For years, Heavy Duty Ram owners have been plagued with steering issues and poor suspension geometry that has resulted in a less than desired ride. Most Ram owners and other truck owners alike have heard of the most notorious steering issue, dubbed “Death Wobble” in which the steering wheel shakes violently after encountering a depression in the roadway, especially on a curve. Other failures have led to premature failure of the ball joints, gear boxes, tie rods, etc. that deliver a sloppy steering and an inferior ride compared to the competition.
Of course, the aftermarket has embraced the short falls and produced upgrades and corrections for nearly every component from Carli Ball Joints that feature a lifetime warranty to the Pure Performance HD Ultimate Steering System to ICON Vehicle Dynamics suspension systems to BD Steering Box Braces, and the list goes on (and on, and on, and on!) While the aftermarket was eager to correct these issues, it always seemed that Dodge would only make as few upgrades as possible to let the consumer know that they hadn’t forgotten about them, but they rarely actually fixed any of the issues, merely applied a loose Band-Aid.
Well, that’s all changed for the 2013 3500 Rams! To say Ram (yes, that’s right, they’re no longer “Dodges” anymore) made some upgrades would be a complete falsity. Ram has completely redesigned the 2013 3500 trucks, with the intent of upgrading the 2500’s for the 2014 model year. Let’s start with the revised steering geometry, specifically the drag link and center link (bars coming from gear box to passenger wheel, then connecting bar between both wheels). In the past, there was a revision that seemed to greatly assist in worn tie rods that changed from the original “Y-Style” steering to a “T-Style” steering that eliminated a pivot point between the wheels. Unfortunately, this design increased the angle of the drag link, resulting in bump steer issues. The new design keeps the two links completely separated, and attaching to the passenger side wheel assembly in different locations. This latest (and more robust) design eliminates any pivot points, as well as drastically reduces the angle of the drag link, which results in a more consistent steering that will vastly outlast the previous design.
Another new upgrade that Ram has implemented is the addition of radius arms, eliminating the upper and lower control arm design that Dodge has used since its inception of coil springs in 1994. Control arms aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but the lengths of the arms that Ram has limited themselves to results in an axle that has constrained movement and will cause major misalignments as trucks are lifted. Basically, because of the factory short arms, when trucks are even “leveled,” it causes the axle to shift back substantially (think of a pendulum here), causing other misalignments to anything attached to the axle. The new radius arm design, which is very similar to what Ford has been using, is structured around one single massive beam that stretches further back on the frame, creating a kind of long arm effect. The arm is also nearly parallel to the ground, which lends itself to a large range of motion, not creating the binding issues of the previous generation control arms.
We feel that these two improvements account for the majority of the upgrades, but Ram has also addressed and upgraded the steering box, track bar, coils, shocks, and a host of other items that will result in a drastically improved factory ride that will last. Now the big question, what will the aftermarket do to one-up the factory again?