Tips for Repairing a Lift Kit

Lifted kits are like the coolest after-market addition to a car. Hence, it is your responsibility to make sure it is maintained properly. Certainly, maintenance will extend the lifespan of your lift kit, but you should know at one point or another, you’ll have to carry out certain repairs on your lift kit. If you are going to do this yourself, you should know the rusty bolts will be one of your biggest challenges. So, you’ll need a lot of penetrating oil for lubrication.

We’ve put together the common problems that can occur with an installed truck and the best solutions to them to make your truck-driving experience a liveable and amazing one.

 

  • DRIVELINE

 

Problem: when the truck’s suspension is altered to make it higher, the truck’s body and frame moves up and shift from the differentials. This action makes the driveshaft angles become extreme which mostly causes premature wear and vibrations.

Solution: pinion wedges can be installed between the spring pack and axle to compensate for the driveshaft angle, it then rotates the differential housing upward thereby creating a clean pinion angle on the differential side.

 

  • GEARING

 

Problem: getting power from your truck’ engine to the ground is one of the biggest problems associated with lifting your truck. Fixing different-sized tires from the normal ones will, to a great extent change the vehicle’s gear ratio.

Solution: for the truck to regain its stock performance, you have to re-gear the vehicle accordingly. By doing some calculations, you’ll know what gear ratio is required to let your truck get back its stock performance. Divide your new tire diameter by the old tire diameter, then multiply by the old axle ratio to get the new axle ratio.

 

  • TIRES

 

Problem: the general purpose of lifting a vehicle is to increase the size of tire to be installed, right? When selecting a tire, you have to take the suspension setting into account after the installation. You have to remember that a tire that fits the day the truck was lifted might eventually rub in the long run.

Solution: tires that are greater than 38 inches must be checked closely and rebalanced after every 500 miles due to the fact that the rotating mass is likely to rotate on the wheel which may alter the balancing of the truck, causing vibration.

 

Watch this YouTube video for more tips and tricks on repairing a lift kit.  And, good luck.

 

Funny REPO tow truck stories

If you’re in the repo business, you’ve no doubt seen and heard a lot of stories.  Funny stories, stories that piss you off, stories that will scare the heck out of you, and so on.

 

Here is a collection of stories I found on Odometer.com and they fit the bill in all the categories (funny, sad, mad, scary, etc.).

 

And, YouTube has plenty of videos to watch that will also make you laugh.

Here’s a crazy one:

 

REPO is a tough job.  These folks are usually hired by the people who financed the car loan and they know their are taking chances every time they go to work.

Consumers who default on their loans and find themselves in this position shouldn’t take it upon themselves to fight with the guy who was hired to return the property to the lender.  Take your beef up with the lender.  That’s my humble opinion.

Best Trucks for Towing

With so many versions of each new truck model available — regular cab to crew cab, V6, V8 and diesel engine choices, 2- and 4-wheel drive — towing capabilities vary widely, too. Asking yourself a few simple questions will help you narrow your choices. What do you plan to tow? How will you use your pickup when you’re not towing?

Before new standards for towing capacities were introduced, comparing ratings between brands was tough. Now, automakers are adopting uniform methods for testing and rating pickups. The standard is called SAE J2807, and it’s already in use by all the major manufacturers.

You’ll definitely need a pickup that’s rated to handle your trailer’s total weight and tongue weight. Have those figures handy when beginning your search. If you only pull your trailer a few times a year, it’s okay to choose a pickup with a towing rating just above your trailer’s weight. If you tow regularly, it may be a good idea to pick a truck with a higher rating.

Heavy vs Light Duty

Some light-duty trucks offer huge towing capacities in excess of 10,000 pounds, but drivers with big trailers, such as fifth-wheel campers or gooseneck horse trailers, may be better off with a heavy-duty pickup. Again, frequency of use is a consideration. You don’t want to pony up thousands more for a big Ford F-350 or a GMC HD you’re only towing occasionally.

If you plan to tow a personal watercraft or a light-utility trailer, you may not even need a full-size pickup. Consider a smaller truck, such as a Tacoma or a Frontier, if you’re only pulling a light trailer.

