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Carli Performance 2.5" Install and First Impressions

oliver

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Hi 5th Gen Ram Crew,

After patiently waiting 7 months since I ordered the Carli Performance lift from CJC Off Road, I finally have it installed and tested! Thought I'd put together an initial review for those of you who are interested in learning more.

My Truck:
2019 Ram 1500 BigHorn Quadcab, Hemi eTorque, 4x4 ORG, Tow Package, 3.92s

Aftermarket Gear:
And NOW:

Reasons for buying the Kit:
  1. Stock truck had crappy break-over Angle, would hit Skid Plates on everything (even with ORG)
  2. Wanted to fit bigger Tires for looks, clearance, off road grip
  3. I was looking for a heavy duty kit that retained the amazing on-road stock comfort and performance while significantly boosting off road performance
  4. I live in San Francisco and love watching the Prius drivers squirm. Even better when I tell them mine is a hybrid too :ROFLMAO:

Before:
IMG_2364 2.png


After:
Ram Main Shot.png

Review!

After I picked up the truck from Shaffers Off Road, who did the install, I drove the truck home and around town for a few days (~75miles). The plan was to do a 3 day on/off road camping trip through the Sierra Lakes in Tahoe/Plumas Forests. Total drive was around 450 miles (375 on road, 75 off road) and the off road portions were half/half slow-moving rocky terrain and dirt roads. I did this exact trip in July with the stock truck.

Initial Impressions:

Ride Comfort -
  • On Road: The first 500miles it was stiffer than stock, though now it seems to be virtually exactly the same as the stock ORG suspension (I believe the ORG is stiffer than the non-air, non-ORG suspension)
  • Off Road: The Stock truck was great on gravel/dirt but would dive when going over rocks. It was still comfortable but not super sure-footed. The Carli suspension is firmer for sure and would bounce back quite hard, though the truck no longer dives. I expect I can combat this bouncing feeling with lowering the tire pressure while off road. (during the test I kept them at street pressure ~36 PSI, just like I did with the stock truck)
Handling -
  • On Road: When I first drove it, the front felt like it was floating all over the place and I have a feeling it was because it hadn't settled. Now it drives very close to stock. Not better or worse than stock just a slightly different feeling. The best description I can think off is the Ram stock feels like a car, now it feels like a well-planted truck. Braking is a hair worse because of the weight of the wheels and tires but totally fine. Passenger Tire rubs on full lock in reverse even after minor trimming
  • Off Road: I would say the Carli setup gives you more confidence off road, with more predictability. I haven't done any desert laps yet, so I'm not sure how it compares there.
Drivability and MPG -
  • On Road: I haven't had the computer set for the larger tires, so take this with a grain of salt. I could definitely feel the wind/aerodynamics (or lack of) more and there is more downshifting, just like any time you put larger/heavier tires on. Surprisingly, the truck doesn't feel any less powerful and I expect that's due to the 3.92s in the rear taking up the slack. The Falken Wildpeak A/T3Ws are fantastic and I got them because of the insane snow performance I had on the stock 255s. The 295s are LT spec (18mm tread depth vs 13mm in the stock ones) and are super quiet. If you don't buy the Carli Kit, buy these for sure!
  • Off Road: MPG difference is nominal. The added height makes it virtually impossible to see where you are driving on rocky roads - I'm going to add a front camera asap!
Here's a summary table of my initial impressions:

Carli table.png

Here's a Video of the truck off road. This trail is meant for Jeeps and SWB 4x4s. Last time I took the truck here that big rock in the middle scraped the entire underbody and nearly threw me over the edge of the trail. Wide angle lens makes it look much less severe. Very happy with the new clearance! On the way down, I did it without the spotter and it was easy

Stance

This is my main issue with the kit. The stance is way off and is an inch higher in the front than the back, unloaded. The Camper Shell and BedRug add around 250lbs but that shouldn't lose ~1.5 inches (they say the kit should have a 0.5" rake, rear tall). It looks like this issue happens with Rebels and Carli is developing 1inch taller rear springs for this kit - I suspect the issue is also with all ORGs too but can't say for sure. I might add a 1inch spacer in the rear and see how it goes, as it might be a few months before Carli release the new ones. EDIT, found the link here that explains it: https://carlisuspension.com/2019-ram-1500-rebel/

Originally, after looking at everyone's lift posts in this forum, I thought I would only gain 1.5inches in the front because I already had the ORG. The actual lift is way more than 1.5in. So, I can say with confidence, you will probably have a 2-2.5inch lift over the ORG (3.5in from stock maybe? Not sure). If someone else can measure their Stock ORG and comment, that would be much appreciated!

