RamHack's 1996 Ram 2500

Nov. 01, 2005 By
1996 Ram 2500HD
488 V10
Chris Siano (aka RamHack)
As you can see, it is a 2500. In 1996, the 2500's came in two flavors, the 2500, and the 2500 HD. This is an HD model. The HD refers to Heavy Duty, and the GVWR of the vehicle is 8800 lbs, and has a larger frame. This all makes room for the driveline this truck has.

This is a mighty V-10 powered Dodge. From the factory, it is supposed to have 300 Horsepower and some 450 ft. lbs. of torque. With some minor mods, I'm sure that I'm making a little more than that. I'll try to get more info about the engine and mods in the future. Lets just say that it is a nice ride. Truck Sideview My most recent addition to the truck have been the Weld Racing "Roadhawk" rims and B.F. Goodrich All Terrain Tires you see to the right. Those tires are size 295/75R-16, or just under 34" tall. This is the largest tire you can mount on a 2500 with no suspention or fender mods. In fact, mine do rub a little as it is. I'll add more about this in the future as I get pictures to tell the story.

Before the BFGoodrich tires I had Dunlop Radial Rover RV's in a size of 255/85R-16. I was very happy with this tire as well. It fits the factory rims, and has no problem fitting in the Ram's wheel wells. You could add chains to these tires if you needed, and they just look the right size. Traction was never a real problem as the All Terrain tread did a great job. My reason for changing tires was more to increase size, and to get rid of the factory rims.

The factory rims on the Dodge Ram are a known problem. Most are not manufactured straight, and induce vibration in the truck. Replacing the rims has made the ride much smoother. Well, the TrailMaster SSV shocks helped a lot as well.

On the front of the truck is a Grizzly Grille Guard and two Hella 4000 European beam driving lights. These lights allow total illumination of the highway at night, and make long drives to remote areas of New Hampshire and Maine on late Friday Nights much more pleasant. An added bonus to these lights is the second bulb in the housing that make the lights 'glow'. I've hooked these to the parking lights and it adds a unique feature to the front end in fog, rain, or other low visibility situations. Like Daytime Running Lights, but the large reflectors of the Hellas make for a more noticable glow. A better view of the Hella lamps is available here. Terrain My use of the Dodge is mainly street driving, but I have some special requirements that make the Ram a perfect vehicle for me.

The picture to the left shows me as I'm about to climb the hill near my place in New Hampshire. The lower slope of the hill can be seen in the photo, but not the fact that the hill is hardly wider than the Ram, that it curves halfway up, the entire left side is a cliff face, and the right is a drop off. Oh, and the hill gets steeper near the top as well. While bare in the photo, it is not uncommon to be driving up and down a snowpacked surface most of the winter. The 4WD and power of the Ram make this an easy drive. More than once, vehicles have lived the winter stranded at the bottom. My Ram makes this a worry I don't have. In the past, we have tried to tow, winch, and otherwise get vehicles up. Most attempts have failed. The hill is long, gets slick, and the curve makes for interesting driving.

I also enjoy skiing and camping, and the Ram has never failed to take me where I need to go. On the rear of the truck you can see the Thule rack I strap my snowboard, bikes, and other toys. Another view is available here. Toolbox Another recent addition to my Vehicle has been the installation of Craftsman Toolboxes. For a long time, I have used a toolbox in the bed. It slid around, got beat to hell, and kept growing as I added tools and the like. My last box was a 7 drawer chest, and it lasted only 1 year of slamming around the bed. So the search was on for the ultimate toolbox.

These boxes are manufactured for Craftsman by the Geneva Manufacturing Company in Illinois and come in other colors than the Craftsman Red. Five drawers in each box. Two are about 1" high and three are about 4" high. All are about 4.5" wide, and 21" long. The boxes are designed left and right so that the door opens into the bed and out of the way. The doors are lockable and reinforced. The whole contruction is very heavy duty. I'm extremely happy with the way these boxes are holding up.

By the way, that little white thing under the open drawer is a magnetic decal that has graced my vehicles for years. It is a simple statement of the rules. Since the interior is all plastic now, I keep it in the tool box. It says simply "Get In, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hold On". Wise words indeed....

