Mopar President and CEO Pietro Gorlier said that its extreme off-road Ram Runner kit has been tweaked to be fully street legal when it enters production in March. At the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, Gorlier told PickupTrucks.com that the company was prompted to modify the kit to be street-legal because the reaction to the Ram Runner concept that debuted in Moab was so positive.
He said that they wanted buyers to enjoy driving the truck whether on-road or off. Using components inspired by Baja trophy trucks, Ram Runner hardware will turn a half-ton Ram 1500 pickup truck into a hardened desert racer. To create the kit, Mopar partnered with veteran Baja racer Kent Kroeker.
It was fitted with custom body and suspension pieces such as 3-inch diameter Fox Racing internal bypass dampers at all four corners, custom upper and lower control arms for the front suspension and flared widetrack fenders.
To make the kit street legal, one of the changes that Mopar made was to install side marker lamps, which the government requires because of the Ram Runner’s width. Ram Runners will be a lot wider than stock.
A standard Ram 1500 four-wheel-drive model has 68.2 inches at the front and 67.5 inches in back while the Track is 77.5 inches at the front and 74.5 at the rear. Because of the extra width, there’s more stability in corners and high-speed turns.
Mopar spokesman Bryan Zvibleman said that a clearance-identification kit will be available. This kit complies with requirements for driving on the street with wider fenders. Off-road enthusiasts could either buy the hardware all at once from a Chrysler-Mopar dealer or in batches.
Pietro Gorlier, President and Chief Executive of Mopar, remarked that the brand’s image vehicles demonstrate the possible directions that Mopar may take, citing as an example the new Ram Runner kit that was developed with Baja off-road racer Kent Kroeker.
Gorlier said that the reception for the Ram Runner last year prompted Mopar -- Chrysler Group's service, parts and customer-care brand – to offer kits that would enable off-road enthusiasts to evolve their stock Ram 1500 into a desert racer. The Mopar Ram Runner Kit features the Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit, off-road front bumper, off-road rear-tire carrier, off-road front and rear fenders, sport performance hood and cat-back exhaust.
Customers, however, may also avail any of the features separately. They could have the kit installed in a Ram dealership or by themselves. The street-legal Mopar Ram Runner Kit is at par or even better than its rivals on several aspects.
For instance, its heavy-duty suspension system is able to accept almost any abuse that off-road driving could present. Its front upper and lower control arms – around three inches longer than production arms – allow for extra width and enable greater wheel travel over rough dirt trails.
Upper control arms feature re-buildable high-angle ball joints while front lower control arms are made of 4130 chrome moly steel that allows it to endure the worst off-road shocks.
Likewise, its inner and outer forged steel tie rods have been strengthened to improve the vehicle’s off-road steering characteristics and capabilities. Inner tie rods now measure 0.75 inches -- from 0.62 inches – while outer tie rods measure 1 inch in diameter. The rear, meanwhile, features a five-link coil spring rear suspension, which helps provide a 30-degree departure angle.