You see them everywhere: Trucks, Sport Utility Vehicles and Jeeps, coasting down the highway with a lift kit and a set of tires so big that a person could live in them. If you’re wondering, “How can I do that to my truck,” you’ve come to the right place. TX Truck Accessories is your trusted truck accessories business, comprising of customers from all across North and East Texas including Dallas, Garland, Rowlett, Royse City and Fate.
You might ask yourself, “Why should I lift my truck?” We’re glad you asked. Equipping trucks with a lift kit involves more than buying the best looking truck lift kit and taking your truck to the mechanic. Installing lift kits to trucks requires hard work, specialty tools and certified mechanical training and includes consistent upkeep and attention to your truck’s components. TX Truck Accessories can help with all of that!
What does a lift kit actually do? Basic functions of lift kits are designed to increase a truck’s ground clearance, tire fitment, and suspension travel. A suspension lift kit works by raising the suspension of a truck through the replacement of the front and rear shocks and leaf springs. In general, a suspension left kit will elevate a vehicle between four and six inches above its stock stature, though extreme left kits can reach elevations up to 18 inches. You want keep in mind the higher you make your truck, you also raise the center of gravity increasing the chance of your truck tipping over. It also reduces how the truck handles when driving over boulders, trudging through mud, coasting across the desert or even just driving through a forest trail. You can gain a wider stance by a lower positive offset wheel. This will typically result in the wheels being more flush to the fender, giving the truck a more aggressive look.
The decisions you make regarding suspension alterations are important. You want to closely evaluate what you have to work with, and think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Your truck may serve multiple purposes; a daily-driver, hauling, towing and may include some occasional off-roading.
Vehicle drivability can be described as, “the sum of a vehicle’s driving traits and mannerisms.” When a vehicle has multiple roles, the goal is to find the proper balance between on-road drivability and off-road capability. If you have the luxury of owning a vehicle specifically dedicated to off-roading, you can sacrifice higher speed handling traits to maximize suspension and articulation.
Suspension is only one part of the performance trio; you must also address your truck’s tires and drivetrain. The key is to get these three vehicle “systems” working together to provide the best possible traction at all time.
There are four factors to consider when figuring out what suspension lift kit will work best for you:
1. Truck type and factory suspension specifications
2. How the truck will be used
3. Desired tire size
4. Your budget
Because of all the variables, it is very possible that a “one type fits all” lift kit is not going to be in your best interest. No one offers more lift kits and options that TX Truck Accessories.
Throughout the years, vehicle manufacturers have paid more and more attention to drivability, especially in the area of ride quality. A properly modified, moderately lifted truck generally rides and steers as well as a factory truck. It is not unusual, to noticeably improve drivability depending on your choice of suspension, shocks and tires. It’s all a matter of what truck you start with and your aftermarket equipment choices. We’d like to share a few rules of thumb to keep in mind.
• A coil spring lift systems tend to maintain a factory-like ride quality.
• Lifted leaf spring equipped vehicles generally ride factory-like or slightly firmer than stock. As spring arch increases, firmness increases as well.
• On most trucks, with independent front suspension, ride quality does not noticeably change since the factory tension bars, coils or struts are not replaced.
• Properly valved shocks impact ride quality significantly; shocks do not provide lift.
• You want to make sure that tire operating pressures are not higher than needed for your truck’s weight. For example, a full-size SUV requires more air pressure than a Jeep Wrangler, yet they are commonly equipped with the exact same aftermarket tire. Over-inflation degrades ride quality and includes uneven tire wear. Research what pressure is right for your truck’s weight through TX Truck Accessories.
• Ride quality is degraded by over-tightening certain suspension components, or tightening certain components out of sequence during the installation process. TX Truck Accessories addresses this when installing your truck’s lift.
Different rear lift methods
• Rear block kits tend to be the most popular lift methods since they afford the best ride quality and are the least expensive. However, spring/axle wrap up can be an issue with some trucks. For these, consider utilizing add-a-leafs or replacement rear springs.
• Add-a-leafs can be used with or without lift blocks and are recommended to strengthen weak factory springs and/or when the truck is used for heavy hauling or towing. Top-mounted factory overload springs can be retained when using add-a-leafs.
Net lift Height
• Net lift height varies slightly depending on which suspension package the truck is equipped with and its condition.
• Generally, front lift if more than rear lift in order to achieve a closer to level front-to-rear attitude.
• The presence of additional weight, such as a winch, heavy-duty bumpers, storage boxes, extra fuel capacity, etc., reduces lift height.
