Jazz It Up in Centennial knows truck owners are passionate about their trucks and dream about their customized upgrade list. Let’s take a look at the top 10 truck upgrades for your off road ride from the website fourwheeler.com and see which ones are right for you. (http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/129-1009-10-favorite-first-truck-upgrades/)
Your truck or SUV comes with street-biased tires for use on paved roads, with soft sidewalls and a mild tread pattern. But if you want to go off-highway you should upgrade to a more aggressive tire, to prevent tire failure and get better traction.
The website fourwheeler.com chose the Mickey Thompson ATZ in a size a bit wider and taller than stock, which gives a wider footprint, beefier siped tread lugs and a self-cleaning tread with built-in Stone Kicker rock ejectors.
Standard shocks are made for street use, so if you plan to go off-road, the shocks have a hard time handling it. The shocks are also made for a regular tire size, so if you are going to go with larger tires or heavy accessories, you might be pushing the limits of the shock, causing them to heat up faster and affect the vehicle’s handling.
Fourwheeler.com suggests getting some beefy aftermarket units, which are larger and dissipate heat better. They used a set of nitrogen-charged Fox Racing-manufactured Rod Hall Racing piggyback-reservoir shocks.
- Intake and Filter
Your engine needs clean air, without it, the vehicle’s performance and fuel economy will suffer. Modest performance gains can be seen by simply replacing the factory intake and filter with one from the after market.
Fourwheeler.com used the K&N Fuel Injection Performance Kit (FIPK) which reduces intake restriction by smoothing and straightening the path of the airflow to the intake. This particular FIPK kit included a free-flowing washable and reusable filter and is said to offer a 9.33hp improvement over the stock air intake system.
- Exhaust System
Your exhaust system may quiet the noise, but it may be hurting performance and fuel economy. Fourwheeler.com says upgrading your exhaust system can reduce back pressure and turbulence, which creates more power.
This is done by reducing the number of bends in the exhaust system. Fourwheeler.com used an exhaust system from MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust which increased the diameter of most of the exhaust tubing by 1/2 inch, and it offered a more consistent tubing diameter and fewer bends than the stock exhaust. It also offered a freer-flowing resonator and muffler. They also used a split rear exit exhaust and powder-coated the tips black.
Stock suspensions give limited ground clearance, and approach and departure angles. It can also cause trouble when you try to add larger tires.
Fourwheeler.com says upgrading suspension lift, increases the approach, departure and ground clearance. They used a Rancho 4-inch suspension lift which increased the room needed to fit 33-inch tires and significantly enhanced the F-150’s approach, departure, and ground clearance.
- Engine Control Unit
Unless it’s older, most engines have an engine control unit (ECU), which is a computer that is programmed at the factory and the controls your truck’s engine. It is calibrated to allow your engine to perform well in regular driving, but if you want more from your truck, those factory programming limits can get in your way. So, according to fourwheeler.com, you’re going to have to reprogram the ECU computer.
You can find a company that will reprogram your truck’s ECU to make more power. Fourwheeler.com used the Hypermax Max Energy Power Programmer to reprogram the ECU changing the top speed settings and rev limit as well as read and clear trouble codes. If your truck is older and has a computer chip or module, Hypermax offers replacement units that increase power for those engines.
- Brake System
The brake system design of your truck, including rotor and pad size, is based on the specifications of the vehicle, but if you change that by adding larger wheels and tires, the added weight of accessories can strain the brakes. This can be frustrating and unsafe.
One solution is if you have rear drum brakes, to upgrade to rear discs. Fourwheeler.com says this change can give up to 30 percent more brake force to your braking system. But if you already have disc brakes all around, you might want to consider upgrading to aftermarket rotors and calipers. Fourwheeler.com installed the Stainless Steel Brake Corporation Force 10 system to counter the effects of larger 35-inch tires. The kit upgraded the front calipers from single-piston to two-piston units and it added rear disc brakes with single piston calipers.
Stock headlights do not provide adequate light off-highway at night, making it difficult to see what’s in front of you.
You may want to look at kits give you more powerful lighting and bolt-on lights which give light in any direction. Fourwheeler.com installed full perimeter lighting, using 10 PIAA lights which can throw light in any direction. You can get light from halogen, HID and LED in all kinds of sizes and shapes.
Many four-wheel-drive vehicles have open differentials which cause your truck to struggle sometimes when only one wheel per axle is putting power on the ground.
You may want to install a locking or limited-slip differential, which can improve your truck’s performance by sending power to both wheels on the axle. Fourwheeler.com installed a rear selectable locker that was a limited-slip unit until it was manually locked in.
- Underbody Protection
Stock trucks don’t have a lot of underbody protection, so the underbelly is susceptible to damage from rocks, stumps, and other trail hazards if you are off-roading. Damage to the oil or transmission pan, and rocker panels, can be expensive to fix and could leave your stranded.
Fourwheeler.com installed a skidplate system from DeFelice Offroad Innovations, called the Up Armor Skidplate System. It protected the vehicle from the front all the way back past the transfer case and it smoothed out underneath, eliminating the areas that rocks and stumps can latch onto.
These are the top 10 truck upgrades for your off road ride from fourwheeler.com. Jazz it Up in Centennial knows your list may be different, that’s the beauty of customizing, it’s all about getting your truck the way you want it, with a unique design with enhanced performance.