are due for replacement.
I’m actually pretty happy with the factory rebel ride height, but after seeing one at 6” with (40’s I think) these trucks are BUILT to be lifted.
move never seen a factory truck that pulls off the look so well. It seems to me chevy trucks lifted that high usually seem out-of-place, as a big cube on stilts. If it were up to me I’d have 40’s on and no lift, and cut everything necessary to make it fit, but fabfours cut kit is only for 3/4 tonners and up, presuming the 1/2 tons don’t have heavy enough axles for such large tires without wearing on thingsreally badly.

You're absolutely right! You really have to assess how you need/want to use your truck and then select the best system that supports your needs.

A lot of folks never ever take their Raptor, Rebel, FX4, AT4, etc. trucks off road save for an occasional dirt road so having a spacer system to moderate drop bracket lift with larger tires is really more about looks over function (and I get that as I have had similar builds in the past too).

Then there are folks like you and I that want a daily driver that has both style and function upgrades for possibly minor to moderate off-road trailing and so that is where selecting something can be a little trickier as it is easy to select something that provides too little or too much depending on actual use. I definitely lean more towards the functional aspects for "off-roading" since I do try out moderately difficult trails but even then some of my "functional" upgrades are not really consistent with that (like selecting AMP power steps for ease of ingress/egress for family and business passengers rather than going with true rock sliders and steel underbody armor). So again, always a compromise when building a truck that has to serve as a weekend toy and daily driver/family hauler.

And of course, there are the hardcore folks that really go out for technical rock crawling or high speed desert racing which requires a whole other level of modifications (long travel suspensions, extra wide fenders, etc.); I certainly don't belong to that club...lol!

But I agree, the Rams do look fantastic lifted. I had a 4th Gen Ram that I lifted with a ProComp 6-inch drop bracket system (along with other brands for my Chevys, Fords, and Jeeps); I thought it looked great and got so many comments about the truck as it really looked more like lightly modified 2500. In fact, that was my intent as I selected wheels with minimal offset and taller tires that didn't poke out from the wheel wells. The result was a very clean looking 1500 that had a lot more clearance. And while I did take it off road some, I was definitely restricted to the kind of four wheeling I could do as the system really didn't provide any additional capability and I was always worried that maybe I would stress the spindles or ball joints too much and something would fail out on the trail (especially if I dropped the front end too hard).




This was before coil-overs system became a lot more available after years of development out on the Baja and other circuits; these systems have evolved greatly to the point of doing everything (street and off-road) very well and they just keep improving. The only real restrictions are actual ride height limits and cost. But they are also overkill if you never really use them (much like folks that buy sports cars but never drive them...lol); just a waste of money except maybe for the "coolness" factor. So drop bracket lifts can be great if just want mild performance upgrade (clearance for larger tires) while getting that more aggressive stance (albeit, at the cost of less on-road and off-road drivability).
 

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I'm following along on your & Rabbit's conversation. I agree with both of you. While I'm still waiting for my Fabtech lift, I want a vehicle that will be offroad capable, but not something that is so modified that it can go rock crawling, so "function over form" matters more to me. Six inch lifted trucks look great, but that's not really what I'm after. My biggest problem down here in south Louisiana is my distance from all the points where I enjoy going wheeling. I usually need to spend a couple days on the road just to get to Colorado or Utah and the same coming home. Trying to do that with a week off doesn't leave much time to enjoy the scenery. This means that most of the time, my truck will be a grocery getter. Also, trying to arrange with others who have offroad capable vehicles for a mutually available time is difficult, so I often have to take these trips alone.

I watched a YouTube video yesterday of Jeeps traversing Elephant Hill in Canyonlands N.P., a ride I've taken in my FJ Cruiser, again alone. There are definitely parts of that trail with some real "pucker" factor. Watching the video brought it back. I actually busted out a rear window on the section called "the squeeze". I'd never try it in a pickup.
 

