Wouldn’t you like a suspension setting that is easy to adjust and produces noticeable results? As you’ve probable guessed since it’s in the title of this tech article, I’m talking ride height. Ride height is an often overlooked tuning element, but it should be used more often and before tearing into most of the other tuning adjustments on your race truck.
When making ride height adjustments, always make sure your truck is fully outfitted for racing with the battery, body, etc installed. To see your ride height, drop the truck from about 10 inches onto a perfectly flat surface. Most race trucks–short course, stadium trucks or truggies–should be setup initially with the chassis level front to back. If the manual for your truck doesn’t give specific instructions for a ride height starting point, see below:
Stadium trucks: Front arms level and rear dog bones slightly below level
2WD Short course: Front arms level and rear dog bones slightly below level
4WD Short Course: Front and rear arms level
Truggy: Front and rear dog bones level
Adjusting Ride Height
Ride height is changed when you change shock mounting positions and it can change when you switch tires, but it is adjusted for tuning via shock pre-load. If you are using threaded body shocks, make sure you use calipers to make sure the pre-load is the same on either side. If you use pre-load clips, make sure they are fully seated around the shock body. A truck should be setup as low as reasonably possible so that it has a low center of gravity and resulting stable ride, but not so low that it doesn’t unnecessarily drag around the track.
Using Ride Height
Ride height adjustments can be used to improve or reduce traction at either end of the race truck. After you have your baseline ride height set, you can raise either end slightly to increase traction. This might seem counterintuitive, but the higher the truck is, the more weight gets transferred from side to side and this increases traction. You don’t want to over increase ride height and there is, of course, a point of diminishing return, but tuning with ride height is quick, easy and clean way to improve the handling of your truck.