My DIY Ram Runner

Im new here. This is my truck. So im not made of money right now so its gonna be a slow moving thread. Shes lifted, runs great, sitting on 35's. Im currently in school for automotive technology so im learning alot about how these things work which is great because i didnt know much really.
First order of business will be rebuilding the engine and a new cam. Want to add a stroker kit while im at it but thats a little beyond my budget right now unless things improve by then. I plan on doing the engine after the school year. If extra monry comes up here and there ill be adding in little tidbits as i can.
So my truck is an 04 Ram 1500 4wd so there isnt a whole lot of long travel kits available so if anyone can help me with advise on ways i can take whats available and piece it together and then get the rest fabbed that would be helpful. Ive been sending out emails asking for quotes on getting a special long travel kit put together for my truck so far all ive gotten back are "We do not make those." Which is crazy coming from a fab shop lol. So this one im thinking may very well just remain my BA daily driver and after i get some fabrication experience i may just take something completely different and fab up my own stuff. Depends on how life goes i guess. Fabrication has always been something i was very interested in and eventually i want to be skilled enough to build my own prerunner that would rival a trophy truck. Anyways any input, advice, thoughts are welcome. Keep in mind im a newbie to all of this, im not stupid. So if i sound dumb with anything i do just let me know :)
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Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
K.o.r.e. built some nice kits awhile back for these trucks. So did atomic fab. As far as cam swapping your engine is concerned pay close attention to where your dynamic compression ratio falls. It requires some math. Big cams will make a heavy vehicle sluggish. I was a mechanic for almost 18 years. In my experience you will be time and money ahead to buy another engine and build it to do what you want it to do. You say you want a stroker. If it is a hemi buy a 6.4 and build that. You will get the added displacement and better heads. The early 5.7 Hemis had a ton of valvetrain geometry issues. The p.c.m. in those trucks are a bitch to tune as well. I worked for San Diego dodge at the time the hemis were released and they wiped out valve train components all the time. Dodge had a service bulletin addressing the problem and repairs. Not trying to discourage you. But if you want a prerunner there is a reason you dont see to many dodges there isn't much support for them. I would think that another truck with more support would get you out in the dirt sooner and probably for less money. Good luck.
 

Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
As far as school goes. Good for you. Pay attention to the old guys around the shop. They were the ones who really taught me how to diagnose and repair cars. Start buying tools now. Try not to get swept up into the tool truck credit programs. They will eat up a paycheck before you know what hit you. Search Craigslist or offer up for a mechanic who is retiring or passed away. This is a good way to get a ton of good tools for pennies on the dollar. Williams tools and snap on are the exact same thing. Williams are significantly cheaper.
 
K.o.r.e. built some nice kits awhile back for these trucks. So did atomic fab. As far as cam swapping your engine is concerned pay close attention to where your dynamic compression ratio falls. It requires some math. Big cams will make a heavy vehicle sluggish. I was a mechanic for almost 18 years. In my experience you will be time and money ahead to buy another engine and build it to do what you want it to do. You say you want a stroker. If it is a hemi buy a 6.4 and build that. You will get the added displacement and better heads. The early 5.7 Hemis had a ton of valvetrain geometry issues. The p.c.m. in those trucks are a bitch to tune as well. I worked for San Diego dodge at the time the hemis were released and they wiped out valve train components all the time. Dodge had a service bulletin addressing the problem and repairs. Not trying to discourage you. But if you want a prerunner there is a reason you dont see to many dodges there isn't much support for them. I would think that another truck with more support would get you out in the dirt sooner and probably for less money. Good luck.
Thanks for the response. Price is an issue. Already have a 5.7 and a dodge ram so thats why im going with that. Plus im a mopar guy to the bone. As to the 6.4 same thing price and availability is the issue stroker probably wont happen til way down the road honestly. And as to the cam i dont go into anything overconfident. I dont mess with anything ive never done without doing lots of research. And by the time i get around to my rebuild and the cam ill have done that in school and learned about it. If the budget allowed i would totally go with your advice but im just working with what ive got right now. My build will not be anything like some of the others ive seen on here so far but im gonna make it pretty cool. It will probably remain my daily driver. I may get something cheap to drive around while working on the bigger parts of the project but when its finished ill be driving it alot probably. At that point im going to be learning fabrication and practicing so i can do some of the cool things ive seen other guys doing on here on a different truck. Its all a work in progress and its just me chasing a dream really.

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As far as school goes. Good for you. Pay attention to the old guys around the shop. They were the ones who really taught me how to diagnose and repair cars. Start buying tools now. Try not to get swept up into the tool truck credit programs. They will eat up a paycheck before you know what hit you. Search Craigslist or offer up for a mechanic who is retiring or passed away. This is a good way to get a ton of good tools for pennies on the dollar. Williams tools and snap on are the exact same thing. Williams are significantly cheaper.
I was required to buy alot of basic mechanics tools for school so i have quite a bit. What i do still need are precision measuring instruments, air tools, and stuff like that. Ive got some stuff i need to pick up for sure before i really get into the meat of this build but i have what i need for now

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Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
I totally understand the dream. And working with what you have. I had about 50000 in tools stolen from me and the insurance gave me the depreciated value even though prices had gone up about 30 percent. I lived on Craigslist for months looking for replacements. Be patient and look for machinists and mechanics who retired.
 
