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Discussion Starter · #121 ·
I thought I would share another recent short adventure that reinforced why I am looking to go "Round-3" on dialing in a suspension system that will meet my needs.

I usually go up to the mountains not far from my home to cut dead wood about twice a year. I have had the Ram for over a year and a half now but this is the first time I took it for wood hauling.











Of course, I have taken the Rebel off-road many times, but not with a full load in the bed!



I estimated that most of my load was pine with some measure of fir and birch thrown in so I used a lower averaged density of 30 lbs./cu.ft. with about 85% of the capped truck bed being filled (.85 x 5 ’x 3’ x 5.5’ = 70 cu.ft.) for a total haul of ~2100 lbs. The Rebel is rated at 1930 lbs. of payload capacity, so when I add in the weight of the topper and gear that I typically haul around with me (~300 lbs.), and myself (~230 lbs.), I figured I was pushing over 2600 lbs. or +700 lbs. overcapacity. Not the best scenario but the Rebel did very well. The stiffer Dirt Logic front coilovers really helped maintain control and the rear factory springs actually did very well too with all things considered (the rear definitely sagged but did not bottomed out). Still, I’ll need to really be careful once I add my winch and mounting hardware as that will greatly reduce my capacity even more.

But made it home in one piece!







What I did experience was exactly how the Dirt Logics are tuned. Both when tackling the slow boulder/rock climb of the lower section for Engineer Pass and then the slow mountain trail comprised of long, washboard sections experienced during this trip, the truck rode horribly as the Dirt Logics are really tuned for fast speed runs (i.e., desert washes and trails). On the slower stuff, the Dirt Logics are just too stiff and really beat you up! I sort of knew this of course but was very interesting to see how the Dirt Kings responded on the washboard sections. Kind of reminded me of the Icons I ran except on a couple of prior builds but even those were smooth in comparison. Anyway, I think I am close to dialing this thing in.
 

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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.
thanks for the insight. now that you're thinking you need more clearance i'm thinking i should stick with more too and go with the BDS 4". It's between the BDS 4" and the fabtech Dirt Logic resi coilovers for me. How well does the fabtech 3" maintain factory geometry? Could you put bigger bilsteins 5100/5160 on the 4" BDS? the BDS 6" with coilovers would be ideal if it was a 4" system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #123 ·
thanks for the insight. now that you're thinking you need more clearance i'm thinking i should stick with more too and go with the BDS 4". It's between the BDS 4" and the fabtech Dirt Logic resi coilovers for me. How well does the fabtech 3" maintain factory geometry? Could you put bigger bilsteins 5100/5160 on the 4" BDS? the BDS 6" with coilovers would be ideal if it was a 4" system.
Great minds think alike as that is exactly my sentiment; the BDS 4-inch lift with coilovers would be the perfect solution for me as well. Unfortunately, it's not a reality. I have had numerous conversations with the BDS technical group (of which Randy has been very responsive BTW) and there is nothing available from BDS (or anyone else) that will give you both 4-inches of lift and performance coilovers for our 5th Gen Rams. If you want coilovers and a lift higher than 3-inches, you have to go with the BDS 6-inch Fox coilover system. Otherwise, you can have King make a set of custom shocks to provide the lift and replace the spacers, but that will be more than double the cost of the BDS lift in itself (not to mention you'll definitely have to keep rebuilding them as they wear since it would insane to try and replace them over and over). I talked to Ben at Dirty Deeds, and while King could make something, there is no guarantee how it will perform with the BDS system as you'll be extending the available suspension travel (so need custom UCAs as well). Finally, you are probably 6-12 months out before you could even get your order filled due to current backlog and limited production. That was also the issue when I talked to Tyler at Carli; Kings are seriously backordered for everyone it seems, especially if you need custom lengths and/or tuning.

Regarding the Bilsteins, some folks have been able to make the Bilstein 5100s struts work up front but honestly don't recall if the 5160s work for the rear. Fabtech does not completely retain the factory geometry but does a fair job of maintaining acceptable results as their UCAs are designed specifically for the 3-inches of lift with additional suspension travel. The CV angles are notably impacted but within reason (although clearly not near at factory angles and will eventually wear out). The alignment is not completely in spec as there is a very slight canter to the front wheels. But the system provides a good quality ride with near factory steering and handling control and definitely improves the truck's off-road capabilities.