• On trucks that have independent front suspension, the use of exceptionally wide tires and wheels exerts additional leverage on the vehicle’s springs. This leverage results in a slight amount of ride height loss. With torsion bar-equipped trucks, the available torsion bar adjustment may not be adequate to offset this leverage and heavier rated bars may be required. For other suspension types such as TTB and strut, TX Truck Accessories can suggest and find products that will restore this lost height.
Types of suspension lift kits
• Spring over axle (SPOA) lift kits are popular with rock crawlers looking for the most articulation, or up and down wheel travel. These truck lift kits keeps the tires on the ground for quality traction, while correctly lifted springs lifts everything out of harm’s way, including the springs.
• Shackle reverse suspension lift kits are designed to provide a smooth ride on a mild terrain such as forest roads and scenic trails.
• Coil suspension lift kits offer unbeatable ride quality and cheaper springs which results in a suspension lift kit that provides excellent articulation on the trail and a comfortable ride.
• Lifted spring suspension lift kits are the most commonly used type of truck lift kits. Lifted spring systems are easier to install and an excellent choice for first-time lifters in the off-road world. These truck kits allow you to run larger tires for additional clearance while producing control on the highway.
• Shackle suspension lift kits are primarily for the truck enthusiast looking to add larger tires, but are not intending to do much off-roading.
Any questions you may have about lift kits can be answered by our highly trained and certified team members.
TX Truck Accessories is your trusted truck accessories business, comprising of customers from all across North and East Texas. We want to help give your truck the lift you want providing you the highest quality service. Bring your truck in today!
CAI (Cold Air Intakes) 101
Cold air intakes are a favorite addition for people who like to customize their trucks and increase the performance of their engine. They also happen to be one of the simplest to install as well. If you’re thinking about adding one to your truck, here’s what you need to know.
What are Cold Air Intakes?
CAIs, as they’re known, replace the stock intake system on your vehicle. Every combustion engine needs oxygen to run, and the intake is in charge of pulling in fresh, cool air and filtering our harmful contaminants, dirt, and debris. Your stock intake will perform this job, of course, but it’s not the most efficient. Cold air versions utilize different materials, to keep the air cooler and avoid heat soaking, and different filter types to help increase horsepower and miles per gallon.
How do CAIs Work?
It’s easy to understand how cold air intakes work if you think about it like your own lungs. Stock intakes often have smaller ducting and, therefore, more restrictive. They also tend to have unnecessary curves and tight bends in them, making it harder for the air to flow. Think back to the days of crazy straws, it was also more difficult to slurp you tang through a straw that looking like a rollercoaster than it was to use a regular bendy straw with one mild bend. The intake tubing works the same way, the less bends, less bottle necks, and less obstructions; the faster the air will travel and the more volume of air your engine will get.
CAIs remove all the unnecessary curvature. The tubing is much larger in diameter and they use oversized pod filters so your car can pull in greater volumes compared to stock. With stock parts, you usually draw in air only from a small gap in the sealed filter box. CAIs can have an exposed filter to minimize restriction or a snorkel to draw in the coolest air from the grille area.
The result of greater airflow is more efficient atomization of fuel. The gas will be dispersed and burn more evenly. In turn, you’ll waste less fuel and enjoy the maximum amount of power each time a cylinder fires. In short, you’ll have higher MPGs and more power with only one modification.
Nothing looks quite as good as a big shiny truck on a big set of tires. Pick the right size and style lift, however, can be a challenge. Before you make a purchase, you will want to do a little research and find the look you want to go with.
Body vs. Suspension Lifts
There are two main kinds of lifts on the market – body lifts and suspension lifts. A body lift is done by leaving your suspension in their original place and using spacers and blocks to lift the body (cab, bed, fenders, and bumpers) upward for a factory ride but a bigger look. Body lifts are known to be significantly less expensive than suspension lifts and they normally take less time to install. You can add as much as six inches of clearance by choosing a body lift, which is fantastic if you want to move up to bigger tires.
However, body lifts don’t change your ground clearance at all, so they’re geared more toward aesthetics than performance. They can also cause significant body roll when you’re turning, which can be tough to get accustomed to. If you’re driving a truck, most body lifts will leave a large gap between the cab and the bed. This gap can be hidden with specially made gap covers. The worst part about choosing one of these lifts is that it adds stress to your steering components and can cause failures down the line. Along with those risks you will also be stretching wires, hoses, and other lines when you put a large amount of space between the frame and body.
