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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering what running gear is under my Durango, and how durable it is.
I don't expect to need it except in snow, but I'm just wondering how it would do in the mud / sand if we decide to go to the beach.
Doesn't look like it would have much suspension articulation.
Seems the suspension is built more for speed & handling then off roading.
 

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you are correct in your assesment of the Gen 2 Durango Suspension system. It was significantly redesigned from the Gen 1 to increase on road comfort. Sadly imo, the changes decreased offroad capability.

The drivetrain is still very robust, but the suspension and chassis design is less offroad worthy than the Gen 1. You can however do some mods that will counter the loss in offroad competancy. Namely you can increase tire size, install a traction device in the rear diff, and ditch the running boards if you have them.
 

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Thanks, that's what I figured.
Since it's my wife's, I highly doubt this thing will ever leave the road.
Glad that it's get decent running gear, and with open diffs on both ends it will help with stability in the snow. Better to have only one wheel spin that both, in snow anyway.
 

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The 2nd gen. Durango's still have the genuine running gear underneath and I have found they pull very well off road with the 5.7. However they do have a major design problem for off road. The front spoiler hangs very low, great for gas milage but as can be seen on other threads, rip off in rather large pieces, especially in deep snow with frozen ice chunks. Some have removed the spoiler to go wheeling but in doing that the bumper cover looses all regidity so if you slide over anything with the front bumper the first thing hit is the plastic sump on your radiator and so ends your day of off road fun. Bottom line, if you want to go serious off road get a Gen 1, if you want greater comfort and road manners the Gen 2 is a lot of fun. :D
 

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yep bobauh summed it up nicely.
 

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1. Outstanding in deep sand! Pulls F150's out of holes when they are buried to the axle!

'Will you need to let some air out of the tires? Will we need two trucks?'
'Relax. It's gotta' Hemi.' :cool:

2. Removal of the plastic air dam increases coolness (appeareance :D ). Simply zip-tieing the bumper cover secures it fine. No other impacts noted.
 

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I have driven over some rocky single lane 4 wd only roads in Colorado with my D. Nothing seriously off-road mind you, and yeah, the D suspension bounces driver and passengers heavily with its stiffness. It was fun, but slow going.

Got close to the top at Hagerman Pass, only to find the snow drifted and no way over. Had to back down part way and turn back to Leadville. This was the end of September mind you. This year. The D did just fine, but nothing short of a snow cat was going to go over the pass that day.
 

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Coming from a 2000 4X4 Durango, I can honestly say my '04 Hemi is equally capable, if not more so. Rear axle articulation is quite impressive. I removed my front air dam and supported it with 3/4" PVC conduit. My front approach angle is now better than my '00 D. I'm actually able to conquer obstacles with my '04 that I could not in my '00, partly due to the longer wheel base. I'm not slamming the previous Durango by any means but rather informing of the new body style capabilities with a couple of minor (and free) mods, like removing the air dam and cranking up the torsion bars some.
 

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Big Cypress said:
My front approach angle is now better than my '00 D. I'm actually able to conquer obstacles with my '04 that I could not in my '00, partly due to the longer wheel base.
Sorry to disagree, but the numbers just dont support your contention.

The Gen 2 approach angle is much lower than the Gen 1 due to the significantly lower front bumper. You can remove the air dam, but the approach angle still is much lower than the Gen 1. The approach angle dictates how steep a transition you can make when starting a climb. The Gen 1 wins hands down over the Gen 2.

Additionally, the Gen 2 breakover angle is much lower than the Gen 1 due to the longer wheelbase. While this is advantageous when driving up or down really really steep inclines, a shorter wheelbase is almost always better offroad. Better turn radius and better maneuverability in the rocks. This is why the Jeep Wrangler has such a short wheelbase.

The narrower width, tighter turn radius, lower weight Gen 1 has it all over the Gen 2. Plain and simple, the hard numbers favor the Gen 1 as the better offroad machine.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
will the torsion lift void the warranty?
how will it effect the ride?
how do I raise the rear? blocks?
 

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torsion lift will not void warranty. Despite the reports of some, the front spring rate remains the same after the lift and the lifted ride quality felt the same to me and to most others that dont believe the tornado increased their HP.

regarding the rear lift. I have yet to see a setup for this in the Gen 2's. I think the rear is a coil spring, so a spacer should do the job, but since there is still no rear lift kit for the Durango, I am guessing there may be a problem with using a simple spacer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
torsion lift will not void warranty. Despite the reports of some, the front spring rate remains the same after the lift and the lifted ride quality felt the same to me and to most others that dont believe the tornado increased their HP.

regarding the rear lift. I have yet to see a setup for this in the Gen 2's. I think the rear is a coil spring, so a spacer should do the job, but since there is still no rear lift kit for the Durango, I am guessing there may be a problem with using a simple spacer.
it's not noticable bby the 'butt dyno', on an actual dyno I saw a 2 hp increase at 5800 rpms on a blue oval V6.
I would say it's not worth the $40.
Same as spacers, they are worthless on MPI setups.

Thanks for the reply.
If I do the torsion lift does it sit nose high?
 

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Most trucks and SUV's are setup with the nose a bit low so that when you load it down, the rear compresses and the vehicle runs level. If you run the stock setup with no load in the back, the nose runs lower tehn the rear. Some will "level" their suspension by cranking the front up a bit, but when they load up the rear, they will be running with the front higher than the rear.
 

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Canyon Runner, thanks for the civil disagreement and debate. Regardless of what the "numbers" say, I can attest to the 2nd generation Durango's capabilities. I never said they could compete with a true off-road machine like a Jeep Rubicon, but I honestly feel it could go nearly every where a 1st gen could go, assuming the simple and free modifications I listed were performed. Yes, it's a little larger making it a tad harder to fit through certain obstacles and the increase wheel base does reduce the break-over angle somewhat (though I've found to be minimal if none with the TS lift) compared to a non-TS lifted 1st gen. As for turning radias, I'd have to check the "numbers" but the 2nd gens doesn't seem any greater. I can still turn around in the same areas I could with my 2000. I often miss that Durango, still like the 1st generation body style as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I agree, the 1st gen has a more aggressive look.
Unfortunately, I can't take the chance on buying a 1st gen (usually atleast 70,000 on the odo) with no warranty.
Plus I really wanted a Hemi.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
canyonD said:
Most trucks and SUV's are setup with the nose a bit low so that when you load it down, the rear compresses and the vehicle runs level. If you run the stock setup with no load in the back, the nose runs lower tehn the rear. Some will "level" their suspension by cranking the front up a bit, but when they load up the rear, they will be running with the front higher than the rear.
how do I perform the torsion lift?
 

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So, theoretically if I wanted to go into serious terrain. I don't want to damage the "front clip" I should drive - BACKWARDS!!! He he , sorry. Little humor. A serious off road vehicle? Military issue hummmer!!! Just blow up whatever is in your way.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
vmschumacher said:
So, theoretically if I wanted to go into serious terrain. I don't want to damage the "front clip" I should drive - BACKWARDS!!! He he , sorry. Little humor. A serious off road vehicle? Military issue hummmer!!! Just blow up whatever is in your way.
I would say get some aftermarket bumpers & skid plates.

A hummer will take some abuse, but they require constant maintenance.
 

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yep, backwards the Gen 2 might be best. While it lacks good approach adn breakover angles, it has awesome departure angles. Seems odd....
 
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