What do I need to install Gatorback mud flaps on my 2018 Dodge Ram Truck?
If you have a Dodge Ram pickup and are looking at installing Gatorback mud flaps on it, there are a few things that you’ll need to know before you choose what style to purchase. The same custom cut front mud flap style is available for the 2009-2018 Ram’s and changes to the body style during those years did not affect the ability to install Gatorbacks into the wheel wells with self-tapping screws. The information below pertains to any 2009-2018 Ram 1500 and 2010-2018 Ram 2500/3500 models. We are going to try to give you as much information to make the proper decision about how Gatorbacks will work on your truck. We will discuss the different flap sizes that are available and what works with front and rear wheels, how and when brackets are needed for installation and our easy to buy full truck sets. Read more below to learn about what you need for your single wheel or dually Ram truck.
- Rear Mounting Brackets Not Needed - The Dodge Ram single rear wheel truck is the only make that doesn’t require mounting brackets to install the mud flaps. The only exception to this rule is if your pickup truck is lifted or has oversized tires, then universal style off-set brackets will be needed. Support brackets are strongly recommended for all dually Ram trucks to hold up the weight of Gatorback mud flaps.
- How Long Should My Flaps Be - When you are deciding on the mud flaps you want to put on your truck let’s start by comparing the differences between the 12”x23” flaps and the 12”x26” flaps… the 12”x26” provide your 3” more of length and are usually used on lifted trucks that sit up higher from the ground than a stock pickup. The 12”x23” flaps are the preferred size for standard full-sized trucks provide plenty of length and are flexible on where you can mount them. This makes them the most popular choice for Ram trucks with or without flares and give your pickup a factory finished look.
- 12”x26” Mud Flaps - If your truck has a lift on it, the 26” long flaps will give you the extra length to protect your truck and look good. This will ensure that the flaps fit your lifted truck properly and don’t look out of place, having short flaps on a jacked up truck just doesn’t get the job done.
- 12”x23” Mud Flaps - The 23” long flaps are the standard size for full-sized trucks and are also the most popular chose for Dodge Ram trucks. They are made to work with or without fender flares since they mount flat to the inside of your wheel wells you can adjust them to line up with the outer edge whether you have flares or OEM trim these Gatorbacks will always look great no matter what trim level of truck that you own.
- Front Wheel Wells & Mud Guards – Starting in 2009 the Ram’s have a plastic cap inside of the front wheel wells so ease the installation on these newer trucks, Truck Hardware developed a “custom cut” front set of flaps that is notched out to go around this cap. These flaps are essentially a standard moon cut flap with a notch cut out of them so they fit perfectly into the right position without requiring you to modify the flaps before installation. This saves you time and aggravation since these flaps are made of 5/8” rubber which makes them heavy-duty and durable but also makes cutting them a chore. All Gatorback styles with Officially Licensed Ram logos are availbale in the 23” length with the custom cut option that is distinguished with a “C09” in the manufacturers part number. So it is important to verify if you are not buying one of SharpTrucks’ full truck sets, that you buy the proper mud guards for the front of your truck. If you see the “C09” in the part number, you will be sure that these are the flaps for the front tires.
- Rear Wheel Wells – Ram Trucks have enough surface area to properly install and support the rear mud flaps without the need for mounting or support brackets. This gives you flexibility as to which flaps you can choose to install. Your choices come down to two main styles - full style flaps, which are simply full rectangles of rubber or the cut style that feature a half moon shape cut out of them and look more like a traditional style mud flap. Both styles work great on the rear wheel wells of your Ram truck, but we recommend the full style since they offer more wheel well liner protection and give you more flexability to adjust the height that you can mount these Gatorback mud flaps. The prices are the same for both styles, so it is totally a matter of preference and the best thing is it won’t affect your wallet.
- Full Truck Mud Flap Sets – SharpTruck understands that knowing just what to get for your truck can be confusing and over whelming at times so we have put together full truck sets of mud flaps that will make buying a little easier. These sets include everything you need for your stock or dually Ram pickup trucks. In these package deals, you get the custom cut front and full sized rear flaps and self-tapping mounting screws for installation. If you’re looking at the dually sets, we’ve included a pair of custom fit rear support brackets that provide a nice stable surface to install these big flaps too.