Suspension lifts, on the other hand, are much more durable. They make it easier to tackle obstacles by improving ground clearance, which is especially important if you’re planning to take your vehicle off-road. Suspensions lift not only increase clearance but they are also designed to take heavy abuse, much more than the factory suspension can handle. The components can often articulate better in situations where your chassis is torqued from the uneven terrain while offroading.
While suspension lifts me sound great they can also be a pain sometimes. Depending on manufacturer, product, and material they can get very pricey. If you plan on doing some heavy duty wheeling and you didn’t opt for the right suspension lift to suit your needs, you could be incurring some of that cost again after you damage some of your components. That aside, the only other major issue incurred with a suspension lift kit would be the actual installation of the parts. We don’t suggest you tackle this type of installation on your own. There are a lot of tools and expert know-how needed for something of this nature. We suggest you leave this one up to us before you take down your daily driver in the garage and can’t get her back in one piece. There are major safety risks in just doing the tear down before the installation process starts. Not to mention the huge risks of driving it down the road with a pile of “extra” bolts on the workbench.
Choosing a Lift
When it comes down to it, consider your end goal. If you only want to run bigger tires and feel higher up, a body lift may be more than enough for you. On the other hand, if you’re an off-roading weekend warrior, it’s probably a better decision to get a suspension lift system instead. It is also possible to combine the two, some companies already provide kits with a suspension level system and small body lift in one box. Let’s say you already have a 6” lift and you want to clear 37” tires without cutting up your fenders, then you could have a 2-3” body lift installed and clear those monster with ease.
If you are still stuck on what type of lift you need, give us a call or drop by the shop. One of our highly trained team members will be happy to help you and further explain the benefits as well as the draw backs.
Choosing the Right Tires
Choosing the right tire size for your truck is important. Big oversized tires can get you out of some sticky situations on the trails, but they aren’t ideal for daily driving your truck or Jeep on the highway and city streets. Tire size not only affects your ride’s performance, but it also affects safety. It’s never worth sacrificing safety just to get a slight increase in performance, so we’ve created this guide to help you correctly size your tires.
Finding the Right Size Tires
A vehicle’s factory tire size can be found in the owner’s manual or on the tire label, which is usually located either on the driver’s side doorjamb, the lid of the glove box, or inside the fuel cap. Most people simply replace their old and worn tires with tires of the same size. You may not always need to replace just one – sometimes you may need to replace two or all four tires. When the time comes to replace all four tires, you may want to assess whether the previous size is the best choice.
If you choose tires with a lower profile, you’re likely to see an increase in your vehicle’s handling and performance on the street. If you have larger wheels or plan on tracking your vehicle then this may be the option for you. However, on trucks many people like the visual appeal of larger, more aggressive off road or all terrain tires. “Plus sizing” refers to choosing tires of the same height as the old ones, but with a wider tread. This improves tire response and the handling of the vehicle. The more rubber on the pavement, or on the rocks if you are on the trail, the more grip you get.
Unique Considerations for Your Vehicle
If you upsize to a larger tire, you need to make sure that the new tire’s load-carrying capacity is equal or greater than the recommended load for your vehicle. You also need to assess tire-to-vehicle clearance and suspension, so your tire isn’t rubbing along the wheel wells or on suspension components. The size of your vehicle and your typical driving habits also are important factors. If you carry heavy loads in your SUV on a regular basis, you need to make sure your new tires aren’t so big that they’ll cause rubbing when carrying heavy loads. You always want to take your suspension articulation into account when you are choosing tires, or wheels. If you are doing more than just street driving you want to make sure you won’t crush your fender when your suspension is flexed on obstacles.
Weather conditions in your area should also influence your decision. Some drivers like to have seasonal tires for when the weather changes, while other drivers living in more consistent climate conditions will opt for long-lasting tires suited for their driving environment. Take all of these factors into consideration when choosing new tires for your vehicle.
Another variable that you may want to consider while shopping for tires will be road noise, mud tires on the highway can be annoying even with the windows up. If you will be taking your vehicle mostly on the streets then you may opt out of a M/T and go with something a little more on the mellow side. An all terrain tire has close lugs and more of them so you can have the grip and the quiet, smooth ride on the streets.
If you have any questions or concerns about the style, size, or brand of tires you need then feel free to drop by and see the pros at Tx Truck Accessories. Our team members are full of knowledge and experience. We will put you on the right path and give you first had testimonials on different brands and models of tires.
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CAI (Cold Air Intakes) 101|
Choosing the Right Tires