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3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well I figured I would start a thread on the Dodge buildup. I have recently made some upgrades, and always think it would nice to start a thread but I’m not planning on tearing this down for a while. This is really more of history thread though. Most of my mods have been bolt on (or off the wall) as my garage is too small to fit the truck in and has no power outlets.

My projects need to be done in 12 hrs or less, and are generally done outside with battery or CO2 power. When welding is needed I end up in a friends driveway. (Thanks Corbin, Nate, Jeff and Phill)

Current specs are:

2001 Dodge Ram Sport Off-Road reg cab/short box

Drive train:
• 5.9 L V8, HypertechTuning (275 est hp)
• 46RE Auto trans, HD T/C, dual Ext Coolers, Dakota Digital temp gauge, Art Carr Shifter
• NV241J Transfer Case (4.0:1)
• 50:1 Crawl ratio
• Front Dana 60 with ARB Air locker, 5.13 Precision gears, 4340 Alloy inner
• Rear Dana 70 with Detroit locker, 5.13 Spicer gears,
• 42 x14/17 Interco Iroks on 17 x 8 Allied Rockathon beadlock wheels w/ 5" BS
• Front 0.140 inch DOM CV driveshaft
• Rear 0.250 inch DOM Non-CV Long slip yoke driveshaft
• 23 gallon Grand Cherokee 5.9 fuel tank and pump in bed


• Front
– 7" Skyjacker coils, 10" travel Bilstein 7100s (reservoir, 360/80) , Timbren AEON bumpstops, PSC limit straps
• Skyjacker 5 inch relocation brackets and UCA, custom lower control arms w/ Evolution Joints, removed sway bar, ThurenFab Track bar
• Rear
– Off-Road leafs with Rancho Add-a-leaf, Edlebrock IAS shocks, 5/8" U bolt flip, custom shock mounts

• Thuren fab SHD steering. 1/4" DOM, 3/4" x 1" Hiems
• ******* Ram Stage III a$$ist, custom box and pump

• Custom winch mount, using a CJ winch plate
• Rockstomper rocker protection 2 inch 0.120 wall DOM
• 2 inch DOM 0.120 wall 6 point exocage by Federal Fusion (Evolution Machine)
• Custom bed 2 inch DOM with 1/8 inch aluminum panels
• 1 3/4 inch DOM removable Molly Bars
• Custom rear bumper by Phil with LED taillights and hidden 2 inch receiver
• Custom t-case skidplate
• Custom exhaust with Magnaflow stainless steel muffler and 3" mandrel bends

• Warn XP 9.5 front winch
• Warn SDP 6000 reciever mounted rear winch, custom reciever
• F150 Tow hooks, rear shackle mounts
• Warn recovery kits
• Misc. straps, shackles, snatch blocks

• Hella 55 watt Driving and fog lights
• Hella back up lights
• KC flood/back up lights
• LED turn and marker lights
• Pro Comp 100 watt lights
• Optima 34/78 Yellowtop

• RCI 4 Point Harnesses
• Motorolla CB Radio, with Firestick Attenna
• Garmin Legend GPS
• Onboard Fire Extinguisher and first aid kit
• Warn HD booster cables, spare parts, air and hand tools
• Custom 16’ 2 gage booster cables, welding materials
• 20 lb CO2 tank with Powertank XP 3000 regulator kit with custom mount
• ARB Air compressor
• 60" High-lift jack with custom mount
• Wet Okele seat covers
• Full size spare
• Quick Release doors
• Spare Gas with custom mount
• 30 watt back-up lights
• Sony Xplod Marine Deck
• Infinity 200 Watt RMS Basslink Sub/Amp/Crossovers

A little history:

I bought the Ram in 2001. My ’93 Ranger had hit 125 000 miles and while still looking and running like new, I wanted something bigger.

The other choices were a Chevy K2500 reg cab with 6.0/NV4500 or a F-250 reg cab w/ a 5.4/ZF-5. I could not find a manual tranny in either, and with Dodge announcing the end of the solid axle short bed, I decided to go Mopar.

The ’01 Intense Pearl Blue Sport Off-Road Ram 1500 arrived from a dealer 1000 miles away, with deep tint, plenty of Dodge stickers and mudflaps. The mud flaps and stickers were removed before I drove it home.

