Moses Ludel’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine – Dodge Ram 3500 Makeover: Wheels and Tires
Choosing the right tires and wheels for a lifted truck is an important decision. Wheel and tire sizing determines safety and correct vehicle handling plus the kind of service and lifespan you will get from the tires.
This article includes an exclusive HD video interview with Richard Winchester of B.F. Goodrich Tire…Get more tire and wheel details from the video!
For the 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, the tire choice was clear. The truck’s factory BFG tires delivered exceptional service—over 90,000 miles with routine rotation, proper inflation and correct wheel alignment. BFGoodrich® was the obvious source for the new tires.
Consulting with Richard Winchester, the Field Marketing Manager for BFG and an avid “4WD truck guy”, we narrowed our choice to the All-Terrain T/A KO design. With the installation of a 4″ Mopar Suspension Lift, the new tire focus was the LT325/65R18 in a load range E. This ultra-duty tire would serve the one-ton, diesel powered Ram 3500’s real world work chores.
For wheel rims, the focus was correct width, diameter, offset and load capacity. A width of 9″ and diameter of 18″ would meet the tire size requirements.
In searching the market for a wheel with the right load capacity and offset, the field narrowed to American Eagle Wheels. This company serves the passenger car and light truck market. Our choice was the attractive ‘Raven’ style with black centers.
The Raven wheels feature an 18″ x 9″ platform with 8 on 6.5″ wheel bolt pattern. Offset, which is critical to proper front end geometry, is a minus-12mm. Rated for 3242 pounds load per wheel, this is a safe, practical wheel for the Ram hauler.
Raising the chassis 4-inches also raised the truck’s center-of-gravity. The American Eagle Raven wheels, with their -12mm offset and 9-inch width, widened the track width. This wider track helped restore the center-of-gravity. With the front wheels aligned to specification, the Ram 3500 steers precisely and has a controlled, stable ride. As an added bonus, the sure-footed hauler looks stylish and rugged!
The Raven wheel offset, for this truck application, also maintains normal steering axis inclination (SAI). This contributes to control and steering accuracy. With regular tire rotation, the tires will wear evenly. The 2005 Ram 3500 handles precisely at this track width and SAI.
Note: As with any suspension lift, check the tire clearance at full steering swing and maximum range of suspension travel. The lifted truck with these tires exhibited slight tire interference with the stock plastic air dam below the Ram’s front bumper. This was easily remedied with the installation of the Warn heavy-duty winch bumper. The new bumper fits higher and has curved end radiuses intended for oversized tires.
The chosen wheel and tire package delivers great handling and ride quality both on- and off-pavement. The primary uses for the 2005 Ram truck are all-season highway travel and trailer towing. Load range E oversized tires provide a safety margin for these chores. The added vehicle weight with accessories—like the Transfer Flow 75-gallon auxiliary fuel tank and Warn’s winch and winch bumper—make larger tires practical.
At the 2011 Off-Road Expo, the Dodge Ram 3500 was a crowd pleaser. American Eagle’s Raven wheels and BFG tires drew the attention of trailer pullers and four-wheelers alike. This ultimate 4WD tow rig delivers safety, long haul performance and, of course, great looks!
Click here to see the HD video interview with B.F. Goodrich Field Marketing Manager Richard Winchester!