Here's my measurements after the lift: (like an idiot I forgot to measure before the lift, sorry!!!)


Front floor to wheel well: 41 1/4 in
Front top of Tire to well: 8 1/8 in
Driver door jam to floor: 21 1/4 in
Rear door jamb to floor: 19 1/2 in
Rear floor to wheel well: 40 1/2 in
Rear top of tire to well: 7 in

Unloaded Stance:
IMG_4125.jpg

Conclusion

It was an expensive setup ~$9k for everything installed (parts/install/balancing/alignment) and I think it still has a bit of work to show me its true value. If you have ORG or Rebel, I would suggest waiting until they've released the specific kit. I'm really happy that I have way more ground clearance now and can't wait to take the truck on some more adventures!! Here's some bonus pics:

articulation.jpg
camp spot.jpg
Edit,
 

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Last edited:

ferraiolo1

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That turned out awesome.

A good set of coil overs will spoil you to never want to have a truck without them.


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BowersFJ

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Nothing a nice set of Dobinson 2” coils won’t fix


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oliver

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I'll check them out, thanks! The Carli kit has dual rate coils - the 2nd rate is compressed at ride height, expands to allow more travel when wheel articulates. Do you think the single rate larger Dobinson springs would work?

I thought maybe a spacer would be better because it still allows for the 2nd rate and keeps ride quality if the rear is sagging due to weight, rather than spring Carli provides just being too short itself. Thoughts?
 

BowersFJ

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Dobinson offers 2 different spring rates in the 2” springs …. You can read about em on their website


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R.Duff

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I'll check them out, thanks! The Carli kit has dual rate coils - the 2nd rate is compressed at ride height, expands to allow more travel when wheel articulates. Do you think the single rate larger Dobinson springs would work?

I thought maybe a spacer would be better because it still allows for the 2nd rate and keeps ride quality if the rear is sagging due to weight, rather than spring Carli provides just being too short itself. Thoughts?
Dobinsons are variable rate. They come in two rates. And the aussie site says there's a 3rd one coming.

American distributor https://www.dobinsonsdirect.com/pro...c16-053v?rq=mk_dodge~md_ram-1500~yr_2019-2021

Aussie site for more info https://dobinsons.com/shop-online/dod-15_rear_coil-spring_c16-053v-detail
 

oliver

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Dobinsons are variable rate. They come in two rates. And the aussie site says there's a 3rd one coming.

American distributor https://www.dobinsonsdirect.com/pro...c16-053v?rq=mk_dodge~md_ram-1500~yr_2019-2021

Aussie site for more info https://dobinsons.com/shop-online/dod-15_rear_coil-spring_c16-053v-detail

That's very helpful thank you. Being an Aussie myself, I should know about these guys

That said, the springs on their website look like single rate. Here are the Carli springs in ride-height mode:
Carli Springs.png

Once the Travel increases, the spring expands into the 2nd rate. I think it helps keep the floating spring in its perch when the shocks are fully extended. My fear with the single rate Dobinsons, is that they won't work with the extended travel and custom shock tune. Here's the Dobinsons for comparison:

Coil-Springs_0e8a1054-a489-419a-b1fd-06a723890625_360x.jpeg
 

R.Duff

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That's very helpful thank you. Being an Aussie myself, I should know about these guys

That said, the springs on their website look like single rate. Here are the Carli springs in ride-height mode:
View attachment 107265

Once the Travel increases, the spring expands into the 2nd rate. I think it helps keep the floating spring in its perch when the shocks are fully extended. My fear with the single rate Dobinsons, is that they won't work with the extended travel and custom shock tune. Here's the Dobinsons for comparison:

View attachment 107266


That's just a generic Dobinson spring picture, Not the ones for our trucks.

They are variable rated, not sure what each level is but yeah. That's the day i put them in. 20210906_182923.jpg


This is just now, sorry if it's dark or ****e pic.
Hope it helps visually. I did have to use compressors to get them in was a *****
20211006_205004.jpg 20211006_204859.jpg
 
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lkjk

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Thats a **** ton of $$ for kind of a meh review. would you do it again knowing how it rides?
 

