Tereflex Falcon Shock Install - Dodge Ram 1500
This Falcon Shock install on a 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 resulted in a sportier, easier ride with all the right moves.
We have owned our down and dirty 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 project truck, well, since 2012, or 120,000 km (75,000 mi) ago. In that time, it has been used to haul family, groceries, not to mention approximately 3600 kg (8000 lbs) of jeep and trailer throughout the West Coast of Canada.
To effectively manage our heavier loads, we outfitted the truck with a Hellwig air bag system, plus Big Wig sway bars, which vastly improved the ride and handling while lugging heavy loads or carving through challenging mountain passes.
The key advantage of these upgrades was so we could keep the majority of factory equipment, namely the shocks, rather than unnecessarily take them out in hopes they could be re-used some day. Truth be told, the factory shocks did well at keeping our 35” Nitto EXO Grapplers stuck to the tarmac but after some recent reflection and so many kilometers, it was time for their retirement. Plus, it began bouncing a little too much for our liking and handling turned our rig from a fun-to-drive ride to something like a worn out 1970s yellow taxi cab.
So, we did some research and purchased a set of replacement shocks that would not only work with our recent modifications, but they would be a definite upgrade from our current setup. Typically, there’s a good shock selection for ¾- and 1-ton trucks. However, the ½-ton market seems to be left on its own – unless we wanted to install a lift kit or attempt to select from a sea of generic shocks.
We had been down the road of shock selection before with results we would call only adequate. This truck serves us as a tow rig and kid hauler, so the thought of lifting it wasn’t an option. We know that TeraFlex has been building its Falcon Series of shock absorbers to accommodate its line of Jeep lift kits. It did come as a surprise that they were also making a line of custom-tuned factory replacement shocks for the ½-ton and smaller truck market as well. A factory replacement with optional adjustability settings for towing modes or sportier handling, the Falcons do not have a one size-fit-all design. They are intended for your specific vehicle.
Sticker shock was initially felt after seeing the $1700 price tag but TeraFlex has always provided us with top-notch, best bang-for-the-buck return. We then contemplated a little more to see if the cost was going to be worth it, and what we intended to use our truck for.
To start with, these are not a set of shocks that you just bolt on. They are a system consisting of replaceable, progressive rate bump stops, spring keepers and the monotube shocks. Plus, the 2.25” diameter 6061-T6 aluminum bodies do have different snap-ring grooves if you need to level the ride height of the front end of your truck, or if you carry heavy loads over the front axle.
The massive ¾” diameter shock shafts are attached to pistons that have all the components you would expect with a racing class coil over and axle/frame attachments that are designed for a lifetime of use. Plenty of acronyms and technical descriptions are used in the sales brochure, but what we really liked was the Volume Optimized Damping (VOD), which is the company’s name for digressive valving.
For an off-road and daily-driver orientated rig, these would work well for us as they don’t try to aggressively stop the movement of the shock during a large distance motion of the shock. In fact, they deliver a smoother ride when in the dirt and firm up for a great road feel since they automatically limit the volume of fluid that passes by the shock piston when street driving.
The Inline OGS (Oil/Gas Separation) is simply a secondary piston that keeps the oil and gas components from mixing and cavitating. The aforementioned oil is made by Red Line, which is designed to give consistent performance no matter the outside temperature or shock internal temperature.
TeraFlex builds each shock in-house and they can be sent back for service, rebuilding (if necessary), and come with a three-year warranty. One of our main concerns was the ability for the shocks to survive the Canadian climate. So, we were happy to learn they go through a 1000-hour salt-spray corrosion test. We also needed to decide whether to order a set with the three-way adjustable Sport Tow/Haul units or the non-adjustable Sport.
The company recommends you set the shocks to the appropriate setting, depending on how loaded your truck is. They also suggest not leaving an empty truck in the Tow/Haul mode. We’ll be the first to admit that we have never enjoyed climbing under the back of our rig to fiddle with an adjustment knob. So, we saved some money and opted for the Ram 1500 Sport version.
The packaging and installation manual of the shocks were great. It’s important to note that all Dodge Ram 1500’s from 2009 and later use a strut design in the front, which can be very tricky to work on without the proper spring compression tools. Unless you have access or own the proper spring compression tools you may want to contact your local shop to get the front strut assembly broken down and reassembled once they are removed from the vehicle.
In the end, we were extremely happy with the half-day it took to install the shocks and more than happy with the results. The truck feels much sportier and doesn’t rock and roll us in the cab when driving over potholes around town or along rough, dirt roads. Plus, when we tow near maximum capacity, we not only feel that the rear shocks offer enough dampening, but they feel many times better than the original setup.
On a final note, the install was an easy one with the exception of needing a heavy duty coil spring compressor, but it can be easily handled with a good set of hand tools and some extra time.