Stopping vehicle's shake, rattle and roll

Jan. 1, 2020
While Dodge Ram pickups have their merits for both work and play, earlier models sometimes have a problem with steering stability, which can get sloppy and exhibit harmonic shaking from side to side. This problem occurs on a straight-axle suspension

Gaining steadier steering for today's Dodge Ram pickups.

Custom Bay steering box stabilizer adjustable track rod Dodge Ram BD Diesel specialty parts vehicle accessories While Dodge Ram pickups have their merits for both work and play, earlier models sometimes have a problem with steering stability, which can get sloppy and exhibit harmonic shaking from side to side. This problem occurs on a straight-axle suspension (both 2WD and 4WD, either gas or diesel) when the front wheels have been unloaded while towing a heavy trailer, or during sudden changes in speed because of braking or accelerating. It also can be worsened by larger tires or lifting the suspension.
The cause is fairly simple: flexing or deflection where the steering box mounts on the frame. When the box moves, steering inputs don't accurately control the vehicle's direction. But handling woes can be fixed fairly simply as well.
To compensate, BD Diesel came up with a couple of bolt-on corrections, a Steering Box Stabilizer (SBS) and an Adjustable Track Rod. Both can be installed in less than half a day. Consisting basically of a sturdy box beam, the SBS braces the frame rails together transversely using the stock front sway bar mounting points. A steel plate surrounds the sector shaft, secured by longer nut riding in a heavy-duty bearing assembly.
As for the Adjustable Track Rod, it's double coated and made from rigid 1 ⅜-inch, thick-wall tubing. The welded collars have heavy-duty Poly bushings. Designed as a complement to BD Diesel's SBS, it is adjustable to accommodate up to 4-inch lifts.
What your customers will appreciate are the before and after differences in the handling of their trucks, as aptly illustrated by my personal experiences on the road. Immediately before the planned upgrade, the Dodge performed poorly, wandering to either side of mountain roads, and drifting on the interstate.

Once the BD Diesel components were installed, the benefits were immediately noticeable. The truck carved through curves with precision and no wandering. Straight-line freeway driving was steady at 70 mph with one hand on the wheel. And traffic wasn't a concern, with no more wavering back and forth in my lane. Steve Temple is a freelance technical writer and photographer with more than 25 years' experience. He has served as director of sales and marketing for Shelby American and as online editor for major magazines such as Hot Rod, Car Craft and Rod & Custom.

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