Lifted Dodge Rides Rough
I enjoy your magazine very much. I have a customized '09 Dodge 2500 4x4. It has a 5-inch aftermarket suspension lift that my wife really hates as it is really rough riding. I have spent a lot of money on this truck and would like to do whatever I can to get a smooth ride out of it. I have about $1,500 I can spend on it if you're interested. Oh, it really sucks on gas mileage, too.
Your 6,000-pound lifted 4x4 pickup truck gets lousy mileage? We'd have never guessed.
Any time you deviate noticeably from the OE steering and driveline geometry, your overall ride and handling will be adversely affected to some degree, particularly if you are bolting up bigger, heavier wheels and tires along with that brand-new suspension kit. The aftermarket suspension companies do their best to mitigate this condition by adjusting spring rates and shock valving to best approximate the factory settings under any given load, and by including steering components that will return the truck to near-stock geometry. But what constitutes a "rough ride" can vary from one driver to another, and the reasons for it can be due to any number of factors. Some of them may be inherent in the design of the kit or its components, or due to something that went awry in the installation.
For example, does the kit run an add-a-leaf setup in the back, or rear blocks? The former will absorb irregularities throughout the chassis and ride more smoothly than the latter. Does your new suspension use full-length replacement front coil springs, or coil spacers to achieve the extra lift? The former will typically display softer, more compliant ride characteristics than the latter.
You did upgrade to premium shocks along with the lift, didn't you? You definitely don't want to cheap out there-you want a quality set of shocks, preferably with remote reservoirs, that can handle the extra heat buildup that goes along with extended shock travel. How about bushings? Are they fully greasable? If not, they'll wear faster, squeak a lot, and contribute to a rougher ride. How about driveline length or angularity? Driveshafts that are out of phase or running at excessive angles can wreak all sorts of havoc with your ride.
Finally, who installed your lift kit? Did you do it yourself, or did a professional installer handle it? Could any of the control arms or steering components have been bent (even the tiniest bit) or improperly torqued during installation? Did you visit an alignment shop after having the suspension lift installed? What kind of tires are you running now? The stock rubber ones or bigger, knobbier treads? Are the wheels still stock? If not, did you purchase rims with the proper offset?
As you can see, there could be all sorts of potential reasons for your less-than-stellar ride. We'd suggest you start at the "end" of the installation (i.e., the wheels and tires) and work your way back to the beginning of the process. Also, don't forget the effects of simple aerodynamics when you lift a big, boxy pickup truck and slap on some larger-than-stock tires.