Making your Ram 2500 or 3500 your own with modifications allows you to shape the performance aspects of your truck to uniquely suit you. Whether you want a more off-road-ready powerhouse or a comfortable daily ride, the Ram 2500/3500 is a customizable canvas.
When Dodge first decided to distinguish its heavy-duty pickups from the rest of its truck line back in 1995, it was evident that they’d made a great choice almost instantly. Whether you’re one of the few lucky enough to have a first-generation Ram heavy-duty pickup or have one of the fourth-generation that debuted in 2010, there are modifications that can help your truck to stand out from the crowd.
Though there are countless modifications, these are a few of our favorite mods to get you started.
Whether you decided to get the Cummins diesel or the Hemi engine option in your heavy-duty, you can rest assured that it’s an impressively powerful engine. In fact, it’s astounding that one of the favorite modifications for this already powerful truck is amplifying the capabilities of its engine even further, but there are additional benefits to modifying your engine beyond the obvious.
One easy and popular modification for many truck owners is installing a cold air intake. Cold air intakes have the unique attribute of not only increasing your truck’s power output but also providing a high caliber air filter that makes sure that the air that your truck is pulling in is clean and cool. Clean cool air gives you more powerful combustions, but it also prevents your engine from accumulating additional gunk, an especially valuable attribute if you plan on taking your truck into dirty environments, whether that be off-roading or work-related.
There are cold air intakes available even for 1994-2002 Ram Heavy Duty trucks, which are the most likely to see improvements as well if it’s been a while since you changed your air filter. Though it’s important to take the stated horsepower improvements with a grain of salt, there aren’t many people who haven’t noticed an improvement in the performance of their trucks with a cold air intake.
Another modification that can help keep your engine cool, and thereby functioning more efficiently, is an intercooler. These work by making sure that the heat that builds up under your engine bay doesn’t affect the air that your engine is pulling in. In some ways, it’s very similar to a cold air intake, but they can also be used together to increase the performance of each. In general, most of the engine modifications that you’ll find for your truck are going to be dedicated to making sure that the air it pulls in is both clean and cool.
A modification that will make your engine modifications (and anything else you want to do to your truck) more efficient is a tuner. Tuning devices give you a way to talk to the computer brain of your pickup truck and tell it what you want to prioritize. It also provides a way to read and clear PCM codes as needed. Tuners can provide a performance boost on their own, but their better use is improving the efficacy of any other modification that you choose to install. If you’re using a gas engine, there are tuners that will work on heavy-duty pickups dating back to 1998, whereas for diesel engines they became available after 2003.
Being able to see well affects your driving whether you’re going off-road, driving at night, or dealing with poor weather. Thankfully, there are a lot of aftermarket lighting options to accommodate your Ram 2500/3500’s needs.
This video from CJ’s highlights some of the more popular off-road lighting possibilities, but whether you want to light up your undercarriage for an amazing rock crawl or just want to add a little light to your vanity plate, there are a number of options. One lighting modification that a lot of people choose to make for their heavy-duty Ram truck is adding a light bar. Lightbars are great because, in addition to offering more light for off-roading, they also give your truck a great, aggressive look, and come in handy in a variety of situations.
One of the most frequently overlooked lighting improvements though is simply upgrading your headlights. Most accidents occur at night and because of lowered visibility. Improving the brightness of your headlights allows you to see things more clearly, and hopefully enables you to avoid a few accidents.
Trucks made in the 1990s or early 2000s tend to have underpowered headlights, and while it’s important to not go too far in the other extreme and blind your fellow drivers, there are powerful headlights that can improve your field of vision without reducing anyone else’s.
The interior of a pickup gets forgotten a lot, even though it’s the part that’s the most visible from the driver’s seat. Ultimately, if you plan on using your truck a lot or keeping it for a long time, then you should definitely make sure that the interior is as suited to your needs as the performance is.
Heavy-duty floor liners help to make sure that you don’t bring the outdoors home with you after your next off-roading session, and if you do any work with livestock, having the option to pull the liners out and hose them off will save you massive headaches in the long run.
Seat covers offer a lot of the same functionality. If you work a dirty job, then every time you go to sit down in your truck you’re likely pushing a lot of dirt and grease into the fabric of your seats, which can cause them to rip and break down over time. If you’ve ever seen an older pickup with the fabric ripped and foam falling out you know what the end result of that is, and how uncomfortable it can be to sit on. With seat covers, you can get them as dirty as you’d like and then wash them off, and it’s way easier than trying to return your seats to their like new condition.
Seat covers also can give you a more comfortable ride and allow you to personalize the inside of your truck so that it feels like yours.
There’s no shortage of modifications you can make to your Ram’s exterior in order to give it a look that’s uniquely yours and suited to what you like to do with your truck.
Adding a method of getting into and out of your truck will be much appreciated by any passengers, be they canine, spouse, child, or coworker. You might appreciate the little bit of extra help as well. There are a lot of different styles of step for trucks. Whether you feel like a running board would be better suited to your needs or prefer a simple nerf bar, there are ample options for everyone here.
Fender flares are one of the most common accessories for good reason. If you choose to get larger tires than the ones that came with your truck stock, then you’ll likely notice that the extra space changes the directionality of any road debris that gets kicked up by your truck. Many people have noticed that after installing off-road tires they were getting small dings in the paint of their truck. Fender flares help with that and more. They’re one of the go-to accessories for off-roading, whether that be a full rock-crawl or just getting your wheels a little dirty at the tailgate.
Tonneau covers or other tops allow you to carry things in your bed that may require a little extra protection, plus they help to protect the bed of your truck. Whether you’re carrying goods that you’d rather not lose while traveling down the highway or are just not interested in the rest of the world looking in the bed of your truck, covers are a great way to protect your stuff.
If you’re planning to take your Ram off-roading, there are a few modifications that you should consider. A winch is a common off-roading upgrade because it helps people get out of a number of tough situations. Likewise, there are a lot of other recovery parts, like kinetic recovery ropes, that can help you deal with uncomfortable situations that you may end up finding yourself in. If you’re unsure what recovery gear you may need, many companies put together recovery gear kits which include a healthy variety of off-roading basics.
In terms of modifications that can help your truck perform better off-road, there are a lot of choices that may change based on where you’re planning to off-road. Many people find that off-roading tires offer a lot of benefits that can improve their vehicle’s off-roading capability. There are also small, clever additions you can make, like adding a camera that can give you a close-up of exactly what it is that your Ram is crawling over.
These are just a few of our favorite types of modifications that you can make on your Ram 2500 or 3500. There are countless other ways to make your truck your own, whether it’s by installing a new exhaust system, adding a few personalized stickers, or adding protective gear to keep it looking shiny and new.
Whether you’re looking to give new life to your first-generation Ram Heavy Duty or looking for a way to make your 2019 a unique off-roading champion, there are modifications for every model and year of Ram truck.
Ultimately, every person’s truck ends up being unique to them, which is one of the reasons that people love them so much. Making your truck custom to you is a great endeavor, and will help you enjoy it for years to come.
Image Credit: Car and Driver | Jalopnik