Feeling a little wobble in the front end of your Dodge? Join the club. Even looking at uneven terrain that could put opposing forces on your Ram’s tires can make a Dodge tie rod go all frowny face! The steering linkage of the last few generations of Dodges & Rams is surprisingly weak, and that can leave your truck stranded if it goes pigeon-toed. You need stronger steering for your Ram! Almost any aftermarket stock replacement steering linkage is going to be an improvement, but for sheer size, longevity, and strength you can’t beat the Apex Chassis Extreme Duty Steering Kit.
Apex did not reinvent the wheel; they simply made it better by sticking to a simple recipe: Make it big, make it strong, and make it with precision. Huge chromoly tie rod ends are threaded into DOM SAE 1020 tie rods & drag links that dwarf the factory linkage when shown in comparison. No modifications or adjustments are necessary to bolt the Apex steering linkage in place and you can assemble and install the entire kit in your driveway with just a few hand tools. You’ll find it one of the best improvements you can make to your Ram’s front end—not only for smooth driving but also for safety and strength.
And while the big Fords don’t taco their tie rods as often as Rams do, Ford’s drag links and tie rod ends are nothing to write home about so Apex Chassis offers an HD steering kit for the Super Dutys as well.
Apex Chassis’ Extreme Duty Steering Kit comes complete with a heavy-duty tie rod and drag link that precision machined to accept huge forged tie rod ends. It completely replaces the steering between the pitman arm and the steering knuckles, and greatly strengthens and stiffens the steering of Rams from 2003 to present.
Why Is It Needed?
Our guinea pig Ram 2500 already had a bent tie rod—not from any specific event but instead just from normal wear & tear towing and driving down pothole-filled roads. You can see the frown in the tie rod. You can purchase the Apex tie rod and drag link separately to save some money, but if you think that the drag link is not in sore need of replacement, too, read on. Besides the weak tie rods that Rams have suffered with for two decades, there was an almost unbelievable service bulletin put out on the last generation of Rams—it called for the dealer to weld the drag link adjustment collar to keep it from loosening up. They definitely did not loosen, nor were they any longer adjustable. That’s reason enough to replace the drag link.
Apex TRE’s (Tie Rod Ends)
Apex Chassis’ big tie rod end housings are made from SAE 1045 forged steel. They surround an SAE 4140 chromoly steel ball stud. The threads of the tapered shank are rolled in instead of cut for maximum strength. All of Apex’s tie rod ends are threaded for Zerk fittings.
Stock vs. Apex TRE’s
Here’s a quick visual comparison of the Apex tie rod and drag link (in the shiny black E-coat finish) next to the factory link it replaces. Not only is everything more robust, but the design of Apex’s tie rod ends is clearly stronger.
Draglink and Tie Rod
The Apex tie rod and drag link are both machined from DOM SAE 1020 steel. The drag link is a much-larger-than-stock 1.75 inches in diameter. And the Apex tie rod—the link that can see more external forces and impact—is a massive 2.125 inches in diameter to prevent any bending or kinking. The result is not only a stronger steering setup but also a crisper, more solid feel at the steering wheel.
The Apex steering linkage installs just as the factory linkage does and can be done within a couple hours. We started our install by getting the tires in the air, removing the stock linkage, and loosely bolting the Apex Extreme Duty Steering Kit into place. You’ll want to adjust everything before tightening down bolts and locking the jam nuts in place.
Proper Jam Nut Locking
Pictured are Apex’s ninja washers. These washers go in between the lock nuts and tie rod (or drag link) and prohibit movement. After the perfect alignment is found and the lock nuts are tightened, the tabs on the ninja washers are to be hammered down, alternating every other tab, onto the link and lock nut.
Due to the oversized tie rod that the Apex kit uses, there can be a couple fitment issues with secondary steering stabilizer kits. Because of this, Apex has recently released its own dual stabilizer collar to clamp onto the 2.125-inch Apex tie rod.
Is Upgraded Steering Worth It?
Do you really need upgraded steering on your Ram? Well, if excessive bad alignment isn’t bothersome enough, take a look at this Ram on 37s that was simply climbing a rock wall. At least this tie rod is smiling, not frowning, but it’s just as bad. This Dodge had to be left behind while replacement steering linkage was acquired in town, and then replaced on the trail.
Long Term Results
The steering is still crispy on this Cummins Ram 2500, with about 20,000 miles added to the odometer since the Apex steering linkage was added. Not only that, but the front end has not gone out of alignment since. The Apex Chassis Extreme Duty Steering linkage was the absolutely stronger steering setup that this single cab Cummins test mule needed.