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I purposely didn't want a drop bracket system that cuts factory components and really doesn't improve any off-road capabilities other than fitting larger tires. Having said that, I always liked BDS' 4-inch Coil-over suspension utilizing Fox adjustable front coil-overs but they don't offer that yet for the 5th Gen Rebels. Those systems are a nice compromise between obtaining additional ride height and maintaining drivability on both street and off-road excursions although you are still raising the vehicle's center of gravity even more (which is not good when doing some off-canter wheeling). But even if they did offer such a system, the cost would be north of $4K as their comparable systems (6" Ram coil-over system, 4" 150 coil-over systems, etc.) and so I was also not ready to commit to that kind of spend when other systems were/are still in the works (i.e, Carli and others). But in the end, I really wanted better control, ride comfort, and off-road performance (including durability) that any of the higher end coil-over systems provide over the typical drop bracket systems. That is why I wasn't ever considering a Rough Country, BDS or similar system as they look great and perform okay for street use but can also fail when beaten up out on a desert run or mountain trail (which would not be fun). You sure couldn't take a BDS or Rough Country drop bracket system on a high speed washboard run with any confidence of ride control, comfort, or not worry about failure...lol .

So for now, a good compromise was the Fabtech 3-inch system utilizing the Dirt Logic adjustable coil-overs (and fact that Dirt Logics have also been tested and proven in the Baja and other races). I say "compromise" in the context that comparable King, Fox, and Icon systems typically restrict the Rebel to 1.5-2 inches of front lift (although I know you can dial in a tab more on some). But the Fabtech system provides the means for getting 3-inches as the Dirt Logic longer springs and specifically angled UCAs keep the geometry within reason (but at the limit in my mind). The Dirt Logics ride great; obviously not buttery smooth like the factory Bilstein system but with faster rebound response as speed bumps and pot holes are nothing at higher speed, better control all the way around, and superbly better off-road performance. The ride is consistent with my other ICON, King, Fox stage-1 systems but not quite as dialed in with the non-adjustable UCAs and slightly less articulation (especially in the rear). So I may still look at upgrading down the road if/when better systems come to market. Or I might just incorporate upgraded components into my current system (UCAs, higher rated front springs, rear springs, etc) if/when those components also become available. In the meantime, the couple of grand I didn't spend will be going to a new front winch system. Then there is that whole "supercharger" issue tugging at me...lol...
So much info! Thank you. Helping me decide on a lot of suspension issues!
 

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One of the first mods I did was to install some new LED off-road lights. For the Rebel, I really didn't want anything in the lower bumper area as I might consider a hidden winch system sometime down the road and so wanted to leave that area alone. I also wanted to have a slightly different look this time around rather than the typical LED light bars that I had used on prior builds and now seen on most trucks.


The Rebel front bumper is unique as there is a raised area (bulge) right under the front grille and I thought that would be an ideal spot for some round lights. So I chose to install a couple sets of the Rigid 360-Series LEDs; I measured the space between the bumper and bottom of the RAM logo and determined that the 4-inch round lights would look better fitted under the logo rather than having larger (+6-inch) lights blocking the logo.


I purchased 1-pair of the 360 Series Spot LEDs for long distance illumination and 1-pair of the 360 Series Driving LEDs for near distance illumination; I arranged the setup so that the driving lights are situated on both sides of the spot lights. The nice things about the 360 Series is you can replace the lens if needed and/or paint-to-match the lens surround for a custom look! I chose to leave mine black as it ties in nicely with my truck's paint color scheme.





The nerve-wracking part was precisely measuring and then drilling the (4) mounting holes in my brand new bumper. I located the center line of the bumper and measured the exact location of each drill hole spaced underneath the RAM logo while also taking into account the front bumper curve (I wanted the face of each light to follow the bumper lines). I then created a template on my computer so that I can play with the spacing of all the lights and determined that 2.25-inches of clearance between each of the 4-inch LED lights was the most aesthetically pleasing while still allowing access for adjustments.





The underside of the bumper is pretty clear and easy to get your hands/ratchets under there to mount the lights. Drilling through the steel bumper is easy as long as you use good drill bits and a variable speed drill for slow speed. However, there is a slight bend of the bumper sheet metal where it folds down under the grille so you have to make sure that you leave enough room for the mounting bolts and hardware. At same time, you don't want to have the lights extend too far out from the face of the front bumper. I measured 1-1/4 inch away from the back side of the bumper along the top of bumper as shown above and to ensure clearance within the bumper per below.


Edit: Forgot to mention that also coated the drilled holes with black touch-up paint to prevent rust.





