Minitruck Hydraulics

Two Pump Minitruck Hydraulics Kit

In this article about minitruck hydraulics I'll cover reasons, functionality, styles, shows, and road performance.

Minitruck hydraulics serve various purposes, primarily centered around customization, aesthetics, and performance. Here are some of the reasons for installing hydraulics on minitrucks:

  1. Visual Customization:
    • Hydraulics are often installed on mini trucks to enhance the visual appeal of the vehicle. The ability to raise and lower different parts of the truck, such as the bed or the entire chassis, allows for a dynamic and attention-grabbing display.
  2. Showmanship at Car Shows:
    • Mini truck enthusiasts often participate in car shows and competitions. The hydraulics add an element of showmanship, enabling owners to perform controlled movements, dances, or animations with their vehicles, making them stand out in the show.
  3. Expressing Individual Style:
    • Hydraulics provide minitruck owners with a means to express their individual style and creativity. The customization options are virtually endless, allowing for unique and personalized modifications that reflect the owner's taste.
  4. Dynamic Adjustability:
    • The ability to adjust the ride height of a minitruck with hydraulics offers practical benefits. Owners can raise the chassis for better ground clearance when driving and lower it for a sleeker appearance when parked at shows.
  5. Entertainment and Performances:
    • Minitruck hydraulics are often used to create entertaining performances. Owners can make their vehicles "dance" or perform choreographed movements, adding an entertainment factor to car shows or other events.
  6. Competition in Minitruck Shows:
    • Minitruck shows may feature competitions where hydraulics play a significant role. Owners compete based on the creativity, precision, and overall presentation of their hydraulics setups.
  7. Photogenic Appeal:
    • The dynamic nature of hydraulics makes minitrucks more photogenic. Eye-catching movements and displays can be captured in photographs and videos, contributing to the popularity of minitruck culture on social media and automotive forums.
  8. Cultural Identity:
    • Hydraulics are part of the larger culture of mini truck customization. Enthusiasts see their vehicles as a canvas for self-expression, and hydraulics are one of the many tools used to create unique, head-turning designs.

Are Minitruck Hydraulics All About the Suspension?

Minitruck hydraulics can involve more than just the suspension; they are a comprehensive modification that often includes the suspension but can extend to other parts of the vehicle as well. While the suspension is a key component, mini truck hydraulics are a versatile customization option that allows for various modifications. Here are some aspects of mini truck hydraulics:

The most common use of hydraulics in minitrucks is for adjusting the suspension. This allows owners to raise or lower the vehicle, giving it a dynamic appearance. It can also involve "lay-and-play" setups, where the bed or other parts of the truck can be raised or lowered for visual effect; even "hopping" setups, where the vehicle can leave the ground in the front, the rear, or all fours.

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In addition to suspension adjustments, hydraulics in minitrucks can be used to control other body movements. This may include tilting the entire vehicle, creating a "lean," lifting specific body panels, or making the bed of the minitruck dance. Hydraulics are often employed to manipulate the bed or body of the minitruck, creating unique and visually striking displays. This is particularly popular at car shows where minitruck owners showcase their vehicles.

Beyond the physical modifications, hydraulics in minitrucks involve the installation of hydraulic power units and control systems. These systems include pumps, valves, hoses, and switches or electronic controllers to manage the hydraulics.

Hydraulics require additional power, so hydraulics in mini trucks often involve upgrading the vehicle's electrical system. This can include the addition of extra batteries to provide sufficient power for the hydraulic components.

Various Hydraulic Setup Styles

Minitruck hydraulic setups come in various styles, each with its own characteristics and purposes. The style of hydraulic setup chosen often depends on the owner's preferences, the desired functionality, and the intended use of the minitruck.

1) "Lay-and-play" setups on mini-trucks are primarily designed for creating dynamic visual effects, such as lifting and lowering the vehicle or certain parts of it. These setups are not intended for hopping off the ground like traditional lowriders. Lowriders often have more specialized hydraulics that allow the entire vehicle to "hop" or jump off the ground.

lay and play hydraulics

Lay-and-play setups are more commonly associated with controlled movements, dances, animations, such as raising and lowering the bed or other body components. Since hopping requires various reinforcements, attempting to make a lay-and-play minitruck hop off the ground could lead to various issues, including potential damage to the vehicle's suspension, chassis, or other components not designed for such extreme movements.

