Benjamin Hunting is a freelance automotive writer who has been involved in racing, restoring and writing about cars and trucks for more than a decade. In his spare time he enjoys keeping the shiny side up on track days. You can find out more about Benjamin’s writing at his website, http://www.benjaminhunting.com.
Rock chips are the inevitable outcome of any extended period of truck ownership. No matter how careful you are, at some point an errant stone is going to get kicked up by the car in front of you and take a chunk out of your paint. You might even do it to yourself driving down a gravel road by shooting back rocks at your rocker and rear quarter panels.
It used to be that the only real form of protection against rock chips was to install a hideous black ‘bra’ on the front of a vehicle. Usually made out of vinyl, these monstrosities were not only ugly, but cheaper models also introduced the very real risk of damaging the paint themselves by baking into the factory finish over time or by trapping water and “gunk” between the cover and the clear coat.
Thankfully, technology has advanced past the days of the black vinyl bra and introduced the “clear bra” – but not all clear bras are the same.
According to Bilstein, most spacer leveling kits are inferior to their new 5100 Series adjustable leveling shocks. Designed for truck and SUV applications, Bilstein’s 5100′s are meant to raise up the front end while avoiding the compromises that come with using spacer kits. Bilstein claims their kits offer 2 inches more of suspension up-travel while increasing ride height as much as 2.75″, without increasing coilover assembly length.
While we haven’t installed a set of these shocks on a truck yet, we have reviewed Bilstein’s literature and we have some notes for anyone considering buying this kit. First, however, before you can recognize the difference between Bilstein’s new adjustable height leveling kit and similar kits from ReadyLift, Truxxx, Low Range Off-Road, or Toytec, you’ve got to know a little bit about suspension lifts in general.
There was once a time when you could saunter on down to your local car dealership and test drive one of several full-size, two-door sport-utility vehicles. In fact, the history books are filled with names like the Chevrolet Blazer, the Ford Bronco, the Toyota FJ40 and the Dodge Ramcharger, vehicles that each offered full-frame truck toughness on a short, easy-to-navigate-out-on-the-trail wheelbase.
Sadly, most of these models had disappeared by the mid-1990s, leaving us with only their full-size four-door cousins to take their place. Sure, the FJ Cruiser and the Jeep Wrangler are still around, but they aren’t in quite the same class in terms of brawn, towing capacity or passenger room as a full-size truck. While the Chevrolet Suburban and the Toyota Sequoia are certainly solid vehicles in their own right, they don’t offer the same amount of fun when thrashed across a mud pit, due to their size and weight. They are also harder to park and just don’t look as ‘sporty’ as the departed two-door SUVs of old.
Just because these trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways doesn’t mean that we can’t dream.
It’s here, it’s bold and it runs on…batteries? That’s right – an all-electric Toyota Tundra is going to debut at this year’s SEMA show, and we here at Tundra Headquarters have managed to snag an exclusive preview of the truck that is sure to have everyone in the industry talking.
Why change the stock shocks on your Toyota Tundra for a set of aftermarket units? There are actually several reasons why so many truck owners elect not to return to factory components when it comes time to replace their damping system. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why aftermarket shock replacements are so common.