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Long-Term Updates - July 2010

Posted in How To on July 1, 2010
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Photographers: Off-Road Staff

Firestone Towing Air Bags
A couple years ago we bolted on a Firestone air bag kit onto the back of our friend's Dodge 3500 dually truck. He complained of the headlights going airborne when he hooked up really big trailers. The universal air bag kit went onto his truck fairly easily and came with everything from the switch on the dash to the air lines and regulators to run air to the air bags. The kit not only helped with the sagging rear end, but also helped greatly improve sway control while out on the highway with a heavy load behind the truck. The Firestone kit is still working great to this day, and the air bags show no sign of cracking or tearing.

Eaton Truetrac
We've heard a few guys talk about the potential of breakage of a Truetrac limited slip differential when used in an application with high horsepower numbers and big tires. While we haven't tried every application of Truetrac ever made, we will tell you that we have tried it in a number of vehicles with great success and none have broken, nor been replaced with any other type of diff. And we've got one in gnarly Cummins diesel truck, a nitrous-injected Durango, a Bronco on 37s, and a '67 Firebird (hey, it counts)

Therefore, we'll continue to take these breakage rumors as simple trash talkin'.

We really like the Truetrac, and think limited slip diffs are usually better choices than even selectable or automatic lockers. We're not saying they get better traction than a full-on locker, but that they are many times a better choice for most street-legal off-roaders.

Valley Tow Hitches
We received a Class IV tow hitch package from Valley Hitches that has just been a real treat to bring into our towing experiences. The Super Duty ball mount (very fitting since it is on our Ford Super Duty) is a solid unit all the way through and compliments that massive Class IV hitch receiver excellently. We've banged the heck out of it, hooked straps up to it, and even hung the truck from it before (don't do this at home), but this valley hitch still has most of its powdercoat scratch- and dent-free.

Bilstein Strut Replacement
We tried Bilstein's strut replacement (based on a 5100 shock) on an '06 F-150 that has been testing the shocks out for the last 16 months. The strut replacement was absolutely great because we were able to save a bunch of money over some high-end coilover, and were able to get either zero or a couple inches of lift by moving a coil collar that dictates the height. The Bilstein strut replacements were a little more money than lift spacers, but not by much.

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