Help handling your truck on
It's time again for a truck accessories
article. We all want a truck to go
300,000 miles and we think we'll live forever. When I sold trucks, I was
surprised at how many folks had accidents in their trucks and unhurt, they
came back to me to buy another truck! Trucks are safer than cars, don't let
anybody fool you. I'm looking for ways and products to keep trucks and
trailers safer. Growing up in the
country and driving on gravel roads most of my life, gave me a unique way of
evaluating how trucks and the accessories perform on dirt roads as well as
the asphalt. These two products will make a big difference in the way
your truck handles.
Centramatic Wheel Balancers
While we were testing the
Correctrack spacers, we added Centramatic wheel balancers on the front
tires. The test truck again was a 1997 Ford F250 crew cab diesel. With
diesels being so popular in the 3/4 ton trucks and larger, the extra weight
from a diesel engine keeps your front tires working. The tires had 10,424
miles on them. And as most of these 10 ply E rated 16 inch tires do after a
few miles, you can feel the vibration in the steering wheel and notice the
extra effort it takes to steer through the gravel ribbons in the road. And
that's how this truck felt with 10,000 miles on the tires. We added the
Centramatic balancers and you guessed it, the vibrations gone and it steered
better. That vibration at the steering wheel does get irritating doesn't it?
Beside reducing your tire heat by 8 to10% and increasing
tire life by 25 to 50%, according to Centramatic, the design also helps reduce brake heat and brake
dust that transfers to the tires and wheels. These "On Board" balancers will
keep your tires balanced automatically as your drive on your truck and
It's hard to keep a tire
balanced on the rough roads that a lot of trucks live on. So just after a
few months of driving, your tires don't fill new anymore. And then there is
the cupping that the front tires like to do.
Pot holes, gravel ruts and washboards
constantly beat on your tires. The heavy duty tires on your trucks and
trailers have a deep thick sidewall that takes the first impact from the
road surface. These thick tires are dramatically harder to keep balanced
than a car tire considering the weight they carry and abuse dished out. I
know several folks who just gave up trying to keep the trailer tires
balanced. Why not have your tires automatically balance as your drive.
I'm going to test these balancers on high
mileage horse trailers that travel across the country daily, for a long term
THE FULL LIFE OUT OF YOUR TIRES
Balancers are a unique line of "On Board" Balancing Systems for tires
and wheels that maximize tire life and smooth your ride. Mounted behind the
wheel they offer permanent solutions for balancing assemblies.
Centramatic Balancers operate automatically and can adjust instantly for
changing conditions. Even with mud or ice packed on your wheels, you will
have a vibration free ride.
available for Trucks, Tractor/Semi Trailers, Coaches, Buses, Delivery
Vehicles, Motor homes, Trailers, Large Pickups, Jeeps and Police Cars. They
even custom build for application-specific centrifuges.
They are easy to install. Add them
to your truck and trailer and have that "just new" ride again!
How long do you think those
lead weights will keep that heavy 10 ply tire bouncing down those ruts and
pot holes in balance? Come on guess!
Centramatic has been in business in Ft. Worth Texas since 1985 and holds
over 10 patents in "ON-BOARD" balancers. They come with a 5-year
unlimited mile warranty, and they offer a no-risk money back guarantee.
These balancer discs will also protect your
tires from brake dust and brake heat. Whether you are driving highways or those
rough gravel roads. You will be able to tell the difference in handling and
Next, CT Spacers
alignment system can save lives and dramatically improve how your truck, van
or SUV handles on gravel roads and pavement.
After I spent a couple of
weeks driving GM Quadrasteers and enjoying the stability with a trailer and
on snowy icy roads, I dawned on me that part of the equation was the wider
rear track of the Quadrasteer. A normal GM HD 2500 4x4 has the same rear
axle as a 4x2 for obvious economic reasons. So the 4x4 rear axle is 2 inches
narrower than the front. But the Quadrasteer rear axle is over 3 inches
wider than the front axle. This reminded me of reading about Correctrack
rear-wheel alignment system. Now I'm testing the spacers. There are several
makes of trucks and vans that have this front to rear tracking deficit.
