Synergy '03-'12 Steering install/impressions - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Synergy '03-'12 Steering install/impressions

I found just about zero consumer sourced info on this steering system as it is relatively new, so I hope I can help someone else decide to order it for their truck from Paul at CJC Off Road.

Synergy Manufacturing Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty Steering Kit





I just got through doing the suspension on my truck. I have been doing my homework and planning out exactly what I wanted under my truck since about June of 2011 or so, when I first got into my '95 360/NV4500 truck. I went through a few Dodges of varying vintages before I settled on my '04 as being "the one". Meaning the one that was worth me building to be my long term keeper, not worrying about getting my money back out of it etc.

Over the course of that time I have always kept my eye on what's going on with suspension and steering in these trucks, who is making the best stuff for the right value, etc. I am also a big 4x4 nut, I have been reading the 4x4 magazines and surfing Pirate4x4 since way before I had my drivers licence. I have read all kinds of reviews, impressions, and experiences with every steering and suspension setup under the sun. Why this works, that doesn't, and why they did this from the factory.

I have watched every steering setup that comes out looking like the ticket end up having some sort of design flaw. There are some almost great options available that have a flaw or characteristic that turned me off for one reason or another.



My truck is my daily driver. I haul motorcycles of many varieties on a regular basis. I tow cars alive and dead. I tow my Jeep. I drive long distances a couple times a year, with or without the trailer. I need to be able to get into the hills on rough roads and be comfortable on the interstate for 10+ hours when the occasion arises.

My requirements were this.

-T-link (No Crossover for a 3" lift, no Y-link)
-No Drilling (Why? Unnecessary modification is great on my Jeep, not on my DD)
-I don't like heims. In general. I have to run them for clearance reasons on my drag link on my Jeep, but I don't want them on my DD.
-Tough and serviceable



These requirements narrowed it down to pretty slim pickings. I read about lots of guys going to the 08.5 steering, being dissatisfied with it, and then continuing to replace it over and over. I would rather spend more money (even a lot more) only once. Thankfully EMF and Synergy recently released some sweet options that fit the bill!

I was planning on EMF steering until I read Rhinopkc's Product Spotlight on this system. I was a bit hesitant about going with a product from a big (relatively speaking) company, but his personal testing of the product sold me on the durability and quality of it. At $750, it is about 1/2 the cost of the EMF system. I have ZERO experience with EMF or their product. I fully believe their product is probably the baddest steering setup available, but if the Synergy steering is good enough for Paul's truck, it's beyond good enough for my application. Also, a benefit of going with a product from a bigger-ish company is that replacement wear parts are likely to be around for a while. I ordered the Synergy steering.


It came packaged very thoughtfully in 3 different boxes. There were separate instructions for the tie rod and drag link. I also received double the hardware for the tie rod, but that is irrelevant. I got a total of 4 stickers. I like stickers.

The tie rod is 4130 1.5" diameter 3/16" wall heat treated chromoly tube.


The drag link is 1018 cold rolled solid 1.5" steel bar.




The adjusters are pretty trick, and work very well. They allow the links to be adjusted from one side only, without removing any tie rod ends. A pinch bolt secures them so that they don't move on their own.


It comes with a matching steering stabilizer bracket as well. Some other retailers advertise a lower price, but do not include the bracket at that price.


As you can see everything comes powder coated in a sweet gun metal grey metallic color. The tie rod ends themselves are a Synergy Rod end, no plastic inside like OEM style stuff, all metal.

CJC Off Road even offers the 08.5 style pitman arm at an awesome price when purchased with this steering (it's necessary), WAY less than it costs to source one separately.



Time to install it on the truck! I ended up replacing my steering gearbox with a reman from Redhead, but if you use the gearbox that is already on the truck, and have a 03-08 Y-link steering, you'll need to remove the pitman arm in addition to the old junk steering. Torque spec on the 1 5/16" pitman arm nut is 225 ft/lbs. The rest of the info needed for install is in the Synergy instructions. It was all very easy and fit together very nicely, I enjoyed the install. Here's a few pics of it under the truck.







Angles are all very nice, fit and finish is great, and it looks killer under there. I feel that the geometry is much simpler and sensible than the factory Y-link.

As far as driving goes, I put a few hundred miles on the truck with the lift installed, but still running the Y-link, so I was able to get a true "controlled" experience of replacing just the steering. The initial install of the lift included Thuren 3" springs/shocks, Carli track bar, Carli ball joints, and Synergy shackles. So the front end is all fresh, the unit hubs have no play. My Y-link had some mileage on it, but there was NO slop or play in any of the joints. I even greased it up when I put the lift on. My steering stabilizer is functionally in great shape. My old steering box was in perfect shape, I only replaced it because I cracked the cap trying to pull the pitman arm without a puller (My cheap one broke a while ago, just go buy the puller). I never once had any problems with death wobble. All that being said, going from the Y-link to the Synergy T-link completely changed the way the truck drives. I can't express how much I loathe the entire idea of a Y-link. Every time the suspension moves the slightest bit, the toe angle changes. With stock tires and factory suspension it's not the end of the world, but even when I was bone stock I could feel it doing weird things during some cornering situations. Bump steer was present with the Y-link, not bad, but present. This well designed T-link transformed the truck into a sports car. I can now plow over anything the suspension can handle without any bump steer. Steering through corners whether fast, slow, bumpy or smooth is now predictable and precise. There is no "dead spot" in the steering that is sometimes associated with a T-link. It drives down the freeway perfectly. The truck drives better than any of the Dodge 4th gen company trucks that I drive regularly for work, and they are all well maintained.


