Introducing Our Newest Project Vehicle: 2018 Dodge Ram 1500
Our Night Edition Dodge Ram 1500
A Midwest Welcome to our NEW Ram 1500
When our CEO, Cass Cooper, and our COO, Heather Sorbie, first pulled into our studio garage, all we heard was the deep rumble of a 5.7 Liter HEMI permeating the walls. Music to our ears here at Midwest Aftermarket? You betcha!
I'm kinda a Chevy guy myself, and we have several vocal Ford fellows in the house, so we all gave Cass the appropriate amount of $h@t for deciding the new project truck was going to be a Dodge Ram. Needless to say, we all shut the hell up once we saw the new 2018 Ram in all her glory idling in our garage studio.
And after we all got a good look at her, and rolled up our tongues and closed our mouths, the next thing we concerned ourselves with was what aftermarket parts we are going to put on this Ram first. Fist fights broke out. Blood was spilled. Decisions were tentatively set in powder coated stone.
While we know some of the choices we made are aesthetic & personal, and that your opinion might not match up with our own expert, fact-based, totally flawless opinions, we've compiled a list so you too can weight in on our plans before we even start.
Talk us out of these parts. Tell us what you would install first on this virginal 2018 Dodge Ram 1500. The only caveat is Cass says we've gotta keep her true to her Night Edition roots, so if it don't come in matte black, we aren't installin' it. The debate starts NOW!
THE 2018 Dodge RAM 1500 Aftermarket Parts List
Here's our ever-evolving list (many still up in the air):
If you like a product, click the image or the title to jump to that section.
Exterior Aftermarket Parts
Pace Edwards Ultra Groove Metal Tonneau
Why go with the Pace Edwards Ultra Groove Metal Edition Tonneau Cover? How about why not? But seriously, we love retractable tonneaux, we love metal, and we're pretty damn fond of Pace Edwards, but we haven't put a ring on it just yet, if you catch my drift, playa.
The added security of the aluminum slats just beneath that ArmorTek laminated deck. The lock knob keeps thieves out and passes the coat hanger test. And did we mention this tonneau cover comes in a matte black finish. Cha-ching!
The ability to lock the tonneau at every 12 inches along the bed is also a great feature in case you ever want to haul anything that's too tall to sit under the cover but still want to protect something smaller from the elements up near the bulkhead.
This cover is very water resistant, requires no drilling to install, and it is completely compatible with the Thule rack system--one of Cass' favorite aftermarket racks. UltraGroove uses a built-in RES, or rail expansion system, to make the install super easy.
Did we mention it comes in matte black and matches our Night Man color scheme? I love you, Night Man! The passionate, passionate Night Man.
Thule Multi-Sport Rack System for Pace Edwards
A great Pace Edwards addition, the Thule Rack allows you to transport items like bikes, snowboards, and even kayaks over the top of your tonneau, while you can store other gear underneath the cover. A great accessory for any cover, but especially for a Pace Edwards Ultra Groove, the Thule Rack slots right into the RES--say it with me now, Rack Expansion System!
Whether your an outdoorsman or an extreme sportsman, you'll be able to transport everything right along with you easily with a retractable cover and the Thule Rack system. Guess what color it comes in? Black. Figure out our color scheme yet?
I've just been informed that it's not the "Night Man" edition, but rather just the "Night" edition, so I'd like to clarify that. In case you are wondering what all comes with this special trim for the Dodge Ram, let's bust that out next.
Beyond the sweet Granite Crystal Metallic paint job, the Night Edition includes a laser cut Black Honeycomb Grille, several sweet badges and nameplate covers (all in black), and a kick ass black Dodge Ram hood emblem. The only thing we are replacing from the package immediately are the tires and wheels cause we gotta upgrade!
BedRug Classic Bed Liner
When considering what truck bed liner to include in the build, we went back and forth. While a full liner like Dual Liner can be a great addition to your truck bed, we really love the look and feel of BedRug. Especially for more of a show truck than work pickup, this felt like a no-brainer. However, BedRug can be pretty tough for the working man when needed as well.
When companies make claims about a product being "water-proof" we tend to air on the side of skepticism. With all our testing and reviewing of BedRug though, including the Impact and XLT mats, we've found these claims for once backed up. The reason is in the material.
While having the feel of carpet, the BedRug pickup truck liner is constructed of high grade polypropylene, a durable thermoplastic polymer. This material is water safe and protects your truck bed against all sorts of nasty stuff, including oil, battery acid, and rust. Should you get any nasty liquid or solid on your BedRug, you can just rinse it right off with a garden hose. Doesn't get much easier than that.
