Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Carli Suspension Control Arm Joint Replacement / Rebuild

As many of us are dedicated offroad enthusiast, our trucks may change over the years but our desire doesn't wain.  Once we've found a great setup, it's hard to leave that setup because of a new platform.  Third and Forth Gen Dodge 2500/3500's have stayed pretty consistent over the past decade but there have been some small changes and upgrades along the way.  This can make transferring over your suspension from your old truck to new truck a little more labor intensive than simply unbolting and rebolting.  One area where this is most notable is in the lower control arms.

With 4th gen Dodges, the lower control arm caster bolt increased in size.  With that in mind, 3rd gen Carli Suspension Control Arms won't fit!  Luckily, Carli Suspension offers johnny joint upgrade kits for converting your 3rd gen arms to 4th gens.  Below you'll find the process for changing out the joints.  This exact same process applies if you want to rebuild or recondition your arms after a few hard years of mobbing and hucking the truck.

Let's dive in!

We're using a new set of arms here but the process works all the same.  Pictured you'll see the control arms and 2 new johnny joints.  Third gen trucks have a bolt that is 14mm while the 4th gen trucks use a 16mm bolt.

Tools needed for the job are..
- Press (or vice)
- Large socket (we used a 1 3/16th)
- Small socket extension
- Snap ring pliers
- Small flat head screwdriver
- Grease gun loaded with Redline CV-2 Grease (available through Carli or Strapt Performance )

The joint that needs replacing will be the axle side.  This will be the end that has the 90 degree zerk fitting on it.  Take your tools and one control arm over to the press.

Place the axle side joint under the press with the arbor plates positioned to let the joint sit between the plates but hold the control arm on the plates.  You want the snap ring side to face upward.  Put the socket over the joint so that it covers the joint but doesn't interfere with the snap ring.

Put pressure on the silver washer so that it lightly compresses the joint in order to take some pressure off of the snap ring for easy removal.

Remove the snap ring.

Once the snap ring is removed, remove the control arm from the press and flip around.  The silver washer should fall out with the rest of the joint staying in place.

Adjust the arbor plates as needed so that only the joint housing is resting on them while leaving room for the joint ball and bushing to be pressed through.  Place the control arm with the snap ring side down and place the socket overtop of the joint, being sure that it is not hitting the joint and resting only on the silver washer.

Press everything out!

Here is what the joint assembly consists of.

At this point, take your new johnny joint and put on a layer of Redline CV-2 grease.  Now is also a good time to clean off any old grease and debris and lube everything up.  Once done, put on both bushing sides and make sure that they are properly aligned.  In the photo below, you can see how the bushings are positioned and only lay flush against each other one way.  The photo shows them slightly separated to give better definition to the alignment of the bushing halves. 

With your control arm in hand, put the snap ring side facing up and drop a silver washer.  Set the bushing/joint assembly on top of the control arm and place the other silver washer on top.  It will not fall into place and will need to be pressed in with the socket.  PAY CLOSE ATTENTION while pressing in the joint to make sure it goes in square or this can damage the bushings!!

After the assembly is pressed in, check to make sure everything is square and in good shape.  Add a little more pressure to the press so that the silver washer goes just slightly below the snap ring groove.  Insert the snap ring and take the control arm out of the press.

Tada!  You've now successfully changed our and serviced your control arm.  Be sure to top off your control arm with more grease.  If you greased before, a couple pumps should be sufficient but be sure not to over grease as this can do more damage than good.

To do one joint, it takes about 10-15 minutes depending on your skill and tools so if you're doing all of your joints, give yourself a few hours, especially if the arms are still on the truck.

As always, we at Strapt Performance have a passion for Carli and Dodge suspension.  We're here to help and hopefully this write-up can guide you along with the maintenance of your wicked awesome control arms!  If this is something that you're unsure about or would rather have us do it, give us a call and we would be more than happy to assist.

Cheers and happy mobbing!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Introducing Baja Designs!

We all know that LED lighting is all the craze right now.  Problem is that most of you have never seen them in person.  We now have our new Baja Designs display here at the shop so that you can take a look at them in person and even compare them to your current lighting setup!  So come one, come all down to Strapt Performance to take a look at the Baja Designs Stealth, Squadron and Stryker and start turning night into day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fred's 2012 Dodge Megacab and Carli Suspension Pin Top 2.5 System

Fred’s 2012 Dodge Ram Megacab with all the bells and whistles.

Fred Williams of Phoenix AZ approached STRAPT Performance with the same issue most people have when owning a Heavy Duty truck. " How do I make my 8,000lb truck ride better??" Like Fred a lot of people are getting tired of getting beat up from the day to day to commute caused by terrible road conditions and poor suspension engineering. The fix for the most part is simple, but usually the training process can be over whelming. Fred wanted to learn what could be possible with a engineered system that was tuned for his truck. Luckily for us Fred had an open mind for what we were about to tell him. Everything he knew about a Heavy Duty suspension was getting tossed out the window. It wasn't long after that Fred learned that there are "Suspension Systems" and there is "Lift kits". From previous experiences Fred knew that a lift kit did only one thing, and that was to clear big tires. For most people a "Lift Kit" serves a great purpose. May it be a set of rims and tires they want to clear or just have the lifted look, it suites their needs. However.... Most of those people will agree that they would love for it to drive smoother on the road... 

