The Recipe for Building Better Trucks
SEMA is the mecca for all things automotive. It serves as a grand unveiling for new project builds and reveals of fresh products released to the marketplace. The innovation on display at the big show in Las Vegas is amazing to say the least, and while there is hardly room in this issue to report on all the new wares and gadgets that were showcased during the week-long event, we’ve sifted through the piles of goods and bring to you some of our favorites that are guaranteed to impact the scene in 2019 and beyond.
From suspension components to parts to upgrade interiors and exteriors alike, as well as performance products, there were tons of new goods that captured our attention at SEMA ’18. It’ll be exciting to see these parts roll out into new truck builds over the winter and into next show season. Until then, start making a checklist of what you’ll need for your build. We guarantee that your truck will benefit greatly with any of these new products from the best manufacturers in the industry. From late model to classic pickups, you’ll find what you need to make your truck its absolute best this year.
Wireless One EZ Mount
This package of air suspension parts is perfect for your tow pig, as Air Lift’s Wireless One compressor and manifold quickly and easily helps the rear air bag setup retain ideal inflation while carrying heavier loads. The manifold can be controlled wirelessly via a smart phone app, which makes running wires or airlines to the cab completely unnecessary. The EZ Mount allows for simple mounting of the system to the truck’s frame, making this an idea setup if you’re looking to speed up the installation process. Increasing the ride quality of your trusty workhorse doesn’t get easier than this.
Air Lift Co.
QA1 MOD Series Shock
Builders who plan to drive their truck on the track will rejoice after seeing QA1’s new MOD Series shock. It’s the first shock that has the ability to be revalved in minutes while it’s still mounted on the truck. With the use of QA1’s QuickTune technology, modular valve packs can be swapped out quickly and easily without interrupting the oil path or exposing the shock to debris and air contamination. The MOD Series shock also features a double adjustable design with varying low-speed bleed for fully independent control over compression and rebound characteristics.
Level Ride Height and Pressure Ride Control
Level Ride’s pneumatic ride control features height and pressure monitoring for a perfect ride every time. This system features a terrain sensing function, which height-only systems cannot detect, and is why they can be unstable at times. Level Ride’s system also has built-in brake sensing monitoring to prevent any unwanted adjustments when stopped or at braking. Experience ride height accuracy within 1 percent of saved height levels.
Level Ride Air Suspension
Belltech 2019 Silverado 2-Inch Drop Spindle
Those looking to lower their brand new Chevy Silverado 1500 2WD pickup will find that Belltech’s 2-inch drop spindles will do the trick and then some. The spindles will not only lower the front suspension height a couple inches, but they also improve handling and help in retaining factory ride quality. This improvement in ride quality is done by maintaining critical suspension geometry, as well as eliminating excessive ball joint, shock and tire wear that is common with other methods of suspension lowering.
’19 GM 1500 Truck 7-9-Inch Lift Kit
Sometimes going up a few inches in ride height just isn’t enough. In that case, check out this adjustable 7-9-inch lift kit designed for ’19 GM 1500 pickups. The kit includes premium front and rear boxed crossmembers, spindles, adjustable front lift struts, differential drops, skid plate, tie rods, front drive line, boxed compression struts with brackets, rear lift blocks, leaf springs shims, U-bolts, brake line and ABS brackets, rear shocks, and everything else you’ll need to jack your new truck up in the sky. Whew, that’s a lot parts wrapped up into a single kit!
Slam Specialties Tapered Sleeve Air Spring
Adding to their already impressive lineup of air springs, Slam Specialties introduced this tapered sleeve style at SEMA ’18. The new bag is equipped with a single ¼-inch NPT port and is rated at 200 psi. The tapered sleeve air spring has a 5.7-inch diameter and has all the industry-leading features to deliver a better ride quality to your project.
