Hey guys,
If you run 20s on a four-banger will that mess up your transmission? Someone told me it would, but I see it everyday!
Thanks,
Ben

Well Ben,
That is a good question, although untrue. If it were true, then there would be a whole bunch of trucks sitting on the side of the road with tranny problems from their wheel/tire combo being too heavy. What happens with a heavy wheel/tire combo, be it off-road tires or 20s, is a higher-rotating mass-meaning it's heavier. That mass not only is greater than stock, but is also further away from the center point of the axle. Imagine taking a pair of 5-pound weights and holding them close to your body while twisting your torso, now extend your arms out and do the same thing. You will find that it is considerably harder to get the weights moving and slowed when your arms are extended. Does it make you tired quicker? Yes. Does it break you? No. Your truck or car will consume more fuel and wear out brakes quicker, but if it breaks your transmission, you had other problems, as well.

Mitch Hedberg?
I read Max's Maximized column from the Mini Truckin' Volume 21, Nov. '07 issue ... it saddens me that no one has bothered asking the guy a question. But, at least he kind of looks like Mitch Hedberg, so he should be happy about that.

Friction Shocks

Max,
Just wanting your input on friction shocks with air suspension.
Rides SoLow
Via e-mail

Thanks for the question Rides SoLow,
How about I first start by addressing friction shocks, in general? For those of you who don't know what a friction shock is, it is a simple mechanical device that creates somewhat uniform friction-typically by smashing a leather pad in between two pieces of metal. One of the pieces will typically have an arm attached to it to connect to a moving suspension part. The problem with friction shocks is that they are hard to get moving, but once they are moving they move relatively easy. They only work mediocre on an overly stiff vehicle, because they don't dampen well at all. Also, leaf springs are by nature digressive, meaning the further the suspension is compressed, the less stiff the spring rate is. The problem that I see with using them on an air system would be that most systems these days are not overly stiff and have a fair amount of useable travel. The air spring has one more thing that will cause issues with friction shocks. As the suspension is compressed the bag gets stiffer, wanting to return back to it's set height more the further it is compressed, the friction shock cannot do well in a situation like that.

Now, I'm sure there is some minitrucker out there, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Leathersmithing (is leathersmithing even a word?), who can design a friction shock that would win the next Indy 500. But, in general, I would suggest looking elsewhere for quality dampeners.

The One Book Every Minitrucker Should Own...
I'm a long-time reader and have a question about state laws on custom vehicles. I have never read about anyone asking about laws on this. I was just wondering where someone can find a list of alterations that the law can ticket you about, like body modifications and such. Maybe this will help out in your column, at least it's more than one question this time.
-Mike Jones

Hey Mike,
This is one of those questions that should be printed across the bottom of every issue of MT in the table of contents. Most of the time your DMV will have a "vehicle code book." They will be called something different from state to state, but rumor has it they are relatively cheap ... like under $20.

Thanks for the questions, you guys, I'm actually getting some now!
-Max