The truck was mainly used as a daily driver, with some mild wheelin during the summer of 2001. In October I added a Denver Off Road aluminum bumper and Warn XD 9000 winch. My first trip to Moab was a few weeks later, the Dodge also towed a built YJ back at 35 mph up the passes on I-70.

After Moab, I decided to add rocker protection. Smittybuilt taillight guards were also added. After a winter on the highways of Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Alberta, I began to realize that limited slips were scary at best. A Powertrax No slip was installed. This made driving on icy roads far more confidence inspiring. The tires were looking a little small, so a set of 315/75R16 Pro Comp X Terrains and 16x8 Rock Crawler wheels were ordered up. The tires bolted on with no lift or rubbing.


3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The summer of ’02 saw some hardcore wheeling. Lower Helldorado, Pritchet Canyon and Cliff hanger in Moab, the Rubicon and Fordyce in California, not to mention dozens of trails in Colorado and tens of thousands of miles of cross country driving. I also added a Rancho 3” lift with RS 9000 shocks. The stock tie rod bit the dust, so a Rockstomper 1 ¾” DOM tie rod was added. The stock ECM was sent to Kenne Bell for Optimizer tuning, stepping the 360 up to around 275 hp/375 ft lb torque on 91 octane.

The spring of ’03 saw the install of an ARB air locker, which made the truck that much more capable. It also lead to the first breakage. A broken u joint, axle shaft, ball joints and knuckle on lower Helldorado also destroyed a X Terrain driving home from Moab with the tire at an angle.

Video Link from Pritchet:


The truck was repaired quickly and back on the road. While wheeling in Colorado the stock NV231HD transfer case broke but I was able to drive to shop where the RockTrac NV 241 J HD was installed. The brand new case from JB Conversions was much stronger and had a 4:1 low range but bolted in. The shop refused to build new skidplates as requested. 0.120” DOM rear shaft was built. Some hard wheelin in Montrose put the truck on its side, leaving a dent.

The next trip was to Carnage at Buena Vista. The full body truck got a few dents and the shaft developed an interesting smiley shape. The shaft was re-tubed with ¼” wall tube, (as was originally requested) and plans to reduce the body began.

Christmas ’03 saw the truck at Evolution Machine in Calgary building cage work and the flat bed. We also updated some skidplates, and built a new rear bumper.

5” Skyjacker control arms were added and 37” Krawlers on stock wheels. The truck did Independence near Penrose, and then did Ultimate Adventure 2004 with Petersen’s 4 wheel and off-road magazine. This trip saw three broken axleshafts and u joints, and the truck drove from St-Louis to Chicago, to northern Minnesota to Wyoming. Fortunately all the spare parts were brought along, so the truck was in full operating condition the whole trip.


3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That summer saw a trip to Die Trying in Montrose and a broken transmission housing, along with broken axle shafts.

Some repairs and the Dodge was back on the road, with plenty of dents to show off. With 110 000 clicks on the clock, it became obvious that a second rig may be good, so a tow rig/daily driver was added.

2005 spring I got selected for the Ultimate adventure again and the transformation to bigger began. A ’01 Dana 60 and ’98 Dana 70 was sourced, with 5.13 gears, ARB locker front and Detroit rear. I updated the rear brakes to discs using Chevy and Ford parts. New fabtech shocks were added. An electric line lock was added as were custom lower control arms fabbed from ¼” wall DOM and polyurethane bushings. The truck returned to stock steering and diff covers since Crane did not have Dana 60 ones available and the rockstomper tie rod did not clear the D60. The XD 9000 winch was swapped for Warn’s new XP 9.5. Wheels from an ’04 SRW Dodge 3500 were used.

Ultimate Adventure 2005 saw some minor dents, including to the diff cover, damaged LCA bushings, some bent steering parts and torn valve stems. The only repairs on the trail were replacing the valve stems.

The next tough trail we did was Carnage Gulch at Buena Vista, which resulted in a broken Dana 70 shaft. The nice thing was the full floater only too a few minutes to change the shaft.

In Moab that fall I lost anther valve stem and had several blown beads, vowing to get new wheels once I sold my half ton axles.

Over the winter I installed steering from a ’98 HD Dodge, which was a far superior design.

I also added 4 point racing harnesses,

7” Skyjacker lift springs and Nitro front shocks.

In order to avoid drive shaft bind, PSC limiting straps were used.

