Project Dodge Ram Mega Cab: KORE HP Leveling Kit

Sep. 09, 2010 By Jaime Hernandez
Project Dodge Ram Mega Cab Diesel

The third-generation Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500/3500 is highly coveted for being one of the last full-size 4x4 trucks to still use a solid axle front end.  The load carrying capacity and off-road reliability of the solid axle has been proven time and time again. 

With other companies like GM and Toyota going to IFS in order to achieve a smoother ride, Chrysler has spent a lot of time developing ways to improve their heavy-duty truck’s ride by incorporating coil suspension into their trucks starting with the second-generation Dodge Ram 2500/3500 4x4.

The Dodge Ram 2500/3500 3rd Gen. front suspension consists of coil springs, shocks and upper and lower control arms on each side. This design is an improvement from the earlier leaf spring suspension found on pre-1998 Dodge trucks.

Although our Project Dodge Ram Mega Cab diesel truck rides decent for a Heavy Duty Dodge truck, it was a little rough and unstable for our taste.  There is definitely room for improvement.

We spent a month doing research on Dodge Ram Heavy Duty suspension and found the perfect solution to level the front end--the KORE Performance.

KORE Performance has been in the off-road industry for over a decade, building some of the best Dodge Ram suspension kits on the planet.  They have a full race program and race what they build in both SCORE and BITD.  President and founder Kent Kroeker knows off-road, he understands suspension, and best of all, he tailors it for different users (racers, weekend warriors, tow rigs).

Not everyone is going to bomb their Dodge Ram in Baja at over 100 mph, but it’s nice to know KORE Performance has the technology to get your there.  Read more about the Ram Runner we spotted earlier this year at Moab, UT built by KORE Performance and MOPAR (Photo Josh Burns).

Read more about the Ram Runner we spotted earlier this year at Moab, UT built by KORE Performance and MOPAR

Although flying on dirt and soaking up nasty whoops sounds like fun, we had to control our urges and be more realistic about our needs. We have a truck that will be primarily used for transporting us to the trail, towing and yes … off-roading.

We opted to get the KORE HP Series Suspension System because it is designed to improve the ride, handling and give enough room to fit 35-inch tires (37s with some fender cutting or fiberglass fenders).  The KORE HP Series front coils will give your Dodge Ram diesel up to 3 inches of lift.  They say “up to 3 inches” because not all Dodge Ram trucks are built the same.  For example, our Mega Cab weighed more than a short-bed Crew Cab with a Hemi.

KORE HP Series (Photo courtesy of KORE Performance)

We also picked the KORE HP Series because it doesn’t jack the truck way up in the air—making it a poor tow rig.  KORE Performance tries to find a happy medium between off-road performance, drivability and a low center of gravity (COG).

For those of you on a budget or that like building your trucks in stages, KORE Performance offers separate components for their full suspension kits.  You can buy the front leveling kit, then later add rear leafs, a steering damper, shocks and other trick KORE Performance suspension parts to your Dodge Ram.

For Part I of our KORE Dodge Suspension build we will be focusing on the front leveling kit portion of the kit. This can also be purchased separately as the KORE HP Series Leveling kit for 1998–2010 Dodge Ram 2500/3500 4x4.

KORE HP Series Leveling Kit

The KORE Performance HP Leveling Kit uses Variable Rate (VR) coils that deliver a progressive suspension ride. It starts soft with the first few inches of compression, and then gets stiffer as it reaches full compression. This is a completely different approach from the factory coil that is linear. The factory coil tends to be hard the entire cycle.

The KORE HP Series leveling kit uses Bilstein Shock Absorbers to add travel and control.  The construction and patented design of the Bilstein 5100 Series mono-tube gas pressured shock is far superior to the twin-tube shocks found on your OE suspension.

Unlike other shocks, the Bilstein 5100 Series is specifically designed for your lifted Dodge Ram Heavy Duty truck.  The shock is longer and tuned to work with the KORE VR coil springs.

