“One of the more popular things to do these days is to install a suspension lift along with larger tires and wheels.”

Purchasing a new or used truck is exciting, but personalizing it is even more fun!

Believe me when I tell you, buying the truck is the cheap part. I have seen people over the years spend upwards of $25,000 or more on customization. One of the more popular things to do these days is to install a suspension lift along with larger tires and wheels. If you’re going to tackle this yourself, here are a few things you should know.

Installation: Many manufacturers offer manuals for installing lift kits but some installations are quite intricate, requiring some welding or cutting in order to add some necessary components. In this case, having a mechanic or a few knowledgeable friends around will help make the job go smoothly.

Additional Modifications: Upgrading to taller tires also means that a number of components may require part upgrades or some tuning to compensate. For instance, a truck’s engine is tuned at specific gear ratios to propel the vehicle. When adding taller tires, the gear ratios must be changed accordingly, since the engine has to spin much larger, heavier tires. You will also be required to purchase a speedometer recalibration tool, so you have an accurate reading. Again, consult with more experienced individuals for further insight.

Highway Driving: Larger, wider tires can sometimes result in instability on roads or a noisy, uncomfortable ride, particularly at high speeds. Also, more aggressive off road tires tend to wear faster on the highway and traction might not be as great as you would expect on wet roads.

Weight: Larger tires are heavier, which can put a lot of strain on your suspension, particularly if it is a stock suspension. Trusted, durable suspension components and lighter aluminum wheels can sometimes help to reduce the strain.

Handling: Adding a truck suspension lift kit will undoubtedly raise the vehicle’s centre of gravity, resulting in less stable turns. This is a common problem when installing lift kits, but is mostly just a matter of becoming accustomed to a vehicle’s change in performance.

Legality: Some lift kits create such a serious change in your suspension system that it may not be legal. Check the suspension regulations within your province to be sure.

A Few Useful Accessories: Before installing a lift kit, it’s a good idea to first examine if any components will be affected by your vehicle’s new height. Here are a few useful 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 your drivetrain is up to par with your suspension.

Replacement Parts: Longer Control Arms and Track Bars to compensate for the additional height of your truck.

Shocks: For those taller lifts, longer shocks will ensure the smoothest performance both on and off road.

Other Parts: Steering linkage, slip yoke, drive shaft length, u-joint angle, and brake lines are all worthy of consideration before installing suspension lift kits.

Also, search the internet.

There are many sites which offer complete instructions on various suspension lifts. You can download a copy before you make the purchase, and know exactly what is in involved.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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