How to Attach a Garmin Cradle to a RAM Mount

How to attach a Garmin cradle to a RAM MountIf you take a look at the number of vehicle GPS units introduced by Garmin over the past  ten years, it’s well over 100.  For the year 2015, Garmin introduced 18 models just for the car.  Sure, some of these are merely map or feature variations of an existing model but it’s still a lot.  RAM used be able to keep up with Garmin in terms of coming out with custom cradles for each major Garmin GPS model, but for the past few years, they have not.  Deploying a RAM Mount for the latest Garmin GPS models means using a universal cradle designed for phones or tablets.  Or is there a way to attach a Garmin cradle to a RAM Mount?

So we’re going to look at a few ways to attach a Garmin cradle to a RAM Mount.  Before we do that, let’s review Garmin vehicle mount basics.  Every single Garmin vehicle GPS that has come out in the past ten years has two basic components:  a mount and a cradle.  Practically every Garmin suction cup mount has utilized the same basic design since the beginning.  The mount has a 17mm ball.  The ball fits into a 17mm socket on the back of a custom cradle.  This is a design that’s carries forward through the first Garmin Nuvi all the way up to today’s Garmin Drive GPS line.  Recently there were a small number of exceptions to the ball and socket rule as Garmin has started to experiment with magnetic mounts, but we’re going to concentrate on the vast majority that use the ball and socket design.

The issue that you run across when trying to attach the Garmin cradle to a RAM Mount is the ball sizes are different.  The most popular RAM Mounts use a 1-inch ball size.  That’s about 50% larger than the 17mm socket on the back of the Garmin cradle.  Push it as hard as you want.  Sorry, it isn’t going to fit on the RAM 1″ ball.  The two companies use different ball sizes.

A mistake made by some buyers is the assumption that the RAM Snap Link Garmin balls will fit their existing one-inch ball mounts.  They won’t.  The ball on the non-Garmin end is less than an inch and will not fit the 1″ arm socket.

To the rescue comes the RAM Mount Plastic Cradle for Garmin StreetPilot.  This part was originally introduced by RAM prior to the Garmin Nuvi line.  It was made to fit the socket on the back of a Garmin Streetpilot C500 series.  Garmin likes that ball and socket design a lot because they retained it through the Garmin Nuvi and then into the recently introduced Garmin Drive lineup.  This is exactly what current RAM Mount owners need to attach a Garmin cradle to a RAM Mount.  So for a small cost, you can re-purpose an existing mount to fit your brand new Garmin GPS.

For those new to RAM, this also means you can replace the Garmin suction cup mount with the top-notch Ram Mount Double Ball Twist-Lock Suction Cup Mount.  Just use the included nuts and bolts to attach the diamond-shaped adapter to the end of the suction cup metal diamond adapter.  The mount uses the standard RAM 3″ arm and extends substantially further than the stock Garmin suction cup mount you received in the box.  The base of the mount has a twist lock vacuum.  It has a lifetime warranty from RAM.

You can also add this Garmin ball adapter to the Ram Mount Double Ball Flat Surface Mount.  Same as the suction cup mount.  Just bolt the adapter to the end and you have a high quality metal mount that can be bolted to a flat surface.  The mount pivots at the base and tip.  Lifetime warranty here too.

While I wouldn’t recommend using this adapter in high vibration environments like a motorcycle, it typically works well for car use.  The nice part about this solution is, assuming that Garmin retains this ball and socket design, the RAM Mount can be used in future upgrades too.