Homemade Body Liftby C.L. Rease
Off-road truck enthusiasts lift their trucks to add larger tires and increases ground clearance. There are two ways to lift your truck. A suspension lift can cost you thousands of dollars and the more affordable body lift costs around two hundred dollars. Homemade body lifts raise your truck at a fraction of the cost of a body kit purchased at a store.
A Body lift should not exceed 3 inches in height. Raising your truck beyond 3 inches causes a dangerous imbalance that creates a roll-over hazard. The materials you will need to fabricate a homemade body lift are 2 inch inside-diameter (I.D.) carbon steel schedule 40 pipe and 2 1/4 inch diameter carbon steel washers with a 3/8th inch inside hole. 2 inch I.D. schedule 40 pipe has an outside diameter of 2.388 or 2 3/8th of an inch. With the 2 1/4 inch washers there will be a 1/16th inch recess between the edge of the washer and the O.D. of the pipe. This allows for easy centering of the washers and a gap for the weld penetrations. Fabricating a homemade body lift requires power tools meant to cut the pipe. A band-saw or chop-saw is needed to cut the pipe to length and a welder is needed to weld the washers to each end of the pipe. Count the number of body mounts located on your truck to determine the amount of material that you will need to purchase. For example: If your truck has 14 body mounts, you will need 28 washers and 42 inches of pipe. Purchasing additional pipe is recommended, as you will want to remove the factory ends of the pipe and each cut will consume around 1/16th of an inch.
Fabricating The Body Lift
Cut the pipe into pieces that will allow for a 3 inch long finished length. For example: If your washers measure 1/8th of an inch, you will cut your pipe 2 3/4 inches long. Setting up a cutting jig will ensure that each pipe will be exactly the same length. Remove the burrs from the pipe with a bastard or round file after they are cut. Center a 2 1/4 washer on top of a cut piece of pipe and place tack welds on the washer to hold it in place. Flip the pipe over and repeat the process. Continue to tack weld the washers to the pipe until all pieces are complete. Before you seal weld the washers to the pipe, check each piece to ensure that they are exactly 3 inches high. Seal weld each washer and let each assembly cool. Grinding the welds to make a smooth finish can be performed but is not necessary.