A question that has been asked frequently is what is the difference between the CST 4" Cast Iron Lift Spindle (CSS-D1-5) and the CST 4" Fabricated Steel Lift Spindle (CSS-D1-1)??? The obvious answer is the two different material types each is produced from. There are however a number of other differences that might make one a better choice than the other. If you are already tired of reading and want the quick version... the CST Fabricated Steel version is better in every way except one, it has a higher price.
Strength & Weight:
In this application Plate Steel is stronger pound for pound than Cast Iron. In order for CST to ensure that the Cast Iron spindle is strong enough (much stronger than the factory part it replaces) more material must be used. This extra material produces a heavier part. The CST Cast Iron Spindle is indeed heavier than the Fabricated Steel version. What effect does weight have on performance? More un-sprung weight generally hurts suspension performance, so lighter is better. On this type of application (a fullsize truck) the additional un-sprung weight isn't that noticeable behind the wheel but in theory less weight is better. We are only talking a few pounds difference between the two spindles but if you are trying to keep your truck on a strict diet (don't laugh) the Fabricated version is lighter in weight and every bit as strong.
Strength / Field Repairs:
The 1018 Plate Steel that CST uses to build their Fabricated Steel spindles has more "give" than a Cast Iron part. And in an emergency the Fabricated Steel spindle can be welded. What type of emergency you ask? Imagine you are one of our customers down in Baja (Mexico) and you are 100 miles from nowhere and you hit a big rock with your truck and you somehow manage to damage the CST 4" Spindle. If something is bent or torn it could be welded back together to "limp" the truck home or out of the desert. If the Cast Iron spindle is damaged it will require replacement. This is of no interest to 99% of our customers because by the time you've hit something hard enough to damage a CST Spindle (either version) the rest of the factory suspension is probably ruined too. But for some customers being able to repair the parts in the field is worth the additional expense. In our opinion this is pretty far fetched but again the advantage goes to the Fabricated Steel spindle.
Track Width Increase:
The Fabricated Steel spindle (CSS-D1-1) increases the front track width by approximately 1/2" inch on each side. The Cast Iron spindle (CSS-D1-5) increases the front track width by approximately 3/4" inch on each side. If you want the narrowest possible stance the Fabricated Steel spindle is the better option. If you want to increase the stance of your Ram (wider stance) the Cast Iron spindle is the better option. Keep in mind if you run an aftermarket wheel with less back space than the factory Ram wheel that will also increase the front track width. It is entirely possible to end up widening the front track width by 3" to 4" with aftermarket wheels.
Factory Wheel Clearance:
Neither the CST Fabricated Steel or CST Cast Iron spindle will work with factory 17" diameter wheels. The only way you can retain the 17" wheels and use these spindles is with a .500" or thicker wheel spacer. Both CST 4" Lift Spindles will work with the factory 20" diameter wheels (no wheel spacer required) and tire sizes up to 305 series or 12.00" inches in width. A 35x12.50 tire will technically work on the factory 20" wheel but the tire sidewall is so close to the upper portion of the CST Spindle that we do NOT recommend it. Installation of a .250" thick spacer can provide the additional clearance. If you want to run a 17" wheel we recommend an aftermarket wheel that has no more than 5.00" inches of back space. From what we have seen the Fabricated spindle provides a slight clearance advantage so if you are trying to run a wheel with the maximum allowable back space the Fabricated Steel spindle has a very small (possibly 1/8") advantage.
Suspension Lift Height:
Both the CST Fabricated Steel and Cast Iron spindle provide the same 4" inches of lift. This is a wash. Neither spindle has an advantage here.
So Which Should You Choose?
If you want the very best and can afford to pay for it the CST Fabricated Steel 4" Lift Spindle # CSS-D1-1 is the better of the two options. At $200.00 more expensive the Fabricated Steel offers benefits and features that 99% of our customers don't need. That's right, we said DO NOT need. The Cast Iron version is still stronger than the factory Ram parts they replace. If you are worried the Cast Iron spindles aren't strong enough, don't be. CST has 100's of sets in use and zero failures to date. If you do somehow manage to damage a CST Cast Iron Spindle the rest of your Ram's suspension has probably been destroyed too. If you are going to jump your truck and act like a Hooligan behind the wheel with no regard to your trucks well-being the Fabricated Steel spindle would be the better choice. In terms of sales, now that CST offers two different spindle versions we sell 15 sets of the Cast Iron Spindle for every 1 set of the Fabricated Steel Spindle. By saving $200.00 on the spindle purchase our customers are in some cases able to purchase aftermarket shocks or some other suspension upgrade they normally would not able to afford. A Ram 1500 2wd with the Cast Iron 4" Spindle and a set of Bilstein 4600 Series front shock absorbers installed generally rides better on and off-road than a Ram 1500 with the Fabricated Steel 4" Spindle and the factory shocks. For the majority of our customers the less expensive Cast Iron Spindle # CSS-D1-5 is the better choice because it's less expensive and still provides great looks and performance.
If you have any questions about the CST 4" Lift Spindles for your 2002-2014 Ram 1500 2wd we'd love to hear them. If you have a PerformanceLifts.com account you can Login and reply directly via this page. If you don't have an account but would like to contact us, please click on the "ASK A QUESTION" link located at the very top of this page. Or you can reach us by telephone at (949) 629-3017 or e-mail: Sales@PerformanceLifts.com