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Old 04-05-2011, 07:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Body lift VS Suspension Lift

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a body lift compared to a Supension lift? Thanks.

Kreg
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Huge open-ended question.

Suspension lifts are what should be your primary source of gaining ground clearance and flex. Body lifts are a way to gain an inch or maybe two when going with that one or two more inches of suspension lift will cause many more things to be changed.

If you consider the frame of a vehicle the constant. A suspension lift adds clearance by moving the axles away from the frame. This gives you more space for not only larger tires but also space for the axles to articulate before contacting the frame.

A body lift just moves the body away from the frame using spacers. Doesn't do a thing for the performance of the suspension of a vehicle.

Like I said, body lifts should be used as a one to maybe two inch boost over what you are getting with a good suspension lift. Not as the only source of lift.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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BL aren't really ideal for offroading due to the fact you don't gain any suspension travel from them but a cheap way to gain clearance for tires. Just don't go to big. Most people say stay two inches or below Personally I would never run a BL. But with that most ifs lifts wont gain you any travel either there just adding a bracket. According to what type of wheeling you do really
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As other have said, definitely want your main source of lift to be suspension. However, body lifts can have some advantages. For instance, you can raise the body up an 1" (don't go big with a body lift) and then easily raise the motor up an inch to gain a little clearance there.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For someone who has never installed a SL , (ME) , how difficult and how long would it take to complete such a task, or should I just have a shop do the install. New to all this.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Looking for about a 3" lift.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Depends on the age and type of vehicle. Do some searching around to see what best fits your style of wheeling. Honestly, do all the work yourself. That labor will cost more than the parts and you'll save a bundle. That and you get an understanding of how it works.

As for the body lift, avoid it at all costs. Only time I'd use a BL is to be able to clock my drivetrain for a flatbelly.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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3" lift to what? Difficulty depends on the vehicle and type of suspension as well as type of suspension lift.

3" lift for a TJ using stock control arms = easy

3" lift for a TJ changing over to a long arm suspension and coilovers = harder
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It depends on what you expect from it.

Many people mistakenly think that a suspension lift will "perform" better off road. Performance is a vague and ambiguous term, but for this purpose we'll define it as wheel travel. Wheel travel is the holy grail of almost every kind of off road performance. Desert racers need it to keep their vehicles under control at speed, and rock crawlers need it to keep their wheels on the ground for traction.

But your typical off-the-shelf lift kit is not going to give you any more wheel travel than you have stock. In the case of an IFS vehicle, all they are going to do is replace your lower cross member so you can fit a bigger tire under the fenders. Your "performance" has not improved beyond the ability to fit a bigger tire. In the case of a straight axle, it depends on the kit. If you have flex joints at one end of each control arm it will give you more flex, but if it's a "cheepie" kit, the bushings won't last if you try to flex more than stock. They include bump stops to prevent that. So again, unless you go with high-end components, you are not gaining much.

A body lift will give you up to 3" of clearance, which will let you clear some 33" tires.
The advantage of the body lift is cost. Also, many people with 6" suspension lifts discover vibrations because they've changed driveline angles. Since you are not changing any mechanical components, you won't have those issues with a body lift.

Last but not least, don't pay attention to the "body lift haters". Most of them have not seen a body lift done correctly. While a back-woods body lift is easy to spot, a proper body lift is not. In the case of a full size truck, a proper body lift will include bumper brackets and urethane gap guards to cover the gap between the body and frame.

Here's a picture of a 2011 Raptor with a 3" body lift

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Old 04-05-2011, 06:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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^^^

Agreed. Body lifts do have their place (I have a 2" on mine and did as Rendered mentions with my t-case for more belly clearance), but like said, your initial focus generally should be on a suspension lift.

To help us better answer your difficulty of install question better, you might want to tell us what kind of vehicle you're working with (and model year).
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well since explaining what vehicle, or what your using it for is yet to be posted. Installation of a lift takes common sense
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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3" lift to what? Difficulty depends on the vehicle and type of suspension as well as type of suspension lift.

3" lift for a TJ using stock control arms = easy

3" lift for a TJ changing over to a long arm suspension and coilovers = harder
Rig is a 2011 Tacoma.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I see. Thanks for the information. That truck is sweet.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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As for the body lift, avoid it at all costs. Only time I'd use a BL is to be able to clock my drivetrain for a flatbelly.
Why? If I want to fit bigger tires so that I have more clearance over bigger obstacles, why should I avoid it?

I am playing devils advocate here, but many of the wheelers on here can't afford a "decent" suspension lift and many suspensions lifts don't actually improve performance.

If I can fit bigger tires, I get better performance offroad. That is as close to being a fact as anything on here. A body lift will get me that, cheap. It is not ideal, but it is not the devil either, especially if you only have $100 to spend.

Last edited by higgo; 04-05-2011 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Why? If I want to fit bigger tires so that I have more clearance over bigger obstacles, why should I avoid it?

I am playing devils advocate here, but many of the wheelers on here can't afford a "decent" suspension lift and many suspensions lifts don't actually improve performance.

If I can fit bigger tires, I get better performance offroad. That is as close to being a fact as anything on here. A body lift will get me that, cheap. It is not ideal, but it is not the devil either, especially if you only have $100 to spend.
I just think the benefits from a suspension faaaaaaar outweigh those from a body lift. The cost is worth it.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Money has nothing to do with my decision.

The goal I am trying to reach would be to have the ability to take the truck offroad and not worry about tearing up to much of the undercarriage. I am not really into the rock scene, I like dirt,mud,rough terrain,and such. Do I need to change my shocks when I put a lift on?

