President and Owner Mike Sun Talks MaxTrac Suspension

From left to right, GM Eric Jolly, Senior Salesman Sean Romo and President/Owner Mike Sun.

Imagine making the decision mid-recession to form a brand new suspension company from scratch with almost zero experience in the automotive industry. Not too many people would expect a successful company as the result of those odds, but that’s exactly what Mike Sun, President and Owner of MaxTrac Suspension, has managed to create. Inheriting the intellectual property through a business transaction, MaxTrac has become Mike’s lemonade after life handed him a sack of lemons.

While the drawings and patents were his, there was no facility out of which he could build components and he didn’t have anyone to actually do the work. Mike quickly relied on his import-export business contacts and began to explore overseas manufacturing for commodities such as forging and casting. Realizing he could save substantial costs by connecting with original equipment parts manufacturers (while maintaining OE-level quality), the wheels began to spin on what MaxTrac could be.

Self-described as a business-man first, Mike wanted to begin MaxTrac with as little liability as possible and began by dabbling in manufacturing leveling kits. With the material suppliers in place, Mike partnered with a welder to begin building the kits stateside and in-house. The simple spacers allowed for low overhead on materials and engineering and he passed those cost savings on to his customers. MaxTrac was able to undercut the cost of many kits on the marketplace at the time and used that price advantage to gain market share. Offering a lifetime warranty and a “send-it-back” policy, brand recognition began to follow. After sniffing a hint of success, Mike knew he had to expand on what MaxTrac would become.

After humble beginnings building spacers, MaxTrac successfully expanded into suspension kits.

Getting the Ball Rolling

Certain patents within the intellectual property that was obtained, related specifically to spindles and fit his minimal-liability mindset. “The beautiful part about a spindle is you can easily lift or lower a vehicle just by relocating the hub mounting point” says Mike as he begins to smile reminiscing about his struggles up to this point. By combining a lifted strut (or spacer) with a lift knuckle, six inches of lift can be accomplished rather simply on a two-wheel-drive truck. Throw in some blocks and longer shocks in the rear and the entire kit is done.

MaxTrac has several SEMA displays in their office showing off their top kits, including the beefy aluminum arms for the Super Duty and the polished aluminum they use on their show trucks.

“There was an opening in the marketplace to lift a two-wheel-drive independent-front-suspension truck while saving costs by not using an expensive four-wheel-drive kit and all of the brackets that came with it. Our first spindle lift we released was for the Nissan Titan and it took off almost immediately. What is even more remarkable is that kit still fits today’s Titan!” Mike said he saw copycats of the kit appear online and now he patents every kit they release. Adding the spindle lifts, leveling kits, and eventually, lowering  systems to MaxTrac’s arsenal was the key to their meteoric growth in the mid-2010s.

MaxTrac offers a large selection of 2WD IFS lift kits as well as 4WD solid axle applications.

MaxTrac Suspension: Enter “Lift | Level | Lower” Tagline

MaxTrac holds a unique position in the industry as one of the few companies who can lift, level or lower a vehicle. “‘Lift. Level. Lower.’ is our tagline”, says Mike, “we wanted to be that one-stop solution for [wholesale] customers that are able to do all three.” MaxTrac has also partnered with Fox Shocks to provide enhanced ride comfort in lifted applications and has their own in-house solution for lowering struts. “Everything we do is designed to meet or exceed OE-level ride quality”, beams Mike with pride.

MaxTrac utilizes cast spindles as opposed to fabricated knuckles to save on cost. Mike is quick to point out this doesn’t necessarily equate to lower quality, “the OEs (auto manufacturers) use casting because it’s cheaper than the alternatives and still very reliable. We also test a metal sample of every production shipment we receive to ensure it meets OE-levels of tensile strength and ductility.” Utilizing their partnership with the SEMA Garage Tech Transfer Program, MaxTrac is able to access OE-manufacturing specs and put together the engineering without an R&D vehicle setting a tire in their facility.

“Everything we do is designed to meet or exceed OE-level ride quality”, beams Mike with pride. Side-by-side comparisons of a factory Toyota Tundra knuckle and a MaxTrac lift spindle.

What’s in store for MaxTrac Suspension?

The polished treatment is only for trade shows. If you want this look, you’ll just have to do it yourself!

While pricing is what got MaxTrac to where they are today, that’s not the most important focus point. “Quality, customer service and affordability in that order” are what Mike says continue to drive MaxTrac’s success. Quality can easily be seen in every single component; from the polished aluminum 4-link arms on display in their Anaheim, California office to the axle hangers being welded in the shop in the back; no part is too small to overlook. Unfortunately the polished treatment is not offered by MaxTrac and is only reserved for shows, but make sure you keep an eye out for their SEMA build this year!

Welders Trevor and Freddy put together axle brackets in one side of the facility as the shipping and receiving side is moving boxes all day long on the other. Mike's been looking for a new building for a while but hasn't found one that fits just yet, "Wer outgrew this place a while ago. I actually use another satellite warehouse to store more inventory."

MaxTrac has branched out recently into more four-wheel-drive truck applications and Mike is excited for what’s on the horizon. “We’ve recently gotten into the Jeep game and I foresee a lot more solid axle kits coming our way”. While he would not get into specifics or details, he said he wants to go bigger than the traditional six inch lift kit. “I feel that market is saturated. I like the bigger kits and I think more customers are going that direction, anyway.”

Mike expects to continue to expand and grow the MaxTrac brand over the next few years as more and more customers learn you can lift a two-wheel-drive truck. Due to MaxTrac’s unique approach to suspension, Mike feels the company is well-positioned for long term success. In fact, he does not have any concerns with the ever-changing vehicle landscape we live in and is instead excited, “My favorite part about [the electrification of the industry] is those new trucks still need spindles!”

Where you can find MaxTrac Suspension

MaxTrac does not sell direct to customers and instead can be purchased through their established distributor network. MaxTrac also recommends that installation be performed by a certified mechanic and an alignment is completed after every install. Leveling spacers and block kits can be purchased online through Autozone while lift- and lowering-kits can be purchased from either RealTruck or Accessory Partners (not-affiliated with MaxTrac). Follow MaxTrac on Facebook or Instagram and keep up with all their latest products and events!


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About the author

Joseph Daleo

Joe fell in love with the offroad life destroying his first truck, a 2003 Avalanche. He learned the hard way that a 6” lift does not a trophy truck make, but the stories last a lifetime. Current project is a 96 XJ on 35’s named Gumby.
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