Pot holes, gravel ruts
and washboards will test the handling characteristics of a truck.
Test driving the GM Quadrasteer opened my eyes to what a difference
a wider rear axle could do. The majority of HD GM's have a narrow
rear axle. Ford HD trucks were narrower through 97 and Dodge trucks
older yet. The majority of Ford, Dodge and older GM vans have
narrower rear axles. I doubt if this inconsistent axle alignment is
by a master engineering design but more of a money saving measure to
use the same rear axle on 4x2's and 4x4's. This is something you
really have to experience to appreciate the difference.
I went out to ranch
that a friend owns, (yes I still have a friend or two) and tested
out the Correctrack rear-wheel alignment system in the rugged wild
west. The test truck was a 1997 Ford 4x4 F250 crew cab diesel. The
rear axle on this Heavy Duty Ford F250 was almost 3 inches narrower
than the front axle. That surprised me!
I've driven a few million
miles on gravel roads, and I consider them the most dangerous type of
surface. Dirt roads constantly change, with rain, snow, ruts, washboards,
and gravel ribbons, it all can be different any day. The soft shoulder is
always a danger trying to suck you down the ditch. The better handling your
truck is, the more control you have for those ever changing conditions. You
can feel the extra pull the ruts and gravel windrows put to your trucks
steering and the bounce the washboards cause the rear axle of an empty
It was very simple and easy adding the
Correctrack spacers. Once the spacers and wheels were torqued down, we were
ready for the test. I watched the rear wheel tracking in the yard on the way
to the road and looked like a match. Going down the same dirt roads, that I
took before we added Correctrack, you could immediately tell the difference!
The ruts didn't pull you and the washboard didn't make the back axle jump
from side to side.
Turning corners was even different with less
rear sliding. The truck was just easier to drive with less movement from the
steering wheel, do to road feedback. And with a trailer on the truck you
could feel the better control with less over steer to drive straight. I
wouldn't of thought that I would see such a dramatic change in the effort it
takes to handle the truck with the spacers added. Don't forget the
pavement, you still have washboards, semi truck ruts, pot-holes and the cargo
that falls out of the back of someone else's truck you're following.
Evasive maneuvers can happen at anytime and you want a rear axle wide enough
to help you control the fishtailing and leaning on turns. There is a reason
sports cars, such as a Chevy Corvette, and stock cars have wider rear tires.
It's all about control.
Basically a rear axle that is narrower than
the front axle doesn't even sound logical. Do you suppose it's a cheaper way
to build trucks? Would you special order a truck that way on purpose?
The older Heavy Duty Fords, 97 4x4 and back can have this problem, older
Dodge trucks heavy duty 4x4 and most of the GM 4x4 Light Duty 2500 and Heavy
Duty 2500 still today have a narrower rear axle tracking. Also GM 2500 4x4 Suburbans and Yukon XL's can have a narrower rear axle. GM did solve it with
the newer full size vans. New Ford and Dodge vans today still have a narrower rear axle on
the heavy duty vans your church and school use. It's easy to figure out,
just go measure your truck and van to see if the rear is narrower.
The question you might have with such a well
built heavy duty alignment spacer, is will this cause strain to the rear axle
bearings. The Correctrack spacer kit has completed a Daimler Chrysler
K-1 durability test and warrants the rear axle bearings to 100,000 original
miles. Know of any truck manufacture that does that? Call Correctrack Inc. for
Measure your truck or van axles to see if it's
tracking or constantly making new tracks. Do you suppose following the same
track will help fuel mileage? If you want an edge on safety for
your truck and trailer handling, this is something to try. You can even
send them back if you don't like them. No risk, I like it! Correctrack
Rear-Wheel Alignment System.
We're adding the Correctrack to a new GMC
HD 2500 next, stay tuned.
By adding these two easy to ad products to
your truck, Correctrack Rear-Wheel Alignment System and Centramatic Wheel
Balancers, handling and safety will be noticeably improved. We all need an
edge dealing with road surfaces we can't control.
Stop by my website and
www.mrtruck.net. Kent Sundling (MrTruck) © Copyright 2002 H. Kent Sundling and
MrTruck.net. All rights reserved including digital rights.