Hellwig ’19 GM 1500 Pro Series Helper Spring
Hellwig’s Pro Series helper spring is constructed from heavy-duty American steel and offers level load capabilities up to 2,500 pounds. This helper spring provides better weight distribution over front and rear axles, and the kit comes complete with all necessary mounting hardware and Hellwig’s exclusive Silent Ride bushings.
Ground Force ’14-’18 GM 1500 2/4WD Leveling Kit
Stance is everything when it comes to your truck, and to help increase the appearance and prowess of your pickup, check out Ground Force’s front and rear leveling kit. This kit not only includes 2-inch strut spacers to boost the front end up, it also includes 1-inch rear blocks and U-bolts to ensure both ends level out for a more aggressive, slightly taller stance over stock height. The results are huge for the nominal price and amount of work that goes into installing this streamlined kit.
Aldan American ’88-’98 GM 1500 Front Coilover Kit
’88-’98 Chevy/GMC 1500 truck builders will dig Alan American’s front coilover conversion kit. The coilovers will lower the front ride height up to 2 inches, and are compatible with factory and aftermarket control arms, as they have been designed to fit in OEM mounting locations. The single adjustable coilovers feature high tensile, cold wound coilsprings, and will not only lower your truck’s suspension, but they will also improve handling and ride quality as well.
Aldan American Suspension
’67-’72 Ford F-100 Front IFS Suspension Bolt-On Kit
Ditch your F-100’s factory front I-beam suspension setup for this IFS suspension kit from All American Billet. This system uses Ford Crown Victoria balljoints, steering knuckles, hubs and brakes. Hub to hub, this setup’s width measures just about 62.5 inches, and uses a Mustang II rack and pinion with a manual or power rack. This kit is available for coilovers or air bags, and will yield a 6-inch ride height (with the air bagged version laying frame using a 29-inch tall tire).
All American Billet
QA1 C10 Square Body Rear Suspension System
Builders of custom performance vehicles are used to scraping and scrounging for the parts they need to create their version of the ultimate performance machine. QA1 understands that struggle, and has done their part in offering an all-new engineered-from-scratch system that eliminate the tiring search for the right parts at salvage yards or internet auctions. This kit will modernize the suspension system of project F-100 trucks with front and rear coilover conversion kits that include every component needed down to the hardware to get your old pickup handling like a sports car.
Dakota Digital HDX Universal Competition Analog Instruments
Unlike anything Dakota Digital has offered before, this universal 6-gauge Competition HDX instrument panel feature analog gauges equipped with independent illumination, along with two large TFT message centers to maximize driver awareness. Capacitive-touch programming switches are set just below the TFTs for easy customization, or choose to tap into them via the Bluetooth app for Apple and Andriod devices.
Kicker KEY 180.4 Smart Amplifier
The mobile audio game has been changed with this Kicker’s rather small Key 180.4 Smart Amplifier. This advanced amp uses DSP and a proprietary A.I. to automatically correct phase EQ and crossover issues in a base audio system—all with a simple press of the in-line button on the amp’s origin microphone. The other selling point of this 180-watt amp is that it is fully compatible with nearly any vehicle, including those equipped with start/stop technology.
’67-’72 Chevy Truck Direct Replacement Analog Gauge Cluster
For classic truck builders looking to keep their interior looking fresh, Intellitronix introduces a direct replacement analog gauge panel for ’67-’72 C10 trucks. The panel maintains a bulk of the factory style with upgraded bullet points in the form of a black polycarbonate sub surface with an attractive brush stroke finish. Also inside the box are senders and all mounting hardware to install this gauge panel in no time flat.
Katzkin XT Interior
Truck builders may be very familiar with Katzkin leather interiors, but they may have not seen the release of Katzkin XT at SEMA ’18. This new offering is comprised of the company’s toughest material to date. It’s twice as durable and thicker than Katzkin’s premium leather, and it offers extreme durability for the most extreme conditions. The XT line is water, scuff, kid and mildew resistant, which ultimately means that is well equipped to handle heavy everyday use without having to be babied.
