If you read my blog often enough, you should know I am the owner of a respected auto repair shop.
And I have to deal with a lot of customers who want to install a lift kit on their trucks and want to know what’s best.
Installing a lift kit on your truck can provide you with advantages like enhanced ground clearance, bigger tires, better visibility, smoother rides on tough off-road terrains, and more.
And while you install an aftermarket lift kit, you might need to replace a few suspension components to make your ride quality better.
But what to replace when lifting a truck?
Well, you might need to replace components like struts, coil springs, leaf springs, control arms, trailing arms, shock absorbers, and more. You might even need to replace other parts like the brakes, steering stabilizers, and driveshaft components for an improved ride.
I’ll talk about all that you have to replace with the lift kit today in this article.
Components to Replace When Lifting a Truck
Installing a lift kit on your truck can be as simple and easy as installing strut spacers or coil spring spacers.
But if you install these spacer lift kits, they might not be enough to give you the best performance.
And with a suspension lift kit, you might have to install a few suspension components that come with the kit.
That might still not be enough sometimes!
Well, then, you would have to replace some key components of your truck to maintain the best ride quality and performance.
Nothing to worry about!
I will tell you all the parts you would need to add or replace when you install a new aftermarket lift kit on your truck in a moment.
If you want to install a suspension lift kit on your vehicle with a coilover suspension, you can replace the coil springs.
These coil springs support the corners of your truck’s frame to store the energy gained from bumps and obstacles on the road and absorb their shock.
And these compression springs are vital for your truck’s suspension system to make your vehicle ride smoother by absorbing impact.
Even on off-roads!
Yes! You can drive smoothly through rough terrains because of these coil springs and their compression and expansion.
But when you lift your vehicle, you might need to replace your stock coil springs with longer ones.
This is because longer springs not only help lift your truck but can also increase the support your truck needs after a lift.
Plus, if your suspension’s coil springs are starting to wear out, you will be able to get new ones with fresh spring rates.
Adjustable spring rates!
Yes! You can adjust the spring rates of your new, longer coil springs if you want to get a stiffer ride out of your truck.
And your new coil springs’ spring rates can be adjusted whenever you need to change the spring rates.
If you want a stiffer ride for going on off-road adventures, you can tackle all the bumps and obstacles by adjusting the spring rates.
And for driving on roads and highways, you can simply adjust the spring rates to be looser if you want to.
Expensive but worth it!
Coil springs can be a bit expensive, but they are totally worth buying for your truck’s better performance.
But you have to decide on what kind of material you want them to be made out of for the perfect blend of stability and better handling experience.
Be sure to pick out coil springs made out of high-grade steel that has epoxy or urethane coating for durability.
Coil numbers and diameter!
If your coil springs have more coils, they can support more weight. But too much can also lead to the damage of suspension components. So beware of this!
And for the diameter of the wire, you should get a smaller diameter. This is because smaller diameters can bear heavier loads.
Select the type!
There are three types of coil springs you can choose from, constant rate, variable rate, and dual rate.
The constant rate ones are uniform and can improve your truck’s ride quality, as they can decrease roll and pitch.
And variable rate coil springs are better because they are not spaced out evenly, which gives you an even better and smoother ride.
The overall performance of your truck will improve with the help of newer and longer coil springs when lifting your truck.
If your truck uses struts that are surrounded by coil springs, you could use new struts to make your ride quality better.
Struts are another important component of the suspension system of your truck. And they can be replaced with a lift.
They will give your truck’s suspension system enough structural support that will also support your coil springs while holding your tires in a position that is perfectly aligned after a lift.
That’s not all!
New struts can replace your older factory struts that might have worn out due over time. So you can expect them to help your truck stay stable while moving through different road situations.
And they can even improve how you control your truck when you are making turns, braking, accelerating, or going through tough terrains.
These new struts can dampen like shock absorbers with the help of the piston inside them that can work against the hydraulic fluid to help control the movement of the spring and suspension.
And they work a bit like shock absorbers, as their valves can create more resistance to the ups and downs of your suspension’s movement.
Plus, they can hold a lot of the side load of the suspension of your truck!
Although new struts are not always necessary to install when lifting a truck, you could get a lot of benefits if you do install them.
If you lift your truck, adding more height and ground clearance, you can’t use your older stock shock absorbers.
Replace with longer shocks!
Yes! You need to buy newer and longer shock absorbers, depending on the added lift you give your truck with a lift kit.
If you do not replace your old shock absorbers with new ones, you might find yourself in a difficult situation.
Why is that?
The main issue with the factory shock absorbers after lifting a truck is a process called topping out.
This is a huge problem because the shock absorbers of your newly lifted truck can’t make the required movement through the entirety of the suspension travel.
What happens, then?
The pistons inside your stock shock absorber start to hit your shock absorber cylinder head continuously.
And when this hammering continues, it can damage the mounts of your shock absorber and the internal rebound stop.
