In our last issue of Truckin', we visited L&G Enterprises to give the '09 Dodge Ram a cool custom paint scheme using House of Kolor pigments. The next step of the Truckin' '09 Dodge Ram project was to install an adjustable air suspension for the ultimate in looks and improved handling. Custom air suspension has been around for decades, but Ride Tech (formerly Air Ride Technologies) specializes in bolt-on applications that instantly transform your truck from dealer lot to show-circuit. For our '09 Ram, we ordered their Level 1 kit, consisting of two ShockWaves, two sleevex airbags, compressor, air tank, and high-tech Level PRO E3 system.

Ride Tech's Level PRO E3 has taken the world of pneumatic suspension leveling systems to the next level. The Level PRO E3 monitors and controls both air pressure and ride height to determine the correct level while eliminating cross loading. The precise Level PRO E3 system is maintained by four ride height sensors located at each wheel. Each ride height sensor delivers pressure readings to the electronic control unit (ECU), which interfaces with the digital control unit. The new Level PRO E3 will give us three ride-height presets. You can program ride-height on startup, which features calibration for weight changes, a setting for maximum lift, and one for slammed. To set the newly slammed '09 Ram off, we teamed up with MHT Wheels and Nitto Tires. Gorgeous 26x10-inch MHT Illusion wheels were mounted inside Nitto 305/30R26 NT420S tires and instantly gave our Ram the street cred we desired.

Before we could begin the install on our '09 Dodge Ram, we contacted The Custom Truck Shop in San Dimas, California, to handle the installation while we snapped the photos. The kit simply bolted on, and owner Louie Morosan and Luis Figueroa only had to fabricate brackets and a component sub-frame to mount the air tanks, compressors, and valves. With the new suspension in place, we quickly hit the streets and the track to test it out.

FROM THE DRIVER SEAT
The installation of the Ride Tech Ride PRO E3 Level PRO four-way system was a straightforward, bolt-on affair. We have, however, endured problems with the new e3 ECU and found its constant adjustments a bit distracting. To obtain the maximum rear drop, we removed our factory foam bumpstops and replaced them with shorter polyurethane units. Also, the dual exhaust was causing interference during maximum drop, so we cut the rear pipes off our dB Exhaust muffler and added turndowns. With the truck at maximum drop, we noticed the factory rear Panhard bar pushes the axle over to the passenger side and causes that side wheel/tire to stick out from the fender. We'll fix that with a custom piece later on.

After our initial test drive, the Ram's ride was not as compliant on the freeways, and with the heavy weight of the front end, it seems to float a little with the front ShockWave 'bags. The larger wheels and low-pro tires did effect the ride quality, but the awesome looks quickly outweigh that sacrifice. During our high-speed slalom test, the Ram performed admirably and body roll wasn't as severe as feared (though we will be adding bigger sway bars soon). With the 26-inch MHT wheels and Nitto tires, our Dodge turns heads everywhere we go, and this install proves you can have your cake and eat it too.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Time Spent Working: 12 hours
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Tools Needed:
Center punch, 3/16-, 1/4-inch drill bits, wire crimpers, assorted sockets and wrenches, Phillips and flat screwdrivers, electric test-light Sawzall, air impact gun, and (or) a plasma cutting torch.

Parts Used:
2 Front ShockWave front airbags SKW2025 $700.00 (each)
CoolRide system with rear air springs, shocks, endlinks $600.00
2 Viair 400C compressors ARC7000 $300.00 (each)
1 Ride PRO four-way solenoid valve ARV4000 $500.00
Ride PRO e3 control system CON8000 $1,100
2 five-gallon air tanks TANK5100 $120.00 (each)
Front and rear ride height sensors $500.00 (all four)
Air inflation kit AIRKIT-90 $35.00
MHT Illusion 26x10-inch wheels $1,282.00 (each)
Nitto 420S 305/30R26 tires $646 (each)

Total: $12,687.00
(prices from ridetech.com and superbuytires.com and do not include sales tax, shipping, or installation)

SOURCE
Nitto Tire
6021 Katella Avenue
Suite 250
Cypress
CA  90630
877-565-8448
http://www.nittotire.com
RideTech
350 S. St. Charles Street
Jasper
IN  47546
812-481-4787
http://www.ridetech.com
Custom Truck Shop
846 W. Cienega Avenue
San Dimas
CA  91773
909-599-2228
http://www.customtruckshop.com
MHT Luxury Wheels
12300 Industry Street
Garden Grove
CA  92841
800-493-7891
www.mhtwheels.com
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