Exploring New Heights

With the resurgence of off-roading in the automotive industry, companies are expanding their offerings to accommodate the market and fulfill everyone’s needs. During last year’s SEMA Show, we got a taste of how large the community has become.

With the introduction of the first-ever “Overland Experience” dedicated solely to one demographic, we saw an assortment of off-road products being offered, from radio systems to locking differentials. But the most important component for any off-road enthusiast will always be the suspension.

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Eibach is a developer and manufacturer of high-performance suspension equipment that has been tested at the highest levels of motorsport. Eibach production technology is recognized worldwide as leading its field, from our high-strength spring-steel alloys, our advanced CNC winding process, our high-quality corrosion protection and the legendary longevity of our components.

When upgrading the vehicle, the first and most critical step is identifying the ideal suspension setup for your customer’s needs. Just like their vehicles, each customer is different and finding the correct suspension for their needs is crucial to an enjoyable off-road experience. Start by determining how the customer will be using the vehicle. Whether someone is occasionally navigating fire roads or blasting through the desert, chances are their factory suspension will not be adequate for the task ahead.

Exploring New Heights | THE SHOP

The occasional explorer who spends most of their time on the pavement will often be looking for a simple plug-and-play suspension system optimized for street and off-road use. This customer generally wants a solution to lift the vehicle while maintaining OE ride quality over groomed dirt roads and is not interested in sacrificing these characteristics for outright performance. For simple fire roads and occasional trail running, a suspension that increases travel and offers control over bumps and ruts are key ingredients to the total solution.

Key features to look for are increased travel shocks combined with a matched spring package. Where spacer-type lifts are often the first thought, the possibility of prematurely damaging ball-joints and CV’s with hyperextended geometry make a spring lift the optimal solution. Upgraded performance from a properly set up spring and shock combination improves control and ride quality, as well as vehicle capabilities, and will ultimately impress your customer, building trust as their valued advisor.

For those looking to spend more time on the trail crawling over rocks and exploring unknown terrain, having more flexibility, both literally and figuratively is the answer. Again, increasing the travel is a key feature to performance. Having a compliant suspension that allows the tire to stay in contact with the surface becomes paramount in creating traction on loose surfaces such as sand, mud and dirt. Combine this with a system that allows the customer to maintain clearance as they increase weight with armor, camping gear and the like, and the word “coilover” is often part of the conversation. A true coilover system, like Eibach’s PRO-TRUCK COILOVER 2.0, features the use of a threaded spring perch to achieve precise heights, accommodating for changes in vehicle loads.

Exploring New Heights | THE SHOP

In some cases, a customer who is already using a performance spring and shock system might be looking to upgrade to a true coilover system. Whether their vehicle has evolved into a full-fledged adventure-mobile, or they just want something that looks the part, a coilover system offers improvements by way of performance and dexterity. The addition of bumpers, winches, roof tents and passengers all add up very quickly and should be considered when determining the proper setup for your customer. For example, a roof tent with rear storage, along with a weekend worth of gear, can easily tip the scales at an extra 400 lbs., causing the rear of the vehicle to sag. That much weight will affect driving performance, trail clearance and whether you admit it or not, vehicle aesthetics. The coilover system uses a universal spring on a threaded perch, which allows quick changing of both spring rate and vehicle height. This translates to more control and ground clearance over obstacles.

Often, height adjustment systems are common on the front of the vehicle, but Eibach has introduced a new product, which allows vehicles with coil suspension in all four corners to accommodate additional weight in the rear of the vehicle. Using a combination of universal Eibach Race Springs and a height-adjustable threaded perch, users can fine-tune height and spring rate for the increased vehicle loads discussed earlier. Eibach’s LOAD-LEVELING-SYSTEM is the first of its kind and an easy upgrade for customer looking for a complete solution.

In a growing market flooded with options, it can be a daunting task to find the right solution for your customer. There are many manufacturers who feature only mild or only wild solutions, and depending on your customer’s budget, this can present some challenges. In most cases, they are looking for optimal ride quality, something that makes their vehicle look good and a name they can trust with a strong warranty. Companies like Eibach have been manufacturing suspension components for decades, making parts for OEMs and racers alike, and offer multiple options to address the needs of every driver.

Exploring New Heights | THE SHOP

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at ahecht@cahabamedia.com.

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