Advice: Best performance improvements for 2010 Ram 5.7 Hemi mds
I recently bought a new 2010 Ram 1500 SLT quad 4x4 5.7 hemi mds (bighorn package) in brilliant black. Love the truck, power is very nice at 390, but I wanted to seek everyones advice on the 'most bang for your buck' performance improvements I could do to this truck, to make it faster (more hp), and perform better (and look better). So far I had the following ideas, please comment or add to this list, and if you could tell me the best product/part number/manufacturer/cost to get the parts from, and which I could install myself as opposed to having to pay a shop to do it -
1) cold air intake - (K&N?) - which model is best & price (approx) - I think I can do this one myself - how much HP would it actually add, and does it make the engine sound better when giving it the juice?
2) Performance chip - I know literally nothing about these - are they worth the money & investment for the HP gains? Any drawbacks or problems they can create? (I've heard they void the factory warranty for example) Can I do this myself or is it better to have a shop install? Which make/model/part is best for this engine? cost? How much HP & speed would it provide ?
3) Exhaust system - this truck of course came with the factory dual exhaust system - I assume there are mufflers & resonators under there from factory? What would be the best modification I could do for the money, to add some free-flow HP, and some nice sound that would be a bit louder than the mellow factory dual rumble it already has? Mfgr/brand/part no/price? I know I'd have to have the dealership or muffler shop install any mods such as this. One other question - I have heard some after market exhausts cause problems or some annoying highway noise when the MDS kicks into economy mode - I want to avoid this problem, so any advice on that, other than shutting off the MDS on highway.
4) Gears - this truck has I guess the standard factory gears - they are 3.55
My 2006 Ram had the 3.92 gears. The '06 was of course much faster off the line I recall. This 2010 is fast too but you really have to mash the pedal to the floor off the line - I am not a gear-head whatsoever, so please bear with me if I say something wrong here - but from what I have read, the lower 3.55 gears are better for "top end" speed on the highway, say from 60-100 mph - while the 3.92 gears would be slower in that speed range, correct? And of course the 3.92's would thereby be quicker off the line, and the 3.55 gears a bit slower off the line right? Overall, for this 5.7 hemi mds engine, which gears give the best of all worlds, performance wise? Should I just stick with the 3.55's, or change them out to some other gears to increase speed & performance overall, both off the line and at much higher speeds of 60-100+ mph? (Yes I do like to go very fast sometimes, I cut my teeth on a '69 firebird 400 ram-air beast)
5) These 2010's seem much lower in the front now than my prior generation 2006 Ram - alot lower in fact, to the point where winter weather (ice & snow clearance) actually worries me with these new trucks. I had read somewhere that there is a reasonably priced, fairly easy to install, 3" lift kit of some sort that can bring the front end up a bit higher - has anyone done this and what recommendations can you all give me on doing this? Downsides? Such as less stable highway performance at very high speeds? I am sure they dropped the front end severely to make it hug the road at high speeds better, and to cut thru the air a bit better (less drag). I do not want to cause problems with aerodynamics or stability by raising it 3" - appreciate any advice on this.
Any other misc ideas or things I could do to beef up the HP & performance that would not be super major radical jobs to do on this truck/engine - please let me know. Love the truck but I'd just like a bit more HP & speed, and maybe make it look a little better too - that super low front end just bothers me for some reason after having the much higher 2006 Ram 4x4 for so many years. We do get 2-3 ft of snow in winter where I am at, so ability to clear and get over that snow can be an issue for me.
Thanks very much for all your help & advice on these things.