We're back - after yet another year on the prowl searching for the latest and greatest suspension systems for your rigs. As you may already know, a majority of the products we feature every month address suspension lifts of various heights, purposes, and configura-tions. Given the sheer number and the variety of suspension systems currently on the market for some of today's hottest rides, we present to you the 3rd Annual Truck Suspension Buyer's Guide.
This reference guide will afford you the opportunity to match your fullsize, late-model, or import truck with your manufacturer of choice to see what size lifts are available for your specific application, as well as to see which size tires may be fitted with each specific kit. Please note that due to limited space, not every vehicle, manufacturer, or kit has been included. For additional reference, though, we have listed all of the suspension manufacturers that associate with OFF-ROAD magazine in the hopes that if your specific vehicle is not listed or if it is and you have questions, you will be able to contact them directly.
When reviewing the offered lift kits and their manufacturers, it is important to keep in mind the intended use in which the components will be operating in - not all kits are created equal nor is there just one kit which will fit everyone's needs. Some items to consider when choosing a suspension is the amount of wheel travel that is gained, ride height, retention of the ride quality, and the durability and overall craftsmanship of the components themselves. Other items to factor into your final decision are related items that may be affected by your suspension choice, such as the possibility of having to replace your driveshafts due to the increase in geometry and center of gravity, whether or not the kit can be removed and the vehicle put back to its stock configuration (for vehicles that are being leased), and if any body modifications (such as cutting of the fenders and wheelwells) need to be performed to accommodate the increased tire size and lift.
Terrain also plays an important role in the selection of a suspension system. Some kits are designed to be used on vehicles that will only be driven in the sand, while others are fabricated for driving over boulders at 3 mph. Whatever the condition, make sure you know if your kit will accept and improve your driving experience in those situations; if it doesn't, then find a system that will.
While the process of constructing your ideal truck is one of fun and anticipation, it is important to remember that safety comes first and choosing a suspension that has not been tested or built by experts is just asking for problems. Staying within the confines of the front and back covers of this guide will ensure that every manufacturer referenced will be able to provide you with the best service, support, and suspension system for all of your off-roading needs. 'Til next year, have fun on the trails and remember to always be safe. Enjoy.