Making Room for Larger Rubber on Our ’11 Super Duty
There’s no question that bigger tires can help in the dirt. But in order to clear larger rubber, a suspension lift needs to be added.
The first suspension modifications on our own 2011 Super Duty only brought us up 2.5 inches—just enough to give a little extra bumper clearance over taller off-road obstacles, and we put a more aggressive 35-inch mud-terrain tires on to help in the dirt. Since our ’11 Super Duty came from the factory with 35-inch-tall tires, we really weren’t increasing in tire height and only tread aggressiveness. But with the more aggressive tread came more road noise, and a bit more tread squirm on the pavement.
Not only that, but our Super Duty felt like it skipped around on the road (still adorned with a stock-sized tire, even if it was an M/T), and it seemed like the truck needed a little larger tire “footprint” on the pavement to be right. We knew we wanted to add larger (and more tow- and freeway-friendly) tires, but that required a bigger lift. The Trail Master’s new 6-inch lift kit was just what the dirt doctor ordered. It is quite a jump in suspension lift considering we’re heading up 6 inches more than stock to put on a 2-inch-taller tire, but it guarantees the tire will not rub on the fender or front bumper with zero sheetmetal or plastic trimming. The Trail Master kit features larger tubular radius arms with urethane bushings and smooth SSV shocks.
We headed over to Apple Valley, California, to Revolution Vehicle Dynamics to get our Super Duty to sit a little taller. Mike Gold, the owner of Revolution Vehicle Dynamics, had recently opened up the Apple Valley location, but it’s not his first rodeo. He’s had plenty of experience under his belt, having fabricated and lifted trucks for more than 12 years and having worked for Toyota Racing Development. Mike had our Super Duty finished and back in the dirt in no time and considering the temperatures were slightly above freezing during the install, we were very impressed with Mike’s work ethic and attention to detail.
After putting a few miles on the new Trail Master 6-inch lift kit, we are pleased to report that it’s very stable at highway speeds while delivering a smooth overall ride. Not only that, but the off-road ability of our 2011 Super Duty with 6 inches of lift and 37-inch tires improved tremendously.
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How Did the Package Work?
We’ve enjoyed the truck in its 6-inch-lifted, 37-inch-tire-shod version. The larger 37-inch WildPeak tires have helped immensely, but they are heavy tires. After rolling a couple thousand miles on the 37-inch WildPeak all-terrains, we’ve still found a 1.5-mpg increase over our previous 35-inch mud-terrains.
Overall, we’ve very happy with the Trail Master suspension and tire package on the truck. We usually prefer longer sway bar links instead of drop brackets, but Trail Master’s fully-welded brackets do seem effective. We do have one minor complaint: Since Ford’s rear spring design has the front spring eye lower on the frame than the rear spring eye, using any type of lift block actually pushes the rear tire towards the rear of the bedside. We have not yet rubbed the 37s on the fender flares because suspension compression actually takes the tires back away from the rear of the flares, but we might think about upgrading to full replacement rear leaf springs in the near future.