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Old 04-05-2011, 10:09 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Money has nothing to do with my decision.

The goal I am trying to reach would be to have the ability to take the truck offroad and not worry about tearing up to much of the undercarriage. I am not really into the rock scene, I like dirt,mud,rough terrain,and such. Do I need to change my shocks when I put a lift on?

Kreg
If money is no object, consider a Total Chaos suspension. Total cost for the project will be about $10,000. What you get is a suspension with travel. Most of the "bolt on" suspensions won't give you any more travel than you have now.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I just think the benefits from a suspension faaaaaaar outweigh those from a body lift. The cost is worth it.
Assuming that the definition of "benefits" is increased wheel travel. What affordable suspension provides more wheel travel than stock?

For arguement's sake, lets define affordable as $2500, roughly five times the cost of a body lift.
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:20 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Ok. Forget it.

Go with a 4" body lift and 6" lift blocks. Thornbirds are the best tires on the market right now. For a cage, I suggest Sched 40.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:56 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Gentlemen, keep in mind this is my daily driver as well. I found out body lifts' are frowned upon here in MD , I have vehicle inspections every two years. I don't mind taking it out and rigging it out totally in a few years, but not yet. I want to have a nice lift so I can go offroad and play. Not looking to "play hard" yet. I did some research yesterday and I will get order a lift from 4wheeler. Icon shocks I like. pricey but I like the features of products. Probably go with a skyjacker lift. Thanks again for all the input. Greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:31 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Ok. Forget it.

Go with a 4" body lift and 6" lift blocks. Thornbirds are the best tires on the market right now. For a cage, I suggest Sched 40.
Im not gonna lie, this made me but dont forget this is the newbie forum after all.

OP- I also think the others forgot to mention that body lifts are hard on body mounts. Theres plenty of people out there who run them with zero issues, but at the same time, theres also plenty who have put a lift block through the floor. Ive done it, and its not a fun thing to fix.

They arent necessarily a BAD thing, as mentioned above, their main purpose is to gain clearance for things like clocking your T-case, and they make drivetrain swaps a little easier. Sometimes when people swap different body's to different frames, a body lift is necessary as well.

All in all, a suspension lift is going to get you places. A body lift is just to keep from cutting fenders.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:43 AM   #22 (permalink)
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All in all, a suspension lift is going to get you places. A body lift is just to keep from cutting fenders.
Not to labor the point, but the main benefit of any lift is that you can add bigger tires. That is what will get you places.

With a suspension lift you do get some more frame clearance (which will help with approach, departure and breakover angles) but your overall clearance is exactly the same because your diffs are exactly where they were before the lift. Most suspension lifts do nothing for wheel travel or overall articulation.

The main drawbacks of a body lift are:
  1. Added stress to the body mounts
  2. Ground clearance to frame is the same
  3. Big ones look dumb
The main advantages of a body lift are:
  1. Cheap way to fit bigger tires
  2. Driveline angles don't change
  3. Center of gravity lower

Last edited by higgo; 04-06-2011 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:15 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Gentlemen, keep in mind this is my daily driver as well. I found out body lifts' are frowned upon here in MD , I have vehicle inspections every two years. I don't mind taking it out and rigging it out totally in a few years, but not yet. I want to have a nice lift so I can go offroad and play. Not looking to "play hard" yet. I did some research yesterday and I will get order a lift from 4wheeler. Icon shocks I like. pricey but I like the features of products. Probably go with a skyjacker lift. Thanks again for all the input. Greatly appreciated.
Make sure you have your information correct on MD laws. There is only one authority on MD laws, and that's the State's own vehicle code. I've found this site to be helpful http://www.liftlaws.com/maryland_lift_laws.htm

I've found nothing that says you can't run a body lift.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:31 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Not to labor the point, but the main benefit of any lift is that you can add bigger tires. That is what will get you places.

With a suspension lift you do get some more frame clearance (which will help with approach, departure and breakover angles) but your overall clearance is exactly the same because your diffs are exactly where they were before the lift. Most suspension lifts do nothing for wheel travel or overall articulation.

The main drawbacks of a body lift are:
  1. Added stress to the body mounts
  2. Ground clearance to frame is the same
  3. Big ones look dumb
The main advantages of a body lift are:
  1. Cheap way to fit bigger tires
  2. Driveline angles don't change
  3. Center of gravity lower
I agree with most of this, although I think the point about stress on the body mount is one-sided. Responsible body lift manufacturers include a statement in their packaging and instructions that advise the customer that a body lift may add additional stress to the body mounts. This is no different from the similar warnings found in the packaging and instructions of any suspension lift kit made by a responsible manufacturer. Every vehicle should be routinely checked for loose fasteners and other signs of damage regardless of if it's lifted or stock, driven to work every day or in the Baja 1000. I don't think that I need to point out the obvious, which is that modified vehicles, and vehicles driven off road should be checked more throughly, more often, but I just did

I'm not really sure what you mean by big body lifts looking dumb. How big is big? I don't know of a body lift kit that's bigger than 3". If that's big, I posted a pic of a Raptor above with a 3" body lift, and it does not look dumb.

But if you are talking about this I agree.

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Old 04-06-2011, 11:12 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Body lifts are AWESOME, check out the tire clearence this guy got with his body lift:




I can see why people like body lifts now, it all makes sense


On a more serious note, some vehicles look ok with a body lift and some don't. From my experience body lifts look on ok 03 and up Dodge's, Ford Raptor's, Nissan Titan's. Pretty much everything else looks like ass with the frame hanging WAY down below the truck. On Toyota there is a good bit of frame exposed factory and after a body lift it is a tremendous amount. I would steer you toward suspension on that particular truck.

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