How to Turn a Ram 1500 Into a Ram Runner (Part 2)

By Mark Williams

When last we saw our intrepid Ram Runner buildup project in Part 1, we had just replaced the entire front end of the truck in favor of the much heavier-duty components from Mopar. This final installment of the Mopar Ram Runner kit will address the rear end.

To recap: Ken Kroeker showed us how the kit (Part No. P515662, listing just over $13,000) is installed on a used 2009 Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4x4 that KORE purchased with only 10,000 miles on the odometer. The truck was a base model in good shape and came with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. It cost only $21,000 from a dealer in Las Vegas, saving the expense of buying an all-new pickup.

We’ve simplified for the purposes of this overview.

Rear Suspension Disassembly

Step 6: Remove wheels, tires, inner fenderwells, tailgate, rear bumper, and tail lights


Support the truck on jack stands. Remove the wheels and tailgate and set aside. You’ll also have to remove the bumper. Be sure to keep track of any and all of the hardware because you will be using them when reinstalling. First off, remove the wheels and inner fender well lining. Find the rear taillight wiring and disconnect, along with the support rod between the frame and bed rear quarter-panel.

Step 7: Remove bed and fuel filler


Unbolt the fuel filler neck from the rear fender. Remove the filler neck from the fender fuel filling hole in the fender. Save the hardware for reinstallation. Important: Be sure to leave the gas cap on the filler neck once the bed is removed. This will keep the fumes from escaping the tank. Next, remove the six bolts that hold your bed to the frame. Make sure you have enough people to lift and set the bed aside. As you can imagine, the bed will be heavy and awkward to carry.

Step 8: Support axle and remove shocks, coils, swaybar links and brake lines, and prep fuel tank


Using at least one floor jack to support the axle, remove the shocks, brake and ABS lines, and disconnect the upper swaybar link. You may have to use the floor jack to lift the axle to release some tension from the shocks, then have it ready again when you need to lower the axle to relax the springs for removal. Depending on how high you have your truck on jackstands, you may or may not need to disconnect the driveshaft from the rear axle if you can find a safe place to rest on the floor out of the way.

Step 9: Remove upper shock mount


With the bed and suspension parts removed and axle dropped, get your grinder (with fresh blades) ready to take off the upper shock mounts. For safety, because the fuel tank is close by, be sure to lay a series of wet rags over the top of the tank then a welder’s blanket over that (be sure to check that the fuel cap is tightly fit on the fuel filler inlet). Remove appropriate amount of mount where instructions dictate, then drill out existing OE shock mount hole with 5/8-inch drill bit.



Step 10: Prep area and weld new upper shock mount


With the factory upper shock bracket removed and appropriate frame surfaces prepped, attach the larger and stronger upper shock bracket with a 5/8-by-5-inch bolt and nut plate. Be sure that the front mount leg of the new upper shock bracket is in front of the frame hole. Tack weld the bracket in place once aligned, then fill in with full welds, alternating areas to limit metal warpage as much as possible. After cooling, give it a good sanding and painting with a durable paint.

Rear Suspension Assembly

Step 11: Install taller Fox shocks and longer coils, then reattach links and brake lines


Reposition the rear axle with the floor jack to an appropriate height, then reinstall the longer Mopar coil springs in the upper bucket and lower axle mount, and fit the heavier-duty reservoir Fox shocks into the upper and lower mounts. Be careful about overtightening the shock bolts — do not exceed 135 pounds-feet of torque. Last, install the swaybar link drop bracket and brake lines. Note: Be sure to check that the brake lines have room to move, and don’t make contact with any other parts. Extra zip ties may be necessary to keep the brake and ABS lines together.

Step 12: Reinstall bed, fuel filler, brakes, taillights


Carefully center and reinstall the bed, paying special attention to the gaps between the bed and cab. Reconnect the fuel filler neck, reinstall the taillights and their respective wiring connections, and then reattach the rear bumper and wheels, paying special attention to exact manufacturer torque specs. Also, we would suggest that all nuts and bolts be rechecked after 100 miles, then again after 1,000 miles.

It is also recommended, as noted in the earlier story, that once the installation is complete, take it immediately to the appropriate shop and have a full front-end alignment and tire balancing done. (Note: When you have the truck aligned, have an alignment professional loosen all four lower control arm bolts all the way. Then align truck. The lower control arm bushings are designed to twist and must be set in a neutral state from the static position. A precise alignment, including the centering of the steering wheel, is required for the vehicle’s Electronic Stability Program to function properly. A laser alignment is highly recommended.)

To see the final results and full-speed desert-running results of this buildup, read our full off-road test review here.

For more info, feel free to contact Mopar’s Direct Connection Hotline at 888-528-HEMI (4364) or go to



Awesome build. Now Ram, or the dealerships, need to offer this as a turn-key pickup option. More people would be inclined to buy a pickup that is ready to go right off of the lot.

Pretty slick truck. I think i'd prefer it as a regular cab though.

Deff. Reg Cab too!

I can't wait to see a heads up shootout with the Raptor.
Hey - bring along a PowerWagon and a few Taco's for desert;)


Nice truck, even if isn't as pretty as the Raptor

What was the total cost for labor? Did I miss that part?
$13,000 (parts) + $21,000 (truck) + $XX,XXX = ?


I am interested to find out, as well.

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