So, you want to lift your 4WD truck?
Lifting will definitely allow for bigger wheels and tires or provide some added ground or fender clearance, but have you thought it all out completely?
Before jumping into any kind of lift, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what this type of extensive modification involves from start to finish.
It’s a lot more than just adding a few parts to make your off-road truck or Jeep taller and anyone who is not prepared could end up surprised at just the very tip of what could turn into a substantial cost and labor iceberg to finish the job correctly.
What Type of Lift Do You Need?
The first question that needs answering before attempting any kind of lift on a 4WD truck is which type of lift is ctually needed.
If all you want is height to raise the fenders away from the tires a little bit, a simple body lift might work.
When looking for more ground clearance, a stronger suspension, and more tire articulation in addition to increased fender space, you need a full suspension lift.
Body and suspension lifts for off-road trucks are very different.
The former can be achieved fairly quickly and inexpensive, while the latter will be considerably more expensive and may require multiple other modifications being made at the same time.
What Are the Potential Costs Involved?
Body lifts can usually be done on an off-road truck for a few hundred dollars and typically don’t require making other changes to the vehicle.
On the other hand, suspension lifts typically cost anywhere from $400 for a lift kit to $14,000 to have it professionally done.
Depending on the extent of the changes desired with that suspension lift, you could end up spending thousands more upgrading other parts and systems on the truck to ensure everything works correctly with the new lifted suspension.
That’s a big cost difference, even in a best-case scenario where only the suspension lift kit is required.
What Other Things May Need Attention?
As mentioned in the previous point, a suspension lift doesn’t usually end with just the lift kit itself and may require other modifications to your off-road truck including:
- Driveshaft and Exhaust Modifications - The driveshaft and exhaust system may not match up correctly with the axles once a substantial lift has been done.
- Gearing - When adding 2” larger or greater tires with a suspension lift to an off-road truck, gears may need to be changed to lower ones that can handle the bigger tires to keep the drivetrain responsive without putting added strain on the transmission if the gears are too high for the planned changes.
- Vehicle Sensors - Certain sensors that work with the onboard computer may need to be replaced or reprogrammed if they record speed data, which may be affected by the addition of significantly bigger tires.
- Improving the Shocks - Whenever modifying the suspension or height of an off-road truck, it’s essential to switch out the shocks to a stronger, taller set that has enough length while still having the ability to provide the necessary cushioning.
- Brake Lines, Rotors, and Pads - An extreme suspension lift may require the installation of longer brake lines, while the addition of bigger wheels and tires frequently means investing in more heavy-duty rotors and brake pads to increase stopping power.
- Steering System Modifications - As with the potential changes in the alignment of the driveshaft and exhaust system, some lifts may also require modifying steering components by adding a more rugged power steering box and a dropped Pitman arm and other steering linkage.
- Sway Bars and Track Bars - Additional essential parts that may be altered by the addition of a lift kit to an off-road truck and need replacing or modification to ensure they perform as intended.
There’s More To A Lift Than Just Doing The Lift
The important takeaway from all of this is hopefully easy to see, namely that doing a lift on an off-road truck may solve certain problems but bring about some completely new ones at the same time.
A properly done lift, whether a body or full suspension lift, demands very careful planning to get it right as well as a generous budget to handle the additional changes that may be required.
Don’t ever skimp with a lift to an off-road truck or you could be setting yourself up for a costly disaster!