So for anyone knowledgable on the subject... Whats to keep me from getting a long travel suspension kit for a later model truck and working it out to work on my 2004?
I know dodge went away from leaf springs in the rear so that will be a hurdle but the rear trailing arms and all that would take fabricating anyways to make work so might not be too bad. Im thinking about doing as much research as possible while doing other things to Dodgezilla (my trucks new name given to it by my auto tech instructor lol) and getting the funds together and im thinking i may just do that and make it work however i can. The only other option i have right now is the local fab shop that specializes in off road race trucks and thats around $20,000 without shocks which is a big NO WAY IT'LL EVER HAPPEN.
In the mean time ill be working on engine rebuild with performance cam, vararam intake, building up the transmission, bed liner paint job, exhaust and headers, and much much cheaper suspension lift for the time being, among other things. Im going to be getting every ounce of performance i can out of this truck while building it into basically a brand new truck that will last me a long time.
As it is i may just end up building this truck into a badass, capable off road fun vehicle and then keep this as my daily driver and buy a new truck that has options for long travel suspension. That way ill have this truck to drive while i build the new one into my race truck.

What do you guys think?

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Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
Start calling shops in so-cal area and see if there is an off the shelf kit made for your truck. Kore used to build kits for these trucks. N.t.g. racing in Santee has quite a bit of experience with these trucks as well. If not one off is your only way. Chevy or Ford kits might work with some "adjustments ". Or pony up the bucks for solid works or a bootleg copy of Catia and design your own and have it cut out. Get familiar with the strong points of other brands and the weak points of your own and you might be able to get something together that works. Learn to think in three dimensions and you might be that guy who puts together a kit that works properly for a dodge. These trucks are basically free here in California. A clean dodge ram of that vintage is only worth about 2500 to 3500 bucks tops. Making them ideal candidates to get cut up.
 
Start calling shops in so-cal area and see if there is an off the shelf kit made for your truck. Kore used to build kits for these trucks. N.t.g. racing in Santee has quite a bit of experience with these trucks as well. If not one off is your only way. Chevy or Ford kits might work with some "adjustments ". Or pony up the bucks for solid works or a bootleg copy of Catia and design your own and have it cut out. Get familiar with the strong points of other brands and the weak points of your own and you might be able to get something together that works. Learn to think in three dimensions and you might be that guy who puts together a kit that works properly for a dodge. These trucks are basically free here in California. A clean dodge ram of that vintage is only worth about 2500 to 3500 bucks tops. Making them ideal candidates to get cut up.
I like the way you think. Thanks for the ideas. Here in a few weeks ive got a month off from school. That will give me some time to put some thought into a plan of action. Obviously i wont be getting any of it put to action but ill have some direction anyways

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Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
Buy a truck you can afford to beat up. Break it. Fix it. Try to put money together to fix it and repeat. Or go to school to make real money. Learn patience. Sometimes the slow lane is faster. Looking back it is almost cheaper to let someone else build it. If it's not already built it may not be worth doing. I was going to build it all. All I built was debt.
 
Buy a truck you can afford to beat up. Break it. Fix it. Try to put money together to fix it and repeat. Or go to school to make real money. Learn patience. Sometimes the slow lane is faster. Looking back it is almost cheaper to let someone else build it. If it's not already built it may not be worth doing. I was going to build it all. All I built was debt.
Yeah i get that thats why im sticking with what i have and if i buy anything its gonna be cheap. If i get anything nice i wont be beating it up. But i dont find any joy in paying someone to do my **** for me. I love being able do things for myself, run into problems, get pissed off, figure it out and make it work and look back at what i was able to accomplish. I dont know if ill ever make "real" money. But i know what i do want is achievable.

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Digler

Member
Yeah i get that thats why im sticking with what i have and if i buy anything its gonna be cheap. If i get anything nice i wont be beating it up. But i dont find any joy in paying someone to do my **** for me. I love being able do things for myself, run into problems, get pissed off, figure it out and make it work and look back at what i was able to accomplish. I dont know if ill ever make "real" money. But i know what i do want is achievable.

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Lsk suspension made my front end long travel kit for 2wd 04 Ram. Was expensive as f”. But super well made a-arms and spindles. i went with spider race hubs and willwood calipers. My current problem is trying to get long travel leafs for rear. Wanted to do “back half” full suspension but can’t afford that anytime soon. If anyone knows how to get LONG TRAVEL Deavers or something legitimately comparbLe please post. 04 2wd Ram. CF8F74D9-7D2E-41D3-B9CB-637063919C96.jpegEE003314-895E-4BB8-8FF9-501F8BF7A9C2.jpeg8CBAEA20-5E19-44D0-92FD-C75BEC0BFCDD.jpeg94A3D9A1-549C-4591-A1F1-BCE01953CD8D.jpeg0D2C7C5C-7E8A-49C0-8365-F875FBD6C462.jpeg066BFD78-B45D-4894-8097-018404D45672.jpeg1F158DD0-EF34-42A9-B108-18C1D63AA1BC.jpeg
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Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
Giant motorsports link killer is a universal-ish leaf setup. Most full size trucks are close enough in rear weight to get it working well. It cycles big numbers for a leaf spring setup. Priced pretty good too.
 

BTFfabrication

Well-Known Member
We’ve built a few of these trucks as well. I know the the last one was a 08 or so, but we had a set of Deaver’s made for it and all that was required was new rear hanger, shackle and drive shaft obviously. Call Deaver and give them your measurements, they can build you any leaf you may ever need.
 
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