Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Lift My Ride?
For starters, equipping vehicles with a suspension involves more than purchasing the “awesome-looking truck suspension and dropping off your vehicle at a nearby mechanic. Chances are if that’s all you had in mind to do, lifting your ride might not be the right thing. Installing truck suspension does require some hard work, along with technical savvy and continuous upkeep and attention to your vehicle’s components.
First, determine what you want in your suspension. There are two main purposes (and these are essential) for installing truck suspension: (1) style and (2) function. Although the two are somewhat interrelated, again, it is still important for you to consider which purpose you desire most to pursue. This will assist you in making the correct modifications to your vehicle.
There’s no doubt about it, transforming a vehicle into a style statement remains a long-time, popular hobby ever since the beginning of tailfins and flame decals. Where style is concerned, adding truck suspension makes more of an impression than anything else you can do to your vehicle. As we all know and have seen, heads turn instantly at the sight of a lifted rig with massive tires and an exhaust system that sets off car alarms along the way.
Looking good is the easy part, when it comes to adding suspension in order to make a style statement. In the middle of decking out a ride, at times it can be easy to overlook general, everyday performance. For that reason, choosing the right suspension (which includes comfort, reliability, durability, safety, and of course the price) should be given just as much consideration as those precious inches you want to add.
So you’ve decided to jump into tuning your rig for the off-road world and you’re ready to take that leap toward investing in one of many truck suspension. However, before you dive into purchasing a custom truck suspension and a set of gigantic tires, there are a few issues to consider and address in order to ensure a correct setup. First, ask yourself what you wll be doing the most. Such as, slow-speed rock crawling, high-speed desert racing, general purpose 4 wheeling, mud racing or long distance open country treks. After that, narrow down what you need to do in order to customize your vehicle to suite your specific needs. Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re the experienced professional, tuning your rig for optimum off-road performance is an expensive hobby with numerous factors to be mindful of and look out for. The possibilities are endless, and this can sometimes make it difficult to determine exactly which suspension are ideal for what you want.
Where Do I Begin?
As if determining which suspension to purchase weren’t enough, installing truck suspension can alter other components in your vehicle, sometimes causing unforeseen issues that could affect performance or be potentially detrimental to the vehicle itself. For example, drive shaft length, steering geometry, brake lines, highway performance and handling, gear rations, and overall weight are just a few of the factors that could potentially be impacted by adding truck suspension.
What Does Suspension Do??
One of the main reasons for installing truck suspension is to raise the height of your vehicle off the ground. This raise in height enables a steeper off-road ascent or descent, and higher ground clearance. Overall, it just makes sense that while driving over boulders, through mud, across the desert, or even just making your way through the occasional forest trail, higher clearance facilitates negotiating certain obstacles and terrains. It can be a bit tricky to manage, as higher clearance also raises your vehicle’s center of gravity, which can reduce handling.
2. Larger Tire Fitment
Popular opinion suggests that larger tires equate to more traction. However, this might not be entirely true. You see, while larger tires may provide some improvement to traction in off-road conditions, other ways are available that are far more efficient in improving a vehicle’s traction than simply bulking up the rubber. Aside from the usual style choices, the main reasons for adding larger tires are for higher vehicle clearance and for improved performance in mud, deep snow, rocks and deeply rutted trails. Depending on the circumstances, there are certain tires designed specifically for off-road conditions that can improve traction; however, it is important to remember that the added clearance is the most immediate and direct benefit of larger tires.
Many manufacturers provide manuals for installing truck suspension onto certain vehicles. Yet, some installations are somewhat intricate, requiring welding or cutting in order to add the necessary components. As noted above, having a trusted mechanic and/or a few knowledgeable friends is your best resolution.
Upgrading to truck suspension by adding taller tires also entails a number of components that may require part upgrades or some tuning to compensate. For example and as you know, a truck’s engine is tuned at specific gear ratios in order to propel the vehicle. So, when adding taller tires, you will need to have the gear ratios adjusted accordingly due to the fact that the engine will then have to spin much larger, heavier tires. Again, make it an ongoing habit to always consult with more experienced individuals for further insight. This practice will save you tons of time, headaches and most of all money.
Sometimes, larger/wider tires can result in instability on roads and/or a noisy, uncomfortable ride, particularly at high speeds Also, more aggressive off-road tires have a tendency to wear out faster on the highway, and traction might not be as great on wet roads. In regards to this particular issue of highway performance, larger tires can sometimes be a gamble without any direction from experienced off-road veterans.
As we all know, larger tires are heavier, and this can put a lot of strain on your suspension, particularly if it’s a stock suspension. Having trusted, durable suspension components and lighter aluminum wheels on your vehicle can sometimes help reduce the strain.
A Few Useful Accessories
Before installing a suspension, we recommend that you first examine if any components will be affected by your vehicle’s new height. Listed below are some accessories that may need to be upgraded:
- Brake Upgrades: Stock brakes do not always accommodate larger tires, or will wear easily due to the added strain;
- Drivetrain and Differential: Axles, gears, differential covers, lockers and more ensure that the drivetrain is compatible with your suspension;
- Replacement Parts: Longer Control Arms and Track Bars are needed to compensate for the additional height of your vehicle.
- Shock Absorbers: For taller lifts, longer shocks are necessary to ensure the smoothest performance both on and off the road.
- Other Parts: Steering linkage, slip yoke, drive shaft length, u-joint angle, and brake lines are all worth of consideration as well.
When it comes time to install a suspension, there are two possible ways to go about it: (1) install it yourself, or (2) have it installed by a professional. Both of these ways has its advantages and disadvantages; however, when it comes to your rig, attention to detail is extremely crucial
A general rule to follow is that even if you know you want a large lift, the best way to start is with a small lift and then you can always work your way up. This process allows you to work out any kinks and hindrances along the way to make sure your kit works right.
