|pros & cons of a body lift|
The question comes up alot.
Should i put a body lift on my truck? Or, What are the
pros/cons of installing a body lift on my truck? Due to
the overwhelming amount of times this question has been asked, i
have decided to address the situation here.
We'll start by taking a look at a couple photos of my truck, taken back when the body lift was just installed on it.
(As you look at these, you'll notice alot of red lines. Those are there for clarification, so youll understand me more clearly later on.)
When it comes to cosmetics, the body lift falls flat. Because, by definition, you are lifting only the body, you lose all of the factory lines. Gaps between the bumpers and the body are created. Relocation brackets are made to correct this, but if you use them you lose any strength the bumper might once have had. Also, with the raised body, your shiny (or rusty) frame rails become very visible. The lines above indicate where the bottom of the body is. Yet another problem is the wheel wells. After the lift, your plastic inner well has been raised away from the frame, making them basically useless. In the second pic you can see straight over my rear axle and through to the other side. The same problem appears in the front well, and it will be very obvious the first time you wheel with it like that, because you will rapidly fill your engine compartment with mud/water/dirt/sand, etc. Gap Guards can be bought to fill in those openings, and only require minor drilling (about 10 holes per well) to to allow you to snap the filler (shaped piece of black rubber) into the plastic well.
This is where all the major cons come into place. When you lift a truck with a suspension lift, you are raising all the 'vitals' up away from the ground. This would include items such as your transmission, transfer case, exhaust, and gas tank. However, since this is a body lift, and all those items are attached (one way or another) to the frame, they do not go up. You'll notice how close to the ground my tailpipes are! Not only does it look not so good having them that far away from the body, but i have swamped those before because of it. I have also high centered on my transfer case skid plate because it was too low to the ground, a problem that probably would not have occurred if i had done a suspension lift instead. However, there are more problems to attend to. Next up is your parking brake cable. Lets not forget that one end is on your axle, and the other end is at the pedal. This means that you had better have 3" of extra cable before you put that lift in, because the pedal is now 3" further away. This caused my parking brake cable to bind when i would set it, and it would not release right away. It caused my cables to bind, and eventually totally freeze up on me. I ended up having to make a bracket to relocate one of the cable hangars up a couple inches so it would still function properly.
Next: your transfer case. The handle (if its not electronic) will now sit 3" lower in the cab, requiring you to reach lower. In some cases, the arm is required to be cut and lengthened so that it would still engage properly. In my case (BW-1356 t/c) the plastic trim around the handle had to have a notch cut out of it, because otherwise you wouldnt be able to put it back into 2wd. Also, the shift linkage for my trans (C6) had to be cut and have a 3" spacer welded into the middle of it so it would still reach the column from the trans.
Now, under the hood.
Your battery is mounted to the fender, and the engine isnt, so you need an additional 3" of slack in your battery wires. One of your tranny cooler lines may have to be cut and lengthened to prevent breakage. You will have to remove the bottom half of your fan shroud. Your coolant hoses connecting to your radiator will be stretched. The hoses going from throttle body to the air cleaner will be bent upwards, making it a real pain in the ass to remove/replace them. the air intake might not sit properly on top of the grill, or the hose might pop off of it alot. (It did on mine). Also, your chassis ground straps will be stretched out. Ive had two break in the year the body lift was in.
The good news is that there are some pros to the body lift! The question you must ask is, 'do they outweigh the cons?'
With the 3" of lift, you have alot more clearance between the body and the 'vitals', ie tranny, t/c and gas tank. This make it significantly easier to work on each of these, as there is now enough room to stick your arms and a ratchet or two in there to do some work. Having this extra work space in there is why mine is still on my truck.
Also, since you arent touching the suspension, the stock 'ride' is maintained. Add-a-leafs make the truck ride harder, and blocks can cause axle wrap, but a truck with a body lift will ride/perform like a stock one. Also, all truck are inherently higher in the rear, so that they maintain a level appearance when loaded down or towing a trailer. A truck lifted with a body lift will be raised equally in front and back, whereas a truck lifted with a suspension lift will be lifted more in the front than in the rear, to try and level the truck out. Also, since it isnt affecting the suspension, you retain the stock angles at all the u-joints.
I am also told of people having problems filling their gas tank, that it fills to slowly, or that you have to stand there and hold the nozzle cause it wont pump on its own. The body lift improves the angle of the filler hose and seems to make it easier to fill, and ive yet to meet anyone with a body lift who has this problem.
Well, im pretty sure thats all of it.
Now its up to you to decide if you still want to install it!