Mickey Thompson dropped off their JK to the R&D facility to get a 4.5″ long arm kit installed. The BDS long arm kit gives the Jeep superior road manners and truly makes it a daily driver. The included sway bar disconnects really let the JK flex when off-road. This JK will be touring the west coast this summer and hitting up lots of shows and off road events. Here are some pictures in case you don’t get out to see it in person.
BDS 4.5″ Long Arm Kit
Dick Cepek 35×12.50×17″ Mud Country Tires
17×9″ Mickey Thompson Side Biter Wheels
Warn 9.0 Rc Series Winch
Fab Fours Bumpers
Tom Woods Driveshafts are on their way
…and a whole lot more
The prototype kit is on and the fun begins. This is when we put a truck through its paces to make sure that everything performs. BDS has acres of land behind the R&D facility that twist, flex, and abuse our systems. After the offroad abuse the truck is tested with lots of highway miles. The truck will visit authorized BDS retailers to gain additional test mileage. One of the best places to really push the truck and kit to the limit are the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Mears, MI. Low air pressure and the soft sand create a lot of drag which stresses the drivetrain and brings out any possible problem areas. The BDS TJ will be trailered to offroad events behind the new truck. Anything someone that purchases a BDS kit might do, we do first.
After about 6 weeks, painted production sample crossmembers, differential drops, and skid plates arrive. The truck is put back on the hoist and torn apart. The sample parts are test fit with lots of pictures being snapped along the way. Finally the new hardware is noted and sample bolt packs are created. Everything goes together well and it is time for another alignment. The painted brackets are a big improvement over the raw steel. The truck looks clean and ready to be shown off. The old raw steel brackets are thoroughly inspected for any possible signs of wear. Aside from the occasional rock rash everything looks good.
Throughout the next couple of months, more driving is scheduled; long trips to the east coast really break the new truck in. The R&D department has already moved into the next stages of a different project when all of the final parts begin to arrive from the painter. We search and find another truck to install this kit on, in addition to our own truck. Final fitment of the parts, instruction sheets, and bolt packs are all verified. Everything fits and looks good so it is time to move the project to the graphics department for the final touches. Press releases and product flyers are produced to promote the new product. As soon as the press releases are made public to our retailers, the kit is available for purchase.
Steering knuckles have arrived and so does a new truck. Phase one of the installation consists of taking lots of measurements (ride height, strut height, coil length, anything and everything we may ever need and then some more) as well as several thorough test drives. After the measuring is done, the tear down begins. All items that will be relocated are removed from the vehicle and a clean undercarriage is ready for modification.
At this point we take a step back and decide on a general plan that will meet our main objectives. First, we want this kit to install easily. The R&D department is constantly installing kits to make sure everything fits on new and old models. We do not use hammers to install our kits; it needs to fit and fit well. Next, it needs to look good on the truck. The recently released High Clearance designs give trucks and SUVs a tough clean look. Along with an aesthetically appealing design the kit has to function on and off road. We match the factory geometry to keep the on road performance. Off road performance is improved by strengthening and protecting the undercarriage and increasing ground clearance. The final key feature is the strength of our parts. We offer the best warranty in the business and stand behind our products for a reason, and if you somehow manage to break a BDS part… you deserve a new part.
We have a plan of attack set, and start by creating models in Solid Works (Our 3D CAD software) and virtually installing them on the frame. Measurements are double checked with the truck on the hoist and tolerance ranges are set. We are feeling lucky and cut out our first set of brackets on a CNC (computer numerical controlled) plasma table. Plates are formed in the press and welded up. The raw brackets are installed and revisions are created. If everything looks good, the brackets are clear coated and reinstalled. Once again the rest of the factory parts are installed on the truck with the exception of the coils on the strut (or torsion bar adjusters).
The first testing the kit undergoes is a complete range of motion test, this ensures that brake lines are long enough and there is adequate clearance between moving parts. Wheels and tires are installed with clearances once again noted. This is why the backspacing that we list is critical. An aftermarket wheel that is the recommended size will give the best possible clearance and allow for the largest tire size. The coils (or torsion bars) are reinstalled and the truck is off for its maiden voyage to the next hoist for an alignment. Alignment specifications are printed and filed along with any noted areas of interest for the next test installation.
Finally, it is time for a real test drive and a lot of miles to be driven…
Here at BDS we have a dedicated R&D team that is continuously creating, installing, testing, and improving our products. How do we even begin to make these lift kits, where do we even start? The answer depends on what type of suspension system we are working on. In this article, we will focus on the most difficult and time consuming suspension lift kit to design: A replacement knuckle IFS lift.
A replacement knuckle is difficult and expensive to design. This is the most challenging part we make and will dictate every other feature of the lift kit. All of the steering and suspension angles need to match in order to keep the factory ride and stability control features. The casting needs to fit within a certain sized mold, has to have good material flow characteristics, and have enough material to machine off, but not too much material that creates a lot of waste. After a week of crunching the numbers and a couple calls to the foundry and machine shop we end up with the cast and machined models.
About 2 months have passed and a bunch of samples arrive. They are now off to get x-rayed for any possible defects. After x-ray the parts go to the painter for powdercoating and to the machine shop after that. 4-axis CNC machines cut all of the features and a CMM (computer measurement machine) checks all of the features to make sure they are in specification. The tolerances on certain features are extremely tight, about the thickness of a sheet of paper. Finally, two sets of machined knuckles arrive to the R and D department and now we can really get started…
Winter is in full effect here in Michigan. The snow is piling up and we couldn’t resist taking the tried and true 91 Chevy out to have some fun. This 6″ lifted truck has been with us since 2005. With 200,000 miles on the odometer it is just broken in and ready for another 200k. We have many more lifted company vehicles here at BDS, they each have their own youtube videos. This truck was the only one not getting a chance to shine – so here it is:
The 2002-2005 Dodge 6 inch kit has been completely reengineered to wear the High Clearance badge for its improved ground clearance and suspension geometry. Traditional lift kits have dropped the torsion bar cross member to make the lift design easy, we put in the extra hours (more like weeks and months) to make our kit truly unique. While this kit performs better on and off road, it also installs much easier. There is no longer a need to drill any holes in the frame rails for the torsion bar drop brackets or compression strut mounting brackets.
We took this 2004 truck with the BDS High Clearance 6 inch lift through our test course to demonstrate the amount of clearance. A stock truck would have been high-centered on some of the smaller obstacles. A classic torsion bar cross member drop kit would have the torsion bars dragging in the dirt. The BDS HC kit gives the most clearance and allows the truck to get up and over stuff most IFS trucks could never think about clearing.
The final product is one that looks the best, performs the best, and carries the best warranty. Check it out in action. 2002-2005 Dodge HC Video <— youtube link