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Old 08-06-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
Okiespaniels
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Default My Ram's story/build thread.

Y'know folks, every story has a starting point, and my rams story is no different. But after 11 years, I don't think of my truck in a "build up" mentality, rather a series of stops and starts where mods or repairs were done and then enjoyed. Then redone, repainted or added too, enjoyed, done....etc.

This thread will be different. It will go backward to the beginning, and document the middle period of experimentation, adaptation and soul searching. Then it will document the latest progress and the constant battle between chaos and order and form vs function. If you're not into street philosophy then think of it as the Triple Crown winner who wants to work like a Clydesdale or vice versa.

So, back in the summer of 2001 I found myself in Mesa Arizona, divorced, angry, and alone, not always by choice. I had worked my way out of the hole of debt from my marrage by working two jobs and had some disposable cash. My '78 Ramcharger would not pass the stringent Arizona smog tests because the smog stuff had been gone for years, and I thought I needed a reward, and an escape from the stress of big city life. The desert beckoned and I harkened to her siren song. Y'all know about the sirens from Jason and the Argonauts right?

I found this truck in the back lot of a place called Trucks R' Us in Mesa. The back lot as you know is not the place where the cool lifted trucks hang out. But the price was right, they took my Ramcharger, and it was my birthday. Plus this truck had the right stuff for off roading. Vinyl flooring (no hard to maintain carpet) base interior, Trailer package with HD cooling, bedliner (to hide all the holes in the bed) and 3:55 gears, Rear LSD. and the 5.9. Also no POWER stuff. Wind up windows, manual door locks, etc. Yes it had cruise, AC and a stereo. Also the chrome rims and half worn 285/16 At's.

To me it was the perfect starting point for a work truck/weekend off road toy. So the deal was struck...

I don't have a lot of pics from that time, but one has survived the hard drive wipes and viruses. It's of my first off road foray about 20 miles outside of the East valley in the summer of 2001. The time sig says 2006, because that was a save and repost in a now defunct forum. A few days after this post some tweaker tried to steal my Ram. Hadn't made a payment on it yet! Glad he failed but he did over 600 dollars damage to the door and column. First mod..a club!




Hope you'll enjoy the ride.

Last edited by Okiespaniels; 08-06-2013 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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Time to start moving forward!

Its late fall 2001. I've joined my first two Dodge Ram forums, started posting and meeting local Ram owners who enjoyed off roading, and added a few items to my truck. There was a lot of information and excitement about the 2nd gens online, but few realized that 2001 was the swan song for the 2nd gen body style. I also joined a local club and went on some trail rides. It was that point that I started adding off road gear, mostly recovery stuff...because I tended to get stuck on occasion.



In early 2002 I went on a trail cleanup out at the west side of Table Mesa, which is North of Phoenix and lake Pleasant. After hauling several loads of trash, litter and spent brass for irresponsible shooters, I decded to play a bit. Nothing too technical, but fun none the less. I attended another cleanup a Saquaro lake that February. Flying over the whoops and around the ATV trails and hills was a blast!



By this time you can see pretty much everything I've done. In the first photo I haven't added the vent visors yet.



In addition to dressup items like bug guards and vent shields, I now have tool box, High lift, various recovery straps, tire plug kits, fire extiguisher and CB. The only engine mod is a chrome tip my store manager gave me because it was a damaged return. I learned real quick that when off roading, driving skill has more merit than horsepower. I dreamed of gears and lockers..and still do!




Y'know, most of you gotta be thnking why I didn't just pay out the bucks for a lift and tires. Well, budget issues aside (child support) most of the guys I hung wth that had lifts and tires couldn't do much more with thier trucks than I could with mine. I had to take a different line and be a judacious at times. Plus tearing up an expensive rim or tire wouldv'e been a budget breaker for me. Also, when you're out in the desert, it isn't about looks, but about your skill and your vehicles' capabilities

Last edited by ramthis9501; 08-07-2013 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:53 PM   #3
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Its back to 2001 sorry readers...December 2001! Apparently I got a Christmas bonus. I found this on an old CD dated 12/31/2001. Its my Ram outside the shops where I had 2.5 inch spacers installed with 4 new Fabtech shocks. Other than my transmission and my stereo, this is the only time I've had others wrench on my truck. I learned quicky from this point that with a bit of knowledge and maybe an extra pair of hands I could still get it done!



