When modifying a pickup truck or SUV to lift or lower the suspension, the geometry of how it performs can be greatly affected.
In the case of this GMC pickup truck, the front end is an independent front suspension, meaning there’s a center section that’s fixed and arms on either side that are allowed to pivot down or up with the suspension. If you were to lift the vehicle, in the case of this pickup truck, you now push those arms down constantly. This results in a pretty stiff and abrasive ride. Instead of a control arm riding parallel to the ground and flexing up or down with a bump, you now have an arm that’s resting on angle, so every time it hits a bump it gets jarred and pushed up into the frame of the vehicle.
This results in not only an uncomfortable ride, but significant wear and tear on your suspension and steering components. As a result, if you desire to have a lifted taller truck and have it be reliable, last a long time and not worry about wearing out these kind of components, we can help. In the case of this vehicle, the actual knuckles themselves that stretch the entire length of the suspension, top to bottom, had to be fabricated by hand so that they allowed the steering to be mounted higher up on the knuckle to keep this rod parallel to the ground. This allows the steering to pivot almost flawlessly. It also allows the suspension arms more range of travel so that the arms can pivot smoothly up and down rather than being stuck in a fixed position.
By putting this larger knuckle in, we can now keep this upper control arm more parallel, restoring that original smooth-ride quality that the owner originally wanted. At the same time, maintain the true off-road performance they desire. However, there’s a lot of other components that get affected when you lift a vehicle, for instance the brake lines, the drive shafts, the axle shafts. In this case, we were able to replace the front brake lines with custom-made, stainless-steel front lines and then the front differential itself to keep the actual spinning and moving, again provided a very strong angle, and the shafts to the wheels were on a very, very tight angle. So the actual suspension kit we were able to use in this vehicle allowed us to lower that front differential back down about 3 inches.
This allows the angles of those drive shafts to stay parallel and smooth rather than up and on a stiff angle. So even though the vehicle has been modified, even though it may not fall within its factory warranty, we know from an engineering perspective that the suspension geometry is parallel, true and towed so that the driver will have no performance issues. It’ll keep him on the road, serious longevity, and maintain his safety, which is always our number one concern. If you have after-market suspension components, if you’re worried about lifting or lowering or modifying your suspension in any way, or maybe you just want to beef it up a little bit so it can take Colorado’s poor roads a little bit better, please give us a call at Saul’s Automotive.