There are a lot of guys out there building homemade suspension systems in their garage. How many of them do you imagine are mechanical engineers who have worked on projects like the Comanche helicopter and F-35 fighter jets? On top of those accomplishments, Jeff Lassegard has built high-flying bicycle suspension systems, has a love for kinetics, and has now designed suspension for a very uncommon off-road vehicle. When he emailed us pictures of his '03 Dodge Durango for our Rides section we wanted to see more. Did Jeff really make the Durango a worthy off-road vehicle? Specs VEHICLE: 2003 Dodge Durango Owner: Jeff Lassegard CHASSIS: Stock ENGINE: 4.7L Magnum V-8 DRIVETRAIN: Chrysler 9.25 rear, Track Lock limited slip, 4.10 gears SUSPENSION: Custom made A-arms, Sway-A-Way shocks, Deaver springs, Bell Tech shackles STEERING: Extended steel tie rods with Heim joints BRAKES: '00 Ford F150 4x4 rotors on Dodge 1500 hubs TIRES/WHEELS: Pro Comp 6079 wheels, 285/75R16 Nitto Terra Grappler tires INTERIOR: Valor DVD entertainment audio system OTHER PARTS: Magnaflow exhaust, Flowtech headers FAVORITE OFF-ROAD AREA: Big Bear, California If you search through all of your favorite auto magazines and look for long-travel Dakota/Durango suspension systems, you are likely to not find one. This is why Jeff decided to put his mechanical engineering skills to the task. Using 4130 chromoly tube Jeff constructed a one-off A-arm suspension that lifts his truck 7 inches and allows 11 inches of limited wheel travel. With a couple future modifications including fiberglass fenders and lift spindles he will have the ability to get five more inches of travel.If you search through all of your favorite auto magazines and look for long-travel Dakota/ Belltech Chevrolet drop shackles were custom mounted by Jeff to allow the rearend to droop farther.Belltech Chevrolet drop shackles were custom mounted by Jeff to allow the rearend to droop To get the kit to work, Jeff had to lower the upper arm mount to fit against the top of the frame rail in a new location. This moved the front wheels forward half an inch to compensate for the increased travel and articulation with larger tires. The lower control arms have been partially boxed in for strength and both mounting points have been redesigned. Both shock hoops have been fabricated into a removable brace that runs over the engine.To get the kit to work, Jeff had to lower the upper arm mount to fit against the top of th Sway-A-Way Racerunner 2.5x8-inch shocks and polyurethane bump stops keep things in control. Jeff also added a set of cross-drilled and slotted Ford F-150 rotors to aid in stopping larger tires. New tie rods were made as well. Each side is made of steel with Heim joint turnbuckle-style ends.Sway-A-Way Racerunner 2.5x8-inch shocks and polyurethane bump stops keep things in control Providing 10 inches of wheel travel in the rear are Deaver leaf srings and Pro Comp MX6 adjustable shocks. Jeff also lowered the rear stock bump stops to allow the rear end to travel just a bit more.Providing 10 inches of wheel travel in the rear are Deaver leaf srings and Pro Comp MX6 ad The stock 4.7L V-8 Magnum motor puts out a good amount of power and sounds great with a Magnaflow exhaust system added to it. Jeff has also added an Optima Red Top battery, Flowtech shortie headers, and a Superchips 93 Tuner, which modifies the truck's shift points.The stock 4.7L V-8 Magnum motor puts out a good amount of power and sounds great with a Ma The beauty of having an SUV on adventures is ample storage space. The rear compartment of the Durango comes with a floor storage area that is large enough to store a fullsize aluminum floor jack, tools and spare parts.The beauty of having an SUV on adventures is ample storage space. The rear compartment of Jeff had to make some modifications in order to get the Pro Comp 6079 series 16x8 wheels to fit on his Dodge. The '03 Durango/Dakota has the same oddball 6x4.5-bolt pattern that is shared with our Project Equator. After some research, he found that '02 Dodge Ram 2WD front hubs would fit on his stock spindles and are 3/16-inch less offset, which could counter the aftermarket wheel offset. It also provided a better steering geometry by decreasing the scrub radius. The replacement of the rear axles to '06 Dakota axles would change the bolt pattern in the rear. Nitto Terra Grappler 285/75R16 tires provide a solid dirt grip.Jeff had to make some modifications in order to get the Pro Comp 6079 series 16x8 wheels t A Chrysler 9.25 rear end is found under the truck stuffed with a Track Lock and 4.10 gears. The stock axle shafts were removed and replaced with '06 Dakota 31-spline shafts.A Chrysler 9.25 rear end is found under the truck stuffed with a Track Lock and 4.10 gears By Jordan May Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!