Off-roading is all about having ample ground clearance. It seems that most off-road enthusiasts can't get enough. When blazing through the desert or creeping over rough rocky terrain, the last thing you want is to get high-centered because there isn't enough clearance between your butt and the ground. We have covered tech stories concerning lifted fullsize 2WD and 4WD trucks. A fullsize truck from the factory has ample ground clearance, but that's not enough, so we lift them. But what about the mini-midsize trucks and SUVs?
Because of the vehicle's stature, their minimal stock height creates limited ground clearance, which could hang them up on a large rock or a transition going into or coming out of a sand wash. The aftermarket industry seems to be limited when it comes to the smaller size 4WD trucks and SUVs. After inquiring about possible suspension lift kits, we contacted Trail Master Suspension about its 4-inch lift kit for a 4WD '96 Chevy Blazer S-10 kit (PN CT15SSV).
A 4WD truck's independent front suspension is unique in that the front-wheel-drive transfer case and torsion bar crossmember must be lowered to increase the front ground clearance. By lowering the entire front suspension, it maintains the correct geometry without binding CV and ball joints. The rear suspension is raised by flipping the rear axlehousing from atop the leaf springs to underneath the leaf springs, also installing longer shocks.
The Trail Master Suspension lift kit uses durable silver powdercoating, giving the components protection and style. The front differential and transfer case drop brackets help maintain OEM CV-joint angles. Also, tie rod, pinion, and driveshaft angles remain within OEM specs. The kit uses OEM control arms, ball joints, leaf springs, a new steering centerlink, replacement tie rod extensions, and a set of SSV Speed Smart Valve shock absorbers. The kit will accommodate tires as big as 32 inches tall.
With camera in hand and a ton of film, we shot over the shoulders of Mike Bogart and Ox Higgins while they installed the Trail Master Suspension kit at Dealers Sport Trucks located in Los Alamitos, California.