Lift Kits 101

Lift Kit 101


Looking for a new lift kit and don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. One of the more frequent questions we receive involves choosing the best aftermarket suspension for a specific 4x4. There are many things to consider when choosing a suspension lift, especially if it’s your very first. Always keep in mind that what may work for someone else, may not work for you. Driving style, personal preference, and the kind of off-roading you plan to do will dictate what lift kit will fit your needs best.

Before purchasing a lift kit, you must be completely honest with yourself. Ask yourself this. “What is the best lift kit for my Jeep or truck?” Do you just want to gain a little extra tire meat? In which case a Leveling Kit would be a great option to level front ride height with the rear. Or a Budget Lift Kit to help gain ground clearance for those 35” tires without paying an arm and leg.  Now for the ones that want to keep or improve ride quality or hardcore crawlers that understand you can’t put a price on value, there are Performance Lift Systems to help ensure drivetrain angles and suspension geometry are not tampered with or stressed. Here are some lift basics that should set you in the right direction to purchase your first lift kit.






Strut Spacer


Spacer leveling kits for newer mid to full-size IFS (Independent Front Suspension) 4wd vehicles are becoming more and more popular.  Adding a few more inches to help level out the front end of your vehicle for a fraction of an upgraded coilover system. Being a minimal amount of lift there is little to no difference between spacer lifts and stock suspension stock.


Torsion Keys


Owners of IFS 4x4s equipped with torsion bar suspension systems can gain up to 2 1⁄2 inches of lift up front with aftermarket torsion keys. With the turning of the torsion bars at the keys will add more or less height to the front end. These Zone Off Road Products torsion bar keys level the stance of trucks to eliminate truck rake.  Due to the increase in height it is normally recommended to replace shocks with longer travel.








Coil spring spacers such as these from Rough Country are an easy and affordable way to help boost your late model solid axle Jeep or truck.  This keeps the stock springs while adding inches to your suspension. While many of these lift kits are cheap in cost some require more labor and fabricating to work with stock suspension. More commonly seen with smaller lifts to simply gain more room for bigger tires along with little to light off-roading.  We recommend upgrading to longer shocks when going over 2 inches. Regardless of what year or suspension type, these lifts offer a small but safe amount of lift.




Making sure of proper drivetrain and suspension geometry is crucial in ensuring driveshafts/CV shafts are not stressed resulting in damage or poor handling. Improper drive angle will result in vibration, noise or worse, breakage. Your quality kits like this Fabtech performance lift kit with upgraded coilovers and drop-down brackets to keep front differentials and axles in place, and redesigned steering knuckles to help with wheel geometry and travel. Kits like these will also provide sway bar end links, brake line relocation brackets to reduce stress from those components with the new stance. Quality of ride will be improved along with limitless off-roading capabilities.








The latest craze and blowing up on social media and truck shows are the large IFS drop-down bracket systems as. Full Throttle Suspension shows the extreme height gain and open view of components are generally reserved for light off road and street crowds.  While geometry and angles are still correct there is little to no improvement in overall front-end strengthening. 







For the true off-road enthusiasts that want the best ride and most wheel travel, it’s not about height and just bigger tires.  Upgrading stock suspension with new coilover and tubular upper and/or lower control arms like this Icon Vehicle Dynamics system not only provides a degree of lift but allows you to take on the hardest of terrain with increased control. Redesigned control arms help with increasing track width, wheel travel and articulationIn many cases, quick adjustments are available to tweak ride height or dampen quality of ride from soft on road to firm off road applications. Increasing the wheel travel of your IFS 4x4 allows you to traverse rough terrain at higher speeds.





Whichever way you decide to go, always make sure to have a someone or shop with the proper tools and equipment to see the project through. Alignments must be checked and corrected after tampering with the steering and/or suspension.  Knowledgeable in bleeding brakes in case a line needs to be disconnected to reshape/relocate. A good practice is to always read through the installation instructions thoroughly before starting the job. Proper torque and use of thread-lock on bolts and nuts is a must. A solid 500-mile post inspection of all hardware and components is essential in making sure everything is still nice and tight and great time to catch an issue before resulting in damage.  Check to make sure all hardware is in the box and you have all the proper tools to complete the job.  

 If you’d like to know more or consult with one of our off-road techs, please Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help you.