Installing A Body Lift
"I'm thinking about a body lift"
This question was asked in a newsgroup, a while back. I answered as best I can. I'd like to add, that these guidelines apply to most body lifts. Every vehicle is different in it's own way. This is a good start.
I have a 94 Suburban 3/4 ton w/turbo diesel. Is there a body lift available
for this truck? What kind of fabrications would I have to make? Thanks.
There sure is a body lift available. Generally speaking, the more expensive the
kit is, the more complete it is.
You didn't say whether the truck is 2wd, or 4wd. If it has an auto trans, or
manual. I'll assume auto trans. (though man. mods. are similar)
By installing a body lift, you are moving the body away from the chassis.
1.You will have to have an extension welded to the shifter rod, the rod going
from the steering column under the hood, down to the trans. (no big deal) the
extension comes in the kit.
2.You will have to cut the rubber (neoprene) hoses going from the fuel tank, to
the filler neck (gas cap). The kit will have metal pipes / tubes and clamps, to
extend the hoses. (no big deal)
8. You will have to re adjust your headlights.
3.You may or may not have to get longer battery cables, usually not
necessary, but a possibility. These will not be in the kit.
4.You will have to remove any wiring, from the body to the frame, by "unhooking
it" from the plastic clips. (no big deal) after lifting, secure them with zip
5. You may have to drain the radiator, and loosen the hoses going to it, because
the radiator is being raised, but the engine stays where it is. (no big deal) After lifting re attach / tighten them back up. You may need a longer
6.If the vehicle has AC, you may have to loosen any clamps holding the hoses
and lines, re attaching them after the lift. They should reach without extensions.
7.There are 2 rivets, going through the steering shaft, that goes from the
steering column, to the steering box. These will have to be drilled out. After
lifting, the better kits include new rivets, or plastic pins. (THIS IS
IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IN A HEAD ON COLLISION, THE RIVETS ALLOW THE STEERING SHAFT
COMPRESS (GET SHORTER) SO THE STEERING WHEEL DOESN'T HIT YOU IN THE CHEST!!!)
Never replace them with metal rivets.
9. Your parking brake cables will have to be re adjusted. (no big deal)
10. You will have to trim the bottom of the fan shroud,
put, and the shroud is going up with the radiator. (no big deal)
11. If you have a trans cooler, stock, or aftermarket, you may have to mount it
differently, engine oil cooler too. The stock t cooler lines, going to the
radiator, will have to be unattached from the frame clips, and possibly extended using steel tubing and flare connectors, or fuel line hose.
12. If the truck is 4wd, or has a manual trans, you will have to remove the rubber
shifter boot (s) in the cab. Check to see that the shifter (s) travels to all the
gears (all the way fwd, and all the way back) without hitting the body. You may
have to trim the body, to allow clearance, and allow you to get it into all your
gears. Then remount the rubber boot (s). Your shifter handle will be a little
shorter after the lift. Some guys heat and bend the shifter handle (s) to allow
clearance. I recommend cutting the body though. If your shifter is chrome, it won't
look great after heating and bending.
13. Your throttle cable, going from the gas pedal, to the lever on the throttle
body should reach, but may have to be adjusted.
14. You will have to stretch the coiled sections of brake lines at the master
cylinder, not a big deal, plenty of "slack' available.
So generally speaking, for the most part, installing a body lift requires
extending a lot of hoses, wires, cables, and shafts. It should have no effect on the
vehicles ride quality, though you are increasing the vehicle's center of
gravity. It may handle a little differently, but you'll get used to it. Having
sway bars helps.
Just make sure you follow the instructions that come with the kit you buy. It is
extremely important that you do!!!!
As far as "cheap" kits, and more expensive ones? I had a Chevy LUV, I installed a
3" body lift. It was a Rancho kit. It had everything included and then some!!!.
I went for a cheap kit for my 77 Chevy K/20. The instructions were very brief. I
had to make all my own hose / line extensions. It said nothing about welding in
the advertisement (but I knew I'd have to weld).
It didn't include new rivets for the steering shaft, I used some nylon rivets
that I had.
So again, if you see a kit for $69.99 (like mine), and another for $100, go with
the $100 kit.
8. You will have to re adjust your headlights.
This is what it looks like under the bed with the body lift
installing the blocks under the cab, they go on top of the bushings. These
happen to be polyurethane bushings in this picture. The poly is the "little
red block" under the 3" lift block.
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