Finally, the anti-skid surface coupled with 3/4" cushion give this liner a double whammy. Your gear won't slide all of the place in this truck bed. And if you need to crawl around in your bed for any reason, the cushion is very forgiving on your knees. It's almost like a layer of bubble wrap (remember that stuff? 'member?) to protect both your equipment and your aging knees.
Diode Dynamics SL1 LED Headlights
When you're building a project vehicle, you've gotta go all out. So when Diode Dynamics asked us if we knew anyone who had a 2018 Dodge Ram 1500, we drove our happy butts on down to their headquarters in St. Louis and got these puppies installed.
Diode Dynamics SL1 LED Headlights are top of the line and then some. First off, they are street legal. We aren't talking about glaring, going to blind on-coming traffic HIDs here. These LEDs put the light where it needs to be--on the road in front of you.
Secondly, they are designed to last for the life of the vehicle in most cases. We estimate that these SL1's can handle upwards of 50,000 light hours. And in most cases, that's more time driving with your headlights on than your vehicle is likely to last (unless if you only drive at night I guess and mostly just idle in the driveway with your brights on).
SL1's are also easy to install since they are custom designed to fit your make and model exactly. Backed by a 3 year warranty, these professional LED headlights are going to blow you away. We've been super impressed with them so far.
Maybe you've got a favorite bulb. What would you recommend? Should we get some demon eyes while we're at it? Hit us up on the socials or in the comments below. Maybe, just maybe, we'll take you up on it.
Fuel Avenger D605 Wheels
As if these wheels actually need text next to them. I mean, come on! That's some hot $h@t. We (and by we, I mean, mostly Cass) bounced back and forth on these for a little bit. We knew we wanted to go with Fuel's brand new 2018 styles though, because we could. Nice to have a spankin' new Ram 1500 for the new year.
So the question really boiled down to which Fuel wheels. We eyed the Sledge series too, which also comes in matte black--a must for Night Edition! So why'd we go with the Avenger over Sledge and several others?
I'm so glad you asked. Two reasons: DDT & Hexangular design. While initially I was hoping that when Fuel called this rim "DDT" that was a wrestlin' reference, turns out it actually stands for Double Dark Tint. Guess why we wanted to see what that looked like in person? Guess!
So those Hexes? I especially pushed for these. I love most of Fuel's new lineup, so it was a really tough decision, but the Avenger series just really stood out to me as a unique design. Which Fuel line wheel would you have picked? Come yell at me on the socials and tell me how I'm tots wrong, man!
Regardless, spoiler, we kinda already got these in, and while we were trying to wait to start installing aftermarket parts until we got them all in, these bad boys are going on immediately. And I just can't wait to see these Avengers on the truck. Speakin' of...
Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 All-Terrain
So these sweet tires are currently getting balanced and mounted like as I type this. Ran over to the garage at Ronco's just to snag a quick pic cause--yeah... I'm pretty psyched!
Why Mickey Thompson? Have you ever heard such a silly question before. Look Mickey T is known for style and performance, durability and drag racing. Why wouldn't we go with MT?
The better question is why the Deegan 38's, and why All-Terrain instead of Mud? Grumbling commence! The truth is, this coming year at least, our new project truck is likely to spend more time in our studio garage and on the road than off-road, so All-Terrain just makes sense... this year.
And Deegan 38 All-Terrains because we don't always mean what we say when we tell our digital ninja, social media expert, and video pro, Heather, that we will keep the Ram on road this quarter only. Just kiddin' Heather. We won't get her too dirty just yet. Gotta get the Ram all decked out first.
But seriously, when the time comes, these Deegan All-Terrain tires will be more than ready for some off-road action. And that's why you go with the 38's--versatility. They're All-Terrain, meaning they'll be fine on your daily driver, but they're Deegan's so that tread pattern is designed for off-road.
What do you all think? Are the Deegan 38's the way to go? What MT tire would you have sprung for on our Ram 1500? And do you think we should take the Dodge out for just a little off-road action this Q1 2018? Just a smidge?
Swing Case times Deux
When Cass told me he was going to go with UnderCover's Swing Case for truck bed storage on the Ram, I didn't even ask how many. The obvious answer is two: one driver's side, one passenger. Duh!
What we love about Swing Case is how it stays out of the way when you want it to, and how easy it is to get your tools or whatever you store in the toolbox when you need it.