Taking the time to learn the inner mechanics of your vehicle is a valuable experience which in turn will save you time and money. Knowing your rig inside and out will also allow you to make your own modifications to your vehicle, if and when the need arises. There are so many resources available that can hopefully guide you through the majority of the process; however, please keep in mind that there’s going to be a lot to take in, and tweaking the intricate components of your vehicle is no small matter. It’s always a good idea to have a second pair of hands or an experienced individual to assist you.
Even thought the availability of bolt-on kits is always increasing, installing suspension is no easy task, especially if you’re a beginner. Also keep in mind that certain instructions/resources can sometimes be misleading or based upon the personal preferences of individual gearheads. After installing a suspension, it’s not uncommon where one finds him or herself spending hours tweaking the other components of their rig to get them back to spec. That’s a lot to take on, particularly if you’re inexperienced.
As long as you’re willing to pay the labor charges, it is best to have a licensed professional to install your suspension. This will ensure that suspension are installed correctly. A professional can perfectly tune your ride to your exact preference and they will see to it that all components are working as they should. In addition, it will all be completed within a fraction of the time it would take most experienced gearheads to install it themselves.
Keep in mind, as is the case with regard to any mechanic, it might be difficult to find one you can trust to install the kit properly while not overcharging you for any unnecessary parts. Also, if you’re a “newbie” gearhead, whenever your vehicle has a functional deficiency or needs a little tweaking, your only option is to return to the mechanic for service.
Suspension Lift Sizes
A small lift consists of 1.5 (or less) inches, which will give you a little more clearance and room to run slightly larger tires. The most common way to obtain a small lift is by using coil spacers in front and long shackles in the rear.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Suspension:
Small lifts are inexpensive and easy to install with very few complications.
A medium lift is roughly 2″ of lift. If you’re not planning on doing any off roading, this is a good choice for those looking for the best tire clearance. Common medium-size lifts use spacer and add-a-leaf lifts. Sometimes they come with new shocks as well. You will notice some changes in handling and performance, some positive, some negative. You are also going to need strong rear springs. As add-a-leafs are designed to lift stock springs, and if you plan to use one, later modification for more lift may be difficult.
For an aggressive look and the best off-road performance, the largest lifts consist of 3 to 4″ or more. A common large lift setup consists of new front coils and add-a-leafs in the rear, plus some combination of new front coils and new rear springs and often include a matching set of shocks. Obviously, large lifts are the most expensive, along with more expected complications in comparison to the smaller lifts. Sometime, on-road performance can be dramatically affected. However, a large lift will transform your vehicle into an intimidating off-road machine that will stand out from the crowd.
Types Of Suspension
Spring Over Axle (SPOA)
The most popular among serious rock crawlers is the SPOA suspension which maintains the utmost articulation (up-and-down wheel travel). These truck suspension hold the tires to the ground for maximum traction, while at the same time the (correctly) lifted springs lifts everything up out of harm’s way, including the springs.
S/R truck suspension are designed to provide a smotth ride upon mild terrain such as forest roads, desert driving, and scenic trails. High-speed driving on highways is not recommended for S/R truck suspension.
Coil Suspension are the top choice for many of the world’s best-riding, 4-wheel drive vehicles. These suspension offer unrivaled ride quality and less expensive springs. However, keep in mind that installation sometimes requires some welding. The end result, however, is a suspension that provides excellent articulation on the trail and a comfortable ride you have to feel to believe.
Lifted Spring Suspension:
These are the most commonly used type of truck suspension in the world. They are easier to install and are an excellent choice for first-time lifters entering the off-road world. These truck suspension allow you to use larger tires for additional clearance, while producing control on the highway.
Shackle Suspension are primarily for the truck enthusiast looking to add larger tires, s they are probably the most affordable way to add includes to your rig, yet you’re not intending to do much hardcore off-roading. Moderation is highly recommended, as Shackle systems are known to affect steering and sway control.
Suspension From The Industry’s Most Trusted Suspension Manufacturers
Pro Comp Suspension:
Pro Comp is globally recognized as a frontrunner for suspension and for their dedication, research, creativity, and high technology. In addition state-of-the-art CAD engineering, laser-cutting technology, and passionate fabrication teams are part of the many talents invested into creating the most innovative truck suspension. New, sensible designs are intended to minimize drilling and cutting, allowing for a true and accurate “bolt-on” installation on some suspension.
By addressing the demands of terrain and customers, they have earned a massive and loyal customer following. This is in reference to Skyjacker consistently creating field-proven suspension. With a huge inventory of suspension to choose from, as well as many other 4×4 parts and accessories, Skyjacker’s philosophy of high-quality parts, attention to detail, and rigorous testing procedures have made them a trusted industry pioneer of suspension for nearly 30 years.
Truck suspension are in high demand, and for good reason. A lifted truck can tow more, clear bigger obstacles, and tackle tougher terrain than a stock-height truck. Lifting a truck also creates room for larger tires, which provide even more ground clearance and improved traction. While these are important improvements to four-wheelers, sometimes the decision to lift a truck comes down to looks. We stock a large collection of suspension that can transform your truck? From ordinary to imposing.
Any Jeep owner will tell you, you won?t realize the full potential of your Jeep until you lift it. A lifted Jeep looks tough and drives tougher. Jeep suspension increase ground clearance and create space for massive, mud-slinging tires. You have your choice of a suspension lift or a body lift; suspension Jeep suspension tend to be pricier, but they offer better off-road performance. Body suspension are a good option when you plan on crawling the city streets in your lifted ride.