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Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       07-29-2006, 2:40 PM Reply   
well, with our backyard remodel project looking as though it's going to cost some serious coin, it doesn't look as though we'll be upgrading our '01 Durango as quickly as I thought.

I'm looking to upgrade the suspension and power, and looking for recommendations. The truck needs new shocks, was thinking of replacing them with ranchos. I'm thinking that I should also likely install an airlift suspension kit as the back sags badly (I'm assuming this will still be the case, even with the new shocks).

Also, I'd like to possibly get one of the performance chip upgrades, as we lack on power up the hills, and i'm looking for something relatively cheap that will give at least some help.

Thoughts on either or both of these are greatly appreciated...
Old     (iagainsti)      Join Date: Apr 2004       07-29-2006, 3:13 PM Reply   
As far as the suspension goes if your rig is stock height I would recommend Bilstein or Edelbrock shocks, they are spendy but the best IMO. The shocks will have no effect on correcting your rear end sag but the Airlift will correct it. I had the Airlift helper bags on my Bronco and they worked like a charm. Just get the onboard compressor and your good to go. Chips for gas vehicles is a very subjective matter. I personally dont think they do much for modern day gas engines. They come from the factory pretty well setup unless you start upgrading engine components. Chips for diesels however are a different story !!! There is a ton of hidden power with boost control and such...
Old     (kody_a)      Join Date: Aug 2005       07-29-2006, 3:14 PM Reply   
I would suggest going with something from Superchips or Hypertech if your looking for a chip or programer. Although one of the top things that I would recommend is an intake kit and exhaust kit. Both will help alot.

For suspension I would just get better leaf springs that are meant to handle a load. Its amazing how much they can help. Although going with an air kit will take care of alot plus it is nice to be able to lower and raise the car when needed.
Old     (mattkrull)      Join Date: Apr 2004       07-29-2006, 6:12 PM Reply   
I second kHA. I added leafs to my springs on a GMC Jimmy for fairly cheap (I think around $150), and it completely took care of the sag.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       07-29-2006, 7:21 PM Reply   
my only worry with changing leaf springs is that I don't want to make the ride harsh for the 99% of the time that we ride w/o towing the boat.

My only experience in changing leaf springs was back in high school, I changed out my stock leaf springs in my '65 stang for some performance springs. Definitely a tighter ride, but anytime I went over a speed bump, they would rattle my teeth.

Keep in mind, this is my wife's daily driver!
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       07-29-2006, 8:26 PM Reply   
Do the Bilstein's, they are the best you can get for the money.

Then run air bags to keep the rig level so your castor is not out of whack. They will also make the rig feel much more solid towing. The auto load leveling ones are really nice and would also cost much more to install unless you can do it yourself. Air Bags Air Compressor Kit

Hypertech and Superchips are junk do not do one. The best way is to find a dyno tuner and have them reflash your computer or through a core. Remove torque management or at least lessen it. Have them firm up the shift points etc.

On the dyno results of an aftermarket exhaust system generally does not show an improvement as the cats forward is the restriction. Ask your dyno tuner his opinion. I am not going to go looking for it, but I have posted it here a couple of times, about an ISO air filter test. K$N etc. are not all they are cracked up to be. Stock is generally the best, but the air box needs to be modified and made forced air through ducts then you will make more power than a K$N ever will. Without all the problems like oil/dirt on the air flow sensor, or too much dirt being passed into the engine.

If you haven't already added a large aftermarket transmission cooler, do so. Change all the fluids in the truck including the brake fluid with a flush and replace the transmission filter then flush another 20 quarts through the transmission.

(Message edited by Peter_C on July 29, 2006)
Old     (norcalmalibu)      Join Date: Jun 2004       07-30-2006, 1:44 PM Reply   
The rancho rs 9000 are great shocks and cost 1/3 of the bilstens. Air lift is a great company for adding rear lift bags.

Peter is correct on the hypertech and superchips complete junk. A computer flash is definitley the way to go but if the benifits to cost ratio is going to be fairly small for a stock motor.
Old     (bobbym)      Join Date: Dec 2005       07-30-2006, 3:27 PM Reply   
I just added ranchos all around my f150. I am actually not that happy with them. They ride too stiff for me, The rears are adjustable, so I tuned them a bit, but my front shocks aren't and I should have bought adjustables or blisteins.

I am now considering air bags, since the leaf springs are sagging a bit at 90k.

Peter thanks for that link. Looks like the model in the link is not right for a 01 f150. Do your reccommend the lighter duter AIR or something like the firestone system? If I don't feel like installing it myself, should I go to an off road shop and expect to pay about $200???

(Message edited by bobbym on July 30, 2006)
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       07-30-2006, 4:14 PM Reply   
Thanks guys for all the feedback.

