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2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalist: Trucks N Toys Ram 2500

By Dan Everett, 23 Nov 2018 4x4OTY

2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalist Trucks N Toys RAM 2500 feature

Can this big American beaut wrestle the 2018 Custom 4x4OTY crown?

WHILE the Ram 2500 you’re ogling has an American heart inside, it has been meticulously pieced together with Australia in mind. If you haven’t heard the name John Davis before, he’s the brains behind the original Bush Ranger vehicles. In more recent years he has penned the name Trucks N Toys (TNT) with his son Ben, where they piece together American full-size trucks from mild to wild.

2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year: The finalists

To stop suicidal ’roos diving through the radiator, John fitted a Full Guard bullbar from Washington-based TrailReady. The behemoth sports four uprights with headlight and radiator protection, and it’s zapped together with 6mm mild-steel mounts and 5mm mild-steel wings.

TNT equipped the TRX37 package with a Warn 12,000lb Tabor winch wrapped in 25 metres of steel cable. Keeping the winch company are five LED lights pounding out eye-watering amounts of lumens. The wings of the bar sport a pair of six-inch and four-inch round LED lights, while a 30-inch E-Series Pro bar from Rigid Industries carries out the bulk of the work. 

The aggressive front end is rounded out with a UHF aerial whip which feeds back into the hidden unit inside, while the Ram AmeriHood is a trick fibreglass component.

Custom 4x4: Read our full feature on John's Ram 2500

TNT added five inches of freedom down the flanks, with a set of pocket-style Bushwacker flares bolting to the front and rear guards. The badges, handles, side-steps and mirrors are all colour-coded black, with the latter flipping out into a tow-position. A Rhino Pioneer roof rack holds a second LED light bar for good measure.

The ‘cool shit’ box was ticked when ordering from the factory, with the optional ‘Ram boxes’ offering additional storage along both flanks on the tub. But, like most builds, the coolest part is still sourced from the aftermarket: the full-length Pace Edwards roller rack covering the monster-sized tub, which electronically opens and closes with the push of a button.

The 5mm-plate steel rear bar ensures anything short of a Mack Truck rear-ending you will barely register a blip, and the quick foldout steps protect the tub off-road and allow for easy access to the tub.

From the factory, Rams come with a super-sized version of the suspension systems found in 105 Series and GQ/GUs: live axles with radius arms up front, and a live axle with coil springs at the back. While the front radius arm system might do a stout job of holding the front axle in place, it starts causing issues when lifted.

Rather than opt for offset bushes or replacement arms, TNT went with a full replacement 4-link arrangement from BDS suspension. It picks up the original mounts on the diff end, but replaces the single-radius arm with two separate links going to a new drop-style mount on the chassis. The heavy-duty offering picks up the factory mounts for strength then corrects caster for big lifts and provides less caster change as the suspension cycles on- and off-road.

The front end is completed with a set of four-inch lifted coils and six individual Fox shock absorbers; two are mounted to the factory tie rod giving huge steering dampening, while twin shocks on either corner mount to the BDS bracketry and control the weight of the 6.7L diesel-six. The rear is levelled out with a set of 2.5-inch lifted coil springs, with matching 2.0 Fox Shock absorbers on either corner.

TNT tuned the kit for improved performance on- and off-road for Aussie conditions and to pass a swerve and brake test to be fully road legal. That testing also ticked the box for the 18-inch Method Race Wheels and 37-inch muddies, for massive ground clearance.

The Ram is a near-on perfect setup for serious travel and towing. You might not want to punt one down rock steps, but when you’re coasting down the Vic High Country with the exhaust brake keeping your off-road van in check, it’s hard to imagine a better 4x4.

CAST YOUR VOTE FOR JOHN'S TNT RAM 2500 HERE

Check out the Top ten finalists of the 2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year, cast your vote and be in the running to win a Maxxis voucher valued at up to $2000!