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How To Build the Monster Rear Suspension for your 81-up Dodge RC

THE RIGHT WAY!

 

*Disclaimer* This is provided as a free service and for information purposes only. There is no warranty, promise or responsibility given by us to you that if you try this all will go perfectly. It all has to be EXACT!!! Not close, not pretty good. EXACT! Also, I didn't go into cleaning the metal before welding, grinding down edges for full penetration, stepping up hole sizes in the drill press or the like. If you need us to tell you that stuff DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! Best to take the drawings to a welder and have them make these for you. Now that you are thoroughly paranoid about screwing it up lets proceed.

For those of you who have followed the development and now the release of the plans for the Monster Rear Suspension know, the Ramchargers are not included in this, until now! Here are the new and improved plans for the '81 and up RC's! The part you make will look different from the pictures here. I moved the pivot point down 2" and forward  about 1/2" to better suit fender clearance and pinion angle. Unfortunately this means the parking brake tabs shown here won't work. There needs to be some serious work done to get it function. All the P-brake stuff has to be moved to INSIDE the frame, not outside like is stock. You are on your own for that, sorry. We never did get it R&D'd before we had to close our doors. If you can handle this though you should have little trouble figuring it all out. Beside, most old Dodges haven't had a working P-brake in years. 

There are a few things you will want to double check before beginning. First, the front brackets are VERY close to the body mounts on the frame. We didn't get a lot of chance to test this on many trucks so I hope it does not vary much. I gave it a little wiggle room but there isn't much there so it's tight. Also, the body tub has 2 crossmembers under the floor right where this is going. Again, tried to give you as much room as possible but there isn't much there so you may need to grind the front hangers just a bit to clear the floor. You can see what I mean in the bottom photo on this page.

In the rear you can use the stock bumper brackets but you might need to shave the ends just a bit to make installing them a bit easier. The funny notch in the rear hangers will become quite important too as this will let it clear the gas filler tube. Otherwise use the plans and directions from the Monster Rear Suspension page for the rear hangers. This is just the front directions

Here's what it takes to do this job.

What materials you'll need

  • 2 - 8"x8"  3/8" steel plates
  • 2   1 1/2" 3/8" bar stock about 3 3/4" long
  • 2   1 1/2" 3/8" bar stock exactly 2 .5" long
  • 4    4"x 3 1/2" triangles out of at least 1/4" steel plate.
  • 16   1/2" X 1 1/2" Grade 8 Bolts
  • 16   1/2" SAE Style (around 1" outside diameter) hardened washers
  • 16   1/2" Fender style( 1 1/2" outside dia" at least) thick washers. You want something with some beef as this will keep the bolts from pulling through the frame.
  • 2   5/8" x 4 1/2" long grade 8 bolts, fine thread
  • 2   5/8" grade 8 fine thread nuts
  • 2   5/8" fender style thick washers
  • 2   5/8" SAE style washers
  • 6   3/4"OD-5/8" ID x2 15/16" long metal sleeves

The steel we got from IMS in Irvine, CA. All our bolts and such came from McMaster-Carr Supply in Sante Fe Springs, CA. 

What tools you'll need

  • Drill press and at least a 1/2" drill bit, 9/16" and a 5/8" drill bit. 

  • Band saw, plasma Cutter or some way to cut 3/8" steel plate accurately and precisely.

  • Angle grinder

  • 210 amp mig welder. You can use a big stick welder if you have one and are good with it. Tig welding would work too but with material this thick I prefer Mig or Stick personally. 

  • Big disk sander or bench grinder

Additional Parts Needed

  • 2 88-98 Chevy rear springs (see below)

  • 2 sets of Energy bushing kits, part # 3-2128

  • 2 8" rear shackles

The new 66" rear springs are the real key here. We cannot supply the springs. You will have to source those yourself. It's not hard to get them. Here are a few parts numbers you can use to find what you need.

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Stock vs. the new 66" rear springs

Skyjacker - CR33S (single) for 6" of lift
Skyjacker - CR35S (single) for 8" of lift

Pro Comp - 13211 6" of lift (very soft springs)
Pro Comp - 13711 8" of lift (very soft springs)

Stock 88-98 rear springs will net about 3-4" of lift with the instructions below

You'll need to change out the stock bushings with the poly bushings listed above. The easy way to do this is to wedge a large screwdriver in the gap at the springs eye where it wraps around the old bushing. Don't go too crazy. The bushing should slide right out with little effort now. Insert the new bushings and 5/8" ID inner sleeve and set them aside while you build the rest of it.

