Posted by: Steve and Bethany | February 28, 2009

BITING THE BULLET

date; 6/11/09

truck 004

Looks like a professional ad, nope, my bullet, in my neighbor’s driveway

Finally, after about 3 months, I took possession of the bullet a couple Sundays ago. The longest delay was the custom wheels from rickson wheels. This was also my biggest question mark, would they successfully change the rear dually wheels to a single rear wheel configuration, tracking in line with the front wheels, & more importantly, would the 35” tires fit as promised without lifting the truck? Well, after all was said & done, I can safely say.. ..yes & no..! But the bigger  answer was a resounding yes.

The wheels came in looking great, great fabrication job, the wheels all track in line, & yes, the 35s do fit on the bullet or a dodge ram , with minor modifications . The only alterations needed to accommodate these tires, was the removal of the front valance under the bumper, which I planned to remove to install the road armor bumper, & cut down the fender flairs just behind the tires. The bullet, along with the ram 4500 & 5500 have much larger fender flairs than the smaller trucks, without those, no problem, but I had to cut out about 1 ½” of plastic to allow for the tire, but no metal had to be cut. As a matter of fact, if you had one of these trucks without fender flairs, you’d be ok. Aaron, at bob brown tires, & I talked about either removing the valance & flairs & installing the tires now, or me doing the work first & coming back. We chose the first version, they were nice enough to remove the valance & flairs so I could alter them off the truck & on the wheels & tires went. The other employees there kept coming over, impressed with the whole package. So yes, well worth the investment, I would absolutely recommend rickson wheels as a solution to dually to rear wheel conversion, & Bob Brown Tires if you’re anywhere near Portland OR.

new tires 005

Aaron @ bob brown tires

Even back at northside ford, when I went to have the speedometer altered for the new tire size, the employees & salespeople there circled the truck for a while checking out the new digs, they’re probably used to these trucks being used for commercial use only, & not being prepped for expedition status.

The first weekend home, I pulled the front factory bumper & mounts, & temporarily mounted the new road armor bumper. I purposely ordered the bumper ‘raw’ because I sensed I’d have to modify this too. Righto’, the bumper fit the truck fine, but the botoxed fender flairs stuck out beyond the bumper (when I removed the factory front bumper, along with it came the front half of the flair which effectively tapered the flair down into the valance below the bumper, without it, the flair just ‘stops’) so I got right to mocking up a flair on the bumper to be the transition to the truck’s flairs. I came up with an angular design that fit the road armor look & welded them up. Powder coating this took place fast, so the next weekend I permanently installed this as well as the newly altered fender flairs, brush (nerf) bars driving & fog lights & winch. Not bad for a boy who hasn’t done automotive work in 22 years!

truck 007

This was after only about 45 minutes!

bumper flair 003

The road armor bumper against the Bullet’s fender fair.

 

 

 

 

bumper 006

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new flair transition,freshly welded

finished 002

 

 

 

 

 

The new bumper & flair all silver & shiny

 

finished 003

 

 

 

 

 

I cut the rear flair to allow for the radius of the wheel rotation then cut sheet metal & used plastic rivets to close it back up

 

finished 005

Ahh, now it’s starting to look like me.

Next will be the front axle locks, & the design & fabrication of the 3 point torsion base frame, plus, today I take apart the last of the uhaul pieces- the roof, then I’ll start to design in AutoCAD.

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