2) If someone is interested in the hopping aspect of vehicle customization, they would typically buy or build a lowrider with a hopping setup specifically designed for that purpose. Lowrider hydraulics are engineered to provide the necessary power and control for vertical movements, allowing the vehicle to perform controlled hops.

hopping minitruck hydraulics

"Minitruck hopping" refers to a modification and performance aspect in the minitruck customization culture where a minitruck equipped with hydraulics is capable of performing controlled vertical jumps or hops. This is achieved through a specialized hydraulic suspension system that allows the vehicle to lift its front or rear end, or sometimes the entire vehicle, off the ground.

The hydraulic systems used for hopping are different from the typical lay-and-play setups that allow for controlled movements and dances. Hopping setups are engineered with the specific purpose of achieving vertical lift, and they require a high level of precision and control to perform safely.

3) Three-Wheel Motion Setup enables the minitruck to lift one wheel off the ground while the other three remain on the surface. It creates a distinctive "three-wheel motion" effect and is often used to add an element of dynamic performance and entertainment to minitruck displays.

3 wheel minitruck hydraulics

4) Dancing setups involve choreographed movements of the minitruck, creating a "dance" routine. This can include a combination of raising and lowering different parts of the vehicle in sync with music or other cues. Minitrucks with these hydraulics add a lively and engaging element to car shows and events.

dancing minitruck hydraulics

Hydraulics at Minitruck Shows

The judging criteria for hydraulic setups at minitruck shows can vary somewhat depending on the specific event and its organizers. However, there are common elements that judges typically consider when evaluating the various setups:

Execution of Movements:

Judges assess how well the lay-and-play setup executes various movements. This includes the smoothness of transitions, precision in controlling different parts of the vehicle, and the overall fluidity of the performance.

Creativity and Innovation:

Originality and creativity play a significant role. Judges may look for unique or innovative movements that set a particular minitruck apart from others. Customization and personalization are key factors in this category.

Synchronization and Choreography:

If the lay-and-play setup involves multiple movements or dances, judges evaluate how well these movements are synchronized and choreographed. The ability to create an engaging and visually appealing performance is crucial.

Technical Skill:

Judges consider the technical skill involved in installing and operating the lay-and-play setup. This includes the quality of the hydraulic components, the precision of the control system, and the overall craftsmanship.

Safety and Reliability:

Safety is paramount. Judges will assess whether the lay-and-play setup is safe for the vehicle, its occupants, and spectators. A reliable setup that can perform consistently without mechanical issues is likely to score higher.

Overall Presentation:

The overall presentation of the lay-and-play setup is important. This includes how well it complements the overall aesthetic of the minitruck, its visual impact, and how it enhances the vehicle's presence at the show.

Audience Engagement:

The crowd's reaction and engagement can influence judging. Lay-and-play setups are often designed to entertain and capture the audience's attention, so a positive response from spectators can contribute to a higher score.

Attention to Detail:

Judges may evaluate the attention to detail in the lay-and-play setup. This includes the cleanliness of the installation, the quality of the finish, and how well the customization integrates with the overall design of the minitruck.


It's important for minitruck owners to understand the specific judging criteria for the show they are participating in and to ensure that their lay-and-play setup aligns with those criteria. Ultimately, the goal is to showcase the uniqueness and creativity of the minitruck while adhering to safety standards and technical excellence.

Road Worthiness of Minitruck Hydraulics

A car with a hydraulic suspension setup can still be roadworthy if the installation is done properly and adheres to local regulations.

Ensure that the setup does not obstruct visibility or compromise the effectiveness of the vehicle's lighting systems. It should comply with regulations related to headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and other safety features.

While the hydraulics allow for adjustments in ride height, it's important to ensure that the vehicle maintains adequate ground clearance to navigate road obstacles safely.

Modifying the suspension can affect the vehicle's handling characteristics. A proper setup should take into account the original suspension geometry to maintain stability and control.

Insurance Considerations

Some insurance companies may have specific policies regarding modifications to vehicles. It's important to inform your insurance provider about any modifications and ensure that your coverage is appropriate for the modified vehicle.


Before installing minitruck hydraulics setups or any significant modifications to your truck, it's recommended to consult with professionals and local automotive authorities to ensure compliance with safety and roadworthiness standards. Additionally, understanding the legal requirements in your area and obtaining any necessary approvals or certifications is crucial for keeping your modified car roadworthy.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Minitruck Contests, Minitruck Customization
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