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Keepin’ It On the Level with a Performance Leveling Kit
Home Autos & Trucks Trucks
By: David Brooks Email Article
Word Count: 594 Digg it | Del.icio.us it | Google it | StumbleUpon it

Make no mistake; a truck that isn’t level just doesn’t look good. When you install extra leaf springs in the rear or add a big bumper and winch to the front, your truck starts to resemble a stink bug more than it does a rig. Below, we point out a few tips that can get your rig on the level.

Well, I finally did it. I saved up enough money to buy a brand new Ford F-150. Oh man, she’s a beauty. I got the SuperCrew cab, 5.4L Triton V8, Lariat edition—basically all the bells and whistles you’d want in a truck. She’s a comely bright red, so I call her the Red Rocker, my little Red Rocker. In case you aren’t getting the point—I love this truck.

A couple weeks ago while cruising the Red Rocker on some dirt trails; I found a wallet with a few grand inside. There was no ID or phone numbers inside, nothing but 23 crispy new Benjamins and a Starbucks gift card. The card actually had $5.29 on it, nearly enough to get me a half-caff caramel macchiato with extra whipped cream. Wahoo, what a score! I was hopped-up on caffeine, sugar and had 2300 smackers burning a hole in my pocket.

While still buzzing on the macchiato, I decided to pay a visit to my local truck performance shop. The money I found was just enough to get me a big-ass electric winch and one of those gnarly winch bumpers to mount it to. I’d had my eyes on this set up for months, but the Red Rocker’s monthly payment leaves me little walking money. As you probably guessed, I was totally ecstatic and out of my head with my new winch and bumper. I paid the installers, even dropped ‘em a hefty tip, and drove over to my home boy Jim’s house to show it off.

As soon as Jimmy saw my rig, he started laughing his head off. I mean this guy was doubled over and giggling like a girl. I asked what the hell he was laughing at, and between breaths he managed to utter stink bug. What the hell is he talking about? Jim finally gathered himself enough to explain: my truck’s profile looked like a stink bug. He was right; the weight of that huge bumper and winch combo had put the squat on my front end. The rear of the truck was sticking up in the air, just like a stink bug.

I immediately rushed back to the truck shop, but the counter guy just raised his hands and said that all sales are final. Scrambling for a solution, I asked him what I could do about the squat. The guy recommended a leveling kit. He explained a leveling kit is a system of simple spacers that raises the front of your rig a few inches to level the truck out. Aha, just what I need! Of course! But what is this gonna cost me?

The shop guy quoted me about 200 bucks, plus installation. After Jim and I hit the liquor store and the Jack-in-the-Box, I was down to 197 bones. I coerced a fin from Jim, bought the kit and decided to do the install myself. Jim helped out and we got the Red Rocker leveled out in no time. Now I drive around town with the Red Rocker’s nose up and my precious pride intact.

Depending on your budget and your needs, there are a few different leveling kits on the market. Some are adjustable and run on air; some are simple, cheap aluminum spacers. I opted for the Ready Lift leveling kit, a high-quality kit by one of the biggest names in the biz. - David S. Brooks

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