I had pressed BDS about using a Fox 2.0 coilover up front but all I could get out of them was that they can only recommend using the factory struts and UCAs as that is how their system was designed and tested. It seems to me a lot of folks are wanting a true 4-inch lift with real off-road capability (aka 6-inch Fox Coilover lift) so not sure why BDS doesn't bring one out.

On the Dirt Logics, I am still seriously thinking about ordering new front coilovers with custom tuning to be comparable with the Fox 2.5 coilovers. Unfortunately, I did find out that the Dirt Logic 2.25 shocks used for the rear are not interchangeable with the 0"-2" Fox 2.5 Performance Elites with DSC as the Dirt Logics are 1.5-inches longer than the Fox shocks even at full extension. I was hoping to get an adjustable shock in the rear to help deal with towing and increased payload.

I am probably going to keep the Fabtech Dirt Logic system since I do get a more aggressive stance and increased off-road capability over either the factory setup, and for sure much better on-and off-road performance over the BDS 4-inch spacer system, and still have decent towing performance. I just like the overall look and increased approach/departure angles that the BDS system provides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #125 ·
@Desert Dawg does the fabtech set up fit stock wheels? I know the bds won't work with stock wheels. Was thinking of using stock wheels for dedicated winters.
No, unfortunately, Fabtech specifically states that you cannot use the OEM wheels and tires. However, it is about backspacing so you could go with a quality bolted wheel spacer like BORA or Stahl 0.75 inches, 1.0 inches, or 1.25 inches thick which would equate to using about a 0MM, -6MM, -13MM offset wheel, respectively in order to keep the appropriate backspacing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
@Desert Dawg just wanted to say thanks for the insight and tips. I took delivery of my 21 rebel Wednesday and ordered a whole bunch of mods for the truck yesterday including the fabtech dirt logic resi setup. 4 week wait begins.
Awesome, congrats on the new Rebel! Be interesting to see what your build progress looks like but great start with the Fabtech-Dirt Logic setup. Be curious to see how you like it too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #128 ·
Took the Rebel off-roading up to Yankee Boy Basin at the base of Mount Sneffels (Elevation 14,150 ft.), Colorado for the day. The Basin is pretty easy to access for most 4x4 trucks/SUVs with good tires although the further in you go, the rougher it gets (heavy rock trails). I finally had to turn around at the point where access is limited to highly lifted, short-wheelbase, 4x4s. While I have no issue with my suspension and tire setup along with my off-roading chops to go further, I couldn't risk damaging the truck or getting stuck trying to get over the the high breakover ridges. Nonetheless, was a great time!















 

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Discussion Starter · #129 · (Edited)
So been a little remiss and distracted to keep my mods moving along. But I did finally get the skidplate facia powder coated and started assembly of the hidden winch mount.

I originally thought that I was going to powder coat the replacement skidplate facia a matte black rather than leaving it stock. But when I took the parts down to the powder coating shop, I just couldn't commit to an all back lower facia as I still like how the Rebel is instantly recognizable from the other models in large part to the front grille and lower skid plate facia. So I took some inspiration from the TRX and compromised with a gun metal grey color that doesn't black out the entire front end in order to still provide some contrast; I thought the color will also work well with my Black Rhino wheel selection as I plan on painting the wheel rings the same color (providing a bit more definition between the wheels and tires) and also tie in with the gun metal grey of the winch hook (per below).





The other thing of note is that I also had the Vice Design mounting brackets powder coated a matte black to blend in more with the matte black grille and trim colors. Since the mount facing will be fully exposed out in front of the lower bumper, I had all of the exposed welds ground smooth prior to the powder coating for a very finished look.



Finally, I wanted a 1.5-inch thick fairlead to provide a tad more separation from the the front bumper. I went with a Warn Hawse-style fairlead also in matte black married up to a gun metal grey Factory 55 Ultrahook.



Now I just need to make time to take apart the front bumper and install with new winch setup!
 
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