BowersFJ

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Thats a **** ton of $$ for kind of a meh review. would you do it again knowing how it rides?

You call $220 a lot of money ?


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BowersFJ

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~$9K for everything installed? That carli kit is like $4600.

My bad …. Thought you were talkin about the Dodinson springs …. Yeah, the Carli stuff is way outa my league


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oliver

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oliver

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Thats a **** ton of $$ for kind of a meh review. would you do it again knowing how it rides?

Yeah its a **** ton of $$$. The $9k includes wheels $1.2k, tires $1.2k, Carli Kit $4760, $1.1k labor, Alignment $150, wheel mounting/balancing $200 and Tax.

So is it worth it? Every review I read on this forum about lift kits (Falcon, Mopar, Bilstein, Fabtech Dirt Logic) spoke about how poor the ride was, bad quality of the components and how bad the ball joint angle was etc etc. I thought that buying the Carli kit I would retain the factory ride quality (or better as per Carli) and keep geometry good for all conditions, considering they spent a couple of years designing and perfecting the kit. I think for me, not losing comfort or reliability was key, so I guess it's a win.

But I can't say it's worth $9k (though neither is ruining the ride on a perfectly good $50k truck with a cheaper lift)

Would I do it again? Maybe. I still haven't tested it on desert runs, that could be where it really shines
 

Todd1500

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Yeah its a **** ton of $$$. The $9k includes wheels $1.2k, tires $1.2k, Carli Kit $4760, $1.1k labor, Alignment $150, wheel mounting/balancing $200 and Tax.

So is it worth it? Every review I read on this forum about lift kits (Falcon, Mopar, Bilstein, Fabtech Dirt Logic) spoke about how poor the ride was, bad quality of the components and how bad the ball joint angle was etc etc. I thought that buying the Carli kit I would retain the factory ride quality (or better as per Carli) and keep geometry good for all conditions, considering they spent a couple of years designing and perfecting the kit. I think for me, not losing comfort or reliability was key, so I guess it's a win.

But I can't say it's worth $9k (though neither is ruining the ride on a perfectly good $50k truck with a cheaper lift)

Would I do it again? Maybe. I still haven't tested it on desert runs, that could be where it really shines
As you point out, if you're going to lift your truck, a lot of those costs would be included in any kit. So it's not really $9k vs $0. It's the cost of the Carli kit vs another. So to be fair, compare the cost of the Carli kit to the cost of some other level kits with coilovers.
 
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oliver

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As you point out, if you're going to lift your truck, a lot of those costs would be included in any kit. So it's not really $9k vs $0. It's the cost of the Carli kit vs another. So to be fair, compare the cost of the Carli kit to the cost of some other level with coilovers.
Yeah you're absolutely right. The question is, is it really worth an extra ~$2k for the Carli kit, compared to other ones out there?

I'd say yes, considering the reviews of what else is out there
 

LeeVanCleef

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Yeah you're absolutely right. The question is, is it really worth an extra ~$2k for the Carli kit, compared to other ones out there?

I'd say yes, considering the reviews of what else is out there

Carli advertises increased front wheel travel. Have you noticed this at all? The stock ORG rear flexes plenty, but the front doesn't.
20211001_113022.jpg 20211001_113004.jpg
 

Pompito

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I'm looking at the Carli performance kit for my 2020 Rebel but after reading their Rebel article will definitely wait for the rebel rear springs to come out as I don't want to be nose high.
 

Pyleketerson

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Nice, honest review. Looks good man. 250 pounds will definitely drop the rear end on these coils. I put my dirt bike in the bed and I’m down at least an inch. My Fox 2.5 front coilovers are friggin awesome. Fox 2.0 shocks in the rear. I have stock rear ORG springs and need another inch. Was planning on adding a 1 inch rear spacer but will definitely be looking at these 2” Dobinson coils! I think I’m about $6,500 all in with my suspension/wheels/tires. Upgrading ain’t cheap!
 

JDHarris

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Carli updated the Rebel article with a new section about options on the truck. With the RamBox and MFT options and the weight they add, they are recommending the upcoming HD coils. Even with the 1” taller springs, it still sits lower than intended with a fully optioned truck. The people at Carli have all been fantastic through this though. I’m looking forward to seeing this once the launch kinks are worked out.
 

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