2021 Ram 2500 Power Wagon (Gigantor 2.0)

bikelanta

Adventurer
Thought I'd start a build thread on our new Power Wagon. My toddler son keeps referring to the PW as the "Monster Truck". I previously had a 2000 Ford Expedition that was called Gigantor and the name keeps coming back to me. Considering my previous vehicles include a Honda Civic Si, two Honda Accord coupes, a Volkswagen Jetta GLI, and most recently a Volkswagen GTI, a Power Wagon and my old Expedition seem kind of gigantic. So, I'm running with it and think the new truck is worthy of a full point version increase.

First day home after delivery:
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Current state as of June 27, 2021
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Specs
2021 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
75th Anniversary Package
Safety Group
Towing Tech Group
Dual Alternators
VSIM Upfitter Module

Background and Planned Usage
This will be both my daily driver and our travel/adventure vehicle for exploring. Our home base is outside of Boulder, so it will see a lot of the Rockies and trips to parks throughout the western US and up into Canada. Most trips will just be me, my wife, and our son, though some bigger trips will include my mother-in-law (MIL). On most of those, we'll likely rent trailers from Outdoorsy for the extra space. The remaining trips and weekend getaways, we'll just use the Super Pacific.

We bought the PW because I like that so many of the core parts of the vehicle are shared with the standard 2500 and 3500. The brakes, the frame, the axles, etc. were all engineered for greater loads than I will be placing upon it. I like that safety factor when carrying my most important people over 12,000+ foot mountain passes and on interstates with a 7% grade for miles. (We already learned from driving our Highlander on I-70 west of Denver for multiple camping and ski trips how hot the brakes will get.). We may or may not need the differential locks or winch, but again, I like the capability and safety factor if I do something boneheaded to get us stuck. Plus, they are there if I decide to go on a more aggressive trail ride with friends and sans family.

Lists below current as of August 1, 2021.

Upgrades Installed
  • Softopper (temporary until Super Pacific Switchback X1 is ready)
  • Husky Bed Mat
  • Covercraft Carhartt Seat Covers (Brown)
  • Decked Drawer System
  • Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 Airbags
  • Daystar Cradles
  • ARB Twin Air Compressor
  • A bunch of recovery gear that I need to get a bag to store
Upgrades Awaiting Install
  • Thuren Rear Trackbar
  • 2x 100 watt Renogy solar panels
  • Factor55 Flatlink
Upgrades On Order
  • Super Pacific Switchback X1 (current build date estimated at December 2021)
Upgrades Under Consideration/Planned
  • 35 inch tires (I don't really want to carry a spare in the bed or on a bumper and 35s fit in the current spare location and don’t require new wheels)
  • AEV DualSport Suspension
    • Not really rushing towards a lift, but if I were to consider a move to 37" tires, this is the direction I lean
  • Lights - Various (We’ll see. I’ll really only add these once I start to see a need, not just as something I want.)
  • AMP PowerStep - I might change out the factory rock "sliders", depending on what kind of usage we see once out on trails. The lower step height when deployed will be better for my wife and MIL, but I don’t want something fixed and lower that would detract from clearance
 
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nater

Adventurer
Agreed with the above - aev lift is not the right choice. You don't need any lift to fit 37s, and you will have to ditch your springs for normal 2500 springs (loosing all that sweet flex).

Thuren front springs are the way to go
 

bikelanta

Adventurer
Thanks for the feedback @Pnwfullsize and @nater, I’ll do some research on that front.

In other news, got emails today that my compressor (ordered 5/15) and drawers have shipped. Excited to get those soon.
 

Explorerinil

Observer
I would be interested in learning more about the Thuren springs - what advantage do they have over AEV?
More travel and a smoother ride. AEV uses a spacer and pushes the axle forward to gain clearance for larger tires, and on a power wagon AEV requires you to swap your coils out for standard 2500 coils, not a good option for a truck you want allot of flex and travel on.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I would be interested in learning more about the Thuren springs - what advantage do they have over AEV?
You're going the full on AEV 3" lift route so I'm not sure it would apply but for those that want a slight bump for larger tires or a full 2-2.5" level on a RAM 2500/3500, the Thuren springs are fantastic. On my 2018 Power Wagon I ran the 1" Thuren springs to level the truck and it allowed me to clear 37's without any other modification and without rubbing. The ride quality drastically improves as well without sacrificing anything in the way of load handling.
 

