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Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" #1582261 08/29/09 10:57 AM
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redwolf4k Offline OP
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This information is for anyone thinking of buying a "Leveling Kit" or a mild lift kit for there modern day IFS, double wishbone, torsion, or any other IFS front end truck.

It's been really popular lately, for truck owners to install what is called a "leveling kit" or, a 2 or 3" front end lift kit for there pickup truck, so they can clear larger tires.

Currently I have done quite a few installs. I have done some F-150s, some Dakotas, and a Silverado 1500.

The point of this thread, is to inform potential buyers, to please stay away from such kits. The kit is generally a steel spacer that bolts to the top of the strut assembly. The spacer doesn't pre-load the spring, but instead, it sits like a crown on top of the upper strut plate, putting space between the strut frame mount and the strut itself.

Making a strut longer on any IFS vehicle is a bad idea. Increasing the struts length, and putting more space between the upper and lower control arm throws geometry way off. At static ride height, a vehicle wearing a leveling kit sits in a position where the suspensions down travel travel is at 2" or 3" (depending on the kits lift.) This puts the cv joints for the transfer case out of the normal operating range and angle they should function at, as well as causes the power steering rack (if applicable)to have poor tie rod operating angles. A tie-rod that used to operate nice and parallel to the ground, is now working at an angle.

With the kit installed, allowing full articulation of the front end causes even bigger problems. Now that the strut is displaced 2-3" lower in the strut tower/frame mount, it now fully extends too long for the other front end components, causing over extension of the cv joints, tie rods, and upper control arms.

Ive noticed that this translates into the upper control arm drooping down to the point where it swings into the struts coil spring, where it rests. This makes the upper ball joint the suspension limiter, instead of the strut. I can only imagine the shortened life the ball joint will suffer with a leveling kit setup.

Leveling kit companies such as "ready lift" and "truxxx" to name a few state that "our kits will not alter the factory ride feel" Although this statement is true, because the strut assembly's shock remains unchanged, it is doing a number on your front end.

I will argue that such a kit will make your truck LESS capable of off road tasks.

It seems there is very little information online about how these kits negatively effect a modern day IFS front end pickup truck. I figured I would start a rant on THIS FORUM, because it has been the best, and most thorough in exposing what a waste of money a K&N air filter is.

In short, you simply cannot lengthen a strut on an IFS and "call it a day". These kits are complete garbage, and I urge anyone who is taking good care of there pickup truck, to stay away from these things.

I apologize if I have posted this is the wrong section.

I am sure this isn't news to someone with a drive line or suspension background, but for the common guy looking to run larger tires, i think it should become common knowledge.

Anyone have any feelings on this?

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: redwolf4k] #1582282 08/29/09 11:18 AM
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alreadygone Offline
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If you feel that strongly, why have you done "quite a few" installs?

Bob


To which version of reality would you like to convert me?

Bob
Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: alreadygone] #1582285 08/29/09 11:20 AM
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redwolf4k Offline OP
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Well, the first few times I did them was pure ignorance, the guy who had the silverado didnt care what I had to say, he just had to have it installed.

Its not my money, not my choice.

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: redwolf4k] #1582317 08/29/09 11:50 AM
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oilboy123 Offline
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I agree that kits to lower or raise vehicles usually cause geometry problems. In this case ignorance is bliss......


“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
― Mark Twain






Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: oilboy123] #1582355 08/29/09 12:20 PM
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mechtech2 Offline
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Guys who need them can do this properly.
But many are going for looks, with occasional of road use.
They get the cheap methods.

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: mechtech2] #1582369 08/29/09 12:33 PM
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RISUPERCREWMAN Offline
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I totally agree, anytime you mess up the geometry of a suspension it is so not a good idea!


2018 Ram 2500 HD 6.4 Hemi Crew Cab 10,600
8'Boss SuperDuty Plow
2017 Harley Davidson Milwaukee 8 Limited 10KMiles
2010 Toyota Avalon XLS 52K miles
Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: mechtech2] #1582371 08/29/09 12:35 PM
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wcbcruzer Offline
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It's the same as lowering cars. In most cases it ruins the suspension geometry so bad that it's not worth it imo.


