What Is A Slalom?
Take 600 feet of length of straight track and divide it into 100-foot sections and place a marker or cone at each segment. As you drive down the course, you steer around each cone alternately on the left and right of the vehicle. The slalom test is a very good measure of a vehicle's dynamic handling characteristics. Basically, how the car or truck behaves on curvy roads or during emergency maneuvers.
Why Does It Handle So Well?
A suspension system is composed of many different components: shocks, springs, antiroll bars, control arms, and tires, for example. Each one of these have different responsibilities but together yield a particular handling characteristic, or feel. When lifting a truck, you are significantly changing its behavior on the road. So, why did this truck do very well when others don't? There are three major items that really help out.
First, the Nitto Mud Grappler tires used have a pretty stiff sidewall. What happens is as the vehicle leans over in a corner, the tire responds by compressing. If the tire doesn't compress as easily, the truck reacts more quickly to the steering input, allowing the vehicle to change direction quicker. Keep in mind that too stiff a sidewall can be too high to absorb bumps, making the truck feel skittish, so being super-stiff is not always better.
Next, the Kelderman suspension adds a stiffer rear antiroll, or antisway, bar. This adds roll stiffness to the rear of the truck, reducing the amount of understeer. Understeer occurs during a cornering maneuver. Imagine having the front tires lose grip and to correct, you have to turn the steering wheel more to keep in on your line. This is because the front tires are trying to do too much of the work and are getting overloaded, so by stiffening up the rear you help reduce this effect.
The Bilstein shocks are the last of the largest improvements made on this truck. Shocks are responsible for damping or controlling the suspension motion. By tuning the shocks properly, they will stop, or slow the rate of suspension roll down, causing the truck to bite and get around the corner. If the shocks are too soft, they will allow the suspension to move a lot farther before it starts making the maneuver.
Other factors that help are the suspension geometry of the four-link setup, the stiff control arm bushings, and the widened track.
Living With the Beast:
All the objectivity aside, what's it like to drive? Ride-wise, the air system is excellent around town. It's smooth and compliant, absorbing the bumps like a sponge. Broken pavement doesn't yank the steering wheel out of your hands, because bumpsteer is nonexistent. Off the line, the truck shows no signs of launch shudder or wheelhop, which is a common problem when you incorrectly lift or lower trucks. All in all, this is a very well-sorted-out truck. Once you address the weak brakes and bump up the gearing in the axles to get you some better off-the-line punch, you'd have the perfect lifted truck. So, go ahead and rise above the rest!