Although everybody makes mistakes, the one time when you really want to avoid them is when modifying the suspension on your off-road truck.
The suspension is one area where it’s common to make upgrades on off-road vehicles and if anything goes wrong with those upgrades, all kinds of things can go wrong.
Before you dive headfirst into any suspension upgrades, check out this list of common mistakes that can be made so you can look out for them and skip the hassle or added expense that frequently comes with it!
1. Don’t Mix and Match
You may find that suspension kits made by different companies offer a variety of parts, some of which you may want to put on your truck with the main kit you bought.
Don’t do it, especially when it comes to switching around spacers and leveling kits.
The engineers that design all these parts do so with the intention of the whole kit working collectively as a complete system, so if you switch parts out you’re asking for trouble.
These parts may work fine or they may cause a serious problem that results in a dangerous failure.
2. Don’t Skimp On the Shocks
Good shocks are a lot more involved than you might think.
Cheap shocks are frequently unreliable in performance and not adjustable, so you could get a too-stiff or too-mushy ride instead.
Find a quality set of adjustable large-diameter monotube shocks that hold more fluid and cool better or even a set of remote reservoir shocks.
You want something that is not just strong and will stay cool; get ones that allow you to adjust to the ride your truck or Jeep needs with a new suspension for a safe and comfortable ride.
3. Don’t Forget the Steering System or Driveshaft
The suspension mostly involves the wheels, shocks, springs, and axles.
It also involves both the steering system and the drive shaft, as both can be considerably affected by how much lift you add to your suspension upgrade.
With a lift of more than 3 inches, most trucks require some type of a steering upgrade as well, whether it’s simply adding a track bar ball bracket or an entire steering kit.
Similarly, the higher you lift your truck or Jeep, the more likely it is to need a new driveshaft that aligns properly with the new suspension.
In both cases, this is especially true if you’re adding 40” or bigger tires.
Modifying your suspension takes everything out of natural alignment, so you’ve got to re-align those parts or risk serious damage to your truck.
4. Don’t Overdo the Blocks or Forget the Bumps
An easy and inexpensive way to lift your rear leaf spring suspension is by using lift blocks, although blocks aren’t a very recommended way to do it.
It’s easy to get carried away with blocks and lift too high, resulting in axle wrap that is caused when the axle twists from being too far from the leaf spring.
If you want to lift more than just slightly in the rear, it’s better to just put on new leaf springs and avoid the potential damage to your axles.
One thing that you do want to use are bump stops, which are padding made from rubber bushings that prevent the suspension from hitting too hard when running out of suspension travel.
In addition when upgrading to a longer, stronger suspension for off-roading, the factory bushings won’t be enough.
Many people forget to replace theirs with larger, tougher bump stops until they hit the trail and feel that bone-rattling crash when the suspension extends fully with no cushion to soften the blow.
5. Don’t Forget – Suspensions Are An Entire System
Overall, the most important fact to remember when upgrading the suspension on your off-roading truck or Jeep is that your suspension is not just a few parts, it is an entire system and should be upgraded as such.
You can’t just do part of an upgrade and not the rest, as many parts are totally dependent on how they work with others including things like the steering, driveshafts, and axles.
Therefore, a functional suspension is a lot more than a few good-looking parts and a big lift.
For your suspension to perform correctly and your truck to remain safe to drive and put through the rigors of off-roading, you must consider every part and system that functions in conjunction with the suspension and be prepared to change it if necessary.
Treat Suspension Modifications With Care
As tough and rugged as the suspension on your 4WD truck may be, it’s an intricate system as a whole that requires a lot of thought and planning before you change it.
Properly done, a suspension lift can do wonders to improve things like ground clearance, wheel articulation, and ride; however, when mistakes are made and things are left out, the results can be disastrous.
Use care when upgrading your suspension and most of all, don’t make these serious mistakes!