Yes, We Do Need A Lift

February 2015 Column Brady L. Kay

I was out truck shopping this past weekend, following up on some leads that I received from friends who know I’m always on the hunt for a stock truck. If it’s 100 percent stock then I view it like an artist sees a blank canvas—the possibilities of where it goes from here are endless. There are easily a thousand different ways to modify a truck and that thrill is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

I’d like to think of modifying trucks as making the world a better place, one diesel at a time, because we all know a stock truck just means it’s falling way short of its true potential. It’s our job to search out and find these trucks in need and set them free by doubling their horsepower.

I pulled up to a house that had a truck for sale in the driveway and as soon as we saw it—in perfect synchronized harmony—my friend and I said, “It needs a lift.” We kind of laughed because we knew we were on the same page and of course we were both right: it really did need a lift.

I’m a little taller than the average guy so I tend to think every truck needs a lift. I’m not saying every diesel pickup needs a 10-inch lift on it with 40-inch tires, but I’ve yet to come across a stock truck that I didn’t think deserved at least a little height increase.

There’s just something about a lifted truck that commands attention. It takes a special truck to truly pull off a 10-inch lift and that’s why when you see one you have no choice but to take a double take. It’s truly a beautiful sight.

Every truck is different, but I feel a 6-inch lift on average is about right to give a truck a dominant stance, while still keeping it a safe, daily driver. This isn’t a hard and fast rule by any stretch of the imagination, but rather just a guideline for those considering giving their truck a little lift in the near future.   

The annual SEMA show is full of lifted trucks, but some of those you have to admit are simply just trailer queens that you know will never set so much as a single tread off pavement. Either way, it’s always a welcomed sight to see a truck lifted.

Lifting your truck used to be just for off-road truck owners who were seeking better ground clearance during steep or rocky conditions, but today suspension lifts are now sought for other reasons. They can provide features such as a smoother suspension as well as accommodate larger wheels and tires. It’s almost like an unwritten rule that we all follow: if you’re going to lift your truck, you need to add bigger wheels while you’re at it.

The types of kits vary based on the type of drivetrain the truck has. Lift kits can be as simple as lift blocks (spacers placed between the axles and leaf springs) and coil spring/strut spacers and extended shocks, to replacement control arms, trailing arms and custom four-link systems. Suspension lifts also impact other factors such as drive shaft length, steering geometry and brake lines. Before installing a suspension lift kit, it’s wise to check and see what your local or state laws are, if any, to make sure what you’re doing is legal.

The reasons we lift our trucks vary, but what we can all agree on is that all trucks could use a little increase.

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