GreggNY

Well-known member
Ditto what the guys above said. IMO, save the cash and skip the lift. Also skip the gradual move to 37s and jump right in IF you think that's a direction you'll likely go. I think a lot of owners eventually realize 37s fit and look right with these trucks, and also that the truck can handle 37s without issue. It doesn't sound like you're going to be doing any serious flexing with the suspension or rock crawling. The 37s will fit and look perfect on the PW with just some minor plastic trimming in the front wheel wells that no one will ever see. I ran this setup for 50k miles and mild off roading with zero issues on my PW. That said, the Thuren front coils are a cheap way to add a little extra clearance. The truck looks great btw!
 

bikelanta

Adventurer
Thanks for the advice and info thus far. @GreggNY I think you nailed it with the capital IF. I’m planning to use it a bit and see what our true needs are before a decision on tire changes. 37s would require a method to carry the spare and new wheels, plus the price of those tires. I think for now our bang for buck will be in actual trips and some of the other mods that will make camp life better for the whole family. I’ll keep doing research (as is my nature).
 

GreggNY

Well-known member
Thanks for the advice and info thus far. @GreggNY I think you nailed it with the capital IF. I’m planning to use it a bit and see what our true needs are before a decision on tire changes. 37s would require a method to carry the spare and new wheels, plus the price of those tires. I think for now our bang for buck will be in actual trips and some of the other mods that will make camp life better for the whole family. I’ll keep doing research (as is my nature).
Research and figuring out what you actually need is a solid approach. Aesthetics aside as far as the tires go, the factory stock PW will probable handle everything 99% of owners need (myself included but I like big tires lol). Those trucks are beasts
 

bikelanta

Adventurer
Research and figuring out what you actually need is a solid approach. Aesthetics aside as far as the tires go, the factory stock PW will probable handle everything 99% of owners need (myself included but I like big tires lol). Those trucks are beasts
Yeah, we found even on first trail outing we were amazed at how well it went up a few hills that were slick from rain and rutted. The bigger tires do look better though!
 

ramblinChet

Well-known member
More travel and a smoother ride. AEV uses a spacer and pushes the axle forward to gain clearance for larger tires, and on a power wagon AEV requires you to swap your coils out for standard 2500 coils, not a good option for a truck you want allot of flex and travel on.
Interesting...please share the measurements for the difference in travel. I know decades ago in the Jeep community everyone became obsessed with RTI numbers and shortly thereafter many of the seasoned off-roaders concluded that flex was certainly beneficial but only to a point. A good analogy would be the "law of diminishing returns."

Smoother ride is another interesting one also since AEV actually used industry suspension engineers to design their lift and then all was tested in accordance with SAE testing procedures. I am not sure about Thuren's engineering staff although I have never heard of any company outside of AEV performing SAE testing. And how was a smoother ride quantified?

You're going the full on AEV 3" lift route so I'm not sure it would apply but for those that want a slight bump for larger tires or a full 2-2.5" level on a RAM 2500/3500, the Thuren springs are fantastic. On my 2018 Power Wagon I ran the 1" Thuren springs to level the truck and it allowed me to clear 37's without any other modification and without rubbing. The ride quality drastically improves as well without sacrificing anything in the way of load handling.
What confuses me is that Dave from AEV goes into detail how there are fourty-four different front springs and eighteen rear springs and the reason they chose to stick with the stock springs is due to all of the OEM engineering and testing that went into creating those spring combinations. Does Thuren just have one spring to handle all the different variations? If so I would imagine some truck ride worse, some better, and a few the same. And are they just supplying front springs or front and rear? Basic suspension design requires the front and rear springs to act together as a system so if one is changed the other must also. Please don't tell me they just supply one particular spring design and only supply front springs.

Again, I am interested in objective ride quality test results - I deal with numbers and numbers tell the absolute truth. Has anyone actually measured stock versus lifted besides AEV?

And from what I gather the AEV also has better steering since Dave talks about keeping the steering geometry the same for the track bar and drag link. How does Thuren address the drag link and track bar geometry once lifted? I have never looked at their kits so I have no idea. And AEV also discusses moving the roll center even closer to the center-of-gravity which is another win - does Thuren do this also?
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
Thuren and Carli do extensive testing as well but their target audience is quite different than that of AEV. AEV uses a series of spacers and brackets to in short reuse a large portion of the factory suspension. While this accomplishes their goal of lifting the truck and making way for larger tires with simplicity and maintaining OEM like ride and numbers, it also fails to improve upon ride quality, travel, and high speed control. There are quite a few records or AEV failures, it's not the holy grail, quite far from it in some peoples eyes.

Carli and Thuren are more concerned with allowing a 8,000lb HD truck run at higher speeds off-road while remaining controlled, comfortable and without damage. Their kits/springs are tailored to different heights and loads, there isn't just one spring. Take a gander at both Carli and Thuren's websites and see for yourself.
 
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