For an ever-increasing number of off-road enthusiasts, bigger is assuredly better. Although the off-road community has always embraced the spectacle of too-tall trucks, past suspension systems on tall trucks was mostly a design-it-yourself proposition, with the owner being required to assemble a set of springs from one source, steering mods and components form another supplier, brake lines and ancillary components from yet another manufacturer, and on and on. The resulting suspension systems were not always reliable, street-legal, or safe, but it was the only option if your wanted a lift in excess of 8 inches.
These days, much has changed. Sure, you can still assemble a unique suspension lift on your own, but an impressive number of suspension manufacturers currently build complete suspension systems designed to deliver a serious amount of lift. The kits we're showcasing in this story are mostly built for GM's HD trucks and Ford's Super Duty 4x4s, and that's because these two machines are hugely popular and lend themselves well to nosebleed lift systems.
What do we consider a tall lift? Basically, 8-, 10-, and 12-inch suspension lift kits are on the edge of reliability, function, and legality, so that's what we've focused on here with this story.
Maximum-inch lift kits are certainly not for every enthusiast because a tall-riding truck shod with massive wheels and tires requires special tolerances (forget about parking in any kind of normal garage; you also won't be driving through your local fast-food joint). Sky-high 'wheelers also draws attention - from gawkers as well as coppers - better than a blond driving a bright-red drop-top Vette. These kits are also way expensive, but that's the price of fame and high style.
If you're ready and willing to reach for the sky, if driving a truck with a tall ride height is a high priority for you, and if you simply must have eye contact with the drivers of big rigs, then this guide is for you. Get it up!
Twisted Suspension Designs
Twisted Suspension Designs offers a full line of extreme suspension lift systems for fullsize GM Heavy Duty 4x4 trucks. The construction of the Twisted Suspension Designs kits are impressive, as the components are computer-designed and use laser-cut, MIG-welded brackets and a sub-frame that drops the entire front suspension and drivetrain away from the OE frame. With such a design, chassis and suspension component strength is maximized, bumpsteer is minimized, and near-OE steering response and geometry is retained.
All of Twisted Suspension Designs' lift kits include front and rear shocks, dual steering stabilizers, front and rear stainless steel-braided brake lines, suspension droop limiting straps, a new front antisway bar that is 20 percent stiffer in tensional strength and is equipped with polyurethane bushings, and Grade 8 installation hardware. The entire suspension cradle and brackets are powdercoated, and the system is a true bolt-on - no welding is required. Twisted even offers a full lifetime warranty on the suspension subframe and brackets.
For more information, contact: Twisted Suspension Designs, Dept. OR, 3068 N. Sunnyside, Ste. 106, Fresno, CA 93727, (877) 281-7800, www.twistedsuspensiondesigns.com.
CST Suspension is an industry leader in the design and construction of IFS lift systems for GM HDs. This CST kit is extensive, using precisely fit, MIG-welded drop brackets, a special steering drop system featuring Heim joints, and a full array of Grade 8 fasteners. Of special note is CST's main engine cradle. It's a fully welded component that is designed to enhance the structural integrity of the OE frame and is further strengthened with the installation of longitudinal cradle-to-frame struts. The CST kit delivers 9-inches of lift on a 1500 or 2500-Series HD, but you'll likely want to install CST's 4-inch lifted spindles to complement the lift kit.
For more information, contact: CST performance suspension, Dept. OR, 115 W. La Cadena Dr., Ste. 100, Riverside, CA 92501, www.cstsuspension.com.
Cognito Motorsports takes great pride in the fact that its 10- and 12-inch suspension systems for GM 4WD IFS trucks is a true bolt-on. Cognito took special care to manufacture a kit that retains all of the factory steering, suspension, and alignment geometry, while still delivering a massive lift, thanks to fully welded suspension drop components and the rugged engine cradle. The Cognito suspension lift was designed to make the installation process a straightforward affair and as such uses as many factory mounting holes as possible. The kit is furnished complete in every regard. Cognito claims there will be no unexpected surprises or costs involved with the kit's installation.
For more information, contact: Cognito Motorsports, Dept. OR, P.O. Box 684, Arroyo Grande, CA 93421, (866) 426-46486, (805) 481-3393, www.cognitomotorsports.com.
Truckin Suspension has an extensive listing of extreme suspension lift systems for popular fullsize late-model trucks, including the Chevy Silverado, the Dodge Ram, and the Ford F-150. The suspension systems from Truckin Suspension are well-engineered, use premium components for durability, and are available at a competitive price. Truckin Suspension also manufacturers a complete line of rear lift systems, suspension tuning and installation accessories, and a series of 4-inch lifted spindles for 2WD and 4x4 applications.
For more information, contact: Truckin Suspension, Dept. OR, 260 S. Hibbert St., Mesa, AZ, 85210, (800) 775-7150, www.truckinsuspension.com.
Full Traction Suspension
Full Traction Suspension specializes in complete suspension kit for Ford's Super Duty. Full Traction's 8-inch-lift is based on special progressive-rate springs that increase the Super's payload capacity while retaining a smooth ride. The leaf packs feature main leaves with double military-wrapped spring eyes for strength and durability, and the associated bracketry is laser-cut for a precision fit and hassle-free installation. Full Traction supplies its 8-inch Super Duty lift with front and rear dampers, urethane bumpstops, a steering arm, a drag link drop bracket, extended antisway bar links, and a complete supply of installation hardware.
For more information, contact: Full Traction Suspension, Dept. OR, 6951 McDivitt Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93313, (800) 255-6464, www.full-traction.com.
Bulletproof Suspensions is another up-and-comer in the radically tall truck arena, and its suspension lift kits offer several unique aspects. Bulletproof's main drop engine cradle is a one-piece design, using hand-fit tubes and flat stock steel that are allied by fully MIG-welding the entire assembly. Bulletproof also includes several chassis component drop brackets, including an ultra-strong differential drop bracket and special upper control arms. The steering features Heim-jointed links, and there is crossbracing galore throughout the kit. For more information, contact: Bulletproof Suspension, Dept. OR, 1316 Agate St., Ste. E and H, Mentone, CA 92359, (909) 389-0444, www.bulletproofsuspensions.com.
Whiplash Suspensions uses extensive crossbracing on its main cradles in order to limit lateral and torsional movement. The computer-designed, laser-cut brackets, adapters, and tubular struts make for a bolt-on kit that doesn't require extensive modifications. With the Whiplash 8-inch lift, an IFS GM truck will accept 36-inch-diameter tires; with the 10-inch lift, 38.5-inch sizing is possible.
For more information, contact: Whiplash Suspensions, Dept. OR, 2686 N. Clovis Ave., Ste. 107, Fresno, CA 93727, (559) 294-8404, www.whiplashsuspensions.com.