Adding speed on pavement is easy: Just pump up your wallet until it's bursting at the seams with greenbacks, and throw it at your engine. A supercharger, NOS, a bigger motor, or perhaps all three will scoot you down your favorite ribbon of asphalt farther and faster with more ponies under the hood.
While we're not here to say that adding horsepower doesn't help in the dirt (it does), we do want to point out that all the power tricks in the book won't let a truck conquer the off-road world without a smooth suspension that laughs off the rough. Bump control is essential off-road.
King Shocks, a company with few peers in the world of bump control, recently introduced a simple shock upgrade kit for Ford's newest two- or four-wheel-drive F-150 that lets the 1/2-ton Blue Oval skim over the rough as no stock truck could ever dream of. The kit consists of a pair of application-specific 2.5-inch front coilovers and a matching set of application-specific rear 2.5-inch smooth body shocks with piggyback reservoirs. No other suspension or steering components need to be added or changed. While the kit does add a slight amount of front lift, adding altitude is not the goal here. Instead, this is a suspension system that gives the F-150 a completely new level of off-road ability.
In less than an hour-and-a-half, our F-150 test mule went from super-stock to super-capable. We'd have no hesitations about using this truck as a chase truck, prerunner, trail vehicle, or daily driver. We doubt there's an easier way to double your off-road speed in one fell swoop.
Side By Side
The factory unit looks downright skimpy compared with the King's generous dimensions. The lower end of the factory coilover is only slightly larger than angel-hair pasta, and the top of the OEM coilover is stamped sheetmetal. A King's billet rod end and upper mount mean added durability. The lower rod end uses a massive 1-inch spherical bearing and special spacers to allow using the factory mount and bolt. Grade 8 hardware connects the 6061 upper shock mount to the factory mounting bucket. This preproduction upper mount uses bolts, but the production models will feature studs for easier installation.