Enter the engineered suspension world of Carli suspension. Years and years of testing have gone into making the Heavy Duty truck handle like a slot car while advancing the over all smoothness of your old Grandmas Cadillac, you know the cars I'm talking about. Every grand parent had some sort of big car that you could fit 10 people in and still hit a speed bump doing 60.

Back to the story about Fred....

One of the nice things about us at STRAPT Performance  is we have the trucks on hand to give people a real world experience of what a "Tuned Truck" can be capable of. After about an hour of walking around a truck a decided to cut the chase and take Fred for a ride. This is where my job gets fun...

Like every ride along I do I always make the initial as boring as can be. I get people to start thinking that this is nothing more then a "Lifted Truck". I usually start talking about personal things and getting an over all feel for who our potential customer could be. Then after about 5 miles I typically ask them what they think. It's usually the same response. "Ah yeah the truck drives nice I can feel a difference". Deep down I know they are still unsure of what to think, then right about there is when I hit our little Urban Hot Lap. I usually find something that gets just the right response out of them, just enough for them to clinch the grab handle. Once I hit something that puts a perspective on things they are hooked. In Fred's case this was no different.

Fred just got done taking a hot lap in a truck that was equipped with a Carli Pintop 2.5 system . Like most people he was speechless…After we parked he just starred at the truck trying to figure out how this is even possible? I told him it's all in the balance of finding the right spring to weight ratio and having a very well engineered shock. This was start of a great relationship...

 So as we talked more with Fred we wanted him to learn about the different shock packages that Carli offers and additional upgrade features like Carli extended control arms and full replacement leaf springs. After careful decision making he was set on the King 2.5 Pintop System with Sage Carli's ultra plush valving... I wonder why?? A couple weeks later the plan to have STRAPT Performance build his version of a “street driving couch” was in motion.

Fred brought us his beautiful 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 Megacab Laramie with only 4,000 miles on it - this truck was amazing. It had features that I didn't even know it was possible to put in a truck, I'm talking fans in the seats, a/c in the steering wheel,  mirrors that did all sorts of fancy things when you turned the truck on. I mean this things had it all...

What a perfect candidate!

This was how it arrived to STRAPT Performance. Very bland. Almost looks like a neutered dog. Not a bad looking truck but there was much that needed to be done. (Just a side note, the stock Laramie wheels were sold off and these were tossed on as temporary tires).

Now lets get dirty…

After removing the OEM suspension it was time to give this truck its promised overhaul.

Here is the Carli valved King shocks in all their glory. These have a specially designed piston developed by Carli to achieve maximum road comfort and great off road characteristics. Getting a Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500 to ride as soft as a Baja Perunner doesn't get much better then this.

Fred had his eyes on a set of MHT Fuel wheels called the Krank. He first selected a set of 20" rims but after educating him on the overall ride qualities he is about to achieve with his new kit it was then decided to not sacrifice to much and go with an 18" rim. It proved to be a much better choice.
Here is the wheel right out of the box.

The spec’s of this rim measured in at an 18x9 with 5.75” +18mm offset. This is a great size when stepping into a 3” suspension system. as it provides plenty of tire to fender clearance and tire to control arm clearance.

After a day of working hard on the truck and installing the Carli Full Leaf Spring Pack it was time to weld on the limit straps. The Carli limit straps are a must with this shock package because there is not an internal stop built in. This means if the axle were to reach maximum droop the shocks would be the only thing to stop it. Not good!

This was pretty much the final step. After a little bit of road testing to make sure everything was tight it was off to do some “Urban” off roading..

As expected the truck drove like a pillow. It was very smooth on wash board roads and very responsive when the driver gave the truck input…

I’d say the final product looks good but has the qualities you'd expect of a sleeper. From a distance the truck looks just like any old truck with a leveling kit and some 35s. Obviously that is far from what this truck is about… It truly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Click below to see the truck in action. A little before and after eye candy to compare.

Article by Chuck Daniels

STRAPT Performance - Carli 6" Dominator chasing down a Carli Performance 2.5 Twin Turbo Megacab

The STRAPT shop truck suspended by a Carli 6" Dominator Long Travel Leaf system chasing Baja Joe's Twin Turbo Megacab with Carli Suspension Performance 2.5 System and Full Leaf Pack. Rocky Point Mexico has some under developed roads that are perfect for a well engineered Carli Suspension system. The low road is hard packed 'caliche' which rides like a pot hole plagued farm road. The high road is mostly sand and whoops so it is fairly soft making it easy to smash through with the 3.0 King Shocks.
STRAPT Performance builds quality Super Trucks and supplies the best engineered components to keep your trucks geometry in line for all types of suspension applications. From superior performing Starter Systems to insane performance Carli Dominator suspension systems we have you covered. Call STRAPT @ 602.773.6668 to find out what we can do for your daily driver.