It's probably time to get new shocks for your car and you want to seize the moment to make some improvements, or maybe you have a car or truck that you want to use to haul heavier loads or towing. In any of these cases, what you have to do is improve the suspension of your vehicle.
Method 1 of 3: Upgrade Only Shock Absorbers
Step 1. Get new shocks
The first and fastest method of improving the suspension is to strengthen the shock absorbers. This could be as simple as buying a more expensive original replacement or making more sophisticated upgrades that could ruin the driving experience (even though they give you a little more stability and reliability you want so much).
Step 2. Be careful not to go crazy
It's a good idea to check with your local clerk, but don't forget that their job is to sell you a product and they may not have as much experience as you think.
- Every time you deviate from the original team, you risk too much. As a general rule, the industry understands that "making improvements" means placing stiffer and less flexible dampers.
- This can help you control a misshapen rear end and do a better job of keeping your tires on the ground right where you need them. However, this does not imply a smooth or comfortable ride of the vehicle.
Step 3. Find reinforced shock absorbers (if necessary)
It is very difficult to predict how the shocks will affect the overall driving experience, despite the various claims made by automotive aftermarket experts and salespeople.
However, if you want to haul heavy loads or tow trailers, it is probably a good idea to choose reinforced shocks (air or coil springs) to prevent the rear from bottoming out
Method 2 of 3: Improve your suspension to carry heavier loads
Step 1. Consider getting reinforced shock absorbers or shock mounts
If you plan to fit a metal front bumper on a jeep or assemble a truck to tow a trailer, you should opt for reinforced shock absorbers. You still don't have enough reasons to freak out. However, if you are in the habit of hauling a lot of luggage (or hauling a box full of boulders), or you intend to tow an RV or boat (or something similar), the first step is to get reinforced shock absorbers.
- When purchasing upgrades, you should be careful to verify their compatibility. Unless you are doing lifting work, you should avoid models that require more than 5 cm (2 inches) of lift.
- These items might increase the space a bit, but are actually designed to compensate for the lifting work and not to provide it. You could end up with less offset on the shocks and probably ruin them too quickly.
Step 2. Consider getting shock absorbers that "snap while riding."
These shocks go a long way to preventing the rear from warping or bottoming out while carrying things.
- When you make such an upgrade, it is best to replace the shock absorbers on all four wheels. These can be of more or less equivalent quality, although those that "fit while traveling" and those of air are usually installed only on the rear wheels.
- Air springs are particularly interesting as they can be strengthened to carry heavier loads or softened for a smooth but stable ride.
Step 3. Reinforce the springs
You can also consider reinforcing the springs while preparing the car for hauling heavy items. If your vehicle has leaf springs (which are common for the rear suspension of many cars and trucks), you can simply add a leaf spring or "spring aids" that thread over existing springs to add tension and strength, giving you one ton (or more) of additional cargo capacity.
- Coil springs are more common on the front wheels. Also, they can be reinforced with fairly inexpensive and easy-to-apply brackets (typically a polyurethane bracket is used that can slide on the spring, reducing the amount of strain without adding more body height).
- Both spring assistants can increase body height a bit, although this does not count as lift. The spring and coil spring reinforcement simply reduces the amount of compression of the vehicle's chassis weight on the springs, resulting in a slightly elevated appearance.
- Wheel travel is generally not affected. If you've done the procedure correctly, the extra weight will get things back to normal. You can certainly fit reinforced shock absorbers, but you should limit yourself to using original equipment.
Step 4. Insert the air springs
To really solidify the body, you can add the airbag or air spring accessories to the coil spring suspensions (which are supposed to significantly reduce deformation and bounce).
- Some kits can be installed automatically using basic tools, but they are generally not a very economical option. It's best if you let the professionals install them for you, as this procedure typically requires lowering the axles and removing the springs.
- Although carrying out this procedure does not mean that the world is going to end, it is potentially problematic and dangerous if you have no idea what you are doing.
Step 5. Consider getting bigger wheels
The improvements we mentioned above may be enough if you just need a little extra clearance to fit oversized tires or larger diameter wheels with compact tires (which are all the rage these days).
- If you do decide on one of these options, you should keep in mind that compact tires (although they are supposed to provide better handling when the road presents adverse conditions) can actually make the trip more difficult.
- On the other hand, oversized tires can provide a bit more cushioning and even improve mileage a bit. However, they require higher torque to move, which can affect their performance as a result.
- There is usually a bit of a slack in tire or wheel size (especially on trucks). However, if you intend to make this change for any reason, you should test them first and make sure that they clear the front wheel housings and hood when turning the vehicle, and that they do not scrape them when driving through a road full of debris. potholes. If you have these problems, but insist on carrying out the change of wheels or tires, you will need a lower lift.
Method 3 of 3: Raise the Vehicle
Step 1. Consider adding torsion bars
Many trucks have adjustable torsion bars, which allow you to make adjustments to the body height at the front of the vehicle, raising it to match the elevation of the rear, or lowering it to keep it level if the rear springs buckle. are loaded (which gives them a misshapen appearance).
- You should check your owner's manual for adjustment procedures. Better yet, you can take the car to an alignment specialist to perform the procedure for you, as you will need to align the vehicle one more time after adjusting the body height.
- It adjusts the torsion bar in the front together with the crossbow assistants in the back and the reinforced shock absorbers around their entire circumference. You can keep the truck level, raise it, or even give it an aggressive, sophisticated tilt.
- Keep in mind that torsion bar adjustments do not increase the range of travel, only the space of the wheel over the tire (which for our purpose should be sufficient).
Step 2. Try a lift kit
You must exercise caution, as these types of kits can provide you from 2.5 cm (1 inch) to the distance you want while replacing each component of the suspension (from the stabilizer bars to the tie rods) just to satisfy your desire. of greater space and height of the body.
- Don't get too excited. Just a couple of inches can make a dramatic difference. Every time you add height, you have to get new shocks to match and at some point you're going to sacrifice stability and reliability. In addition, it will be more difficult to access the trunk of the car or the bed of the truck.
- If you want to transform your vehicle into a mud racing monster truck, you can find the instructions elsewhere. For now, you should consider this as the last resort to prevent your comfortable old truck from scraping the wheels and dragging the tow bar every time you hit a bumpy road.
Step 3. Select the correct size lift kit
At this point, you have spring assistants and better shock absorbers installed. Also, you keep driving with your rear end low. You should go for a 2-inch lift kit or even a 1.5-inch lift kit.
- For coil springs, this is usually another polyurethane insert, which simply reduces the point where the spring connects to the chassis. For leaf springs, this is just a wedge that sits where the springs contact the axle (and sometimes has chains to adjust where they connect to the side of the chassis).
- If you're lucky, you can reinforce the rear (combining reinforced shocks of a length that reflects the lift) and use torsion bars only to compensate and level the front height.
- In some cases (where there are no adjustable torsion bars), you will need a lift kit that covers all four wheels, unless you don't mind the rear end being higher than the front end when the vehicle is unloaded.
Step 4. Examine the contents of the lift kit
You can find more complete and well-proportioned lift kits that include longer springs and shocks and auxiliary equipment.
- If you really want or need a few extra inches, keep in mind that this represents a sacrifice. You need to do some math to get everything to match and do some serious work installing. If you have sufficient resources, you should consider hiring a professional to carry out the installation.
- In any case, once the vehicle is elevated, you must take the alignment into account and carry out the corresponding adjustments. Better yet, you should let a specialist run the lineup for you.