This continual hammering can easily destroy the upper mounts and the lower mounts for your shocks.
And it can then damage the pistons enough to stop them from working like before. This can eventually make the shock absorber cylinder head leak out oil, deeming the shocks useless.
So you should definitely replace your older shock absorbers even if you lift your truck only 2 inches.
But what size?
The size of the new shock absorbers that you need to replace your factory shocks with depends on the amount of lift you give your truck.
And it should always be measured through the calculations necessary to find out the expanded and the compressed length of your shocks.
Usually, the compressed and expanded lengths of your shocks need to be around 16-28 inches for a 2-inch lift, 17- 27 inches for a 4-inch lift, and 25.91 to 29.70 inches for an 8-inch lift.
However, it can still depend on the lift kit you installed and the model of your truck!
Apart from all the negatives of not replacing your shock absorbers when lifting your truck, there are a lot of benefits too.
There’s a misconception among truck owners that shock absorbers alone can do the job of lifting their vehicles.
However, newer and longer shock absorbers can help your truck tackle a lot of the shock of bumps and obstacles after lifting your truck.
They can do this by controlling the movement of your suspension’s coil springs by compressing and expanding.
And they will help stabilize the vehicle when you make turns, accelerate your truck, brake, and ride through bumpy terrains.
Makes controlling easier!
Yes, new shock absorbers on a lifted truck can make handling your vehicle much easier, which would otherwise be a bit tough.
And longer shock absorbers can also steer clear of wearing out the suspension components of your truck.
Some lift kits come with new shock absorbers compatible with the model of your truck. But you can always invest in better shock absorbers you have to buy separately.
If you install a suspension lift kit or even a spacer lift kit, you might need to replace the factory control arms with new ones.
The wheel travel, wheel alignment, and suspension durability of your truck are determined by the upper control arms.
This is why you would need to install new upper control arms after you make an aftermarket modification like a lift.
Still don’t understand?
Don’t worry I will explain in more detail why you need to replace your control arms!
Mainly truck owners install new upper control arms to replace the old ones after a lift because of the much-needed improvement in wheel travel.
And you even get the wheel alignment you need for better ride quality!
They can lift too!
Yeah, longer upper control arms can actually add height and ground clearance to your truck. But they can do even more than just that!
If you install new upper control arms, you can expect them to be more durable than the stock ones.
This is because most factory control arms are not as durable and strong as the aftermarket ones you can replace them with.
Upgrade with ball joints!
The stock ball joints that come with the stock control arms are not the most durable, as they can easily wear out.
And you can’t even install new ones easily because it’s hard to find aftermarket ball joints that will be compatible with the factory control arms.
Well, the solution is the newer control arms that come with ball joints that are of great quality and durability!
Moreover, replacing the control arms will not affect the ride quality in a negative way. Instead, they will improve your truck’s ride quality!
And, sometimes, aftermarket components like control arms can weigh less than factory control arms.
Because of this, you can experience better ride quality, and the weight of the unsprung suspension will reduce as well.
Plus, these control arms can even perform well with the new aftermarket shock absorbers you will install.
Furthermore, these control arms would increase the suspension travel of your truck for the better.
So you can install a larger coilover easily!
This is why you should definitely replace your older stock control arms with new aftermarket ones.
You might also need to replace your leaf springs with aftermarket leaf springs after installing a lift kit on your truck.
These arc-shaped components of the suspension system are made with layered spring steel that has been tapered.
And they are situated on your truck’s rear or front axle to give them more support to relieve the compression that axles feel from all the weight put on them.
They can also lift!
So if you install a lift kit that is a bit more on the heavier side, new leaf springs will not only help with the added weight but will also help add some height.
Driveshaft Angle and Length
Spacer lift kits can sometimes change the angle of your truck’s driveshaft, causing you problems.
So can suspension lifts!
Either way, you might need to align your driveshaft or add new aftermarket components to get the best outcome after a lift.
The pinion angle of your driveshaft needs to be 2 to 1/2 degrees maximum. Otherwise, the U-joints can’t work efficiently.
So you need to make sure you use all the aftermarket parts to fix the angle!
Sometimes, the length of your driveshaft can alter too much because of installing a lift kit on your vehicle.
So you might need to replace your driveshaft to make the desired length of your driveshaft possible.
If you install a suspension lift kit on your truck that adds a lot of inches of height, you might need to replace your steering stabilizer.
When you increase the height of your vehicle, the center of your truck’s gravity shifts, changing the geometry.
Well, because of this, it becomes really hard to handle your truck when making turns, accelerating, or braking.
The worst case scenario is death wobble and accidents caused by such events!
If you install a new steering stabilizer to replace the stock ones after the lift, you can easily solve these problems.
What to replace when lifting a truck? Well, suspension components like control arms, shock absorbers, coil springs, and more need to be replaced when you lift your truck.
Other than this, you might need to buy a new driveshaft and even a steering stabilizer after installing a lift kit.