So this has been an annoying (and costly) task over the past few weeks, however I finally have some results for those of you who want to know if you can use QA1 coilovers on the front of your truck. The short answer is yes, and hopefully this saves you a bit of time and money by avoiding the experimental process that I went through. Below I will answer all of the questions that I had initially that I was never able to find the answers for, as well as include part numbers and pictures.
Q #1) Does QA1, or anyone else, make bolt on adjustable coilovers for the ram 50/mighty max trucks?
A) No, neither QA1 nor any other companies that I could find offer a complete front suspension package in a coilover option. You can call them and most places are not even familiar with the trucks (I know you are all used to this already)
Q #2) I've heard that the Chevy S10 shares similar suspension geometry, can I aftermarket S10 parts to make it work?
A) Yes and no. If you look up aftermarket struts (struts only), both the mighty max/ram 50 and S10 trucks share the same part numbers which means they should fit (they do) and are the same length. The springs however are not the same, because the mighty max/ram 50s have an upper spring perch that is located closer to the control arm than that of an S10. These spring perches are also narrower than those on an S10, so the S10 springs have too wide of an inner diameter as well.
Q #3) Given the above information, what are my options?
A) So what I've come up with at the moment may or may not be to everyone's liking. I am the type of person that has to have matching suspension, and since I'm running QA1s out back, I was determined to figure this out. The 1st Gen S10 Pro Coil Kit struts from QA1 work without any issues. The part number for them is GS401.
You are required to modify your lower control arms in order to mount them, this is the same process S10 owners have to go through as well. The new struts bolt to the top of the lower control arm, rather than underneath like the factory ones. The mounting hardware that is supplied works fine, but at minimum you will need to drill out/grind off the factory strut mounting nuts. I chose to cut/grind off the entire factory lower spring perch since it is no longer necessary and I didn't like the way it looked.
With the strut sitting on the control arm from the bottom, before modification:
Spring perch removal:
Perch removed, strut mounted how it's supposed to be.
Stock vs. modified:
Painted up and ready to go:
Now this is where it became a pain in the ass. So the struts are figured out and that's all good and well, however the S10 spec springs that come with their S10 coilover kit are too large in diameter, and DO NOT FIT. Save some money and just order the struts without the springs. Pictured are the S10 springs, which are 10" tall and have an upper inner diameter of over 4". THESE WILL NOT WORK. The mighty max/ram50 needs a spring with an upper I.D. of 3.5".
So after this, the goal became to find the right springs. The mm/ram50 upper spring perches are located lower to the control arm, therefore a much shorter spring is required in order to get the control arm bolted up. The only option I was able to find is QA1's Mustang II springs, which are 8" long (free uncompressed length) with a 2.5" lower I.D. and a 3.5" upper I.D. seen below:
Part number for these springs is 8MB375:
Now these springs fit. You'll notice I covered them in painter's tape and that's to avoid scratching them.. QA1 is very strict and will not take back anything that has been scratched in the slightest way. (dont even breathe on it)
To install them, lower the coil over height adjustment collars all the way down to the bottom of the strut. You are going to put the top of the strut through its mounting hole first, and then attach the lower control arm. The spring is short enough to get you really close, but I wasn't able to push on it enough to get the threads started until I removed the upper rubber bushing seen below:
With this off, you will have enough exposed threads to get the nut started (you can go back after control arm is mounted and add the bushing/washer underneath the nut)
Now you can mount the lower portion of the strut to the lower control arm. I used a jack to bring the control arm up slowly and install the spindle.
So there we go. S10 QA1 struts with QA1 Mustang II springs. The only problem I currently expect is that it's not going to sit low enough for my liking. QA1 does not offer any other tapered springs that are shorter than this and the tech at QA1 thinks anything shorter could result in too little travel, resulting in bottoming out often. These springs have a 375# rate which is the lightest I could get, hoping that they will compress a little more than something higher. QA1 says to expect 30% ish compression when weighted. Most of you running suspension like this probably dont want to be slammed, otherwise you would have went with bags or something, but just a fair warning, it's not looking like it's going to be where I want mine (1 finger gap between fender and tire, tires are 245/45/17, the truck isn't finished yet so I cannot properly weight it so see final ride height) I have ordered drop spindles and fingers crossed it'll get me there. Another potential option is to try mounting the strut to the underside of the lower control arm, but with the added pressure from the spring (before the spring was contained by only the control arm) I am not sure if that's a safe/great idea.
Thanks for reading guys, I'll be posting updated pictures when the truck is sitting on its own, hope this helps someone!