Safety Improves for Truck Modifications

09 F-150 SuperLift II

Several years ago, published an article about electronic stability control systems and the problems that aftermarket suspension, wheel and tire combinations can create.

As of the 2012 model year, all new vehicles sold in the U.S. had to have some form of ESC, which meant a pickup's computer sensor might not work as the manufacturer intended once aftermarket products were installed. Manufacturers spend a lot of money testing their trucks in order to meet federal safety requirements, so they have been quick to deny liability when certain aftermarket parts — like suspension lifts or bigger wheels and tires — are installed. Drastically changing the center of gravity has been a problem for truck customers who want to purchase the safest products possible and for suspension companies that want to make safe products.

In the past, truck makers have been protective of their software data because of the liability issues involved. Now, however, more aftermarket companies like Superlift Suspensions and Pro Comp USA are working around that obstacle. In fact, Superlift's latest 6-inch suspension lift for 2009-2013 Ford F-150s is certified to pass the government's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 126 requirement (a 169-page document you can find on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website), which validates ESC functionality. It's the same standard that factory-made trucks must meet. This means that on modified pickups, the ESC system will work similarly to the way it did when the truck was stock and brand new.

09Ford_F150_Test 5 II

But what does that mean for us? The simplest explanation is that for those who want a taller pickup with bigger wheels and tires will no longer be risking as many unknown variables (with a modified vehicle and higher center of gravity) as they were before.

Of note, Superlift just announced the first FMVSS 126-compliant 6-inch lift kit for the popular 4x4 Ford F-150 (2009-2013). The kit was certified with a maximum tire size of 35 x 12.50 inches, and we're told the entire suspension kit takes about eight hours for a qualified shop to install.

These types of lift-kit modifications are clearly not for everyone, but in certain parts of the country they can help vehicles and their occupants get to places that would be otherwise unreachable. We expect to see more aftermarket products like this — products that keep as much of the original safety engineering in these pickups as possible. And that's a good thing for all drivers.

09Ford_F150 Superlift II

For more information on the Superlift's computer testing, click here.

For more information on Superlift's 2009-2013 6-inch lift kit, click here.


09Ford_F150_Test 3 II



Very Interesting

Still will have to access the computer to adjust tpms, speed calibration issues.

Lift kits are hard on the drivetrain and the larger tires are hard on rearends.

Yea, and most people who lift thier trucks never go off the pavement, so you modify your truck to perform worse where its spends all its time. I don't really get it myself.

I really like this. Last I heard Ram had encrypted their computers so they couldn't be chipped, is this going to be a Ford/Chevy only phenomenon?

@ Ron
You mean most people who do drop bracket lifts never go off-road. Those of us who do coilovers should not be grouped in with these people.
Drop bracket lifts (aka any of the big name lifts such as pro comp) results in lower ground clearance and higher center of gravity. These are the people that throw 37's on a 6"+ lift and just pavement pound.

Those that get coilovers and new leafs in the rear for a moderate lift (~3") and mount 35s, actually have equal or more ground clearance than the people who do drop brackets (due to dropping the front differential down ~6"). And they are not as top heavy as these drop bracket trucks. Good example of this is a 6” lifted F-150 vs. the F-150 Raptor.
And generally you are not cutting up your truck to run these coilovers, I know for the Tundra’s you have to cut your front cross member with any big name lift except for the Rough Country lifts.

The popular f150 next time tack a real pickup ....

@John - I never could understand the rationale of the "drop bracket" lift. One spends a small fortune just for relocated pivot points. Wheel travel stays the same. Longer travel is one of the most important factors for improving offroad performance.
A body lift is cheaper and gives you the same results...... No change in travel but room for bigger tires.
As others have pointed out, modify a truck for poor performance in its primary environment = pavement.