I'm thinking to get the bilsteins along with the air lift kit and compressor kit. I'll likely try to install myself, hopefully not too difficult. Let me know if there's anything that may cause issues or to look out for on installation...
Old    ilovetrains            07-31-2006, 12:30 PM Reply   
Tommy, which engine do you have in Durango? I built up an 01 R/T, and it was a very good tow rig. The R/T suspension was lower, but the leafs were more resistant to sqaut. Even with 2500 lbs tongue weight (I used it to haul much more than my boat) it would sit pretty close to level. It also maintained a very good ride.

BTW - I have never spoken with anyone who bought Rancho shocks that felt the ride was near to the stock ride. Always much rougher. Many people like that, many more do not. Airbags are the cheapest way to get that rear end up under load.
Old    deltahoosier            07-31-2006, 1:07 PM Reply   
Uh....what gears are you running? Maybe think about some 411's or so?
Old     (kogswell21)      Join Date: Nov 2005       07-31-2006, 3:39 PM Reply   
Bilsteins are great shocks...Ive got a Durango too (06)But have bilsteins on my Tundra..Very comfortable Pretty good prices..And if its out there,theyve got it..
Old     (bobbym)      Join Date: Dec 2005       07-31-2006, 6:14 PM Reply   
Not to totally highjack this thread, but I went ahead and ordered the air lift 59501 ride control air bags from the link above (thanks Peter).

I called an RV place and they quoted in installation at ~600 bucks. I'll be doing it myself at that price. They were pushing firestone bags which are more expensive to begin with too.. I don't think it would have been less than a grand all said at done at the RV place.

If all goes well, I should have them installed by next week and I'll break them in towing my boat up to Lake San Antonio form Los Angeles.

thanks again!
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       07-31-2006, 7:39 PM Reply   
Matthew, we've got the 4.7 liter. Until recently, we had a jeep grand cherokee and durango with the exact same motor. seemed much more powerful in the jeep, as it weighs quite a bit less.

will be ordering the bilsteins and airbags this week, planning to put them in myself. I'm not the most mechanically inclined, but after changing the brakes on my trailer last week (couldn't get an appt for like a month out), I guess I'm feeling up to the task. Hopefully it all goes smoothly...
Old     (iagainsti)      Join Date: Apr 2004       08-01-2006, 10:23 AM Reply   
Tom- Toyota uses that same motor to this day. They upgraded the cam making it a little more H.O. I think the cam change alone is worth close to 30 hp. Its a overhead design so I dont believe the manifold has to be removed to swap the cam.
Old    bocephus            08-01-2006, 10:43 AM Reply   
Uhmm, the Toyota motor is a DOHC motor with
Displacement (4664 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 94.0x84.0
Compression Ratio 9.6:1
Power Output 175kw@4800
Torque 434nm@3400

While the Chrysler motor is a 16 valve pushrod motor with
Displacement (4701 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 93.0x86.5
Compression Ratio 9.0:1
Power Output 172kw@4600
Torque 393nm@3600

In other words they are not the same, but who cares? I upgraded the HP in my '02 Dodge Ram Quad Cab with the 4.7 swapping out the computer for one from a '03 Jeep HO. The HO has 9.7:1 compression ratio but has a better fuel curve. You have to run good gas if you do this swap though. It's all over the internet.
Old    ilovetrains            08-01-2006, 11:26 AM Reply   
IRC - the tow rating of the 4.7 is around 5500 lbs, while the 5.9 was 7500. There are not as many worthwhile performance upgrades on the 4.7 bc DC is pulling about they can out of that block.

You can get around 7-10 more HP with the ECU swap, but it void any warranty you have, confuse hell out of any service tech that has to work on it, and you will HAVE to run premium or you risk detonation. Not worth it in my book.

Swap out your muffler to a flowmaster, that is fairly cheap and there is no sense in a cat back system. You are in Cali so don't even touch the cat.

You can go with a less restrictive intake. It will make the whole truck louder, but is usually worth it. Even my wife does not complain about the ones I have done.

The best way to make that thing tow better is to go with a lower gear ratio. That is pretty expensive on a 4WD, figure 1500 done right.
Old    bocephus            08-01-2006, 11:41 AM Reply   
I figured you were already doing the exhaust and intake.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-01-2006, 4:46 PM Reply   
i think i have to pass in the intake & exhaust. This is my wife's daily driver, and anything louder than stock will not make her happy. I like the idea of changing the gearing, but I don't want to drop too much coin...I'm still going to try to swing an '07 Suburban with all the goodies, but for at least the next year or so, it aint in the cards...

I did order the Bilsteins and air lift kit today.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-14-2006, 7:38 AM Reply   
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I just put in the billsteins and air bags this weekend. I haven't tried the air lift yet, but the billsteins made a world of difference in the everyday ride.


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