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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy, I'm a newbie to both lowered suspensions and this forum, so I hope ya'll can bear with me.

I purchased a 2001 Dodge Dakota recently and love the truck, especially the look of the lowered suspension. What I don't love is the bumpy ride. Through my trial-by-fire I've modified: 1) The shocks, from factory blisteins to toxic (btw, toxic shocks are terrible imo), 2) I cut down the bumpstops on the rear which gave a high degree of suspension travel. Both of these changes made for a smoother ride, but not quite smooth enough.

I now want to replace the toxic shocks with belltech nitro actives as I've heard from multiple people this is the softest, quality shock you can get for under $70, however no place locally or online seems to sell them for 2001 Dakotas.

I need some help! If you have a similar lowering job, what shocks do you have experience with and what were your results? Where in the HELL can I buy belltech nitro actives? And lastly, I know air bag jobs are the way to go, however I have a limited budget and am open to any suggestions as to how I can make my ride something above that of a go-cart. Thanks in advance.
 

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I agree Toxic shocks suck. Rancho 9000's. They are 5 way adjustable so you can stiffen or soften the ride.

Do you know how the truck was lowered? Coil springs up front and blocks in the rear? What brand lowering kit?
 

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I would look into a better set of shocks too...the bilstein TVS 1000's are lifetime shocks and are made for a 2/3 drop. I have them and they are the most awesome drop shocks IMO. You get what you pay for.

Also, if you have just a block drop in the rear, there wont be much you can do, blocks are hard to soften a ride out....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is there an easy way to figure out what kind of job this guy did on the truck? The most I know is an auto tech friend of mine took a quick look under the car and bounced it once or twice, told me it was "done the right way," though I doubt this if the SOB kept the factory shocks and rode in it as it was originally (bottomed out constantly). What do I look for underneath?

Placed an order for the Beltech Active Nitros, best I could afford and have heard nothing but good things about them. If Toxics made a huge difference and they're made out of balsa wood (from what I've heard), this should be interesting. Thanks for all the help thus far.
 

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Trench said:
Is there an easy way to figure out what kind of job this guy did on the truck? The most I know is an auto tech friend of mine took a quick look under the car and bounced it once or twice, told me it was "done the right way," though I doubt this if the SOB kept the factory shocks and rode in it as it was originally (bottomed out constantly). What do I look for underneath?

Placed an order for the Beltech Active Nitros, best I could afford and have heard nothing but good things about them. If Toxics made a huge difference and they're made out of balsa wood (from what I've heard), this should be interesting. Thanks for all the help thus far.
to be honest with ya the easiest thing to do is jack it up and take a couple of pics of the control arms, springs, and leaf springs....i know one of us will be able to tell ya what ya got
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update on this old post, since I don't wanna seem ungrateful:

Took all the tires off and I had a block job with 5 spring spacers and the stoutest coil spring I'd ever seen. Took out 3 of the spring spacers, which made the truck appear about 1/2" higher but gave the shock sufficient travel. Discovered a scraping sound in the rear was the result of shoddy shock installation (oversized brushings and rubber), ordering new rear-shocks only (probably Edielbrock or Nitro-Actives if they come back from backorder). The extra travel has made things much easier on my keister, even with the Toxics. Now I need the rears and some new tires (Any recommendations for a 17-inch wheelbase Dakota sport? Seems like there's about 3 brands out there for a 255/55/17).

Thanks all! Hope this thread helps somebody someday.
 

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did you change the front bumpstops? i see you cut the rear down...but the fronts are offen over looked...they need to be grinded out and replaced. as far as a shockis concerned, spend the money and get a good shock, a bilstien or qa1...
 

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Get it over and done with and buy the Hotchkis TVS with Bilstein shocks. You'll be happy you did. The truck will look the same with the 2/3 drop, handle much better, and the ride isn't terribly harsh.
 

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i got mine lowered about 3 weeks before it went into storage. whole hotchkis setup minus the rear bilstein shocks which are backordered. rear stock shocks hold up well; i only bottom out on the rear bumpstops when speeding over dips and bumps.
 

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I had the hotchkis springs (coil and leaf). Sway bar and $80 shocks didnt appeal to me. When I received the drop shocks they were the same length as the stock ones, just had a larger rod and body. Rode stiffer but gave it the "sporty" feel and body roll went to 0, mind you this was on a quad cab also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I figured I'd post an update in case anybody with my predicament searches the archives.

Wound up buying two Edelbrock Performer-IAS shocks for the rear and taking out a few spring spacers. Winds up the guy reversed the axle and put spacers into the leaf springs to lower the back. The spacers alone didn't change much except raise the ride a bit. The shocks...friggin changed my life. It still isn't Cadillac material but it is a completely different ride. Would consider grinding down the front bumpstops and replacing the old Toxics but I am personally happy with the ride.

So, conclusion: Edelbrock Performer-IAS shocks are pretty sweet.
 

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I just registered and am new to customizing dakotas. I have an 02 standard cab short bed sport with the 4.7L V8. I lowered mine 3/5 with shackles/hangers in the rear and lowering springs in the front. I know it was real rough in the front to begin with until I called the company and they asked if I changed the front bump stops, which had conveniently been left out of the kit, I changed them out and it gave me alot more travel smoothing out the front. I still don't like my lowered ride but the looks are good. Hope it helps. btw, my toxic shocks work just fine and any drop shock is gonna ride a little rough.
 

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ha i said forget ride quality and take the sacrifice of lookin good... i put 3 in. blocks in the rear took out all but the main leaf and over load and heated the coils up front it rides like shit but looks good
 
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