Gas vs Diesel

Diesel is great for towing. It provides plenty of low-end torque to get you moving and to achieve good efficiency at higher speeds, too. Diesel-motor options are mostly limited to heavy-duty pickups. The notable exception is the Dodge RAM 1500 EcoDiesel, a full-size light-duty pickup with a diesel V6. GM says that it will offer a diesel option in the midsize Chevrolet Colorado, but only gas engines will be available when they first come to the market.

Diesel engines also often add thousands to the purchase price. They can tow more and can sometimes achieve better fuel economy, but if you’ll rarely be towing anything, it may just not be worth it.

 

Towing Tips

Tips for Towing a 5th Wheel

Based on our experiences from pulling a 30’ fifth wheel all over the United States over the last 5 years, we offer the tips below. I have a buddy who drives big rigs all the time, he owns a tow truck company in Arizona (Mesa Towing Services), and he says by far that backing up is the hardest of all the towing maneuvers.  He has been towing folks for more than 10 years and still has to work the hardest when backing up in tight spots.  Here are a few tips for us laypeople:

 

Hitching and Unhitching

This is so universal these days, that you can get the best advice from watching a 10 minute YouTube video.  It’s vitally important to get both of these procedures right, so practice if you have to around in a field or other area with no traffic BEFORE you take your haul to the highway.

Pulling the Trailer

Imagine a right angle when you turn with a trailer.  Almost 90 degrees, like a big square corner.  The trailer’s arc will follow you through the corner inside the turn of the truck wheels. Again, watch a video and then practice this maneuver so you don’t take a car out when you do it for the first time.

When you near the intersection, drive as deep (straight) into the intersection as you think you can go with the truck before making the turn. This will give the trailer more room as it comes through the corner. Same with turning into a parking lot from a road – go as far “past” the driveway as you can before swinging into it.

Even more fun is when you get the the campground. Many have skinny roads and tight curves. In these cases you’ll often have the outside front tire of the truck off the pavement and the inside/rear tires of the trailer off the pavement. This is OK – you aren’t the biggest rig that’s been here so there is room for you.

 

In Traffic

Take a deep breath.  Count to 10.  Remind yourself to be patient.  Other drivers are NOT patient when it comes to big rigs.  They will jump into the gap you leave in front of you, they will ignore your turn signals, and they won’t remember you need extra space for slowing down, or for turning, or for parking.  Just get used to it.

Remember, going slower than everyone around you is less stressful than trying to keep up with the flow.  Enjoy the ride.

In multi-lane highways, stay in the middle. The far left lanes are for those in a hurry and the right lanes are too accordion-like.  They start/stop and disappear too much into exit ramps and on ramps merging and so on.  Stick to the “middle of the road.”

Backing the Trailer into a Campsite

Your starting position is key. There are two important aspects to your starting position – side of the road and distance from your target site.

Pull past the site and align your truck and trailer to be on the same side of the road the campsite is on as you can. For example, if your campsite is on the passenger side (and they usually will be) pull along that side of the road.

You might think that starting with the truck and trailer on the opposite side of the road from the campsite would be easier by giving you a wider arc to push the trailer through. However the truck’s nose needs that room to swing around as it backs into the site.

 

 

Types of Tow Trucks

There are several types of tow trucks and they all work differently.  Here is a great summary of each:

Flatbed Tow Truck

Flatbed Tow Trucks have no chains or hooks that attach to your vehicle. Instead, the bed is lowered on one end to the ground and a winch is used to pull your vehicle up onto the bed.  Or a crane-like apparatus may lift your vehicle and set it on the flatbed. These are the safest types of tow trucks, with the least risk of damaging vehicles as with a hook or chain.

Boom Tow Truck

This tow truck has s boom winch that is used to pull damaged vehicles from ditches and other hard to reach places. This one show above (courtesy of kenworth dot com) is lifting an airplane.

 

Hook and chain/Belt lift Tow Truck

This type of tow truck uses a heavy-duty chain and hook. The boom that is on the back of the tow truck is attached to the underside of the vehicle that needs to be towed.  The boom is then raised so the back wheels come off the ground and the vehicle is ready to tow (backwards).

 

Wheel-lift tow trucks

These tow trucks use a lift yoke to move vehicles.  The yoke is lowered to the ground and placed under the back or the front wheels of the vehicle. Then the vehicle is then lifted using a pneumatic or hydraulic crane-like device.