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Old 11-11-2007, 12:21 AM   #1
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Help me "Pimp My Ride"

I just bought a used 2001 RB-50 based on the venerable Dodge Ram 2500 Van... It runs great and the RB-50 layout suits my family's camping needs just fine. Only problem is, I think it is quite ugly looking. I'd like to pimp it a little bit, and would like to bounce some ideas off the group.

Here's what it looked like when we bought it:





Here is what I would consider doing:
1) 4x4 Upgrade (or at the very least a cheaper slightly raised up 2WD for the purpose of off-road clearance)
2) Bigger knobbier tires suitable for dirt roads and light mountain snows
3) Spare tire hanging off the back door instead of underneath
4) some of those black off-road bumpers, front and rear
5) Rear bumper with that storage box
6) eBay the aluminum running boards and replace with the shorter "single step size" black sidesteps that are made of tubular anodized aluminum
7) Ladder
8) Yakima roof racks
9) paint: prefer a sporty yellow, 2nd choice white but lose those stripes
10) fog lights
11) Sportsmobile logos on the lower front exterior doors.
12) Black Fender Flares

Any recommendations or other ideas for what would work with this? Any ideas where to look for parts? I guess what I'd like is a more rugged outdoorsy-looking rather than suburban-looking vehicle.
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:42 AM   #2
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Like this?




Sorry, couldn't resist. Most of those black bumpers you see are Aluminess as are the rear boxes/trays. I couldn't tell you if they make them for Dodge.

I think if you can going out with the wheels (wider tires or different rim backspacing) might help the van look less tubby.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:36 AM   #3
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OK maybe "Pimp" was too strong a word!

Thanks for the tip about Aluminess... Looks like they only make for Sprinter, Chevy and Ford vans. I'll look around elsewhere.

Yanked those running boards off just now. It looks 100% better. I'm going to try to pull off those stripes, they're just stuck on like stickers. That would get me to the solid white color without any painting.

Good news it does fit in the garage with 3" of headroom. So if I raise it up we'll have to be careful not to add more than 3 inches.

So wider tires, would this mean new wheels as well?
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:35 AM   #4
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No you can go wider on the same rims. You get more bulge, and if you go bigger overall it should not be a problem as you have more sidewall, but it's not infinite. Of course it bulges more inside too, so you can wind up rubbing things.

If you change the backspacing it actually moves the rim out, so if you change the backspacing and get a wider tire that would be the best route. You'll have to do some research on what fits/what rubs etc. But going with plain black steelies will give you a less urban look anyway.

As for the stripes most dealer stickers and such come off with the application of hot air and patience. I use a hairdryer (using your wife/girlfriends hair dryer may get you in the dog house) but haven't ever done something so big. Basically heat, heat heat and wait, and once the end comes up move along the stripe slowly heating and pulling.
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:12 PM   #5
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I've got one side cleared of stripes using a heat gun on low and a lot of patience. There's an art to getting the heat just right and just the right amount of pull on the stripe. There sure are a lot of stripes on this van.

The vehicle needs new tires anyway, the old ones are shot or close to it. I'll see what they can do for putting on some wider ones. We may not be able to raise this any higher as it would no longer be garageable.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:42 AM   #6
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I'm doing it now to mine.....

Hey, A lift will be a big time change with new rims and tires. But finding a good mechanic to do a two wheel drive van sually takes fabrication of new drop down arms. I dont know of any lift kits pre-made for two wheel drive vans. Mine ran about 2000.00 for the lift and fabrication. Ditch the rims. I found a great used set on craigslist. Be patient and you'll find what your looking for. Aluminess is twenty minutes from my home and that was a major difference. (alot of money too) I bought the Bushwacker fender flares 22003 and 22004 from amazon for about 320.00 front and rear. That was the cheapest I could find. So, a lift, tires and rims will take it from family sedan to arrrrrrrr real quick. If you want more power and a little kick to the engine; a Kand N filter or a flowmaster muffler or cat back bigger pipe to the muffler always helps alittle on the horsepower and sounds a bit meaner as well. So, have fun and the joy is in the journey!!
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Very Very cool looking van
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:40 PM   #7
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Hi Curtis, it sounds like we live in the same general area. If you don't mind me asking, who did your lift fabrication work?
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:15 PM   #8
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Hey Low

Jeremy at weld designs in Santee does alot of fabrication work for the desert race people. They are very thorough and care alot about what they do. Their straight forward. You could always go to Action Vans in San Clemente, but he will end up putting blocks in the rear which could cost you about $1800.00 and questionable as to weather you want to go that route. I chose to have my rear leaf springs re-arched and packed for the extra lift. They will weld you custom drop-down arms for the front, and put some fresh Bilsteins all around with of course a new 4" coil springs in the front. If you want to pop the big bucks and go 4x4, I recommend Jef at M.I.T. Drive train specialist, in Santee. Very well respected and has several write-ups in four by magazines. He too respects the boys at Weld Designs. Any questions or if you want to talk shop, send me an email at idbrn4u@cox.net and we can talk shop. Take care, C
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96 SMB RB
5.8 l V8
2WD (hey nice van....is that 4 wheel drive?)
4:10 detroit locker
6 inch lift,
man. pop top
Trojans, nerf bars, Tire rack
Yakima surf racks,
Very Very cool looking van
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:26 PM   #9
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I just computed my registration fees at the DMV. Pimping my ride might have to wait awhile... The DMV is fixing to take more than $2K out of my pocket.
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:36 PM   #10
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Bumpers

Reunel says they can do custom built bumpers, but they're located too far from me; they'd need the van in the shop.

Aluminess says the same thing, but they're located relatively close by. They said the price for a custom bumper is the same as off-the-shelf.

So we'll be considering the Aluminess once our bank account recovers from our visit to the DMV...

Starting to look a little better with the running boards and stripes gone.


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