As part of our continued improvement for 2011, we're opening up our Readers' Rap section to those of you having a hard time getting an answer to a tough truck question. Send in whatever is stumping you and if we can't answer it, or if we think your question is going to help out other people with a problem, we'll send you free truck gear. It's just that easy. Also, if we did something to tick you off, did something that you liked, or even if you want to make a suggestion, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to respond. This month's free giveaway is a pair of Mechanix gloves to protect your mitts while turning those wrenches. For more info, check out www.mechanix.com.
Trucks seem to be the stepchild of suspension performance. Plenty of lowering kits are available but it seems that they are designed to simply lower the vehicle and not actually add performance. I have an '01 Ford Lightning that I have spent all my time slowly building up. The motor and transmission have been completely gone through, and I beefed up the rear axle to match. I have saved up some money to finally do suspension work, but I am stumped on what to do. I know the Lightning is already lowered compared to an F-150, but I want it a little lower with better handling. Can I have both?
Charlotte, North Carolina
Oh, do we feel your pain. Making trucks handle like sports cars is no easy task. Luckily, many aftermarket suppliers have created parts to suit our needs, so we don't have to fabricate everything or mix and match parts. Apparently you have not looked in the right place for the suspension answers you seek, and we're here to help. The answer is Hotchkis Sport Suspension. Hotchkis has a Ford F-150/Lightning kit that is designed as a system. Replacement coil springs and leaf springs will fine-tune your truck and lower it 1½ inches and 3½ inches front and rear respectively. A pair of sway bars designed for the truck is part of the package. Toss in some sticky rubber and we're willing to bet that you will be embarrassing some sport cars before you know it. You can get more info at www.hotchkis.net. Send us some pictures when it's done.
Going fast sure is expensive. It's almost as if I need a second job just to feed my desire for go-fast parts. The truck I own makes it even worse. Ford and Chevy stuff is available all day long and everywhere, but my Mopar habit has me searching all over for anything worth a few ponies that won't be twice as much as one of the other guys' trucks. One area I am really interested in is a supercharger. My '09 Ram Quad Cab 2WD has a couple kits available for the Hemi 5.7L that are closely priced and doesn't make me feel like somebody is shaking me by my shoes to get every last cent out of me. What is your take on blowers/superchargers, whichever you want to call them? Do they live up to the high claims?
Getting shaken out by your shoes is something we can relate to. Price gouging in the performance industry can sometimes be overwhelming, to say the least. We applaud your decision to go to a supercharger for your 5.7L Hemi Ram. There's an obvious difference with the before and after driving characteristics. The only Hemi supercharger system we've had our hands on is the TVS2300 from MagnaCharger. It woke up the Hemi to the tune of an additional 130 hp at the wheels. That is nothing to sneeze at and there is still more available in additional engine upgrades as you decide to progress. Adding a cam and custom tune will get your truck well past the 400hp range at the wheels. Be prepared to grin from ear to ear. We'll show you the full install later this year in an upcoming issue of Truckin'. The new truck supercharger hasn't made the website yet, but MagnaCharger can be found at www.magnacharger.com.