When it comes to suspension there is so many options available on the market its hard to know where to start.
You will be struck with many options ranging from $100 to $10,000 dollar kits to suit the pavement princess right through to external reservoir kits focused for those in for extreme off road use.
In this write up we will focus on how to pick the correct setup for your needs and budget and in the future follow up with some more technical in depth tech tips that we get asked on a daily basis that may help you along the way!
There are many reasons we lift our trucks but the main ones being to gain upwards travel so that our wheels remain in contact with the ground when offroading , for extra clearance for bigger tires, to improve handling and or comfort levels and more often than not these days for cosmetic reasons.
Initially you will need to chose a place to purchase the upgrades, we recommend using an established business that has experience in the field that you plan on using the truck in and that sells reputable brands and has good after sales support and product knowledge, as there is plenty of options here perhaps ask people in your club or that you go wheeling with to assist in your choice and their feedback on their setup – always ask what they would change or improve on.
A major litigating factor when choosing your kit will be budget.
The most common mistake we see is people with 50-70k utes purchasing a strut spacer and shackle lift for say $400, a few key points as to why this might not be as cheap as it seems are as follows:
1. Certification is required
2. Your front shock will bottom out before your bumpstops contact which can result in shock failure
3. You will have excessive down travel causing tie-rod end bind , the upper arm to contact the spring and potential for the cvs to pop out
In the rear end although the shackles can be a cheap option they can cause issues such as:
1. Drive shaft and diff pinion bearing failure do to incorrection pinion inclination angle
2. Premature leaf fatigue
3. Premature leaf eye bush failure
Although the above isn’t always the case if the components are moderately sized or setup correctly they are some key points that we like to mention before selling anyone those components although the initial purchase price may be less the cost of repair may vastly exceed the purchase price of a slightly better kit.
We would recommend to start with spring / leaf / torsion upgrade followed by a set of shocks to suit , coil springs can be as cheap as $250 a pair and if on a tight budget be used for a starter with oem shocks.
If perhaps you have a bit more money to spend then you may want to consider moving into some higher end shocks, perhaps if comfort is of concern an adjustable shock so you can dial it in to suit your needs, or if you plan on doing some more extreme wheeling and mono tube / external reservoir shock which will have a far stronger body and the ability to be rebuilt and re valved.
If you are wanting to go all out with your suspension work the higher you go with your lift the more components you will require to get your suspension geometry back in spec and working correctly.
On a solid axle truck for moderate to high lifts i.e 3-6″ plus consider some of these components as items to change and consider:
Springs , shocks , adjustable drag link , extended brake hoses , longer or adjustable rear lower arms , some form of castor correction , extended diff breather lines , brake proportioning valve bracket and extended bump stops to name a few!
On an IFS truck you may need some of the following above 2″ :
Upper arms/extended ball joints /ball joint spacers , diff drop , hanger bearing spacers to name a few.
I know what we have touched base on may be a bit daunting and or seem way above your head but luckily there are many professionals out there that can help you make a decision on the best upgrades to suit your needs (and when pondering if to spend your weekly paycheck on truck upgrades without the other half’s knowledge)
“It often easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission”