When it comes to static-dropping a Dodge Dakota, you have a few options. Some companies offer drop spindles, some offer drop pocket control arms, and some companies offer drop coils. That is all well and good, if you don't mind buying some parts from here and others from there. To make matters worse, you'll never really know until you install them whether they will work together in harmony. Sometimes, you just want things easy, like one kit for everything. We wanted to drop an '01 extra cab Dakota and slap on a set of 20s, but we didn't want to do a lot of guesswork to find the right parts.
We already had the wheels picked out for this little project. Black Rhino is a fairly new rim company, and its Charge comes in a silver finish that matches the paint on our truck perfectly. The wheels are a 20x8.5 inches with a smooth six-spoke design. Besides the silver finish, the wheels are also offered in either chrome or black chrome. If a 20-inch wheel isn't big enough for you, they are also offered in 22s and 24s-not bad, one wheel with three sizes and three finishes.
To wrap our rims, we contacted Fuzion, another fairly new company. Not only did it have the correct size tire we were after, 275/45R20, it was a high-performance piece. Featuring a V speed rating, these suckers are good for 149 mph-it's not that our V-6 Dakota can go that fast, but it's just nice to know we can push the tires that fast if we want. The reason we wanted a 275/45R20 was because it has a 29.8-inch outside diameter. This is only 0.7 inch larger than the factory 29.1-inch od the stock 255/65R16 tire has, so our speedo will only be off by 2.4 percent. This means at 60 mph our speedo will say 58.5, which is livable.
Back to our lowering parts dilemma. As stated before, we didn't want to do a bunch of research or take a chance mismatching parts. Enter Godfather's Customs. We logged on the company's website, and after entering the year, make, and model of the truck, the perfect solution popped up. Ground Force Suspension makes a 2/3.5 drop kit that comes with everything needed, including a specifically tuned set of shocks in one box.
To have everything installed, we contacted Noe Roman from HighRoller Motorsports in Huntington Beach, California. HighRoller is a full-service shop with some talented fabricators/installers manning the bays. Not only does the shop have a great crew, there's also a Hunter laser alignment rack on site. So, after the lowering components are in, we can get the wheels straight without putting any undue wear on our tires.
The job only took a few hours, and that's because we were getting in the way and stepping on the air hose. Once the truck was finished, we took it out on the street and gave it a testdrive. The owner of the truck stated, "It handles more like a sports car than a truck." When asked about the new ride, he said, "The ride is noticeably stiffer but not so harsh to be an issue. It makes me want to drive my truck again, only faster."
The Wheels Black Rhino wheels...
Black Rhino wheels are designed with the truck and SUV enthusiast in mind. The Charge shown here is one of eight styles available at the time of print. The wheels are engineered to carry the heavy loads often associated with trucks and sport utility vehicles. All wheels are either hub-centric or supplied with centering rings to ensure a smooth, vibration-free ride. More than anything else, we just flat out like the way they look on the truck.
The Tires According to the...
According to the company's website, the new Fuzion ZRi tires are engineered with UNI-T technology. UNI-T is an acronym for "Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire Technology." One of Fuzion's core technologies is a Computer Optimized Component System, COCS, which uses a computer to help determine an ideal combination of tread design, casing shape, materials, and construction for a particular application. Tires with UNI-T have a special 0-bead that eliminates overlapped joints in the bead assembly, improving the way a tire interacts with the rim, and providing a rounder assembly for improved stability.
The Suspension The Ground...
The Ground Force Kit we got for Godfather's Customs is an all-inclusive tuned suspension package that was put to use in record time, thanks to Godfather's awesome shipping options. The kit features new coil springs that are constructed with the proper wire thickness and spring rate to lower the ride height and improve handling capabilities. These are not just a cut-down version of a stock spring. The shackles and cast-iron blocks are used for the rear because, through hours of testing, Ground Force found out these would work the best without adding undue cost. A complete set of shocks are included, which feature new tuning to keep everything in control in less stroke. When you lower a truck, the components have to work under tighter parameters, and that's why Ground Force builds a whole kit.