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Hey Mini Truckin',
I've been reading your mag for a few years now (10 I think), and I have noticed that the suspensions seem to be getting bigger and bigger every year. I'm not talking about bigger 'bags or more travel, it's the material being used. 2-inch x .250 wall tubing, 1-inch heim joints, and 1/4-inch gussets on everything. What gives? Oh yeah, I love the mag, keep up the good work.

Fax Mish of Kio Bustumz
P.S. That Max guy is oh-so-sexy

Hey Fax,
Thanks for the compliments, it's nice to hear someone out there appreciates a ruggedly handsome man, such as myself. Anyway, onto the question at hand, I too have noticed that the materials being used lately are of monstrous proportions and I'm not sure what has caused it.

I assume the off-road industry is inspiring the minitruck industry and builders are using what they have become accustomed to seeing on those trucks. As a whole, I'm glad to see that minis are being built far nicer than they ever have, but the trophy-truck sized link systems are a bit overboard. I have a friend with a 250k PreRunner that is very capable and only using 7/8-inch heims on the upper bars with no issues.

So, what is the right size material to use on a specific job? Honestly, a definitive answer does not exist. But what I can tell you are the load limits of commonly used products and you can make your own decision based on your particular needs.

The first thing we need to do is define what inch-strong-inch is. Metal is not simply defined as strong, but instead with strength in specific areas. Below is a list of the standard inchloads-inch that a part will be placed in.

Tension is when a part is being pulled on from each end. Take for instance rope, it is only strong in tension, it could under no circumstance be used in any other way. This is most commonly referred to as the tensile strength.

Compression is the exact opposite of tension, though strangely, some materials will handle more compression than another material that has a higher tensile strength. Take for example 1020 mild steel, in longer lengths has a higher compression value than 4130, which has a roughly 15-percent higher tensile strength.

Bending load is just how is sounds. A part that has a concentrated point of stress (a 'bag on a lower bar for example) should have reinforcement added to spread the concentrated stress across the part.