In March we did a snow run with Superlift TV and were on two episodes:


3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
While wheeling on 21 road near Grand Junction the one ton steering box broke. I got another from the junkyard but ordered a complete ******* Ram hydraulic a$$ist kit when I got back. Unfortunately it didn’t arrive until after a couple of other trips.

I sold my axles in Farmington, and wheeled there, then spent some time in Moab and a weekend in Montrose.

Die Trying saw a broken front D 60 inner, and a rear 70 shaft broken on both ends. The other 70 shaft twisted at the splines and I was only carrying one spare, so we called it quits.

Once back to Denver the hydraulic a$$ist was installed which resulted in a vast improvement in steering power, however the speed is much slower. This resulted in the best run to date through Carnage Gulch only winching once.

ThurenFab’s track bar was installed next to locate the axle better with less stress on the frame and steering box. This project required some welding but seems like a good design utilizing a Rubicon Express upper joint.

I also installed a set of Timbren Aeon springs in replacement for the front bumpstops, in order to improve handling and pace through rough roads.


3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Next on the list will be another set of lower control arms, adjustable in length, using Evolutions spherical ball joints.

Some new skidplates are on their way:

A Crane front diff cover will also be added. In the distant future, 39” or 40”s, beadlocks, relocated fuel tank and updated bedwork are on the to do list.

I’m also training a new co-driver:


17,297 Posts
Excellent evolution. Thanks for posting. I think it's important for people to see the gradual evolution and progression to bigger and better things since most of us don't have the cash to plop down all at once for a great wheeling rig. Great stuff!

109 Posts
Thanks for the write up.:smokin: This truck has definitely been my hero. Definitely following the "Keep It Simple Stupid" approach.:D I busted my knuckle, axle, u-joint and ball joint also, that's what started my rebuilding.:barf:

4,138 Posts
I am proud to say that I remember the truck from when it was first on 35's, and have followed the evolution the entire way. Your sig was "No, its my wheeling rig, not my tow vehicle" was in your sig back then, too.

3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the compliments.. I wasn't sure if post build up thread was a good idea, especially since I didn't have many "work in progress photos".

American said:
I am proud to say that I remember the truck from when it was first on 35's, and have followed the evolution the entire way. Your sig was "No, its my wheeling rig, not my tow vehicle" was in your sig back then, too.
Seems like everyone had a Toy or Jeep back then, now everyone has a Zuk or a buggy, and a Dodge pickup is considered a tow rig.

Mine has been on some pretty fun trails:

- Rubicon

- Fordyce

- Pritchet Canyon
- Lower Helldorado
- Lower and Middle Proving Grounds
- Pickle (when it existed)
- Rusty Nail
- Golden Spike
- Cliffhanger
- Behind The Rocks
- Metal Masher
- Steel Bender
- Strike Ravine
- Klondike Bluffs
- Kane Creek
- Moab Rim
- Hells Revenge
- a bunch of other ones

-Choke Cherry Canyon

- Rock Springs BLM area

- Indian Graves

- 21 Road
- Billings Canyon
- Die Trying
- Topless
- Calamity Canyon
- Scratch and Dent
- Cactus Ridge/Rehab
- Holy Cross City
- Independance -- Liberty and Patriot
- Iron Chest
- Minesweeper
- Carnage Gulch
- Carnage Canyon
- Chinamans Gulch
- Chinawall
- Saran Wrap
- Left Hand Canyon
- Spring Creek
- Bill Moore Lake
- Slaughterhouse
- Hacket and Long Water
- Redcone, Webster, Radical Hill, Georgia Pass
- Twin Cone
- Grizzly Lake
- Mt Antero
- Blanca

- (park in the SW, can't remember the name)

- Rockport
- The Cliffs

- Iron Range Park

- Apple Valley Farms

-Outlaw Off Road Adventure Park

- Green acres
- Poteau

More pictures and videos:

3,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
American said:
maybe it would have been a better idea to get a new stock style cover and have somebody reinforce the bottom half...?
Well the root of the problem is still there. The head of the bolt would hit the diff. I think I am more comfortable with the solid contact of the cover and the brakcet. Beating on the track bar bolt will probably snap it off.

I think either moving the diff right or cutting off the bracket and building a new one are the best options. A stock cover combined with this might work. My stock cover saw a ton of abuse and never damaged anything behind it.
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