Take It Higher: Installing MaxTrac’s Forged Aluminum Lift Kit

Lifting a truck – we know what to expect, right? Lift blocks, new shocks, gloss or flat black, wheels, tires, the works. If you’ve seen a kit from one company, chances are you’ve seen them from 50 others. But what MaxTrac is doing to the lift kit is sure to turn the scene on its head.

Having seen the kit at trade shows, we know that MaxTrac’s forged aluminum radius arm lift kit represents a sleek twist on the familiar lift kit game. Making the undercarriage stand out without having to resort to powder coating, the polished appearance cleverly brings the eyes down, where MaxTrac’s kit does the work – its coil springs raise the front end, while hefty lift blocks bolster the rear, and longer Fox Performance Series shocks keep the ride comfort (and off-roading ability) intact.

A bone-stock F-250 is pretty cool, but it’s nothing compared to when it’s lifted and looking fresh.

We got the chance to see one of these kits go onto a 2018 F-250 crew cab over at MaxTrac’s headquarters in Anaheim, California. We also made sure the crew got the right wheels to go with the build – a set of Mayhem Warrior 20-inch units, ready for battle. MaxTrac supplied its own set of tires, those being Falken Wildpeak A/T3Ws. With all of the pieces ready, we made our way up and got to work.

A Closer Look

It’s clear from just looking at the kit that MaxTrac wanted to make something that stood out. We spoke with MaxTrac’s Adam Montiel to find out a bit more, however. “We wanted to create a unique yet practical kit,” he said.

Forged aluminum is the eye-catching material used to create the radius arms, and possesses the necessary strength to deal with the ups and downs of driving a diesel truck. “Forged aluminum is ideal for performance and safety,” said Adam. “It’s also very light compared to factory or steel replacement arms.”

The forged aluminum arms on the MaxTrac kit not only look great, but they also have adjustability for caster, which the installer can modify without having to disassemble everything off of the truck.

Beyond simply giving customers a kit that looked one-off and stayed tough, MaxTrac wanted to make a kit that offered practical solutions to common problems with lift kits. “We did something different when it came to the radius arms,” said Adam. “We designed ours so that they can be adjusted while on the vehicle. You’ll find on other kits that to make adjustments after the installation, it becomes a hassle, since you have to take multiple measurements and uninstall and reinstall the kit. On ours, we use rebuildable rod ends that are threaded into a chromoly sleeve and have an adjustment collar. So you can make adjustments to caster whenever you have to.”

The kit is available for American diesel makes including Ford and Ram. The kits come in multiple versions, being packaged in lift kits from four to eight inches in height, but they can also be installed into non-lifted applications.

To round out our lift kit install, we went with 20-inch Mayhem wheels and Falken 37-inch A/T3W all-terrains.

Installation

MaxTrac took care of sourcing the truck, tires, and lift kit to help the build succeed; we helped with arranging wheels. With that out of the way and with everything laid out on the shop floor, we were ready to begin.

We began by getting the truck up on a lift. We went after the front wheels, brake lines, shocks, springs, sway bar, and Panhard bar. Before long, we had our hands on the stock radius arms. They were removed without much hassle.

Disassembling the truck to prepare for the new kit.

Something we had to take care of at this point was measuring the length of the radius arms. This was necessary because it would dictate the length of the MaxTrac aluminum arms. For this particular F-250, we got an eye-to-eye measurement of 32 inches. Using the unique, adjustable rod end on the aluminum arm, we set the correct length and installed it onto the truck.

The design of the MaxTrac arms calls for one quite different from OEM. Ford’s design is a one-piece steel unit, and bolts up in a simple arrangement – one bolt goes in the rear, the forking front is held in with two bolts. MaxTrac’s replacement comes across much sturdier, using multiple bolts in the rear and making use of a mounting point a short distance away to increase the strength.

Top: By applying the measurement of the stock radius arm to the MaxTrac radius arm, we adjusted the new arms' lengths to 32 inches. Bottom: Seeing the difference in the stock versus MaxTrac radius arms was a revelation!

Now that the stars of the show were installed, we moved on to the supporting cast – drop brackets. We began by popping out the drag link from the pitman arm. We then spent about 30-45 minutes attacking the pitman arm with everything we had; it finally gave up and clanged to the ground.

In went the drop brackets for the Panhard rod and sway bar, as well as the bump stops. We drooped the axle as much as we could to stuff the new springs into their perches (as well as the new Fox shocks), and after we tightened everything up, we were done with the hard part of the job. Out back, all we had to do was remove the old shocks and install the new ones, as well as undo the stock blocks and U-bolts and replace them with the new, taller MaxTrac units.

In the rear, a simple swap of shocks and lift blocks wrapped up the install.

The wheels and tires were sent to a local shop to get mounted and balanced, and they looked awesome once they were on the Super Duty. Going for the 37s was definitely a good choice, and made the truck stand out all the more combined with the new lift kit.

Nearing the finish line… and it looks so good.

Taking It Out For A Spin

Wrapped up and rolling out is how we all want to be, and we were finally at that point. We set off from MaxTrac HQ and stopped at a local spot to get some pictures of the Super Duty sitting still. Comparing it against the old truck we saw just a few hours earlier, they might as well have been from two different continents.

You can see for yourself just what a difference the lift kit, wheels, and tires made. Gone was the safe, hokey pickup everyone knew from visiting a Ford dealership. In its place was a meaner, taller truck – a truck in every sense of the word.

It's like visiting the eye doctor – "Better 1, or 2?" The answer in this case is "2"!!

But looks can only go so far; when it comes to lifting a truck, ride comfort is an issue that comes to mind. Thankfully, the Super Duty suffered no sacrifices to its ride comfort despite going up six inches in height. Our careful measurements during the install also mitigated issues of alignment later on, and we experienced a calm, death-wobble-free drive from the shop to Wrightwood, a nearby town that had just gotten its first good blanket of snow in winter.

The drive up was pleasant, and got exciting once we started seeing the white powder everywhere. We had plans on taking a highway journey through snowy landscapes on the CA-2, but it was locked shut when we got there, so we had to settle for simply driving around Mount San Antonio instead. Families were out with kids and dogs playing around, building snowmen and sledding down hillsides; it was a reminder of the glory days of youth.

Equipped with Falken tires and Mayhem wheels, we made quick work of whatever snow we came across.

We made our way through Wrightwood checking out the sights, and the whole time, the truck was running fine. It was great to see more than we would have at stock ride height, and there was a lot to take in, from clouds floating lazily overhead to snow-covered pine trees shedding icicles as the sun’s meager heat shone down.

It was a fun time exploring the frozen town of Wrightwood and being able to play in the snow for a bit; definitely not something we’re used to here in Southern California! We encourage you to check out more from MaxTrac on its website and Facebook page. And don’t forget to visit Mayhem Wheels’ website and Falken’s website.

Article Sources

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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