How to Jack Up Your Car With Hydraulics
Do you want to have some fun with your car, rather than treating it as a device to get from point to point? If you're like many younger people, you will have seen those iconic speed movies, where every vehicle is modified and can perform special tricks upon command. If you want to follow in their footsteps, you may like to consider fitting a hydraulic suspension to your vehicle so you can join some of those other, hard-core fans at weekend car shows. What is involved and how complex is it?
Hydraulic suspensions allow you to raise and lower the ride height of your vehicle at will. You can sometimes even adjust each corner individually and even jump up and down. However, you have to make considerable changes to the standard setup of the vehicle and will essentially need to retire the shock absorber and spring assembly altogether.
In its place, you will introduce a hydraulic component that works in very similar fashion to the trolley jack you may have in your garage. There will be a ram at each corner, and they are operated by electrical pumps that push fluid through upgraded lines. This works in the same way as your vehicle's braking system.
While a hydraulically operated ram is fitted on each corner in the same place as conventional suspension, your mechanic may need to do a little custom modification to make sure that they fit properly. In some cases, you can add springs to help with vehicle ride and comfort, but don't expect your car to be as compliant as it was before, when you make this type of change.
You may have to fit four individual heavy-duty pumps to power each ram and upgrade the battery in order to cope with the increased demands. The pumps will be connected to each ram by specially designed hydraulic fluid lines, and you need to make sure that you get good-quality products here.
When you chat with your mechanic, ask them about electrical systems. Some people upgrade to 24 volt instead of 12 due to the amount of power it takes to operate these hydraulic rams.
Ready to Go?
Remember, if you go down this road, you are converting your car from a reliable, consistent and comfortable run-around to a tool for weekend entertainment. If you're still keen on going forward, get in touch with a mechanic who specialises in hydraulic equipment to help you out.