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If I am interested in doing or buying something I will research it and make whatever decision needs to be made based on my findings. I feel this is normal behavior and most people, presumably, do the same thing. Having said that, I have been diligently researching and testing different suspension designs for about nine years or so and I feel that I have a pretty damn good understanding of what works and what doesn't, but no matter how much I learn I still continue to have unanswered questions. Every time I go to Barnes & Noble, I check the automotive section for new design books; if I see a suspension article in a magazine I read it, or if I'm at a shop and see something that intrigues me, I ask what they are doing and how they figured it out. I learn new things everyday by looking at other people's work and thinking about what made them choose that route. This brings me to my concern.
When browsing the Internet or reading truck mags, I can't help but notice that there are only a few people out there who seem to know enough or care enough to set up their suspension correctly. Now, I know from experience that it isn't from lack of available information, as I have personally written several suspension design articles for three different truck magazines and plan to continue to do so here in MT. On top of that, I've spent a few years answering questions online, and I also know that there are a few really good suspension books out there for around $20 each. So with all of this information available out there for less than the cost of one airbag, why are so many people using the "throw sh*t on the wall and see what sticks" method of suspension design? And better yet, why are the people who have found an overly simplistic yet very out-of-date design jumping at the chance to tell everyone how awesome their barely acceptable suspension is? I don't think I have ever heard of anyone going onto a paint/body forum and telling everyone how they are all "haters" because their $20 worth of cherry red rattle-can paint from WalMart looks killer, but it never fails that someone who has obviously not done his research will jump into a four-link discussion and give his two cents about how his two-link or reverse four-link "rides like a Cadillac" (a phrase that lost its meaning long ago).
The most common argument that I hear about spending time building a proper suspension is that minitrucks aren't racecars. Well, I can't disagree with that at all, but I can tell you that I have personally designed and built a four-link that was so scary to drive at 30 mph that I thought we were going to roll the truck. That was a moment of epiphany for me. This meant that there was undoubtedly a right way and a wrong way to build a four-link. There was a day when minitruckin' as an industry was in its infancy, when reverse four-links and hacked up bodydrops were completely natural steps of progression, but the industry is far past that now... or so I thought. I don't know of any other automotive genre besides serious off-road trucks where custom suspension designs are held so high, yet for some reason the fundamentals of proper design are ignored almost completely and those who try to learn are met with people telling them that their time is being wasted and how awesome their rock tied to a stick works.
Kudos to you guys that have spent the time figuring out the right way to do things and want to built cool, reliable suspension setups. And for those serious about learning more, don't be afraid to dig through the many resources out there. Sure, it's going to be a job in itself, but your efforts will be rewarded in the end. I promise. As always, please feel free to submit any questions, concerns, and comments you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.