Back in the Sept. '07 issue of ST, we showed you Chassis Tech's new Street Scraper bolt-on rear airbag suspension kit and Plug-n-Play air supply system. That setup was innovative because not only did the suspension parts bolt on, but the air management system was packaged in a small box and the whole deal was installed in less than one day. We've received quite a bit of mail asking if the Street Scraper is available for trucks other than Chevys, and we are happy to report that Chassis Tech just released a new kit for '97-'04 Dodge Dakotas.
This kit will enable your truck to lay frame on 20-inch wheels and tires up front, when the air is released from the 'bags, provided you do a small amount of cutting in the front fenderwells. Of course, the rear end will want to smash into the bed floor, and the wheels will hit the factory wheeltubs, so those areas will have to be removed just like any other air kit requires. The bolt-in step notch will accommodate as much as a 24-inch wheel-and-tire package if it's less than 30 inches in diameter. Fittin' big rims on your Dodge is no problem with this kit.
Like the last Chassis Tech kit we reviewed, the rear suspension bolts on completely. The truck in this story is equipped with a manual transmission, but Chassis Tech reports that even with an automatic trans the truck will lay nice and flat. You will have to cut a notch out of the rear framerails for the rear axle though. If you want the truck to lay hard, you'll also have to cut out the front spring pockets and weld in new cups. Chassis Tech's spring pocket eliminators are another nice feature, and welding them into the framerails will actually strengthen the area rather than weaken it. The front shock relocators are also weld-in units. This kit offers a ton of suspension travel. In the up position, the truck will be 2 inches lower than a stock Dakota, and like we said before, it will lay flat on the framerails. Let's take a look at the parts.
Part One: The 'Bags 1. Chassis...
Part One: The 'Bags
1. Chassis Tech's optional spring pocket eliminators make clearancing your factory framerails for an airbag so easy. Worrying about the 'bag rubbing against the frame is no longer a problem because the 1/4-inch-thick, mild steel part provides plenty of room and actually makes this area of the chassis stronger than it would be if you simply torched out the rail and didn't properly gusset the area. Double convoluted airbags with 3/8-inch ports provide the suspension action. Pictured are the optional 2,600-pound 'bags, which improve the ride quality over the smaller 2,500-pound 'bags because the big 'bags require less air pressure to achieve the same amount of lift.
2. The replacement control...
2. The replacement control arms are built from 1.5x0.120-inchwall DOM tubing rather than inferior mild steel. Designed to work with the factory spindles, the main tubes are longer and angle upward to raise the mounting location of the spindles 5 inches higher, which in turn lowers the front suspension without altering its geometry substantially. The other benefit here is that the arms retain the factorystyle ball joint, so maintenance is cheaper because the ball joints are readily available. The ball-joint mounts are CNC-machined from solid steel stock, and the lower 'bag mount is built from 1/4-inch-thick steel plate. All of the MIG welds looked clean and strong on the arms.
3a. These images not only...
3a. These images not only show the position of the shock relocator but also how much travel the suspension is capable of. This is where you can see how the re-angled control arms really help keep the ball joints from binding up at full drop