Have you driven your lifted vehicle near highway speeds only to hit a bump and have the steering wheel violently shake back and forth? You, like many of us have fallen victim to the infamous “Death Wobble”. A very scary and downright dangerous condition, leaving a driver helpless for seconds until the front end of the vehicle settles down and comes back to square.
Within any suspension system, there are many vital steering and suspension components functioning within very close tolerances working together in balance. Here are a few items to consider prior to lifting your vehicle.
- Does the lift your about to install include new ball joints, and correct fitting hardware? Can these parts be purchased separately?
- Is your steering system in top condition and within factory tolerance?
- Are any of the components being reused worn or in need of replacement?
- Are the shocks provided with the kit (or purchased separately) the proper type and valving for your driving style and terrain being driven?
- Are the aftermarket suspension components the appropriate fitment for not only the lift chosen, but for the vehicle receiving modifications?
- Is a new steering stabilizer included, or are you required to purchase it separately?
- Will your existing drive shafts be long enough to accommodate the additional angle and stress being placed on the u-joints? Will you’re new drive shaft need to incorporate a new dual cardan joint on the t-case, axle housing or both ends of the new shaft? Will your new shaft articulate enough to accommodate the much improved articulation and travel provided by your new suspension system?
- Are your wheel bearings tight or do they need to be replaced?
- Are you having a professional installation facility install these parts? If so, are they ASE certified technicians that will take care to complete the job correctly?
- Have you made arrangements for your vehicle to undergo a professional alignment post installation?
- Will the manufacturer honor the warranty without professional installation?
Bottom line is, correctly installed, a lift can provide years of flawless service and take you places previously unimaginable! One question worth asking yourself is how much is your time is worth? Would it be more cost effective to have a licensed professional equipped with the proper tools install it for you? All food for thought!
See you on a trail soon!
Christopher E. Breidenbach
The Edge Automotive LLC