1998.5 Dodge Ram CTD - Sally

chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Nice looking truck there Frojoe. If you need your springs done take it out to Chilliwack spring service and ask for Rick. tell him Chilliwak sent you. He has done a lot of work on my trucks and it has always been good. One place you should NEVER TAKE YOUR TRUCK TO is....

https://www.bcdiesel.ca/en/

They are the bigest rip off in the world...:Wow1:

Just a piece of good advice....:)
 

frojoe

Adventurer
Thanks for that advice Chilliwak. I already have a springpack that I'll be trying, but if I need any custom springs to modify the pack I'll check them out.

Thanks for the heads-up about BC Diesel.. do you have personal experience with them, or what have you heard? I can't remember the last time I've had to take one of my vehicles anywhere to have someone else work on it, but it's good to know ;)
 

frojoe

Adventurer
Ah! No changes really.. summer/fall 2017 was dumb busy and I didn't have time to do any work on it or take it on any trips.

I did replace the driver side ball joints with Dynatrac ones... I only had enough time to the driver side because it took like 6 or so hours. The ball joint tool I got didn't have any spacers/adapters that would fit the various upper/lower ball joints during remove/install, so I had to scrounge around for tubes and spacers that would kinda work, and ended up turning most of the bits needed on the lathe.. so that was a huge timesuck. I fully documented the process with the intent of posting a step by step how-to, but the low light and my impatience made the pictures be pretty sub-par. But I'll still try to dig them up and see if I can salvage some type of ball joint post.

The rest of the time (Oct 2017 till now) I've been keeping busy with a twin turbo install on my other "project"...



 

frojoe

Adventurer
For the truck, I've mostly just been driving it.. nothing even exciting really since I've been working on the car fulltime in my off time. In fact we're just about to load it up for a weekend camping trip, which will be a nice break.. I'll take some pics.

I did finally get around to installing the passenger side Dynatrac ball joint, as well as replacing the L+R unit bearings with Timken ones, L+R rotors, L+R pads (Bosch "Heavy Duty" ones... WOW they work well with no noise!), and L+R inner axle seals and fluid... that was a big 14hr two-day curbside job on the street at my parents' place haha. It drives with absolutely no play right now, but I believe there is still a bit of toe-out based on the steering behaviour... however I haven't had time to take it in for an alignment. I took a bunch of pics with the intention of making a little how-to on here, but haven't got to that yet.

There's still a BIT of flex in the steering system under heavy load, which I think is from the factory "heavy duty" steering package which includes factory T-style steering linkage. Kind of strange that for all the years ('94-'07) it was Y-style only, this MUCH better style of steering was only offered as an upgrade package on two model years... to the best of my knowledge. The steering tie rods don't seem to have play, but that's just under idling when parked having someone turn the steering wheel... under which conditions I can see the steering cross arm flexing/bowing a bit. Would like to replace that with the thicker '08+ arm/tierods, but have to do the research to see what tie rod tapers work or don't work.

As for the car, ask and you shall receive. It has a bit of a following.. the twin turbo stuff starts on page 88, and gets real interesting towards the end of the thread. I'm so close to having it back on the road... hopefully in July!

https://ls1tech.com/forums/conversions-hybrids/980909-lq4-into-3rd-gen-1972-nova-88.html
 

frojoe

Adventurer
Oh man I've meant to update here a couple times but I keep forgetting. Between the Great Twin Turbo Build of 2018 (on the project car) I really didn't have time to go on any major trip last year, and this year has been a gongshow with traveling out of town so I haven't even gone on more than a 1 or 2-day trip.

That being said, I did some snow wheeling in February which was awesome. Never really ventured out in the snow with the intent of seeing how far we can get until we're stuck and can't go any further, so that was fun. Then went on a handful of out-of-town trips with various amounts of people, cargo, and off-roading, which the truck excelled at.... but not nearly enough true 4x4 camping trips recently as I'd like.

There were some pretty hairy hills on the snowheeling day, good 30 or maybe 40% grade, 2-3" of fresh powder right on top of bumpy solid ice. Interesting pushing the truck to 2500 rpm with ~22psi in the front tires and ~16psi in the back tires, just trucking up. Got it stuck up to the framerails once, and then again to the doors another time.. had to climb out the driver's window just to get out and start digging it out before I could get a yank backwards haha... certainly "skill building" and fun getting to know what the big 'ol dumb Dodge is actually capable of.




















