If you've just bought a new four-wheel-drive, you may be thinking about customizing it to give it a new look and feel. For example, you might be thinking about a body or suspension lift. Not only do lifts like these help to increase the height of the truck body, full suspension lifts also increase the height of the vehicle's actual suspension. If you're thinking about lifting your truck, here's what you need to know about your options.
Body leveling kits are designed to do just what the name suggests – level the body of the truck. If you've ever looked at a stock pickup truck and noticed that the back end of the truck sits higher than the front, it's because of the weight of the engine on the front of the truck. A leveling kit raises the front end by an inch or two to even out the appearance of the truck.
Although there are several different options, there are a few that are most common. A coil-spring suspension is likely to use use either a set of coil spring spacers or strut spacers. For torsion-bar suspensions, the leveling kit will come with a set of torsion bar keys to replace the existing ones. Finally, if the truck has a solid front axle, you'll get an add-a-leaf kit for the leaf spring or a set of blocks to install on the end of the spring.
Most leveling kits are fairly simple to install on your own, but if your truck has a coil suspension, you're going to need a coil spring compressor to get the springs back in place. In that case, it may be best to work with a mechanic to help you install it.
While a body leveling kit only balances out the existing truck body, a body lift kit raises the position of the truck body slightly above the frame. You can usually add a few inches, sometimes up to three, when you install a body lift. These are a great way to alter the appearance of the truck without having to make substantial changes to the suspension.
Most of the body lift kits are made from polyurethane blocks. The blocks are placed onto the body mounts of the truck and then the body is connected to the mounts using longer bolts and hardware. These kits are usually simple and straightforward to install, requiring no special tools to do. If you're handy with tools and comfortable with the type of work, you can probably install it in your garage in a weekend. However, if you don't have the mechanical skills, you might find it easier to have your local mechanic do the installation for you.
If you want more height from your truck, including increased ground clearance to fit larger tires, you'll want to look for a suspension lift instead. The suspension lift is a more complex installation, because it involves replacing a set of suspension components to increase the ride height of the truck.
For trucks with a leaf spring suspension, these kits typically come with new leaf packs, though small suspension lifts may just include an additional leaf that you need to put into your existing leaf springs. Coil spring suspensions include new springs. In either case, you'll also need to install new shocks, and you may even find that you need to have new drive shafts that are longer to accommodate the change in the suspension dynamic.
The more height you add to your suspension, the more components you'll have to replace in the suspension. You may need to replace the track bar to maintain your handling in the front, and don't forget to have a mechanic recalibrate the speedometer if you install larger tires.
As you can see, there are many options available to adjust the height of your suspension. With the information here, you'll be able to understand what's required for each so that you can choose the right one for your needs. Contact a company that sells lift kits and Jeep accessories for more info.