I'm sure you have already seen the Rhino Bedliner. The Red color nicely contrasts with the white, and catches attention when the tailgate is opened. If you look close you can see the dark areas where grease has been, and some other discoloration, but it is not easy to see, and everything cleans up very nice.

The Tonneau cover is from Extang and is the Classic model. It uses snaps, but both the snaps and the bows adjust to allow 4 season attachment as the cover shrinks in cooler weather. The cover is water tight leaking only very tiny amounts of water around the tailgate. It was just by sheer luck that the rack and the cover worked well together. Dashboard One of the more interesting mods in the truck is on the dashboard. As you can see on the left, I have installed a mobile ham radio in the location of the Cup Holders near the top of the dash. The plastic filler is painted with "Dashboard Paint" and matches the original dash perfectly. The radio is held in place with custom brackets and the sound is projected into the upper dash and heard perfectly. Instead of drilling holes to mount the microphone clip, I jammed it between the dash pieces to the left of the black bezel. This keeps the mike handy, but out of the way of everything.

The Ham Radio is an Icom 1210H dual band. It operates at up to 45 Watts on both the 2 Meter and 70 centimeter bands (144 Mhz and 440 Mhz). The Antenna is a Larson dual band mounted permanently in the roof of the truck. This radio has many features from remote operation and extended frequency operation to speech confirmation of settings for those times you shouldn't take your eyes off the road. It is an older model, but still works like new.

The Cellular Phone was stuck into the cubby on the passenger side where you see it as a temporary solution when I picked up the truck from the dealer originally. Since it has never fallen out of the cubby, and it is still easily reached with a seatbelt on, it stayed. In fact, any other place I've tried to place it either gets in the way, or won't stay put. Since it isn't something I grab for very often, it's out of the way location is just fine.

As you can see, the interior of my truck is a rare slate blue. This optional interior is no longer available, and was only avilable on a very few exterior color conbinations. The factory called this color Spruce. I liked it as the darker interior doesn't show stains as easily as the lighter driftwood or Quartz do.

If you look to the right of the steering wheel on the blue lower dash panel you will see a little black switch. This is for the 2 Hella 4000 Driving lights in the front. There is just enough room in the panel to place a few switches, and they are in a handy position. Radios This closeup of the center of the dash shows my installation a little better. The Eclipse radio is AM/FM, and a 4 MiniDisc Changer. It is a standard DIN size, and I used a plastic covered metal adapter bracket to mount the unit into the dash. The bracket recesses the radio, so it doesn't stick out like many aftermarket designs tend to do.

The Head Unit also controls a 12 disk CD changer and routes the music to an a/d/s PQ-10 amplifier. These pieces are tucked up under the seats on custom brackets to keep them off the rug, as well as making it impossible to remove them without removing the seats first. As for the radio itself, the Eclipse ESN system keeps that safe. If power is removed from the radio, you need a 'key' Mini Disc to unlock it. This Mini Disc is one I made myself, so it is very unlikely to be duplicated. This is one of the best stereo security sytems on the market today.

If you look up at the place the Automatic Transmission Overdrive switch is usually kept, you can see the only visible part of the Truck's security. The multi-color LED. Front Speaker For speakers, I used MacIntosh brand. The major reason was the ease in which these speakers fit the Ram's factory locations. MacIntosh makes a 2 piece system where the bass driver is a 6x9", and the tweeter is seperate. The 6x9 fit nice into the factory location, and the tweeter was mounted into the door as shown in the picture. This location was chosen to help balance the highs for both front passengers.

The little brown furry thing is a stuffed Beaver. A few friends thought it would be nice if I carried a "little beaver" where ever I went. That little fella and I have been together through four vehicles and over 160,000 miles. In his current home, he guards the remote to the stereo. You can just see a piece of the remote under him. Rear Speaker The rear speakers ar a similar design, but use a 6.5" driver instead of the 6x9. The tweets are arranged to both provide good rear fill, and to allow rear passengers to hear the music in stereo. The stereo highs opposite the rear passenger actually come from the front through the opening at the front console. The rear channels are turned down a little at the amplifier to accent the front signals. This keeps a good front soundstage, and allows a balanced listening environment for all passengers.

The RamHack's Truck is never done. Stay tuned for more stuff as I get it together....

This page was last modified on 17 Nov 98

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