Want To Take Your 2WD Truck Off-Roading? Here's What You Need

Automotive Articles

If you drive a 2WD truck and would like the opportunity to occasionally go off-roading -- but don't want to purchase an entirely new vehicle -- you're now in luck. There are several accessories you can purchase (and modifications you can make) to help your truck manage all types of terrain. These modifications will still allow your truck to handle well on highways and back roads and remain street-legal. Read on to learn about the various ways you can modify your 2WD truck to allow it to perform at 4WD levels.

Install a lift kit

Even the largest 2WD trucks will require the installation of a lift kit in order to be successful when traveling off the main roads. In fact, a larger truck may need a lift kit even more urgently, as its weight can make it more unwieldy when traversing large rocks or climbing steep hills. You should be able to purchase a lift kit designed for your specific truck through your dealership or online.

There are two primary types of lifting kit available -- body lifts and suspension lifts. A body lift raises the body of your truck so that the doors and other exterior truck parts sit a few inches higher.  A suspension lift raises the frame and axles to allow more ground clearance below your truck.

Although you can have both types of lift kit installed on your truck simultaneously, if your primary goal is successful off-roading, the suspension lift is the better choice. This lift allows your frame to clear high hurdles and can help you easily slide beneath the truck to remove obstacles or debris. The body lift is generally geared more toward aesthetics or achieving a substantial height increase by combining both types of lift kits.

Purchase larger tires

Once you've had your truck lifted, it may look a bit comical with its original tires. Installing larger wheels and tires will not only help your truck look better, it will increase your control over its speed and stability in all types of terrain.

If you're debating how large you should go, the most basic guideline is that you can add the same number of inches to your tire as you've added to the body or frame of your truck. For example, if you install a 2" body lift and a 4" suspension lift, you can upgrade from 28" tires to 34" tires without a problem.

Also keep in mind that bigger isn't always better. Installing tires that are too large can cause you some problems -- they may rub the edges of your fenders, reducing the life of your tire and limiting your ability to make tight turns. If you're in doubt of how much to upgrade, or if your new tires are going to be substantially wider than your old ones, you may want to err on the more conservative side.

Install a locker 

A locking rear differential, or locker, will allow your 2WD truck to climb slanted terrain, like large rocks or slippery hills. You may have noticed that your 2WD truck has trouble navigating its way out of situations in which one wheel is stuck or has no traction and the other has some traction. This is because the same force is applied to both wheels on an axle, but these wheels aren't required to turn at the same speed. The wheel that has no traction may be nearly stationary, while the other wheel is doing all the work.

The locking rear differential requires both tires to turn at the same speed, regardless of what terrain either wheel is facing at the moment. This can be an advantage when one tire is stuck or not quite touching the ground, allowing it to force itself out of the obstacle or immediately grip the ground once a small piece touches down.


24 March 2015