I will update this periodically as I put miles on this setup, but initial impressions have me fully satisfied with my purchase. I want to say thanks again to Paul at CJC for "steering" me in the right direction for putting together my suspension and steering package. Give him a call, he has personal experience with a huge amount of aftermarket off road products available for our Dodges.

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post #2 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 05:43 AM
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Nice, if the TRE's last it looks like a great set up. I like that they used a pinch bolt, even though it's kinda cheesy they do grip tighter and more rigid than a jam nut. I expect they'll sell a lot of those at that price!

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post #3 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 12:19 PM
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Everything wears out eventually. The nice thing about this setup is that you can replace the TREs inexpensively.


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post #4 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Tie rod ends are a wear item no doubt. Nothing lasts forever. But these are big, grease-able, and should be better than OEM design. Synergy has run a few laps around the off road world. As long as they have a decent service life I will be happy.

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post #5 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 02:32 PM
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I have the Synergy track bar, looks like they use the same adjusters and solid bar for the steering setup as they do with the track bar. Thanks for sharing your experience! Looks like this is a good option for those wanting more than the 08.5+ steering upgrade.

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post #6 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 02:39 PM
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Here's what I'll be using on mine for the steering on my Suzuki Samurai... yes that's a quater next to the jojnt.. lol

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post #7 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-13-2015, 08:16 PM
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Awesome write up. Ive got the Synergy steering on my 01, and as you have described, AMAZING. Go run it into stuff and see how it holds up!
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post #8 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-14-2015, 02:54 AM
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Thanks for the write up and pictures. I have been looking for info on these outside of retailer/manufacturer info. Any opinions how this stacks up against the EMF steering?

2012 Dodge Ram 3500 SRW 68RFE 4.56, ARP 2000, XRT Pro, MCC Anarchy Diesel, Edge CTS, Thuren 2" coils/track bar, Carli arms/steering stabilizer/BJs, Synergy HD steering, Bilstein 5100, Airlift bags, 189" Method NV, Yokohama Geolander AT-S 37x12.5x18.
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post #9 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-14-2015, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Like I mentioned above, I have no personal experience with the EMF steering. For the difference in price I fully expect the EMF product to be superior. It is literally about twice the price. EMF is in the business of building the nastiest rod ends on the planet. Their rod ends have adjustment to take slop out as they wear, and are fully rebuildable. The Synergy tie rod ends are heavier duty than an OEM part, but are a wear and replace item. For the cost difference the Synergy kit is what works for me. I choose parts for my rigs with overkill in mind. I want parts that guys who jump their trucks trust, so that I can have 100% peace of mind that it won't give me any trouble. It's expensive, and I know I have quite a but more to do in the future to get my suspension exactly where I want it, but in the long run for a truck I plan to hold on to it is well worth it.

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post #10 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-14-2015, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombat Ranger View Post
Like I mentioned above, I have no personal experience with the EMF steering. For the difference in price I fully expect the EMF product to be superior. It is literally about twice the price. EMF is in the business of building the nastiest rod ends on the planet. Their rod ends have adjustment to take slop out as they wear, and are fully rebuildable. The Synergy tie rod ends are heavier duty than an OEM part, but are a wear and replace item. For the cost difference the Synergy kit is what works for me. I choose parts for my rigs with overkill in mind. I want parts that guys who jump their trucks trust, so that I can have 100% peace of mind that it won't give me any trouble. It's expensive, and I know I have quite a but more to do in the future to get my suspension exactly where I want it, but in the long run for a truck I plan to hold on to it is well worth it.
I'm anxiously waiting for the shop I use to get their hands on this kit.
Watching the install will be interesting.
My truck's eligible for the steering replacement but why bother?
I've got Thuren's stabilizer clamp so I'd hope the Synergy one wouldn't be necessary

'07 2500 SLT,5.9,Regcab.,G-56,4wd,Northstar TC800 popup 24/7. SBC OKHD. Dynatrac freespins and bj's. Synergy HD steering. Suspension mutt courtesy of Kore, Carli and Thuren.
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post #11 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-14-2015, 06:27 PM
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You mentioned the steering comes with the steering stabilizer mount but I don't see a stabilizer in your pics? Did you just not have it mounted at that point? Or did you want to run without it for a while? The steering looks great in your pics. and great write up.

2008 Megacab, Diesel, 4x4, 3" Carli Bilstein 2.65s with rear deavers, Synergy Long Arms, EMF ball joints, Carli low mount stabilizer, 37" Cooper ST Maxx, Black Hummer H2 rims, Edge juice with Attitude monitor, Road Rhino front and rear bumpers in Line-X
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post #12 of 217 (permalink) Old 11-14-2015, 07:45 PM
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Made my own for less than 200.00 and you couldn't ask for a better steering truck, my eye's about bugged out when I saw that price, LOL. Glad it is working for you, Dodge should have never let these trucks leave the Factory with the crappy stock set-up.

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