I always buy a four wheel drive truck for a daily driver. Living in Canada and in a rural setting having four wheel drive is a necessity. Without a four wheel drive there would be days when I would have to stay home because the snow was too deep for a two wheel drive truck. It's also great having four wheel drive when the roads are icy. Pop it into 4x4 and gain a couple extra wheel with traction.
Now keep in mind if I was into serious off roading or trail driving I wouldn't lower a four wheel drive truck but 99% of my driving is on paved or gravel roads. I don't need the extra ground clearance, I just need more traction than a 2wd truck offers.
But what are the advantages of lowering a four wheel drive truck?
Number one is the fact that it is easier to get in and out of. You will be extra thankful for this if you have small children. When their small an extra couple inches makes quite a difference. And it work the same for seniors too. Bringing the rocker sill a couple of inches closer to the ground makes getting in and out so much easier.
Number two, on nearly every model of four wheel drive truck a couple of inches of lowering does not hurt the ride quality, in fact it quite often improves it. And the handling as always better with a lower center of gravity. It's just purely the physics of lowering the mass closer to the road. You generally end up with less body roll when you lower your four wheel drive truck too so it feels and acts more stable. And if you pull a trailer with your truck then the lowering is a bigger advantage still, the trailer will also have a lower center of gravity on the hitch which will make it more stable too.
And the number three reason? Well your four wheel drive truck will look better when it's lowered down a couple of inches. A lot of later model trucks are designed and built with large gaps between the wheel and tire. I'm not sure what the designer's purpose was when they did this but that's they way they come from the factory. So lowering your four wheel drive truck will narrow this gap and improve the appearance.
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Here is an article I wrote for Trucks Plus magazine a few years ago.
Four Wheel Drive Lowering
I usually get a strange look when I tell somebody that they should lower their four wheel drive truck. At first they don’t believe that it is possible, and when I convince them that it is relatively easy to do, then they question me as to why they would want to lower their four wheel drive. Four wheel drives are meant to go offroad and for that you need ground clearance, right? Then I ask them how often they go offroad with their truck and why they drive a four wheel drive and not a two wheel drive. If the answer is “I’m not taking my new 50K truck through the bush but I like the four wheel drive because we get lots of snow and I drive some gravel roads. Also it is easier parking my fifth wheel trailer or launching my boat with a 4x4. I’ve also got a couple fishing (or hunting) spots I go to that I would not make with a two wheel drive.”
That’s when I know I have the perfect candidate. I have been driving lowered 4wd GM’s since 1998. I did lift one truck I owned but after about a year of having it lifted I knew that lowering was the answer for me.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think a lifted 4x4 with a set of big tires, some fender flares and a few other mods looks great, but how functional is it really? Unless you are often using it for off-roading you might want to consider the rest of the facts. Lift a truck six inches and you may as well forget about towing a fifth wheel trailer because you can never get the trailer high enough to tow it level. If you’re under 30 years old, hopping up into a lifted truck is no big deal, but when you creep into your 40’s or beyond, lower is easier. And then there is the ride and handling. A lowered truck typically rides better than factory and lowering a vehicle’s center of gravity always helps the handling.
Between all the major truck suspension lowering companies, you can find parts to lower nearly all of the newer domestic 4wd half ton trucks and even a little bit of stuff for some of the heavier trucks. The rear is always the easy end to lower. Most trucks can use a lowering shackle and hanger to get up to 5 inches of drop. On some trucks with factory lift blocks all you need to do is to remove the blocks and add a set of shackles for 4 inches of rear lowering. The front is where thing get a little harder, but still way easier than trying to lift the same truck. Parts such as re-indexed torsion bar keys, lowered coils or even drop spindles are available depending on make and model. Factory shocks work in most applications or else the lowering kit may come with a set of shock extenders to move the lower mount and allow you to still retain the factory shocks.
I know that it is sometimes not easy to convince people that they should even consider it. It took me 10 years to even get my 68 year old dad to agree with me. But when he bought a new Silverado 2500 four wheel drive he knew that there was no reason he needed a truck that tall. A 2/3 drop was his choice and now everybody is happy, especially Mom.