@ Lou I never understood it either, you can get front coilovers and rear leaf packs for nearly the same price as the name brand drop brackets. And some aftermarket leafs (such as Dakar OME leafs) can actually help with towing, with different spring rates resulting in less sag. Ten times better than a block…

And if I were using a full-size pickup truck for any offroading anyway (and not paying $40K+ for a Raptor with an unusable bed), I'd find a beat-up pre-'97 Ford to do the job (not necessarily a Ford, though: an old solid-front-axle Chevy or Dodge Power Ram would work just as well). Even in 4x2, those old-body trucks can take a beating that I would be a little scared to put new ones through.

@miath, hey you can spell and make sense when you want to now can't you!! They did use a real truck, the only truck there is, an F150!!!!!!!!!!

Just because you have a lift doesn't mean you have to take it off-road and unless you are following most people around how would you know what most people are doing? Show some tolerence or do you only tolerate what you like?

That was for Ron.

George: I agree with Ron. Most of the lifted trucks on my area (Southeast Texas) are occupied by the crew of young rednecks that don their tapout apparrel and have a freshly printed green monster drink "M" on their back window.

To top off the trifecta, you will commonly see this species of inbreds cutting a hole int he bed of a prefectly good 1 ton truck bed, to run a massive ship exhaust sized stack out so they can belch black smoke all over others on the road.

The big lifts like the one shown here are for glamour puproses, a rolling fashion statement for the owners to move about down the road feeling tuff and looking down their noses at others in lower vehicles.

Sadly, most of these pickups couldn't follow my stock wrangler in anything but a McDonalds drive thru, where most of their drivers hang out by the obvious size of their monstorous gut hanging below thier nascar shirt.

It doesn't matter. It's their choice. Some people do lifts for the style statement. Some people think Jeeps are crap, but I don't go around telling people that.

If you want to talk about pavement time, Jeep is routinely on the most dangerous and worst vehicle lists, why would you buy a vehicle that is the most dangerous?

I thought George the troll only surfaced when Oxi was making posts.

It seems we have more restrictions on lifting vehicles in Australia. We can only lift 4".

Some of the young do it for off roading, they think it gives better clearance, which it does.

But it limits the wheel articulation cycle. This hampers them in some off road situations.

Lifting has to be well thought out if you go off roading.

Also, when in the US I only saw lifted trucks that were show ponies and more than half of them were 2WD, you don't see that here only 4x4s are lifted.

I struck a nerve didn't I George.....and you are right about Jeeps as well. Jeeps are typically bottom of the barrel reliability and safety...and? It's true! Im not mad.

You mad bro?


"Sadly, most of these pickups couldn't follow my stock wrangler in anything but a McDonalds drive thru, where most of their drivers hang out by the obvious size of their monstorous gut hanging below thier nascar shirt."

LOL!!! That is soooo TRUE... my stock 2013 Wrangler Unlimited 4x4 with the Pentastar V6 would go way more places then those trucks...

However, just like when you "older" generations were kids back in the 50's 60's early 70's you had your muscle cars and hot rods with big bor V8's and real loud exhaust and racing slicks... big lifted trucks today are just yesterdays muscle cars. Just kids being kids, having fun...

Jeremiah: Thanks for the reply, and as a side note...I was born in 1983, so that would make me currently 30 years old.

I am telling the truth, nothing against these folks personally. Here in SE Texas, most (not all) of guys that put big lifts and smoke barrels on their trucks are generally douchebags, and the bigger the truck..the tougher they feel. They are usually pot bellieed as well. The women that do the same thing, are usually your big feminist types that are either ugly, fat, got a chip on their shoulder....or a combination of the three. Just my honest observations....


Also, they trucks are usually sparkling clean! F150's are usually the most common with the traits I listed above....tehy have a following like the HD motorcyces around here for some reason.....nothing was invented to these people till the F150 with a large lift and big 'ol tires to ride around on the highway.

And the way i see it, these people that do this to their trucks are an extension of the ricer crew...just doing whats "in" now..and trucks for the most part today are a fashion statement.

Nice to see that the ESC and lifts are no longer working against each other. At first I was against it, but ESC has worked in my parents favor now once where it mattered, so I say keep it on there.

Nice post sharing information related to Truck Modifications

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