 
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frojoe

Adventurer
As far as truck work has gone, I've done a fair amount:

- replaced ball joints with DynaTrac units... really annoying job but these things are still minty-tight after 2 years
- replaced front unit bearings.. no more slop!
- replaced front axle inner shaft seals... started leaking from being deformed by the uber-wobbly unit bearings side-loading the axles
- VP44 injection pump as preventative maintenance, while trying to troubleshoot an occasional hot-temperature cold-engine non-start
- rear Chevy 64" leaf swap.. FINALLY complete after 3 years of procrastination!

And finally, the Chevy leaf swap progress...



































 
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BigTilda

New member
What does that leaf swap involve? I just added some helper springs to stiffen up the rear end on my 2002, wondering if that would help carry the load in the bed better.
 

frojoe

Adventurer
What does that leaf swap involve? I just added some helper springs to stiffen up the rear end on my 2002, wondering if that would help carry the load in the bed better.
The idea behind the leaf swap was to kill a bunch of birds with one stone:

- the existing Dodge springs were sagged flat, thick, and harsh
- existing Dodge bushings were all shot
- existing Dodge 2nd gen leaf springs are something like 56" long.. uncommon size to find aftermarket support for
- stock Dodge shackle design is in tension, and the shackle angle that mine was at compounded the issue of terrible small bump compliance

Chevy 64" leaf swap helped by:

- much more common application/size with plentiful aftermarket support
- narrower 2.5" leaf pack from the stock Dodge 3.0" leafs.. so inherently a bit softer per leaf thickness
- flipped shackle to compression orientation, to help with small bump sensitivity just pas ride height compression
- new leaf bushings front & back
- new shackle with adjustment holes & greaseable pivot, from a supplier I love to support (Don Thuren of Thuren Fabrication)
- multi-leaf setup, which means for the same or similar load capacity, there should be a bit better bump sensitivity inherent to just the leaf springs themselves
- starting with a 5-leaf pack vs OEM Dodge 3-leaf pack, so more room to customize the rate/progression
- even a stock-replacement 5-leaf Chevy pack has a bit more arch than my stock Dodge pack, so a bit more axle droop (droop is now limited by the shock stroke instead of the leaf spring as it was before)
- I like making things happen that I haven't really see done before
 

frojoe

Adventurer
Drilling/grinding/chiseling the rivets out of the stock leaf hangers was a HUGE PITA, worth it but holy crap, I do not want to do that again...















The resulting ride height from 3 Chevy leafs (main leaf #1, then stiffest leafs #4 & #5... approximate calculated spring rate of 280 lb/in) ended up having a dead-level ride height right away, which settled half an inch.. I wanted it to have a little bit more rake. It was SUPER soft, so I needed to stiffen it up just a bit.

Here it was after initial 3-leaf installation...



 
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frojoe

Adventurer
In an effort to stiffen up the rear and make it sag less, as well as bracket the data range, I added all of the leafs back into the pack, making them become 5-leaf "stock Chevy 2500" spring pack. By my calculations this was around 385 lb/in, a little softer than the stock ~410 lb/in springs, but not by much.

This made it very stiff... the fresh bushings, flipped shackle, and higher number of narrower leafs made it absorb small and medium bumps in a slightly more supple way, but it still rode like a stuiff 2500 diesel truck.. not quite what I was going for, but a good upper-end spring rate to test and bracket.

This is the ride height of the 5-leaf packs, which was ~2" higher than the initial 3-leaf packs...



So I decided to go somewhere in the middle.. remove one soft spring (leaf #4) from the left side, and one harder spring (leaf #5) from the right side. This made the left side around 310 lb/in and the right side about 290 lb/in. This helped soften up the suspension to a nice range. Still stiff enough to be load-bearing, but not overly jarring. I think eventually I'll want it a bit softer when I install some helper bags, but this will do for now.

The stiffer springs left to right helped reduce my left-right difference in fender heights from 7/8" difference to 3/8" difference.

I also wanted to get the pinion angle closer. I milled the 2"/3* blocks I got down to a 1* angle, to get the pinion angle within 0.5degree of the trans at this new 4-leaf sprung height.





Full droop of the new 4-leaf setup...







And ride height as she sits for now with the 4-leaf packs... until I decide what rate/lift Chevy Deaver leaf packs to buy in the spring :p:LOL:

 
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