After rechecking everything at least a dozen times...lol...I went for it and very pleased with how I got everything pretty much centered with the Ram logo at exactly 2.25-inches apart and exactly leveled.










For wiring, the Rigids come with their own wiring harnesses and 3-position LED switches (the 360-series have backlighting illumination like the Radiance series light bars). Unfortunately, they don't come with the Deutsch connectors so you have to add connectors if desired. For now, I simply used heat-shrink wire connectors and arranged the harnesses and zipped-tied everything to the body (hiding as much as possible) for a very clean install.

The switches were more problematic as they are 3-position (on-off-on) with six connectors and therefore quite a bit deeper than the standard 2-position (on-off) round switches with three connectors. I wanted to install one switch for each pair of lights so that I could have the backlighting as "running lights" and the off-road lighting only switched on when needed. I also wanted to install the two switches in the flat face of the center console right under the 12-inch screen (right next to the USB ports) but could not determine if there was enough clear space behind the console face that extends under the center stack of the dash (definitely did not want to drill out two 3/4-inch holes only to find out the switches don't fit).

So I removed all of the dash panels surrounding the steering wheel as it looked like there were a couple places up high within easy view and reach to place some switches. Unfortunately, despite the dash panel exterior appearances, there is no room behind the panels for deep switches as anything not taken up by the dash fame or control modules is taken up with additional plastic moldings on the panel themselves (and I didn't want to carve those up either). I did find enough space for (1) switch at the very bottom panel alongside the center console (see below); I did have to fab a small spacer since the switch connection tabs would not completely clear behind the panel but the pressure tabs keeps it secure for now. Since both pairs of lights have their own relays with no 12V power going to the switch, I wired both pairs of lights into the one switch but sacrificed having the backlighting until I can install two separate switches (once I figure out the center console).





But everything works and I love the finished result.

I’m impressed, I may have to steal your idea for my 2020 rebel 👍🏼
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
I’m impressed, I may have to steal your idea for my 2020 rebel 👍🏼
Thanks! I haven't done much to it lately except I did take it out boondocking a few weeks again and managed to crush the front skid plate a bit. Waiting to order my hidden winch as I can repair the skid plate when I remove it during the winch installation.
 

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Well like I said the Rigid leds u installed looked great & different compared to everyone else’s standard light bar. I ordered mine today. Knowing what u know now is there anything different u would of done during the install? Do u have any pics of the 3way toggle & how big they are ? I have a feeling finding a place to mount both of them is going to be intriguing lol. Thanks bud 👍🏼
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
Well like I said the Rigid leds u installed looked great & different compared to everyone else’s standard light bar. I ordered mine today. Knowing what u know now is there anything different u would of done during the install? Do u have any pics of the 3way toggle & how big they are ? I have a feeling finding a place to mount both of them is going to be intriguing lol. Thanks bud 👍🏼
Great! I still don't have the backlighting LEDs hooked up. You are correct that there are not many convenient places to install the larger 3-way switches; I had removed all of the dash panels and there are no ideal locations with enough space. So my plan was to install a 3-way switch in the center console but have not had any time to work on the truck these past few months. So for right now, I am still using the standard Rigid switch which I located on the panel right below the gear selector adjacent to the center console.

 

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Great! I still don't have the backlighting LEDs hooked up. You are correct that there are not many convenient places to install the larger 3-way switches; I had removed all of the dash panels and there are no ideal locations with enough space. So my plan was to install a 3-way switch in the center console but have not had any time to work on the truck these past few months. So for right now, I am still using the standard Rigid switch which I located on the panel right below the gear selector adjacent to the center console.

So Like I said I had to steal your idea & it came
Great! I still don't have the backlighting LEDs hooked up. You are correct that there are not many convenient places to install the larger 3-way switches; I had removed all of the dash panels and there are no ideal locations with enough space. So my plan was to install a 3-way switch in the center console but have not had any time to work on the truck these past few months. So for right now, I am still using the standard Rigid switch which I located on the panel right below the gear selector adjacent to the center console.

 

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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
So need to catch up on my postings!

Took the Rebel over Engineer Pass during the 4th of July weekend. I had not been over the pass since the early 80s when I used to work at a silver mine near Ouray, CO. Back then, I had a lifted full-sized Chevy Blazer (short wheel base 2 door) with 35s and no issues. Now I am taking a modern full-sized Ram crew cab truck with a moderate lift and 34s. So I knew this might be interesting.

