Tracker Nine Inch Suspension In The Middle With Jim Mazzola
In the Middle:
For the driveshafts, I utilized a spacer in the rear only to obtain the correct length. A word of caution here is in order, rotational torque in a properly bolted joint transmits its torque through the clamp force exerted on the joint and not the bolts themselves. When spacers are used you must use a quality bolt and torque it to proper specs. Not doing so will invariably lead to joint failure. The last thing I want is a flailing driveshaft right under my derrire. The rear spacer is a whopping 2.5 in thick. The spacers are aluminum 356 T-6. To minimize the u-joint angularity I dropped the transmission with a new crossmember. This makes the front worse but some relocating of the front minimized this somewhat.
On the ground:
Tire and rim selection amounted to 31 x 10.50 SSR's. Rims are 7 inches wide beadlocks from Willamette Wheel with 2.5 inches backspacing. This combination results in very minimal scrub radius change from factory. Tire sizes in the 33 range are possible but I decided to not to give away to much streetability.
Summing it all up:
There are over 250 separate steel pieces and purchased components not including fasteners or bushings that form 27 structures that make up the 9 inch lift. I've been asked about a 6 inch variant of this lift. It would reduce the number by only 12 pieces and three structures. This, in contrast to Pro-Comps kit that contained 61 pieces including new springs, which form 9 sub structures. This substantially supports my earlier statement that a lift this extreme is very complex and costly, which certainly accounts for why there aren't any out there.
Some of the improvements in the basic numbers including tire changes are as follows:
Before After Tire Size 205/75 (27 in) 31 in Approach angle 40 55 Departure Angle 40 55 Frame height 7.5 inches 19 inches Weight 2750 act. 2850 est. Turning Dia 32.2 32.2
While 9 inches may sound like an excessive amount of lift to some and only the beginning for others, overall vehicle stability still remains predictable and comfortable even as an everyday driver. I have over 150,00 miles on it to date. I also need to point out that this lift was never designed to be a mega articulation system. I know there may be the nay sayers out there that will tell you that an I.F.S. isn't as good as a straight axle and you lose off road capability. That may have some validity due to the nature of the A-arms being located down in the soup, but those of us who prefer to drive the newer breed of mini-ute's deserve the same opportunities as our live axle brothers. On trail rides with fellow club members I have been staying nose to tail with them in their CJ's, Wranglers, and TJ's with 33's and 35's. The Tracker, Sidekick and their off shore relatives may never make it to the Tough Truck Challenge but suspension improvements like this will allow it keep company with its other Suzuki counterparts.