As you know, we have been building up a 2011 RAM for quite some time now. With that being said, next up in line is a set of wheels and tires that separates it from the others and a suspension system that allows us to run that larger, wider wheelset. So, who made the cut? Sinister Diesel offers a top of the line leveling kit combo with Bilstein shocks and this is exactly what we needed.
Prior to this project, the truck ran 20-inch by 12-inch wheels that had issues with rubbing. With the help of Sinister Diesel, we’re going to upgrade to their latest suspension leveling kit and four new Bilstein shock absorbers allowing us to run whatever we want without any trimming of the inner fenders. Whatever we want, hmm?
So, what exactly are we using? Our friends over at The Wheel Group hooked it up. They dropped off a set of 22-inch by 12-inch Cali Off-Road wheels. Cali has been into the wheel game for quite some time but these aren’t just another set of Cali’s. This is a set of the all-new Sevenfold’s and they look amazing. Going away from the black and machined look, we opted out for a set of polished aluminum and my goodness do they shine.
Cali Off-Road offers many different styles of wheels including gloss black, gloss black and milled, brushed and clear coated, polished milled, gloss black, matte black, graphite, satin black and milled spokes, and last but not least, chrome. This just goes to show that Cali Off-Road has all of your sizes and color arrangements covered.
With the help of this new leveling kit we’re going to install, we can now run a larger wheel and tire. What are we wrapping these wheels with? Nexen Tire hooked it up with a set of their Roadian AT PRO tires measuring 33-inch by 12.50-inches. They were rated for low road-noise, maximum comfort, load rated for towing, and look great, too.
The Roadian tire line was new to us in the truck world. I always envisioned that Nexen was strictly a car brand but that isn’t the case. They offer many different tire options including the Roadian HP, HTX, AT Pro, MT, and MTX in sizes all the way up to a 37-inch tire. If you’re looking at tires for your whip, give these guys a gander because there is plenty to offer no matter the job.
Keeping Things Level
Leveling kits are more than just a piece that offers more wheel and tire clearance. They are visible enough that its an opportunity to have a little bling, too. The Sinister Diesel kit for the Dodge Ram trucks we are using comes with four trusted Bilstein 5100 Series shock absorbers and two leveling spacers with a tough billet aluminum construction.
All of the spacers are a CNC machined product designed out of billet aluminum that is durable and guarantees you a long safe ride. Both billet coil spacers come with all of the needed hardware for the installation. Also, the four shocks come with the necessary hardware to install them too.
Installing the leveling kit is a pretty simple task. Unfortunately for us, it’s been a long while since these items have been broken loose which gave us some trouble. At the end of the day, it really wasn’t that bad.
After lifting the front of the truck into the air, you can secure the truck using two jack stands unless you’re wanting to do one side at a time. With the truck secured in the air, the tires can be removed. With the tires removed, you can then break loose the shock absorbers and the towers they strap to. With the shocks and towers lose, they are ready for removal.
Once you’ve made it here, it is best to lower the suspension away from the frame freeing up the coil spring giving you access to the rubber spacer. You can replace the rubber spacer and the original spacer and install the new Sinister pieces. With the new pieces in place, it’s only a matter of tightening the hardware holding the coil and spacer in place.
With the leveling kit on, it was time to reinstall our new wheels and tires. After strapping these puppies on we can instantaneously tell a difference in ride height giving us hope that these wheels and tires wouldn’t rub. Sure enough, they clear. Let’s take it out for a rip. Not only does this truck sit up high enough to clear these wheels and tires, but it also rides like a dream with the Nexen Tire and Bilstein shock combo. This truck is a different animal.
All that is left now is to hit the road loaded down with a trailer behind us and really have the whole package. With this leveling kit and new wheels and tires, this concludes our vision for “The Ultimate Tow Rig”. When this project started, we set out to get with the best of companies and build a truck that could tow a big, loaded trailer safely, get great fuel mileage loaded across the country, sustain safe operating temperatures in tow, and look great doing it.
Sure enough, after a few months of wrenching, here we are. This truck makes stupid power thanks to the custom EFILive tuning from Firepunk Diesel, makes effortless torque with the BD Diesel Performance Screamer manifold turbo and Pusher Intakes High-Mount Compound Kit, and every fluid is as good as it gets with Hot Shot’s Secret to the rim on every tank. All we needed was a set of wheels and tires and the suspension to boot and this is what we’ve created.
If you’re looking at upgrading to a larger set of wheels and tires and know you’re going to need a level to clear, stop at the Sinister Diesel website. They make it so easy to get a level/shock combo to your door in just a few days and the parts are quality. For a competitive price, you can run big tires without rubbing, look better, and save money too. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for upcoming projects in the near future. What are some projects we should try? Let us know in the comments below.