96-01 Ram 1500 Rear Leafs Chronically Weak?

Discussion in 'Dodge 4x4' started by Scorpion8, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. Scorpion8

    Scorpion8 Well-Known Member

    142
    0
    666
    I have a '97 Ram 1500 Sport. After about the 1st 12 years or so the rear leaf pack on the driver's side started to sag. No jokes needed, because I'm actually a little guy and the rear hardly ever has anything loaded in it. And it has never been overloaded. So I replaced the rear leafs with a set from a used-junkyard take-offs. You'd think the randomness would help, but the driver's side rear leaf is already sagging again. The left side wheel-well is about 3" lower than the right (passenger) side. Were these chronically weak leaf packs? Is there another issue that could be causing it such as a bent frame? Why always on the driver's side, is it because of the fuel tank?

    I'm looking at getting a 2nd set, but perhaps use Ram 2500 springs this time. Then again, it is almost 20 years old....

    FYI - truck used to be a daily driver, but now (last 6-7 years or so) is just a Home Depot weekender and used to tow the boat for launching.
     
  2. JasonB

    JasonB Administrator

    Check it when its almost out of fuel. The fuel tank can add a lot of weight, plus you are always driving it, so the drivers side is loaded much much more often than the passenger side.

    My 97 had similar issues but not too bad. I upgraded to ProComp 4" springs and BDS shackle flip and never noticed it again.
     

  3. Scorpion8

    Scorpion8 Well-Known Member

    142
    0
    666
    It's the same whether it's on fumes or full. It had been like that since the day I bought it, but it gets worse over time which is why I already swapped out the leafs once. Then it sat level and equal on both sides for awhile. It gets driven maybe a grand total of 3-4k miles per year, and maybe once a week if a dump run or lumber trip is needed, so I don't think driver-weight has any bearing either. We haven't had any real bad snow in several years, so a bed load of snow getting wet could add a lot of weight, but that's certainly not the culprit here.

    The new/used leaf set went on easy, so I didn't see any reason to suspect a bent frame, but could that be an issue?
     
  4. JasonB

    JasonB Administrator

    The chance of bending the frame is small. But you can check it like this:

    When you are swapping the leafs this next time, I assume you will be on firm and nearly level ground. Place your jack stands (set at equal heights) under the frame under the cab and remove the rear leafs. Place a straight edge under the frame behind the cross member and use an angle finder to determine the angle. Now move to the frame just behind the rear shackle mounts and repeat. The angle should be nearly identical. If not, the frame is deformed. Check the front frame horns and see if it is similar to the rear but opposite angle. That is a twist in the frame.

    Otherwise you might need to take it to a collision place with a frame jig to check
     
  5. jeff351

    jeff351 Well-Known Member

    14
    1
    301
    My 01 Ram 1500 sits about 1" lower on the drivers side also. Annoys the crap out of me. Frame is straight. Eventually I will put new springs on it.
     
    Scorpion8 likes this.