1996 Dodge Ram, 12v Cummins, 4x4, 47RE, ext. cab, long bed
Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: RISUPERCREWMAN] #1582375 08/29/09 12:37 PM
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Johnny248 Offline
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who cares. Everyone knows (or has at least heard) that any time you modify something on a car that it may have a negative effect on life expectancy and/or reliability. However, the trade off is usually in favor of the mod. People lift their trucks and lower their cars all the time. IFS trucks tend to do a number on ball joints anyway, so it is what it is.


'11 Ram 1500 5.7L
'08 Beetle 2.5L
'04 Mini Cooper S JCW 1.6L

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: Johnny248] #1582450 08/29/09 02:22 PM
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BuickGN Offline
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The point is, there is a right way and a wrong way to raise or lower a vehicle. It doesn't have to shorten life or kill geometry. In my Acura for example, most guys are ricers who only care about looks. They throw a set of springs on there and don't get a camber kit. 10,000 miles later the insides of the tires are worn. A camber kit is $200, cheaper than a set of tires. Not to mention the car is left sitting on the bumpstops so performance is worse than stock.

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: BuickGN] #1582568 08/29/09 04:55 PM
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Colt45ws Offline
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Originally Posted By: BuickGN
The point is, there is a right way and a wrong way to raise or lower a vehicle. It doesn't have to shorten life or kill geometry. In my Acura for example, most guys are ricers who only care about looks. They throw a set of springs on there and don't get a camber kit. 10,000 miles later the insides of the tires are worn. A camber kit is $200, cheaper than a set of tires. Not to mention the car is left sitting on the bumpstops so performance is worse than stock.

You mean some of them actually buy springs? I thought they all just cut their existing ones. duh


-Colton
2002 Ford Crown Vic PI 207k, Ex-Kootenai County, ID Unit #42
Down for engine swap
2003 Ford Crown Vic PI 86k
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Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: Colt45ws] #1583535 08/30/09 03:35 PM
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mechtech2 Offline
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A common mod when I was younger was to use those spring spacers that you screwed/turned into the coils. Or, the ones you screw threaded the springs apart with.
Lifting the rear looked cool.
This caused broken springs sooner or later.

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: mechtech2] #1583552 08/30/09 03:49 PM
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wirelessF Offline
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How about the rear of pickup trucks? Like flipping the axle for a lowered look or longer shackles to give it some lift.

Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: wirelessF] #1584559 08/31/09 01:36 PM
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Jim 5 Offline
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I've got a 3/4 Ton GM truck and I'm about to do a different kind of leveling. I'm adding lowering shackles to the rear spring pack. It should give me a 2" drop in the back and take away the fact that the truck looks "jacked up" in the back with no load. Shouldn't alter load capacity either. Plus it'll be that much easier to load junk in the back of the truck.

When I get it done, I'll probably have the caster on the front axle adjusted to compensate for this change. Probably will have to re-aim the headlights too.

I can't anticipate and problems with this approach, but would appreciate any comments.


Jim A
07.5 GMC Sierra 2500HD LMM Rotella 15w-40
09 Odyssey EX-L CT 5w-20
66 Bronco QS 10w-30
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Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: Jim 5] #1584703 08/31/09 03:52 PM
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rat Online Content
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What about the spacers that are a pre-load style? Are those ok?


2015 Focus SE hatch 5 speed manual
2003 Expedition 5.4
2018 Grand Caravan
2000 Honda CRV
2000 Buick Century
Re: Stay Away From truck "Leveling Kits" [Re: rat] #1587442 09/02/09 10:36 PM
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redwolf4k Offline OP
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Those are better I guess. A pre-load setup, like a spring spacer? The geometry will still be a mess at ride height, but I guess there wouldnt be any over extension with a setup like that. The shock or strut would probablly just stop at its normal full length. I still wouldnt do it. It's just not worth it for a few inches. Unfortunately, its getting really popular to just do these "leveling kits" instead of a good complete front end setup.

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