Modifying sport utility vehicles and pick-ups is very popular these days, especially lifting them.  Well that can either be very rewarding or it can be an absolute nightmare. Now for some tips on how to do it right we’ve come to Trick Trucks in Lanham, Maryland and we’re talking to Keith Dillard.   Alright now, number one thing that our viewers should be aware of before they get into a project like this?

KEITH DILLARD:Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy, make sure it will pass inspection, make sure your ball joints are good, tie-rod ends, things of that nature… anything that’s going to keep you from stopping or steering-make sure it’s all in good working order.

PAT GOSS:  OK, because some of things we’re going to do is going to put more stress on them?

KEITH DILLARD: Right. Larger tires will heat up your brakes a lot more, add extra stress and wear to your steering components such as your steering box and any of the ball joints. It’s going to add a lot of extra stress to it!

PAT GOSS:  OK. So number one, good solid foundation to work with in a road-worthy vehicle. What’s the next thing?

KEITH DILLARD:The next thing is the completeness of your kit.  Make sure you get a full, complete lift kit that has all its shocks, springs, alignment shims, drop Pitman arms, brake lines, anything like that that you’re going to need to have a completed install.

PAT GOSS:  Alright, well, little things like shims, for instance—without those you can’t do an alignment and that means tire wear and handling problems and all kinds of goofiness.

KEITH DILLARD: Correct, you’ll wear out the outside of your tires, you’ll wear out everything.  Poor alignments will wear out your ball joints faster, you overload your ball joint one way or the other.

PAT GOSS:  Alright, now one of the things that brings up is if you go on the Internet and find these kits that are anything from twenty-nine-cents on up…and just shopping price doesn’t make sense, you’ve got to have the quality parts and the completeness of the kit.

KEITH DILLARD:Right, you want to go to somebody that knows your kits and knows what they’re selling you. Going online, they can advertise anything. But go to somewhere that knows what they’re selling you.

PAT GOSS:  Alright now, there might be some compromises here, so I presume you need to make sure you know what you’re getting into?

KEITH DILLARD: This is correct. Once you lift your vehicle, it’s almost non-reversible. Your ride quality will stay the same pretty much give or take a little bit. The tires are not the issue; it’s getting the completed lift kit done.

PAT GOSS: So the springs and the shocks are mated together, so they’re a complete package when you buy completed stuff?

KEITH DILLARD: This is correct. Everything is designed and engineered to work together for that vehicle. The lift kit manufacturers give you the recommended tire size and rim size.

PAT GOSS: OK so we’re going to make sure the vehicle is in good condition, going to buy a complete kit, and we’re going to make sure we know what we’re getting into. 


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