Katzkin Automotive Leather
Retro Manufacturing Santa Cruz Head Unit
Designed especially for ’88-’94 GM trucks, Retro Manufacturing’s Santa Cruz head unit features Apple compatibility and built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This is the only OEM style radio replacement offered for this class of GM vehicles, and it gives truck owners the ability to retain the factory look inside the cab with the functionality of modern technology.
Cooper Tire Discoverer AT3 4S
Truck owners who live in climates that experience snow, rain or sunshine most of the year can benefit equally from Cooper’s Discoverer AT3 4S tire with Adaptive Traction Technology. This is a capable all-terrain tire that is designed to stop 20 feet shorter and accelerates 15 percent faster on snow than other tires on the market. With performance numbers in weather like that, just imagine how these tires will perform on bright, sunny days. Instead of relying on multiple sets of tires to get you and your truck through the year, just opt for one that will deliver performance all 12 months.
Cali Off-Road Summit Wheels
The Summit (style 9110) is a revolutionary off-road wheel design from Cali Off-Road that features rugged, burly good looks and detailed finish work on the surface everywhere you look. The wheels are offered in sizes from 20×9 up to 24×14 with over 9 inches of lip—yeah, these things are designed to be extreme. Wheel fitments are available in 5, 6 or 8 lug with a variety of backspace options to choose from for the best fit possible.
Dick Cepek Trail Country EXP Tires
Those who love to take the scenic route or prefer to stick to the highway will both love the Trail Country EXP tires. These tires feature a hybrid design that balances between a mud terrain and an all-terrain tire for the best of both worlds when it comes to a smooth ride and unbeatable traction. From asphalt to dirt, these tires will unlock all roads and paths for an unforgettable journey.
Novakane Duo-Tone Wheel
You may recognize SOTA Off-Road’s Novakane wheel since it is its most popular and most timeless design, but what is new is the DuoTone finish that is now offered to truck builders. The announcement of the finish was just released and offers a sharp contrast between a fully machined center with a black rim lip. Aside from all the other characteristics that make SOTA Off-Road’s precision crafted wheels ideal for lifted and leveled trucks, the DuoTone adds that much more excitement to ordering a set.
Chevrolet Performance Z26 EFI Crate Engine
If your truck project will be needing an engine transplant at some point, consider Chevrolet Performance’s Z26 EFI crate engine. It combines the drivability advantages of electronically controlled fuel injection with the classic style and installation versatility of the 350 small-block. Chevrolet Performance really cooked up a winner, as the new Z26 power plant kit offers a superb solution for hot rod and resto-mod projects alike.
Wilwood Compact Tandem Master Cylinder
Wilwood has capitalized on the success of its tandem master cylinder and has just introduced a compact version that delivers the same performance while taking up much less space. The compact tandem master cylinder comes in bore sizes 7/8-, 15/16-, 1.00- and 1.12-inch sizes, and are suitable for manual or power brake applications. The compact master cylinder is available in ball burnished polish and black e-coat with black anodized caps to add that custom touch under the hood.
K&N Tuning Boost Control Module
For those running supercharged or turbocharged applications, K&N’s boost control module can assist in increasing performance and acceleration, as well as horsepower and torque gains. The boost control module is also fully adjustable with the simple turning of a knob—go from stock configuration to max power in an instant. This product will serve those who tow, race at the track, or are just looking for more overall performance on the highway. Best of all, this system requires no software in order to tap into your truck’s potential power.
COMP Cams Max-Lift BSR Shaft Rocker Systems for GM LS Applications
LS engine builders will find COMP Cams’ Max-Lift BSR Shaft Rocker System absolutely awesome. The industry-first, bushed shaft rocker system for GM LS applications increases system stiffness and allows LS platforms to achieve a higher level of performance—now, easier and quicker than ever.
