When it comes to lowering a truck, there are two different routes you can take. You can grab every lowering part out there to get the truck as low as possible, which usually includes a set of airbags and a bunch of hardcore cutting of the truck's frame. The other road to go down would be to drop the truck with bolt-on components, just enough to make it handle like a sports car. No matter what you are into, both methods have one thing in common-lowering-and we are all about it.

We have access to an '04 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab, and this time we borrowed it, we brought it back a little lower and a lot more fun. The truck in stock trim has a dual personality, when it comes to its ride. The front floats smoothly down the road like a '70s Cadillac, whereas the back buckboards like it has the spring pack of a 1-ton dualie. Needless to say, the ride left something to be desired and the performance was stock-and we can't have that.

Enter Hotchkis Performance, a name synonymous with performance suspension and known for the company's TVS kit. TVS stands for Total Vehicle System and is just what we need for this truck, a completely engineered kit. The TVS comes with everything needed, besides performance wheels and tires, to transform your stock truck into a cornering machine. In the box, you will find a set of progressive wound coils, Bilstein shocks, urethane isolators, bumpstops, and a fat sway bar for the front. For the back, you get a new set of leaf springs, Bilstein shocks, bumpstops, and one more sway bar. All the parts feature a slick black powdercoat finish and fit just like they should.

We had no idea how well the TVS setup would improve the Dodge, but we have worked with Hotchkis before with great results, and this time was no different.

One thing that is different about Hotchkis is the company's installation facility. Hotchkis now has an in-house shop that's strictly dedicated to installing suspension. So, if you are in the Southern California area, stop in and check it out. We rolled our Dodge in, right before lunch, and we were lowered and aligned by 4 p.m., which is not bad considering that we were shooting pictures and doing an impromptu brake job.

Once all of the parts were on the truck, not only is the center of gravity lower, but the front and rear feel balanced. We would like to give you some solid g-force numbers, but the new suspension system outperforms the factory rolling stock so much it wasn't even worth the test. We'll have numbers for you, once we pick some wheels and tires. Before this story takes a horrible turn for the worse, let's get on with the installation.

The Final Word
The truck sits nice and level, without that stink bug look it used to have. To get the Hotchkis stuff to really shine, we had to get out on the street. The truck's suspension outperforms the factory rolling stock so bad we thought we were going to roll a bead off. So we stopped thrashing on it, until we can get some better tires on this thing. This is not just a handling system. Rolling down the freeway, we also noticed the buckboard bouncing from the rear was virtually gone and made driving this thing much more enjoyable.

SOURCE
Hot Chkis Performance
877-466-7655
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