The Swing Case occupies a space in your truck bed that is normally pretty wasted--the area behind the wheel well to the tailgate. Since the cases swing out when you need them, you don't have to get up into your truck bed to get tools out, like you may with a more traditional toolbox.
Each SwingCase can hold up to 75lbs worth of gear. You can lock them for safe keeping. They fit under a tonneau cover, and they're compatible with our BedRug.
This is all really coming together nicely. Read more about how much we love the SwingCase from UnderCover over in our product center review. More of a Decked Truck bed organizer kind of guy? Have a better storage solution idea? Tell us all about it. We are still making final decisions for our build, after all.
Fender Flares, Bug Shield, & Window Visors:
Partially to keep things consistent color wise, but mostly because we just dug all three, we opted to go with EGR for Flares, Shield, and Visors. I think the In-Channel Visors and SuperGuard, both in Matte Black, are not particularly controversial. But those Fender Flares are really a personal aesthetic choice. We are bouncing between EGR Rugged (which is more of their Street option, smooth and matte black or paintable) and Bolt-On (which has bolts, duh!). Personally, I think the Bolt-Ons are a bit more Rugged. Ba-dum-tss!
SuperGuard w/ Bolt-On Flares
Gotta love that SuperGuard. We are currently leaning in on these Bolt-On Fender Flares too.
Rugged Style Fender Flares
The second option for Flares are these more street look Rugged Style. Share your thoughts and help us decide.
SlimLine In-Channel Visors
With a matte black finish (shown) or a paintable option, we think these low profile visors are tots Night Edition!
Performance Aftermarket Parts
K&N Filters Oiled Cold Air Intake
When I think Cold Air Intakes and Oiled Filters, the first brand that pops into my mind is K&N. And for good reason. They've done the research and created a product line that is second to none.
So why go for an Oiled filter? First, we are located in the midwest, hence the company name. Clever, right? So we don't have a particularly dry climate, cause otherwise dry would be on the agenda. Second, performance. Read all about Oiled Vs. Dry Air Filters in our Product Center.
Why cold air intake with a scoop? Well, if you take a second look at that sweet pic of our new 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 at the top of the page--don't worry, we'll wait for ya--you'll see that there are twin scoops punched into that sweet Night Edition hood.
Spoiler though: those scoops with the stock air intake... yeah, they're just for show. We thought we'd try using at least one of 'em and see how we like it.
While we are playing, the hope here is to see just how many horses we can push outta that 5.7 Liter engine. Once we get our whole exhaust and intake system installed and add in our Pedal Commander, we'll be sure to let you know.
Flowmaster Muffler 409S American Thunder
When it comes to exhaust, there are two main reasons to upgrade: performance and sound. Turns out, Flowmaster's got both covered. We considered the Outlaw but seeing as we are going to be firing her up in our studio garage on the reg, we thought we'd spare some of our employees' ears and go with the American Thunder.
Speaking of, we actually like the American Thunder's sound quite a bit. While the Outlaw has a bit more roar, the mighty purrrr of the Thunder was music to our ears. Check out the sound differences in Flowmaster's video.
We opted for an Axle back exhaust system. While we know well that a full overhaul, headers on back, would give us the biggest performance boost, we decided to start with just the muffler, tips, and adding in that cold air intake, to see what we can get outta that build. Also, a complete system would take more time to install, and we're anxious to get her up and moving!
If you want to learn more about exhaust systems and find out which exhaust system type would be best for your vehicle and your pocketbook, check out our Exhaustive Series on Exhausts!
While the muffler provides most of the sound, you aren't going to see most of the exhaust unless if you've got your truck up on jacks all the time or just enjoy crawlin' around underneath her. And don't get me wrong, I love working on and under my vehicles, but it's kinda a personal experience. So the only part of my exhaust I'm gonna get to show off to my buddies are those tips.
We wanted to stick with Flowmaster since we were going with their muffler already, so to complete our Axle back system, we grabbed a pair of Black Ceramic tips. Cut at an angle, we think they'll look pretty sick when you're eating our smoke. Tee-hee!
Seriously, though, we thought the black ceramic coating would go nicely with our Night Edition style. We know chrome used to be all the rage, but these days we are really feelin' that matte black. How about you? Chrome tips FTW? Or is powder coated and/or ceramic black the best look these days?
Performance tuning is always on our minds here at Midwest Aftermarket. But the question at hand is do we go with a touch screen or a manual? Do we go with a monitor or gauge only? Which manufacturer? Do we need a PCM swap? So many questions! And this time around we've decided to try a new product: Pedal Commander.