In preparation, I researched the trail conditions and even watched some recent videos of full-sized trucks making the pass. All seemed pretty straightforward and very doable, but I failed to note the actual routes that were taken. I decided to take the lower backcountry bypass route and soon found out things were going to be a lot more interesting than I had anticipated.



Started out of Ouray to the trailhead; things looked really good for first mile or so as the trail seem pretty tame with spots around a 3-4 difficulty rating.





Things quickly escalated up to a 5-6 difficulty (if not a 7 in some locations). I did not expect to encounter the significant number of larger boulders, deep crevices, and rock ledges at the switchbacks and narrow sections. I certainly didn't recall of that during my previous run but I am sure the trail has seriously degraded due to weather and use over the years. To be clear, this trail can be very dangerous but still very doable with larger ATVs and lifted Jeeps that were out too, but this was a challenge for my moderately lifted long wheel base Rebel.

Unfortunately, due to the insane trail traffic (ATVs were like ants over the entire trail) combined with my attention on trying to traverse the harder portions, I was not able to get out to take photos like I usually do until we got to safer ground. In addition, the run really beat up my wife (she is a sport but honestly wasn’t enjoying all the drama and insanely rough ride). I also beat up the Rebel pretty good as I managed to drop it twice and bottomed it out (even split my faux side step guard), but once we made out of the backcountry bypass, we were onto the Alpine Loop.





The trail settled in a more doable 3-5 range with the occasional outcropping rather than the constant barrage of the lower section. Passed by some old 1800-era abandoned mines and cabins that we cool to look at, but by this time we just wanted to make it to the pass as the weather started looking a bit iffy and I didn’t want to risk having to encounter any more challenging sections under wet conditions. The scenery was amazing and so we enjoyed the rest of the ride up to the summit.



Near the summit, we stopped at Odom Point to take in more of the views.







Once at Engineer Pass, we spent some taking it all in then made our way back down via the easier route to Lake City since my wife would rather walk down than take another beating…lol.











Couldn’t think of a better way to spend the 4th of July!

 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
As reported several weeks ago, an impromptu desert romp left me with a little but costly bit of damage!



But since I put the poll out there to see what folks thought about powder coating the front silver bumper mold (aka faux skid plate) black, I decided to follow up with the overwhelming responses in favor of changing the color to black. So thanks to everyone who voted and helping me out on the decision! 😁

Since I damaged the current stock skid plate, I thought I would get it fixed at my local body shop and then have it powder coated. But the shop was going to charge almost $200 (incl. tax) to work it out and then another $200 to get the part powder coated which put me right around $400. And that didn't include any labor to remove/reinstall the part.

I then went online and looked to order the part; pricing ranged between $219-$258 with another $220+ for shipping to my location. So still well over $450 for getting the part.

I ended up at my local dealer and was quoted $350 (no other fees). I decided that was the way to go except I have to wait another 2-3 weeks for delivery (which is fine considering I have other things to work on).

For those interested, I ordered item (19); Part Number 5ZB47GXHAA [Front Bumper Module], [Black Front Bumper w/Black Plate], Front Bumper Module+Black Front Bumper w/Black Plate-Powder Coated Front Bumper.

 

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This is an awesome build and write up. Thanks for the insight as i anxiously await the arrival of my 2021 rebel and plan out my build. I had a question about the suspension choices.
How much travel does the fabtech kit provide? Is it more than stock?
I was originally considering the BDS 4" with fox rear, thinking it was the best mix of maintaining stock ride feel (i.e. using stock shocks and travel) but this thread has me second guessing that. Is the BDS not meant to taking on light trails? I thought by keeping the stock bilstein and stock travel it would still have the same ride...aside from the higher center of gravity.

Also has anyone considered trying to put the AEV HD Prospector HighMark Fender Flares on a 1500? I read somewhere that someone put 2500 bushwhacker flares on a rebel and it fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #119 · (Edited)
This is an awesome build and write up. Thanks for the insight as i anxiously await the arrival of my 2021 rebel and plan out my build. I had a question about the suspension choices.
How much travel does the fabtech kit provide? Is it more than stock?
I was originally considering the BDS 4" with fox rear, thinking it was the best mix of maintaining stock ride feel (i.e. using stock shocks and travel) but this thread has me second guessing that. Is the BDS not meant to taking on light trails? I thought by keeping the stock bilstein and stock travel it would still have the same ride...aside from the higher center of gravity.