We got some help from our friends at Off Road Warehouse (ORW) in Temecula, CA.  Kevin, Aaron and the crew were ready to tackle our project. 

Off Road Warehouse is one of the largest off-road retailers in San Diego County, with their newest location in Temecula, CA.  They carry everything for 4x4, Jeep, pre-runner and race applications.

Off-Road Warehouse in Temecula, CA. ORW's new store had a loaded showroom.

They also have an amazing showroom. Their techs are top notch, with experience working on anything from Jeeps to Rhinos.

Brian Carta, the shop foreman, took care of our Dodge Ram suspension install.  His shop at the ORW in Temecula was clean and professional, with several bays, lifts, the latest in suspension alignment equipment and tools.

Brian Carta from ORW measuring the height of our Dodge Ram Turbo Diesel 2500 before installing the KORE HP Series Leveling System.  It measured 39 ¾ inches with 285/75R17 BFG All-Terrain tires.

Before starting anything, it is recommended that you read the instructions for KORE HP Series leveling kit.  If you don’t have the right tools or experience installing this kit, seek professional assistance—like we did from ORW.

Make sure all the parts are there:

2 - Bilstein 5100 Series shock with stem mount (6681)
2 - KORE VR Coils
2 - Billet Drop Blocks
4 - Billet Drop Block bolts
4 - Billet Drop Block washers

Tools needed to get the job done are jack stands, a floor jack, metric and standard sockets, wrenches, gloves, eye protection and … patience.

If you have access to a car lift, this works much better. 

Brian takes out the factory Dodge Ram diesel springs and twin-tube shocks.

Brian has worked on many off-road vehicles in his life, and one of the things he pointed out about the Dodge Ram 2500/3500 is how difficult it is to get the lower shock bolt out.  The top is easily accessible through the engine compartment, but the bottom can be a pain.

When installing your front coils, make sure the KORE VR coil marked “Passenger” is used on the passenger side.

Installing the passenger side coil will be more difficult than the driver side because of the drag link.  Having an extra set of hands is helpful.  Lenny works the Bilstein 5100 shock and KORE VR coil in place while Brian lowers the axle.

Once the new Bilstein 5100 Series shocks and KORE VR coils are in place, it is recommended to use blue Loctite and to tighten each nut and bolt back to factory spec using a torque wrench.

These KORE Variable Rate Coils will surpass those of the Dodge Power Wagon and allow up to 11 inches of travel.  They also will provide up to 3 inches of lift--plenty of room for 35-inch tires.

The KORE HP Series front leveling kit comes with Baja proven billet drop-down blocks that re-align the geometry of your torsion bar after adding 2.5 to 3 inches of lift.

After completing the installation of your KORE HP Series leveling kit, it is recommended that a front alignment be done.

Overall, the installation went smooth, all the parts fit and nothing was missing.  Brian had the front installed in less than two hours.


Dodge Mega Cab with KORE HP Series Leveling Kit

The KORE HP Leveling kit for the Dodge Ram third-generation diesel 4x4 truck is awesome! In my opinion, it rides better than a Power Wagon. It completely changed the handling and gave it an aggressive stance. 

The truck rides much smoother on the road and freeway.  It handles great on windy mountain roads, much more like a sports truck.  No more rolling.

It has also improved off-road driving.  The extra travel up front lets us drive faster while keeping control.  No more bottoming or topping out. The added height and articulation is a dream come true for this rig.

Next is getting rid of that springboard suspension in the rear. Our baby is losing her teeth before she even got them and our diesel tank is like a martini shaker. 

KORE has an App for that—the Recon rear.

Stay tuned for Part II of our Dodge Ram Mega Cab diesel suspension build.


KORE Performance
P.O. BOX 2628
Valley Center CA 92082
(760) 855-1219

Bilstein Shock Absorbers
14102 Stowe Drive
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 386-5900

Off Road Warehouse
26901 Jefferson Ave. Ste 101
Murrieta, CA 92562-9182
(951) 326-2880 Newsletter
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