We are super excited to start carrying Pedal Commander, and we thought if we're gonna start selling their products, we should probably start using them too, right?
At its heart, what we absolutely had to have was a throttle response solution because f@%*ing Active Fuel Management, am I right? You know I am. But that's just the beginning of this Plug & Play throttle booster.
Those of you timidly pondering what a performance tuner or programmer is, first off, you're not alone. Pedal Commander isn't actually a tuner, but it is a great place to start. If you want to know more about tuning, read this article for noobs: Auto Tuning: Beginner's Guide to Performance Programmers. Then come back here, cause you're gonna like Pedal Commander.
We've been on a quest for a throttle controller that is easy to use, simple to install, won't void your factory warranty, and yet still offers more than just one setting or parameter of control. We carry a lot of great advanced level tuners, don't get me wrong. But what if you're new to programming and a little intimidated. I can remember my first time. It felt kinda naughty, a little dirty--playing around with my truck's on board computer... Wow. That got sexualized fast.
Anyway, back to Pedal Commander--this product offers 36 variations to play around with, four modes. If you want to do some nuanced tuning, make small adjustments here and there. Just want to switch to Eco during your commute and Sport+ when you want to show off? It's really that easy.
Can't stress how psyched we are to try this one out. But maybe you're a pro when it comes to tuning your vehicle. Which custom tuner do you prefer? Hit us up on the socialz and tell us why your pick is way better than ours.
Interior Aftermarket Parts & Cool Stuff
Husky X-Act Contour Floor Liners
'Round here when we think about custom digital floor liners, only two brands really come to mind: WeatherTech and Husky. And we're partial to both, but this time around, we are excited to get a full set, front and back, of X-Act Contour Husky Liners.
Why X-Act? These liners have the same durability and liquid controlling aspects of WeatherTech liners and Husky's WeatherBeater line. What made us go with Contour then?
We feel like X-Act Contour adds on a luxurious note for this brand new Ram Interior. Made of soft yet durable rubberized DuraGrip material, Husky gives our upholstery the protection it needs without the rough edge.
We know everyone has an opinion when it comes to these products, even floor liners. There are die hard WeatherTech folks, and those committed to Husky. We respect that. We've even taken the challenge to try to pick a favorite in a head-to-head style review over in the Product Center.
So which floor liners would you cut for? WeatherTech more your style? Do you prefer Husky WeatherBeaters over the Contour? Let us know. These liners are so easy to install, we imagine it wouldn't take too long to swap them out.
Mob Armor MobNetic Pro Elite
So everyone needs a phone mount for their truck. Rather than update mounts every single time we update our smart phones, we here at Midwest Aftermarket have teamed up with start up Mob Armor to stock and use every single day their MobNetic Pro Elite phone mounts. First, they come in a bunch of colors, including digital camo, and since we're all about seven at heart, this is kinda a big deal. Secondly, since MobNetic Pro uses an electronic safe magnet to secure your device, it is truly a universal phone mount.
Hold one a second. I'll let you think that over--an electronic safe magnet. Yup. I said it. I was skeptical too when I first reviewed this product for the first time--read about it here. But now I don't know how I ever lived without it.
My wifey recently upgraded her phone to the new S8, and guess what we didn't have to buy again this time--a new phone mount. Don't get me wrong, we still spent plenty on the damn phone. So why replace the mount every time as well. It doesn't make any sense.
Enter Mob Armor. Their innovative product is changing the way we think about everything from phone mounts to hurricane proof break away mirrors. I'll let that one sit just right there for ya. Enjoy!
What's your favorite phone mount? Which MobNetic color is right for you? Digital camo? Black? Pink? We don't judge.
Our Build So Far for Our Project Truck
2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Night Edition
Time to Weigh In
I know I've mentioned it a few times now, but I guess it bears repeating: what do ya think? Did we hit it out of the park with our aftermarket accessory selection? Are there any you'd have done differently? Are you a die hard fan and user of one of the brands/products we selected? Did we miss your fav product?
Hit us up on the socialz and tell us where we went wrong. Just please don't tell us we screwed up in the first place by buying a Dodge, Chevy and Ford guys. We love our new Night Edition.
But we do realize she's still just a baby. Time to start throwin' on aftermarket parts and then hit that pavement hard.
We'll keep you updated here in the blog as we add on pieces and subtract others. Until then, how about a sweet pic or two of the Ram 1500 in all her OEM glory!