Difference Between Body Lift and Suspension Lift

by Russell Wood

When building a custom truck, jeep or SUV, what's the best way to lift it? There are two different types of lifts that can be performed on a traditional body-on-frame SUV or truck: a suspension lift or a body lift. Consider the differences between lifts so you can make an informed decision.

Benefits

A body lift is simple and cheap to install. Rubber spacers go between the body and frame mounts and lift the body of the vehicle above stock. A body lift is also an affordable way to lift a truck, as most kits start around $100. A suspension lift will give a vehicle more travel and be better suited to off-road maneuvers. It also allows for the use of larger wheel and tire combos, depending on the amount of lift.

Size

A body lift bushing will generally lift the cab or bed of a vehicle from 2 to 3 inches. A suspension lift can raise a vehicle anywhere from 1 to 12 inches and above, depending on how much modification is done.

Function

A body lift will lift the cab and bed of a typical truck, jeep or SUV without modifying the suspension in any way, so your vehicle will look higher, but ride and function exactly the same way. A suspension lift will raise the suspension, so ride quality will change, but this can be tunable depending on which brand of suspension you choose and what kind of shocks and springs are used. A vehicle with a suspension lift will also handle differently than the stock truck or SUV.

Time Frame

A typical body-lift install can be done by the do-it-yourself mechanic in a few hours with minimal tools required. A suspension lift, however, can either be a bolt-on affair, or require full fabrication tools and expertise. If you're not confident in your ability to perform basic mechanical operations, there are lots of shops out there that do lifts of all types.

Considerations

With any kind of vehicle lift, it's important to keep in mind the vehicle's center of gravity. With any kind of lift, the center of gravity of a vehicle will be higher than stock, making the vehicle more prone to tipping. Proper suspension decisions and wider tires can help, but it's still a possibility to roll a lifted vehicle. Of course, the higher the vehicle, the more prone it is to tip.

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.