It was the ultimate shakedown test drive—1,600 miles in 20 hours. Could the guys at Ekstensive build a bulletproof suspension that would hold up even though we hadn't even been out for a proper shakedown?
We (Harley and I) were leaving Houston and driving our '09 Ram to SoCal for the Forbidden Fantasy show. That's no big deal, it's a long drive, but nothing we haven't done before. Problem was, the suspension had literally just been wrapped up and the truck didn't have 3 miles on the new setup.
Putting our faith in the Ekstensive Metalworks' talented team of guys, we left the shop Friday at 5:30 pm CST. Jumping on the I-10, we fell victim to Houston rush hour traffic and coasted to the tune of 5 mph. Just east of Houston, we were able to put our foot in the HEMI and try out the suspension as the sun was setting to the West. With 100 psi in the front bags and 45 psi out back, the Ram rode like a Cadillac. It was very impressive.
Stretching the Ram's legs, we rolled into San Antonio around 9:15 pm CST and immediately stopped for food at Chic-fil-A. It was the first time we laid out the Dodge after our initial long-distance drive. It looked sick! We also topped off the fuel. Back on the I-10, the Dodge glided along at 80-85 mph, with the only shimmy being a wheel we think is out of balance.
Somewhere between San Antonio and El Paso at an abandoned gas station around 12:30 am CST, Harley and I traded off so I could get some shut-eye. Thanks to the Ram's massive 32-gallon fuel tank, we only had to stop for fuel every 500 or so miles.
The sun began to catch back up to us somewhere in New Mexico and the view behind the truck was spectacular. Crossing the Arizona border, we stopped to stretch and get fuel just east of Tuscon at 7:30 am MST. Having some good friends in the Phoenix area, we met up with them at our favorite out-of-California restaurant, Cracker Barrel. Walking out after our meal, we were greeted by 7 Phoenix cops who were performing a felony stop. It looked like a scene from COPS because the felon had a warrant for his arrest and a pistol on his lap. Of course they had to stop him directly in front of the Ram. We aired up the truck and jumped back onto the I-10, heading for home sweet home.
Four hours later at 2:30 pm PST, we aired out the Dodge in beautiful Southern California. No parts failure, no leaks, no BS. The guys at Ekstensive had done it. We made the Forbidden Fantasy show on time and wowed the crowd with a '09 Ram laid out on 26s. Crazy thing is, we even got better MPG with the truck being lower. Take that Obama!
We'll be showcasing the full build in an upcoming issue, but until then, here's some sneak peek photos.