COMP Performance Group
ProCharger ’17-’18 Ford Raptor Intercooler Upgrade
Raptor owners will dig ProCharger’s new intercooler upgrade. First off, it’s 99 percent larger than the OEM unit. It is engineered for cooler air temperature and better performance for driving in extreme conditions where the driver can unleash the Raptor’s true power potential. ProCharger’s air-to-air intercoolers are well known for supplying low charge air temps and minimal pressure drops, which result in denser air and better overall performance.
ProCharger Supercharger Systems
Edelbrock E-Force Supercharger ’17 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon 3.6L
For a healthy dose of pure horsepower and torque gains, Edelbrock now offers the availability of a new E-Force Supercharger for the ’17 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon pickup with the new Gen 2 LGZ 3.6L V-6 engine. The E-Force supercharger fits underneath the stock hood without having to cut and slice it open. The new E-Force supercharger is also emissions-legal in all 50 states, so get ready to rumble with 340 horsepower and 303 ft-lbs of torque to the wheels.
aFe Power ’15-’18 Ford F-150 Momentum XP Cold Air Intake System
Every truck needs a cold air intake, and owners of ’15-’18 Ford F-150 pickups will surely benefit from aFe Power’s Momentum XP intake system. The Momentum XP kit provides dyno-proven gains of up to 20 hp and 18 ft-lbs of torque—making it outflow the factory intake system by about 41 percent. The brushed aluminum intake tubes provide an aggressive sound and look badass under the hood. A reusable Pro DRY S oil-free air filter with three layers of progressive synthetic media deliver maximum performance and the convenience of being able to wash off and reinstall in minutes.
Superchips Dashpaq+ Performance Programmer
The all-new Dashpaq+ performance programmer from Superchips is an on-dash monitor that includes extensive truck and SUV coverage, so no matter what you drive, there is sure to be a unit to work with your ride. The Dashpaq+ includes a 5-inch high-definition screen, upgraded processor for quick read/write speed and monitor refresh rates, and several innovative features such as Wi-Fi and multiple vehicle license options.
Clayton Machine Billet Aluminum LS Engine Oil Cap
Got an LS engine that you’re just itching to dress up? Check out the billet oil cap options from Clayton Machine—they’re constructed from 6061-T6 aluminum and available in black and natural finishes. Take your truck to the next level of accessorizing with one of Clayton Machine’s billet caps, and other top-notch goods to outfit your project.
Optima Battery Case
Engineered with non-conductive, lightweight material, Optima’s battery cases feature integrated ribbing for excellent strength, and is outfitted with a patented “Zero-Footprint” mounting base that replicates the battery’s geometry and utilizes your truck’s OE hold-down for no-hassle installation. Six isolation mounts work in unison to protect the battery from the harshest environments while driving through unpredictable highways and nasty weather conditions.
’83-’87 Chevy Truck Classic Wiring Update Kit
Complete wiring jobs aren’t for the weak of heart. It takes much skill and patience to do the job and do it right. Luckily there are kits like this one from American Autowire to make it a little less stressful. It has been specifically designed for ’83-’87 Chevy trucks, and is a complete bumper-to-bumper wiring solution that is designed for use with most stock or aftermarket components with plenty of circuits for additional power accessories. This kit is the most complete wiring system of its kind, and even comes with full-color instructions to help make the job that much easier.
’19 Ford Ranger eXtreme Big Brake Kit
Do you have a new generation Ranger and are looking to start upgrading it in any way possible? To properly beef up its stopping power, you’ve got to take a look at the eXtreme big brake kit from Pedders Suspension. This kit comes complete with 6-piston forged calipers, oversized 365 mm slotted and dimpled rotors, stainless steel brake lines, and Kevlar ceramic low dust pads to round out the list of boast-worthy features.
Rhino Metals Ironworks Tool Chest
Every respectable workspace deserves a proper chest of drawers to house and organize the tools and accessories necessary for a productive garage session. The Rhino Metals Ironworks IWTC653D tool chest is American made—handcrafted in Caldwell, Idaho. This incredible chest features 16 gauge steel and 18 gauge steel drawers rated at 200 pounds each. Two fixed and 2 swivel casters allow this beast to glide across the garage floor effortlessly. If you’re going to buy a tool chest, you might as well get one that’s as cool as the project you’re wrenching on.
