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How and why to make a car suspension lift

Heather Gribbin

Heather Gribbin

March 13, 2020

Heather loves Land Rovers and spending time in the great outdoors.
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Off-road enthusiasts often think about increasing ground clearance. In this article, we will tell you about the suspension and body lift for SUVs, the main differences, and why it is done. Also, how to make a jeep lift with your own hands.

What is the suspension lift

The suspension lift is the lifting of the entire SUV body by changing the suspension. The body lift is the lifting of only the body above the SUV frame due to additional spacers.

Which option should I choose?

This is a case-by-case question. Besides, sometimes, both are used simultaneously. In this case, you can put huge wheels without breaking the performance of the car as a whole.

The body lift will increase the space in the wheel arches, which will allow you to put larger than factory wheels. The suspension lift not only gives a similar increase but also lifts the entire car above the road. Geometric all-terrain travel capability is improving even on standard wheels. The exit angles and longitudinal cross-country travel ability are increasing.

Large wheels improve the ability to overcome vertical obstacles and increase the vehicle's ground clearance under the bridge. The simplest method to install big wheels on an SUV is to lift the body using a kit of spacers that fit between the car frame and the body. Spacers for the body are made of metal, fluoroplastic, or other alike materials.

Аdvantages of the body lift

One of the main advantages of the body lift is the preservation of the suspension geometry, and if the suspension is independent-the preservation of the angles of operation of the drives.

If you are going to make a large body lift, you will need the following modifications: lengthening the steering shaft, hoses, cables, wiring, bumper brackets, and shifting the radiator, since it will no longer align with the fan. Also, the shift knobs (manual transmission, automatic transmission, distributor) will be lower. One of the advantages of the body lift is its low cost and the fact that the engine, gearbox, distributor, and units will remain in their places on the frame, and the center of gravity will not change.

It is impossible to make a body lift on off-road vehicles with a load-bearing body. If you want to put large wheels without tuning the suspension, you can cut out the arches so that the wheels fit in them, and when turning, not get rubbed inside. The only possible variant of lifting an SUV with a load-bearing body is a suspension lift. You can use ready-made factory lift kits. There are also lift kits for highway driving, check this additional info on carinmydna.com.

In addition to the kits mentioned above, many methods of suspension lift have been invented:

  • special cups-spacers are made for springs,
  • spacers for bumpers,
  • shock absorber fasteners are moved lower to the height of the lift,
  • long springs are selected and adjusted,
  • levers are lengthened, etc.

It is easier to lift SUVs with spring suspension with the help of branded kits. There are kits for some cars that raise them by 5 inches!

If the suspension is leaf, rather than spring, there are several options-leafs from the bottom and leafs from the top. If the leafs are on top, the lift is similar to lifting spring suspensions: reinforced leafs or spacers between the bridge and the springs. It is worth noting that the spacers under the bumpers are made in the same way as on a spring suspension.

At first glance, everything is simple. New platforms for mounting springs are welded on top of the bridges, and that's it. The car is lifted, the ground clearance allows you to move on difficult off-road terrain. But in reality, everything is more complicated.

The height of the suspension lift will be gigantic-by the width of the spring package (it can reach 5.5-7 inches). Next, you will have to balance the front and back of the car if the front is not a leaf, but for example, with an independent suspension or a spring bridge. To top it off, we need to figure out how to make sure that the SUV that is "shod" with large wheels does not turn over on its side on any decent slope after modifications.

In addition, you will have to alter the shock absorbers, steering bipods, brake hoses, and gimbals.

Let's look at the gimbals in more detail. It is necessary to think about maintaining the permissible angle of their inclination. Otherwise, the crosses will break. This can be solved by turning the bridge around the axis. With the rear bridge, everything is simple, but the front bridge, if you turn it, will change the angle of the pivot, which will lead to a deterioration in the handling and stability of the SUV. This can be fixed, but it is much more difficult.

Now consider the option if the car is framed, but the front is an independent suspension, not a continuous bridge. You can lift the front of the vehicle if torsion bars are in front by screwing them a little, but there are a huge number of nuances. First – a twisted torsion bar can simply burst. Second – every pothole on the road will be passed through the bumpers, and then the question is who will give up first - the driver's fifth point or torsion bar.

Also, with a tight twisting, the range of the working stroke of the ball and tips will change, the shock absorption is lost, or the torsion tensioners break and the car noses at the road on the move. It should be remembered that rational adjustment of torsion bars is possible and even welcome, but changing their elasticity is not exactly a lift. Also, the torsion will still sink back over time.

On the spring suspension, you can use reinforced springs. They will lift the car by 1.5-2 inches. Here it is almost the same as with torsion bars, and the consequences are the same.

A good option for an independent suspension lift is a branded lift kit. Torsion bars and springs in branded lift kits are designed to raise the SUV on the same 1.5-2 inches while maintaining acceptable angles of operation of all the suspensi

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