WEB EXCLUSIVE: Tire Talk - Turning Stock into Rock Part II -

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Tire Talk – Turning Stock into Rock Part II

Wrappin’ Up Our Project Nissan Titan Truck from last Month (February issue)

Picking up where we left off last month, there is one more quick lift product that I want to cover and it’s name is, well, QuickLift.

Newly developed by the team at Rancho Suspensions (gorancho.com), this product allows you to raise the nose of most popular 1/2-ton trucks from 1-inch to 2.5 inches. This will help get a level stance and allow for larger tires (up to 35 inches tall) without having to fabricate any suspension parts and using existing resources. In fact, this system was specifically designed to be installed by tire and wheel dealers, not just hardcore off-road shops.

According to Bill Johnson, engineering manager for Rancho, “The QuickLift has a nine-position adjustment for rebound and compression. Position 1 provides a rebound and compression ratio, and gets progressively stiffer up to position 9.”

When asked how Rancho determines what tire size will fit each application, Johnson added, “Rancho uses the original tire as a base, then we optimize the components to fit one or in some cases up to two sizes larger than OE.

“We achieve the rear lift (where required) by installing coil spacers for most SUVs, but in some cases, like the Nissan X-Terra, we provide an optional rear Add-A-Leaf to level the truck out. Some consumers like the nose lifted slightly higher than the rear to get a ‘pre-runner’ look.”

A pre-runner is a 4×2 that has a 4×4 stance and aggressive tires.

Take a look at the difference a quickLift makes on this Toyota Tacoma (far right column).

All of the features of the truck are big, except the tires and wheels. Imagine this is what rolls into your shop and then the lifted version rolls out, completely fitted with tires and wheels.

Johnson goes on to say, “The dealer cost on the QuickLift is $149-$199 per kit. The average retail is $500, installed. The kits are designed to be used with the OE springs and spring rate, which saves money. As long as these components are used, the parts carry a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner.”

As for installation, “Expect 1.5-2 hours for the front and 45 minutes for the rear with coil springs up to 2 hours for Add-A-Leaf. The only tools needed are a spring compressor, clamps for the Add-A-Leaf and a set of standard/metric wrenches,” says Johnson.

You can purchase Rancho products from any of their wholesale distributors or purchase directly from them if you are a multi-store operation with enough volume to warrant carrying the inventory. As for tech support, Rancho has two separate tech lines set up, one for dealers like you and another for consumers.

This truck is ready to tackle the trails or the dunes. But hold on! Not so fast. After all of this, don’t skip out on the alignment. Remember our Nissan Titan 6-inch lift project build up from last month? The owner was a little too eager to take the truck home before we could get it on the rack. The result: premature tire wear.

The owner loved the look so much that he started driving the truck more. Now that we have the truck back in our hands, lets see what it takes to get this beast under control. First, having the right lift is a must. The team at Total Performance Centers has a Hunter scissor lift installed in the floor, so drive-on clearance is no issue.

Once we had the truck in the air, we had to place the targets. With the 35×12.50R20 Nitto Dune Grapplers, we used the optional clamps for ‘rim protector’ type tires to secure the sensors to the tire.

Using the Hunter R811 we took the readings as usual (See left).

Notice that the toe is out. With so much weight and resistance pulling the tires in a toe-out position, we are going to set the toe-in an equal amount on both sides to compensate for movement in the bushings. I have seen where polyurethane bushings can solve this conditional by taking slack out of the suspension. It does tend to cause a little harsher ride, but when you’re working with this type of setup, it isn’t hardly noticeable.

As for camber, the OE setting was a little negative, but not enough to warrant an adjustment. The last thing that you want is to have a lot of negative camber with this size of a tire. You will eat up the inside shoulder in no time, plus put undue stress on the bearings and ball joints.

Now that the alignment is complete, this finishes the build. As we mentioned last month, the owner had spent upwards of $4,000 and to that we added another $60 for a custom alignment. Notice the word ‘custom’ here.

If you are seriously considering getting into this type of service, I strongly suggest enrolling your technicians in training courses to give them the ability to make adjustments based on knowledge and understanding of vehicle suspension geometry, not just trying to get the readings in the “green.” 

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