How to Build a Lift Kit for a Truckby Nathaniel Miller
Many off roaders and four wheel drive enthusiasts are interested in upgrading their vehicles to perform better in off road conditions. One particular type of vehicle modification is the "lift," in which the body of the truck is lifted a few inches higher than factory specifications to provide more clearance, both of mud and of tires. Most enthusiasts also look for the least expensive way to perform a particular type of modification so they get more bang for their bucks. The following method to building your own lift kit for any truck with leaf springs is inexpensive, fast and effective for getting between 3 and 5 inches more clearance between your tires and the bed.
Examine the leaf springs in their current configuration. The basic setup is the springs are bolted to the top of the axle with long lag U-bolts or lag screws. Measure the current length of the bolts used to hold your leaf springs in place. Add that number to the total lift you want to accomplish (safely up to 5 inches). Add 1 inch to that total number and that is the length of replacement bolts you need to buy.
Use the grinder to cut out a 4 inch section of steel stock. If one section of steel stock is not thick enough to measure up to your desired lift, then add another section on top. Once you have achieved the desired height, tack weld the steel together. Repeat for the opposite side.
Loosen the bolts holding your leaf springs to the axle on one side of the truck. Use the jacks to lift the truck until the leaf springs are free from the axle. Slide the tack welded steel stock between the leaf springs and the axle and insert the new lag/U bolts into the mounts. Tighten the nuts down slightly to hold the springs in place. Repeat the process for the other side and then tighten the bolts down to manufacturer's specifications.
- Spray WD-40 on the old lag/U-bolts to loosen up the nuts before you attempt to remove them.
- This lift kit will raise the rear end of your truck considerably. Learn how to handle the new setup before you begin serious off-road driving to prevent injury or damage to your vehicle.
Items you will need