Lifting a truck’s suspension can be beneficial for many reasons. Although some people choose to do this purely for aesthetic reasons, suspension lifting (unlike leveling, which only involves lifting the front or rear) can also help trucks gain clearance. Installing larger tires can make your truck’s frame and differentials (the device that splits the engine torque two ways) become more elevated. Visibility is also typically improved thanks to truck lifting, so you can see other vehicles much further down a given road. When thinking of how to lift your truck, it’s important to consider some key factors.
Additionally, a lifted truck can make off-roading simpler due to the departure angles and breakover. The lifted suspension also maintains your vehicle’s four wheels on the ground and traction can thus be optimized. Truck lifting has been on the rise in recent years. According to Statista, lift truck shipments in the Americas grew 5% in 2017 relative to the previous year. The global market for new industrial trucks is also expected to attain approximately $51 billion by 2022.
Let’s take a look at how to lift your truck (the right way).
Lifting a Stock Design
There are many different types of truck lifts, but two of the most common kinds are body lifts and suspension lifts. If you choose to perform this action on your own, it’s important to exercise caution.
A body lift raises clearance for bigger tires without impacting alignment angles or suspension height. Kits for this type of lift are typically fabricated with urethane or plastic. Body lift kits can also serve to make room for larger transmissions and engines, correct brake lines, or add power takeoff tools.
A suspension lift, meanwhile, pushes your truck’s wheels down. These kits come in various styles, including leaf spring shackles and coil-spring bushings. For this type of lift, longer shocks are usually needed to correct alignment angles and driveline.
Lifting a Custom Design
If you own a custom design truck, certain components like coil springs often need to be adjusted for the exact spring rate and height desired, at least if you wish to lift your vehicle without the use of a spacer. Be sure to speak to a truck expert who is familiar with different types of suspensions.
Air suspensions can also be a relatively simpler way to lift in small increments. Beyond 1 or 2 inches, however, they can be more challenging and need costly custom work.
Consider Function Over Looks
A truck lift can indeed look stylish, but this type of project should ultimately aim to make driving easier for you. Therefore, always remain informed about what changes to expect when deciding to undertake a particular type of truck lift. After all, a truck’s transmission and tires should still function properly no matter what.
Also, don’t forget to miss key steps during a truck lift, such as the rear axle brake line. Substituting wood blocks and welding U-bolt extensions together is not recommended.
Changes in Handling and Efficiency
The truth is that both handling and fuel efficiency will likely be negatively affected by a truck lift. Your vehicle’s center of gravity will have been altered, which means it could more easily flip if you make a sudden maneuver. Additionally, fuel efficiency drops as a vehicle’s weight jumps and aerodynamic drag increases. Larger tires also lead to higher rolling resistance and non-stock tires can modify the effective gear ratio for some vehicles. Smaller tires, on the other hand, can increase RPM at certain speeds.
There’s also the fact that taller trucks are typically more difficult to enter and exit. Therefore, keep this in mind when weighing whether to take children or elderly individuals for a ride.
Consult with the Pros on a Body vs. Suspension Lift
Speak to the experts at Rob’s Customs & Restorations in Manassas, Virginia, to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of body and suspension lifts. Our personalized restoration services are aimed at enhancing trucks’ performances without negatively impacting their functionality. We have experience working with several different types of vehicles, including classic, antique and vintage trucks, and we are dedicated to ensuring all of our customers are 100% satisfied.
Rob’s professionals can perform both bodywork (alignments) and interior restoration services (e.g. glove box and dashboard repair, fabric and leather seat restoration) since comfort is also important when it comes to trucks.
We can also provide you with an estimate of the cost of services so that you can plan according to your budget. Call Rob’s today at (703) 552-5001 or contact us online for more information. You’ll hardly find a more reliable truck restoration shop in Northern Virginia.