Also has anyone considered trying to put the AEV HD Prospector HighMark Fender Flares on a 1500? I read somewhere that someone put 2500 bushwhacker flares on a rebel and it fit.
Thanks...been a process for sure!

Yes, the Fabtech system definitely provides more travel over stock based on the coilover and rear shock lengths but I wished I had measured everything myself as I can't find anything published on actual measurements. However, I do believe the factory Rebel Bilsteins have about 9-inches of total travel and the Dirt Logics increase that to 10-inches. For reference, the Carli King shock system that provides 10-inches of travel in the front but 14 inches in the rear!

To answer your question about the BDS 4-inch system, I think it would be a great solution for getting more altitude without going overboard; the system uses the factory struts and UCAs as well as keeping the factory geometry as correct as possible, so it will provide almost the same on-road comfort and off-road performance but you feel the higher center of gravity on high speed turns and/or off-canter wheeling. But for normal road use to very limited off-roading, the 4-inch spacer system will work just fine.

Regarding suspension choices for myself, I have been going round and round in how I want to update my system after bottoming out and causing some damage on my last 2 off-road trips; since I seem to keep selecting trails that are a little more technical than what the Rebel should be doing, I really would benefit from another inch or two of ride height to improve my approach/departure angles when going over obstacles or steep, short inclines.

I also really wanted the BDS 4-inch system too but after talking with BDS, it looks like their base 4-inch system is a no-go for me since the system will not provide a way to upgrade the factory struts and UCAs with better performing coilovers (unlike their similar offerings for Ford and Chevy).

If I want to get any additional lift over my current 3-inch Fabtech/Dirt Logic setup, the only option for me is to maybe consider the BDS 6-inch Fox Coilover system which uses tuned FOX 2.5 factory series remote reservoir coilovers up front (with DSC) and 5" ProRide coil springs in the rear married up with FOX 2.0 IFP performance series gas shocks (also with DSC). I think the system looks killer and would greatly improve my approach/departure angles! But in the end, it is just too high for towing, won't fit in my garage, will highly degrade high speed highway handling, and increase my chances of roll-over during off-canter four wheeling. And I am not getting any younger as lifting heavy loads in/out of the truck bed would eventually (if not immediately) become a pain in the derrière (especially with a topper)...lol.

Another option I thought about is the FOX Performance Elite Series 2.5 Body 2-3″ Lift front coilovers which I believe would seriously up the ante for me for both on- and off-road handling and response, but unfortunately that system would actually lower my current ride height by a full inch which is a serious reduction in my approach/departure angles when off-roading.

So I finally decided that I want to replace my current 3-inch lift Dirt Logic 2.5 Coilovers with the Dirt Logic 2.5 Remote Reservoir Coilovers but with custom valving to provide just a tad more compression response to soften the ride for daily driving (but keeping the rebound settings for off-roading). Fabtech stated that they can start right away but will take 10-12 weeks to make the new coilovers and perform the custom valving due to demand right now (at least it's not because they're waiting for anything to be shipped from China since they manufacture everything here in the USA). That will allow me to at retain my Fabtech 3-inch lift specific UCAs and keep my current ride height while at least enhancing both my street ride while improving my higher speed desert off-road performance. Fabtech also said there is plenty of adjustability in the coilovers to compensate for the added weight when I install my winch setup.

But my final solution really doesn't solve my need for better approach/departure angles without resorting to very heavy off-road bumpers. I guess I could install the BDS 4-inch system and then order some custom Kings to replace the 4-inch spacer for only another $5K...lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #120 ·
The self-inflicted trail damage during my last off-road adventure over the lower sections to Engineer Pass was more superficial than what it sounded like when I initially dropped the truck over some rock outcroppings. I am sure that replacing the AMP Power Step guard rail won't be cheap; although nothing like a real slider, it did a fair job in protecting the step despite taking a couple hits with the full load of the truck.





The front wheel well liner got torn out from grabbing a boulder but can be repaired (assuming I can tie it back into place after reforming it with some heat). If not, I will have to replace it too.

 
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