All this trick stuff really looks cool, but how does it all work? That's the important question each one of us thinks about when we're looking to install aftermarket parts on our trucks. The staffers at Sport Truck were able to spend some quality time with this rig and were allowed to put it through the paces to really see what's up.There are several basic tests that we perform on any vehicle, under evaluation, that give us data with which we can characterize how the improvements work in the real world. The first one is a dragstrip or quarter-mile test. Next up is a 60-0-mph braking test, followed by the 600-foot slalom. These tests give us a broad spectrum of vehicle performance data in which we can objectively evaluate any vehicle's behavior in an unbiased manner.
First up was the quarter-mile test. With the turbo upgrades, the motor of this rig puts out an impressive 385 hp and 690 lb-ft of torque. Stock, the ratings for the 6.0L Power Stroke come in at 325 hp and 560 lb-ft, showing that the minor hardware and software upgrades of the Banks system give quite a bit more power and torque. On the track, our test shows a 0-60 time of 7.52 seconds and an overall quarter-mile time of 16.0 sec at 89.1 mph. Launch was excellent, not showing any launch shudder or wheelhop, an indication that the suspension geometry was engineered properly. For comparison, a stock Harley edition of the F-250 with the same motor has a 0-60 mph at 8.47 seconds and a quarter-mile of 16.2 seconds at 84 mph. Also, Banks had an '04 F-250 2WD SuperCrew running 0-60 at 7.06 seconds and the quarter-mile of 14.88 sec at 95.32 mph. What this shows us is the power gains were offset by the increase in tire diameter, but still, that's not too shabby for a monster tired, lifted rig. If you increase the gear ratio in the axles from stock, you could get a better launch, improving performance.
The Kelderman truck exceeded our expectations when hefted through our 600-foot slalom test. We saw a best of 55 mph, which for a stock heavy truck is great, but on a lifted monster? It's great! The best truck we've tested is a modified Dakota running 64 mph. The truck showed a fair amount of body roll, but the Bilsteins, stabilizer bar, and stiff side-walled Nittos still gave a great performance. Every part of the suspension contributes to the handling characteristics of the truck, and this system is well executed.
When building up this truck, the Keldermans left the stock brakes in place, so our brake test results were rather predictable. In a 60-0-mph stop, the best the truck could muster was 214 feet. Just for reference, braking distance for an '05 Ford Mustang GT is 125 feet -- vastly shorter. After one hard stop on the truck, the brake fade was significant, leaving us with no pedal feel and ever-increasing stopping distances. So, be prepared to leave more room on the freeway than normal when driving this truck in heavy traffic. If there's one upgrade we'd recommend for your lifted truck, it's upgrading the braking system if possible. Your money will be well spent.
Why More Brakes?
It's a Matter of Physics. When you lift a truck in this manner, you're fighting three major changes in the braking dynamics: rolling inertia, tire diameter, and weight transfer. When using a much heavier, larger-diameter wheel and tire combo, there's a lot more rotating inertia compared with the stock wheels. As the larger tire is rotating, it takes more energy to stop the rotation compared with stock. Secondly, the increase in the tire diameter also changes how effective the braking force is. Braking force is F=T/R (T is braking torque; R is radius). Braking torque isn't changing if we don't change the brakes, so as you increase the tire radius, your braking force goes down. Last, lifting the suspension changes where the vehicles mass center is relative to the suspension. This effectively increases the weight that is transferred to the front wheels, making the brakes work even harder. So, when lifting a truck, there's more to consider than just how cool it looks afterwards.