Rhino Metals Inc.
Lincoln Electric Power MIG 260 Welding Machine
Whether you’re an experience welder or just picking up the trade, Lincoln Electric’s Power MIG 260 welding machine sets the standard for MIG and Flux-Cored welding in light industrial shop fabrication, maintenance and repair work. The 7-inch color display with automatic controls make setup and operating intuitive and simple, while offering superior welding performance and a bunch of professional features to make you the best welder you can be.
2017+ Ford-250 Projector Headlight
Built to OEM standards, Spyder Auto’s projector headlights are designed to improve the looks and visibility for your truck, without sacrificing durability. Spyder Auto’s headlight housings are made by an OEM-approved and ISO-certified manufacturer, and are direct replacements for stock headlights. These babies will improve nighttime illumination while looking much cooler than the masses of trucks out there with basic factory-equipped headlights.
’57-’58 Chevy Cameo Truck Stainless Steel Bed Inserts
One of the most challenging parts of building a classic truck is trying to track down those hard-to-find finishing pieces that end up making the biggest difference in appearance. To help with this headache-inducing phase of restoration, Real Deal Steel is reproducing these ’57-’58 Chevy Cameo bed inserts. The original factory pieces were made from fragile zinc castings that pitted badly, so even if you found a set, they’d most likely be damaged beyond repair. These new inserts are still made in the USA, install with four mounting studs like the originals, and will better stand the test of time.
Real Deal Steel
AMP Research PowerStep RTS Running Board
If you’ve ever driven a truck equipped with AMP Research running boards, you understand just how incredibly helpful and cool they are. The PowerStep design acts as a trim piece that finishes the rocker area and hides the unsightly pinch weld. These steps are lightweight but are as solid as can be. The rubbed die-cast linkage components are crafted in the USA from aircraft-quality aluminum, and are black anodized and PTFE coated for max corrosion protection and maintenance-free operation for as long as you’ll end up owning your truck.
’88-’98 Chevy Truck LED Smoked Taillights
Swapping out your truck’s light housings is a quick and easy method of adding some extra style to the exterior. These OEM approved, ISO certified LED smoke red taillight housings meet all factory requirements, while boosting form and function for a super cool addition to your Chevy pickup. These are direct replacements of the stock tails that will prove to gain a lot of extra attention.
Retrax XR Series Bed Cover
The XR Series bed cover from Retrax combines the MX cover’s style with the integrated Trax Rail system, which allows for personal customization above the cover. The cover has a scratch-resistant matte finish, and features a low-profile design, as well as the ability to optimize cargo capacity with the cover open or closed. Utilizing bed space is of utmost importance, especially if you plan to use your truck as a truck.
’60-’66 Chevy and GMC Truck Fleetside Sequential LED Taillights
Modernize your classic GM pickup with United Pacific Industries’ LED taillight lenses, which will increase day and nighttime visibility using industry leading, state-of-the-art technologies that will separate your truck from the pack while at shows and on the road.
United Pacific Industries
MultiPro Tailgate Audio System
Designed exclusively for ’19 GMC Sierra trucks, the Kicker MultiPro Tailgate Audio System is perfect for parking lot hangout sessions. This system is made to turn on and off automatically when the gate is raised or lowered, and features independent 100-watt power to a pair of weatherproof speakers. With the addition of a USB charging port, and 3.5 mm audio jack and full Bluetooth compatibility, you’ll be the hit of the tailgate party
with this hidden gem.
Gloss Black Grille Insert
Available for over 180 applications for GM, Ford and Dodge vehicles with an emphasis on trucks and SUVs, these ABS grille inserts install with double sided adhesive tape for easy DIY mounting installation. If a black finish doesn’t suit your style, chrome options are also available to quickly change up the appearance of your truck.