by Rob Mullner, Chief Enthusiast
Photos by the Author
When you have a tremendous aftermarket catalog like JC Whitney’s’ at your fingertips it’s so much fun to shop for cool performance parts and accessories to make your vehicle unique. When we launched the build of our 2018 Adventure truck, just a few phrases guided our project. Those words were, “imposing” and “aggressive”. Starting with a 2017 RAM 1500 Hemi Crew Cab 4X4 we knew we had a perfect platform to achieve our goal. With the support of our presenting and supporting sponsors and the skill and experience of our Official Builder, OC Motorsports all of the pieces neatly into place.
Rancho Suspension 4.5” Lift and RS 7000 shocks
The plan for the Adventure 2018 truck included a lifted suspension with more ground clearance, articulation and wheel travel in conjunction with upgraded wheels and tires. Rancho Suspension was our first choice for our truck lift and since 1955 they have been constantly innovating and improving how trucks and jeeps tackle the trails and ride on the highway. We wanted a moderate lift that wouldn’t sacrifice stability or usability for sheer ground clearance and found the perfect solution in the Rancho RS66402B 4.5” lift kit and matching RS7810 front and RS7369 rear shock absorbers. Based on our previous experiences with Rancho Suspensions we were excited about transforming the Adventure 2018 truck and hurried to OC Motorsports to begin the process.
Daniel volunteered to take on the task and had the RAM 1500 on the rack to survey the installation while I staged the Rancho boxes and prepared the major components. As usual, Rancho packaging is top notch and each piece of the lift kit down to the hardware was bagged, tagged and otherwise easy find.
With the big pieces ready Daniel got to work, starting at the front axle, he removed the calipers, brake rotors and hubs to access the ball joints and tie rod ends to separate the uprights from the suspension. The upper and lower control arms followed and then the front differential was in sight. Daniel installed the Rancho cross member and supporting brackets that align the front differential with its revised geometry and new matching knuckles. There is cutting and grinding required and a lift makes this substantial job much easier. With the front reassembled Daniel moved to the rear of the truck to finish off the rest of the lift. All of the components fit perfectly and total install time was approximately 8 hours.
Powerstop Z36 Truck & Tow Brake Kit
Another brand that always performs well on JC Whitney project jeeps and trucks is Powerstop. Their kits are comprehensive with all of the items required for a complete brake job. We went with the Z36 Truck & Tow kits since our truck checks all the boxes-it’s lifted with larger tires, so fade-free performance is what we were looking for.
The Powerstop kit includes directional vented, cross drilled and slotted rotors with matching carbon ceramic pads. As we have come to expect from Powerstop, all of the components fit perfectly and the additional pedal feel from the upgraded brakes is very welcome on the Adventure 2018 truck as we traverse America attending jeep and truck shows.
BF Goodrich KM2 tires and Method Race Wheels Con 6
With the lift kit and shocks installed Daniel and Jose tackled the wheel and tires, removing the TPMS sensors from our stock wheels and mounting them in our new Method Race Wheels Con6 wheels and BF Goodrich KM2 Mud Terrain tires.
Both of these brands are Baja 1000 proven and we chose 37” tires and matte black wheels to echo our imposing and aggressive mantra; the wheel and tire package works well with our Rancho Suspension lift.
Go Rhino Bumpers and Sport Bar
Off road bumpers can make a huge difference in the look and functionality of any truck or jeep; on our rig we chose to install the GoRhino BR5 and BR20 matching bumpers. These bumpers are well crafted and have unique features that make them the right solution for the Adventure truck. We appreciate the clean lines of the GoRhino bumpers as well as the covered winch tray and recessed pockets for additional lighting.
To further customize our RAM we asked Jim at Pace Punches to waterjet the JC Whitney and OC Motorsports logos front and rear.
The GoRhino Sport Bar adds another visual element that we think suits our RAM very well. The Sport Bar offers a number of ways to add auxiliary lighting and we are evaluating the type and quantity of lights we will install in the near future.
AirLift LoadLifter 5000 and Wireless Air System
We are big fans of hauling and towing and our Ford F-250 rig pulls the JC Whitney trailer all over the country safely with AirLift and we decided to fit their latest system on the Adventure 2018 truck to maximize its capabilities and enhance its stability regardless of the loads it may haul in the future. With its automatic and custom settings, the AirLift Wireless Air system offers easy leveling at the press of the remote button. Jose at OC Motorsports assembled the air bag assemblies and then installed the compressor and control module on the frame rail and ran the provided wiring harness to power the system and routed the air lines to the bags and fired up the system.
Edge Jammer Intake, Pulsar Programmer, DiabloSport Trinity2 Monitor and Hooker Blackheart Exhaust
Having a Hemi under the hood is wonderful; the 5.7L motor is responsive and propels the Adventure 2018 truck down the road with a commanding roar. Of course, we wanted more! More horsepower, more torque, more throttle response, and if possible more MPG. With the help of the Holley Group and its Edge, Superchips, DiabloSport and Hooker brands we have bolted on more of the things we wished for. Starting with the intake, we replaced the restrictive stock air box with an Edge Jammer intake that increases flow, horsepower and torque and makes a wonderful sound under load. The install was very easy and the results were immediately noticeable. Edge also provided their new Pulsar programmer that “piggy backs” onto the ECU to offer tuning abilities with 8 customizable power levels available directly from the steering wheel. Moving inside the cab we connected the DiabloSport Trinity2 monitor to the OBD-II port and followed the set up process to produce a gauge set unique to our truck. The Hooker Blackheart exhaust will be installed soon and we will share before and after sounds clips as soon as possible.
EGR USA Fender Flares, Hood Shield and Window Visors
To make our truck look unique we installed EGR’s matching matte black fender flares, hood shield and window visors. EGR quality is very high and each piece, crafted in Ontario, CA fit our Adventure 2018 truck perfectly-no cutting or drilling was required.
The front and rear flares give our truck a “finished look” and enhance the broad shouldered stance of our RAM. With the long distance driving we are doing to attend shows from Moab to Ocean City, Maryland we want to protect the leading edge of our hood so a ERG hood shield was fitted to deflect rocks, bugs, etc. from our RAM. Finishing off the EGR trifecta we added EGR’s in-channel window visors to let fresh air in with a minimum amount of noise and buffeting.
Covercraft Carhartt Seat Covers
Protecting our seats from dirt and harmful UV rays are just one reason to install Covercraft Carhartt seat covers, the other reason is that the Carhartt material is tough as nails and looks great in our truck! Covercraft creates a seat cover kit that’s easy to install for all of the various seating configurations that are available in all of the popular truck and jeep applications. To get the best fit, we took our time and lined up the seams and connecting straps and buckles to follow the contours of the seats for a “factory” look.
Mile Marker Winch
We have had great experiences with Mile Marker winches, the units we have previously installed on JC Whitney jeeps and trucks have performed flawlessly and we chose to install their SEC1200 electric winch with a 12,000 lb. pull rating and synthetic lead. With the winch installed inside the GoRhino bumper we chose to locate the control box under the hood to make access to the wired remote port easier.
LoMax Tri-Fold Tonneau
To complete the look and functional style of our Adventure 2018 truck we required a low profile, folding bed cover that would integrate with our GoRhino Sport Bar. We found the right solution with the LoMax tri-fold cover. Installation was easy and the locating rails and clamps were in place in less than 20 minutes. With the cover locked into place we were very pleased with the fit and finish of the LoMax tonneau.