Front Hangers Template

Larger view of front hangers

Dimensions of Rear Flip Brackets

(see Monster Rear for directions on how to build the rear hangers)

 

Here are links to the Adobe PDF file that has everything you need to make your own RC front spring hangers for this suspension. Open it, print and use it as the template. They SHOULD be 1:1 so you can use it as your template to make your holes. Double check that your printer didn't scale it though. Because of the size it will not print the front edge of the drawing. That's OK, just line it up on the back and bottom and punch your holes where they need to be. I included a larger file that does have all the lines on it so you can see what it looks like, If you have a large format printer (11" wide) I'd print this page and use it. If not don't worry about it.

Pics to follow

If you are stumped and have no idea what you are looking at try this. That will help you see what the basic idea is. That is for the standard Dodge shackle flip though so what you are building will look different. 

The plates get 4 1/2" holes where it bolts to the frame. The spring pivot hole is drilled to 5/8". These MUST BE EXACT!!! Round the corners to make it look pretty if you care.

Cut your 1 1/2" wide 3/8" bar stock to 2 @ 3 3/4"  and 2 @ 2 1/2".  (See Below)

The cuts have to be perfect here. We used a metal cutting bandsaw for this and it worked well. Just make sure they are straight and equal on both bars. This is critical to it all lining up right and the truck driving straight down the road.

Tabs Template PDF

The last two holes you need to drill are in the 2 1/2" outside tabs that will get welded on one end of the 3 3/4" bars you just cut. Mark it 3/4" from one end and each side and drill a 5/8" hole there. This must be exact! Shape the end with the hole in it so that the corners won't get caught on the shackles. It also looks a lot better. Be as pretty as you want but don't take away too much material. Broke because it's too pretty ain't pretty at all!

Pics to follow

Take these two 2 1/2" tabs and put your 5/8" x 4 1/2" bolts through them. Now thread the 5/8" nut on the end so about 1/4" of thread is sticking out the end. Place this in the 5/8" hole in the plates. I don't need to tell you that there is a left and right here. Make sure they are flipped right side up!!! Place the 3 3/4" 3/8" bar under the outer tab and line it up so it's parallel with the top and bottom for the plate. This is important but not critical. Eyeballs are good enough for that part BUT make sure everything is nice and straight, square and plum. Nice right angle between the plate, the 3 3/4" bar and the outer tab!!!! Make sure the nut is firmly and squarely against the surface of the plate. This is where it can all goes wrong in a hurry. Take your time and get it PERFECT! Now you can start welding it all up. Tack the nut and tabs on all sides first, recheck that all is perfect, then crank up the heat and melt some steel! This will take a lot of heat to weld up 3/8" plate. Don't try this with a 110V welder. It won't work!

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After it all cools down remove the bolt and clean up all the welds. Get rid of any splatter and get it ready for more welding. Take your triangles and hold them up to the topside of the upright bar. Figure out where you want them. Angle the rear piece back at the top for more complete support. the front will have to be just about straight up to avoid clearance problems with the body mounts. Weld the triangles on and PLEASE, weld the snot out of them! This will be taking all the weight and force from the suspension. 

Again, clean up the welds, grind the splatter and paint. 

Now that you're done with that you just need to get the old hangers and rivets outta there. You will also have to remove the parking brake bracket. drill out the front two holes where the old hanger was to 1/2", bolt the new brackets on and drill the middle hole to 1/2". Assuming you've already done the rear hangers and shackles you can now bolt it all up and hang your springs.

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Here is a shot of the brackets we made. The pivot point is 2" higher on these than on the brackets you are making. The spring will just touch the tabs I welded on for the parking brake cables at full droop (10" of down travel BTW!). Since the pivot point has now been moved down so much the tab would be in the way big time. There is no way to keep the P-brake stuff outside the frame on a RC. It has to go inside but it's not too hard to do. 

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Here's another shot just to show you what you're dealing with here. As you can see, the front of the bracket tucks behind the body mount bracket. In fact, getting that front bolt in is a little tricky. It has to go in first and then you can put the others in. Also, because the pivot is lower than shown here you will have much larger gussets (those triangle pieces) on yours. That will add to the strength quite a bit. Not that you have anything to worry about with 3/8" plate and all. These things are made with so much overkill in them it's not even funny. I'd rather have too much strength than not enough though.

That's about it. Again, if this seems over your head PLEASE take the plans to a professional welder/fabricator and have them made properly. It's still going to be cheaper than a hospital stay or worse, a funeral. 

 

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