That winter I also went on my first snow run on the Mongollon rim, and got stuck when I slid a rear tire off a fire road. As I lay under my truck attaching a snatch strap to the front axle I quickkly realized I need 2 things... tow hooks and better tires. They woiuld be forthcoming...oh here's an after run pic with the old '91 caddy I moved to Az with. Great car...still miss it.



Financial challenges would keep me from from getting thos items untll the summer of 2002, but here's a shot of my Ram out in the west valley. Prime off roading then, tract housing and Loop 303 highway now . Its probably 110 plus degrees out here!


Last edited by ramthis9501; 08-07-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:02 PM   #4
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A few weeks after the last photo, I tore up one of my truxus tires on a powered rock climb. This would not be the first issue I would have with these tires...actually 2002 was going to be a rough year for me...after this I was backing out of my work parking lot and hooked my front bumper under a concrete light pole pylon. Needed a new chrome bumper, but had them reuse my top piece of trim even though it was damaged. A reminder to be careful. I pretty much damage this truck more on the street than off road!



Oh...never again will intercos grace my truck and 4wp...can shove it!

Where was I...ah yes 2002. I decided to move from Mesa to Phoenix to be closer to my FT job, and leave a failed after marrage relationship. Got a decent place about 2 miles from the office.
In this photo you can see that while mud isn't easy to find in the Desert, when you find it it is A.just as fun to drive through and B. smells horrid. So I'm on my way to the car wash for a quick hosing off!



I'd said earlier that 2002 would be a challenging year...and it continued. I didn't listen to my spotter while climbing a rock with a protuding ledge and SSCCCCRRRAAPPPPPPPPEEE! Always wait for your spotter!



I would make one more major off road trip through box canyon to Martinez cabin then over to the coke ovens. This is the start of the trip. It was an all day affair and incredibly beautiful and scenic. ..and now off limits to offroaders thanks to a few azz hats who vandalized the properties. It also addresses the need for the truck to have more lift...The rear leafs were laying on the overloads and the truck nearly beat me to death!



That's about all for tonight folks, I'll add a few posts tomorrow.

Last edited by Okiespaniels; 09-26-2013 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:04 PM   #5
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Great write up! I look forward to the rest!
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:55 PM   #6
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Good read!
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #7
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It's nice to see how your truck got to its current form. It is still the nicest 2nd Generation Dodge Ram I've seen running around.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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Try to get some more off road pics here, but my old jam cam at 2.1 mp isn't vey good.
Here's a shot or from the Coke oven trip...



I was following a Super Dookey and he and I made it through with our miirors folded. The pains of offroading a full sized!

Here's a pic of one of the coke ovens...It's hard to imagine that over 100 years ago this was a mining area and ore was brought from digs by mule cart, processed and shipped out the same to a railroad. Later a rialroad was built (the rusted tracks sit ready) but it was still a 3 mile journey to junction by wagon.



This where I finally decided to lift the truck. My rear springs had collapsed down to the overloads and it beat my to death!

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Old 08-07-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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This is a cool writeup! I can't see the pics though?
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:23 AM   #10
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2002 would continue to go wrong. Over the Christmas holidays my apartment would be broken into and my firearms and other items stolen. Eventually my firearms would be returned, but the sting will never leave. I began to rethink my move to Arizona.

2003... things would start to change. My friend Braden in the Silver Off road would give me his old coils and leaf packs when his 5.5 Fabtech was installed. Here's a pic of his truck. Wonder what happened to him...last time I saw him he was getting married.



2003 wiould be a busy year for me and the Ram. After another day trip up the back way to Crown King, my water pump decided to take a crap. Enter my friend Rich. The assistant manger of the Checker autoparts store I worked at, and homeowner with a shaded carport.

We replaced the waterpump, fan clutch and pulleys...



Then he helped me replace the rear leaf springs with the Off road packs. I'd installed a BDS AAL in them and chopped the overloads for more flex.
Truck now sits like my '69 Roadrunner with the air shocks pumped up. The rake has got to go!


You'll also notice the blow mold tool box with a carbon fiber version. The blowmolded version pretty much melted from the heat.

Rich's carport would serve me well that year. For Christmas the truck got some chrome differential covers, a front diff guard (which has saved the cover more than once) and a Lindstad track bar. Finally I reduced the rake just a bit by putting the Offroad front springs...

Sadly no pics exist of this...because the truck site they were on had a server meltdown and they were lost.

We roll on into 2004 next...

Last edited by ramthis9501; 08-07-2013 at 09:33 PM.
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