The new truck is sitting in the driveway, but you do not know where to start modifying it. We turned to the team at Dirt King Fabrication to see how they help customers select where to start.
“Often customers ask us where to start when modifying their truck,” Dustin Weaklem of Dirt King Fabrication said. “It truly depends on how you plan to use your truck whether it is for daily driving or mild off-road use. While we do work on full builds, the majority of our customers are looking to improve off-road handling, lift or level the truck, give it an aggressive appearance, and not affect your towing capacity.”
1. Upper Control Arms (UCA’s)
The most common thing people want to do after purchasing a new vehicle is lift it. There is a right way and a wrong way to lift a vehicle. The wrong way is cheap initially but ultimately costs more in the long run. Coil spacers are the cheapest option to lift the vehicle, but they make the shock too long, causing the suspension to over-articulate.
This leads to premature ball joint wear and even failure if not caught in time. The correct and safe way to lift a vehicle is to purchase aftermarket upper control arms and shocks. The purpose of the aftermarket upper control arms is to provide additional down travel, so it doesn’t restrict the amount of lift that the shocks provide. The upper control arms also have increased castor so the truck can be within alignment specs after lifting the vehicle. Those are the primary advantages of aftermarket arms.
The added benefit of Dirt King Fabrication upper control arms is they’re built to withstand off-road abuse. Their ball joint upper control arms are the best balance of quality and price. They’re 100-percent manufactured in the USA and all the wearable components are rebuildable or replaceable for a product that will last a lifetime.
2. Upgrade Your Shocks
Now that we’ve explained the purpose of the upper control arms let’s talk about the different types of shocks. There are 2.0-inch diameter shocks, 2.5-inch diameter shocks, and even 3.0-inch diameter shocks. For daily driving and average off-road use, Dirt King recommends 2.5-inch shocks.
The 2.0 shocks have small internals and less fluid, causing them to perform poorly off-road. The 3.0-inch shocks perform great off-road, but there is a lot of fluid to displace, which makes the on-road ride quality harsher. As for shock brands, there are a lot to choose from.
A shock option is the 2.5-inch Fox coilovers are direct bolt-on OEM replacement shocks intended for maximum performance. These coilovers are specifically designed to optimize off-road performance without compromising on-road handling. The Fox 2.5-inch shocks eliminate the vehicle’s forward rake, providing a level ride height without hindering droop travel and increasing suspension travel. The front coilovers for most models are adjustable up to three inches of lift. They also have DSC (dual speed compression) adjusters that allow you to fine-tune the ride quality to your preference.
When choosing wheels, you will need to decide if you want to purchase beadlock wheels or non-beadlock wheels. The advantage of beadlock wheels is they prevent the tires from separating from the bead during extreme off-roading or with very low tire pressure. The disadvantage to beadlock wheels is they’re very expensive and not DOT approved.
Non-beadlock wheels are most commonly what people choose. A growing trend is the simulated beadlocks. They look identical to the traditional beadlock wheels, except they’re a one-piece wheel versus a two-piece wheel. In addition, the simulated beadlock wheels are DOT approved and more affordable.
The other things to consider when purchasing wheels are the diameter and offset. Those two things can make or break the look of a vehicle. There are also a lot of problems that could arise from the wrong offset or diameter, such as uneven tire wear, wheel contacting the vehicle, and tires rubbing on the firewall.
Each brand has different tread patterns and compounds for different terrain. There are M/T tires (Mud Terrain), R/T tires (Rugged Terrain), and A/T tires (All Terrain). M/T tires perform great off-road but are noisy and sometimes rough on-road. A/T tires drive great on the road and have a long lifespan but don’t have the best traction off-road.
The R/T tires are the best balance between the two. They drive well both on-road and off-road. They also have a more aggressive look compared to the A/T tires. Like with wheels, this can make or break the vehicle’s look. For most vehicles, there is a lot of good info on forums about tire size, but if you’re still unsure, contact Dirt King Fabrication and they can suggest the correct tire size depending on your vehicle and preference.
Aftermarket bumpers are the finishing touch to personalize your truck and give it an aggressive look. These bumpers aren’t just for looks, they provide excellent protection. Take a look at the video above showing a truck equipped with a Dirt King Fabrication bumper getting rear-ended.
It resulted in only minor damage to the truck and the other driver totaled their car. Dirt King offers front and rear bumpers for several makes and models. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can either custom-build one for your vehicle or point you in the right direction. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to bumpers, as Dirt King’s preference is clean and simple.
For more information on Dirt King Fabrication’s products or to find products for your new truck, be sure to check out their website.