How Hellwig Goofed Up My Plans for my Truck

We wanted to share a letter we received recently:

Dear Hellwig,
I wanted to tell you about what you did to my truck.  I recently bought a 2010 Ford F150 Super Crew 2-wheel drive.
While I really like the truck, it’s just not “me” the way it comes off the dealer’s lot.  I want something that rides good, looks good, has decent performance and handles well.  Good gas mileage would be a plus, but who are we kidding…it’s a truck.
So to make this truck “mine”, here’s what I’ve done:
I added a cold air intake.  I’ve always had an Airaid cold air intake and loved them.  I installed this and the Airaid / PowerAid throttle body spacer shortly after I got the truck.  It had a decent amount of power before, but adding the combo here helped a little more.  Not a lot, but a little.
Since I haul a lot of stuff that I want covered, and I’m constantly in and out of the bed of the truck, I had to get a tonneau cover.   Truxedo has always been my favorite, and with good reason. They are the best.  They look good, install easily, and last almost forever.  Nothing fancy, it just does what it’s supposed to do.  Period.
With any new truck, I have to protect it.  It’s not an investment (they do depreciate, after all), but every month when I write that check to the bank it feels like it should be an investment, or something I should live in.  Husky Liners covers my floors, front and rear.  It’s another great product that works as advertised.  Complete protection, and a great fit.  I can’t get too excited about these, though.  They are floor liners.
Window Tint is a must in the Midwest.   I took it to Chux Trux Tint Shop in Kansas City to have their guys tint all the windows.  My eyes are getting too old (bifocals at age 45?  Really?).  I was squinting so bad you could blindfold me with dental floss.  The window tint helped quite a bit, but again, big deal. It’s window tint.
I wanted to keep the rocks and softball sized bugs we have around here from chipping up the hood, grill and surrounding areas.  I can’t stomach the thought of putting a plastic bugshield on any vehicle.  They look like a wart on prom queen’s nose.  But the hood of the new F150 is as big as the nose on my face, so I had the Chux Trux Tint Shop install a clear, Mylar bug shield while they were doing the window tint.  It will do the job just fine, but it’s almost invisible so it’s just too hard to get excited about it.
If you live where I do, they talk about wind chills in the winter.  That’s where it’s so cold they factor in not just the outside temperature, but what the equivalent temperature is when you factor in the wind.  Fifteen below zero is not unheard of.  It’s not like we’re in Siberia, but it sure feels like it much of the time.  If you’ve never had heated seats, they’re one of those things that once you’ve had them, you won’t go without them.  I like them better than remote starts since they don’t waste gas, and it takes about 60 seconds to feel the heat through your seat and your coat.  Problem here is I only use the 2-3 months out of the year.  My wife says it’s the best gift she’s ever received so I’ll give them high marks on that comment alone. They’re definitely worth it when it’s cold, but that’s not an everyday thing.
Now, for Hellwig.  My truck rode great from the factory.  But the compromise with riding well and handling well don’t go hand in hand on most vehicles, especially a truck.  I’ve added a sway bar (or anti-sway bars for you politically correct types) to a vehicle before, but it wasn’t a Hellwig.  It helped some.  But this F150 handled somewhere between a mushy minivan with bad shocks and a 1970’s OldsmoBuick (That’s one of those ginormous 4 door cars from the 1970’s, but not one of the cool ones).  The main drive to and from my house has a 90 degree curve with a 20 MPH speed limit, with a slight bank, and seriously, this truck felt like it was going to roll over if I took that corner at anything over 20 MPH.
After installing front and rear Hellwig sway bars on my F150, the difference is literally unbelievable.   I’d say my truck handles 40-50% better under normal daily driving.  Just buzzing around town I don’t get the sway or drift of turning corners or hitting curves.  And by the way, I can now take that 90 degree curve by my house at 48 MPH while staying in my lane (not carving the corner) with the truck still sitting like it should.   I can’t imagine what Hellwig sway bars would do to a sports car or muscle car.
And as if that weren’t enough, I pull a 16’ enclosed trailer when my wife and I are selling at antique shows.  We typically load this trailer floor to ceiling and when you fill this with oak or walnut furniture (built like they used to make it) and this trailer takes on a mind and personality of its own.   This thing could wander down the road like a wino in New Years Eve.  But since I had my sway bars installed, it appears to act like an Army recruit walking a straight and narrow line with his drill Sergeant watching.  It tracks straight down the road, doesn’t wander or whip going down the highway and takes almost all of the white knuckle driving out of the equation!
This all sounds great, but here’s the problem, Hellwig.  I plan on lowering the truck some, upgrading speakers and fog lights, painting the door handles and trim, and adding nicer wheels and tires.  The problem is that you’ve now set the bar too high for me, and my expectations are now unrealistic for many other products.  Don’t get me wrong, everything I’ve done has been an improvement, but now I want things on the level of what Hellwig has brought to my truck.   I should also mention that I worked in the automotive aftermarket for 18 years, selling and installing parts just like these, so I’m not your average Joe when it comes to knowing what products “sort of” work and fit, compared to the top echelon of products made by the primo manufacturers in the industry.  The best sway bars are made by Hellwig Products.  Period.
I’m leery of adding more things to my truck since Hellwig has spoiled me and I don’t know what to do about it going forward.  Please advise.
Sincerely (but with unrealistic expectations),
Chris Ripper

Posted on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 in news, Testimonial.
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