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Lifting a 4WD has many benefits. One of the most profound ones is the ability to fit larger tires as the lift now provides more wheel arch clearance than before.
However, lift kits are expensive – especially the larger three-inch or four-inch ones.
As you would expect, people have found a way to get a lift for far less money – that way is known as the body lift.
Being a cheaper method there are some compromises you should know, and in this article, we are going over all of them.
What is a Body Lift?
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A body lift is a way of lifting just the body of the vehicle which allows for larger tires but does not increase ground clearance.
This kind of lift is done by putting some spacers between the body of the vehicle and the chassis. Therefore, everything that is connected to the chassis such as the bumpers and axles stays where it used to be and all the rest now sit a few inches higher.
As mentioned at the start, the benefits of this method are that you can fit larger tires for a very cheap price as you are only paying for a few steel blocks.
You also save yourself the hassle of having to correct suspension geometry if you are trying to lift your vehicle for more than two inches.
However, that’s about where the positives stop, and the negatives begin.
What are the Downfalls?
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Firstly, a body lift isn’t really a lift kit. It does offer space for larger tires, but all the components that tend to hinder ground clearance like the chassis stay exactly where they used to be.
Furthermore, your vehicle will now have a one or two-inch gap between the front bumper and the grille and the rear bumper and the rear door as in most cases the bumpers are mounted to the chassis.
To add to the above, your gear lever will now appear shorter as the body is now sitting higher. Furthermore, certain wires may get stretched as the distance between the body and other components is now larger.
Lastly, the body lift will increase your vehicle’s center of gravity without improving your suspension properties like a good quality suspension lift would. This means the truck will be more tippy and unstable both on and off-road.
From the above, it is clear that if you opt for a body lift you will need to also do some correction mods to ensure your truck does not look and behave weird.
Who Should You Use a Body Lift?
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So, there seem to be plenty of negatives to this type of lift. However, there is one application where I think it is worth opting for it.
If you own an IFS truck and want to get a three or four-inch lift so you can fit bigger tires a one or two-inch body lift may be your best bet.
What you can do is get a good quality two-inch suspension lift with shocks and coils and add the one-inch or two-inch body lift on top of that.
Why should you do this? As we have mentioned in a previous article, lifting an IFS truck more than two inches can be difficult and expensive. Therefore, with this method, you only lift the suspension by two inches which avoids the extra cost of a larger lift, and then, you make space for the larger tires by installing the small body lift on top of it.
The smaller the body lift the better as the negatives mentioned above will be less visible.