- Lifted or Oversized Trucks – If your truck is not stock height and you’ve put in a lift kit or maybe just installed a set of oversized tires you will want to get some offset brackets to make sure everything fits properly. The offset brackets, also know as kick-back brackets, allow the flaps to be moved away from the tire to eliminate the chance of the tire rubbing on the flaps and also make it possible to adjust the flaps out further to cover the tire tread and help stop rocks and debris from hitting your truck. These off-set bracket kits are universal and install directly to the outside lip of your wheel wells using the included self-tapping screws.
There are different offsets bracket sizes that you can choose from depending on the size of your tires. Gatorback mud flaps are 5/8” thick so most truck owners generally require 1” offsets that are the most popular, if that isn’t enough for your big boy truck, they are also available in 1.5” and 2” options and are available in black powder coated stainless steel or a high polished finished stainless steel.
- Dually Rear Wheel Trucks – if you have a Dodge Ram 3500 dually truck, there are a few different options to be aware of to get the best protection our of these Gatorback rubber flaps. One of the most important items is that it is highly recommended that you buy mounting brackets for the dually flaps. These flaps weight more than 10 lbs each and you’ll definitely need the extra support the brackets provide to be installed correctly and ensure that these flats stay on your truck (which is a good thing) and keep your truck and cargo protected as you head down the road.
These brackets are custom fit which means there will be no modifying necessary to install these brackets and they also are affixed to your Ram with as minimal amount of drilling possible. Depending on the size of dually flaps you choose, these brackets are available in 21” or 19” wide options to ensure that your mud flaps are secured and at the proper height to best protect your truck and any trailers you may tow.
When determining what size of dually mudflaps that your truck needs, the simplest way is to use a tape measure to get an idea of the width available from the inside of the wheel well to the outside edge of the truck body. Once you choose the proper size dually flaps for your truck, you’ll also know what part number for the brackets is needed.
Truck Hardware manufacturers these brackets from high quality galvanized steel and they are made to utilize as many existing factory holes as possible to limit the need to drill into the body of your truck. It helps to temporarily place the bracket in place and you can then adjust where the brackets attach to the flap to ensure a desired distance from the bottom of the mud flaps to the ground. Once you’ve figured out the desired height or your Gatorback, you can than mark the flap, remove the bracket and precede to completing the full installation of your flaps and brackets. We recommend doing it in these steps since working in a wheel well is tough enough, but having to mount the flap to the bracket in the well can raise anyone’s blood pressure! Now that you’re familiar with how these brackets line up inside of the wheel wells, the rest of the steps are a lot easier to complete. The process for 19” and 21” wide dually flaps is almost identical, so once you have one side of your truck done, follow the process on the other side of your truck to finish your installation.
Custom Front & Single Rear Wheel Installation – To install a set of Gatorback mud flaps on either the front or rear of your Ram truck, follow the simple steps shown on the diagram below. Gatorback Mud Flaps are designed to be a universal fit for many different makes and models of pickups so the instructions shown will vary a little from truck to truck, but the basic principles of the process are the same.
With every pair of Gatorback universal fit mud guards, these items are included for installation:
- 8 - Self tapping screws, ¼” x 1”
- 8 - Flat Washers
- 1 - Pair of premium rubber mud flaps (1 drivers side/1 passengers side)
UNIVERSAL INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS:
For ease of installation, it is suggested that the wheel be removed if possible to give you unobstructed access to the wheel wells.
- Start on the driver’s side.
- Square the flap with the tire while putting pressure against the wheel well with the required height. The outside edge of the flap should be ½” past the wheel well.
- Now fasten the flap with four washers and four self-tapping screws starting at the top. Be sure that the location of the screws is hitting a solid backing surface so they don’t pull out. (Tip: Start with the top screw, this will allow you adjust the flap as needed ensure that they are level to the ground)
- Repeat procedure for the passenger side. Recheck all fasteners for tightness.
Optional After Installation Tips – one question that comes up after installing Gatorbacks is “how do I cover or paint the exposed metal brackets?” There is an easy and inexpensive way to cover the contrast between the black mud flaps and the screws and brackets… the quickest and easiest way to clean up the finished look is with a spray can of rubberized undercoating. Rubberized undercoating not only protects the hardware, it covers the shiny surfaces with a heavy chip resistant coating to help blend the look of the hardware and flaps together. Mask off around the brackets and screws with some tape and newspaper, then apply a few thin coats of undercoating (allow ample drying time between coats) and you won’t even know that hardware is there!