Any Issues with Leveling Kits???

dcestnik

New member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
25
Location
Helena, MT
my only experience has been with tacomas and 4runners. at least with these anything under 2" is fine. anything over and start having to run spacers/offset wheels to not rub on the upper control arm and probably recommended to get aftermarket upper control arms to correct the alignment issues. on my truck ive got 175k on its lift. so far no failed ball joints or cvs and have ran some pretty rough trips. have had both cv boots leak after ~140k miles but that might not be attributable to the lift.

if its a leveling kit that just uses a spacer, they've been known to snap shocks. next cheapest option is bilsteins which have a movable ring to adjust ride height. tons of people run these and they mostly dont have problems. the better option would be to have a matched set of coils to the shocks. not sure whats highly regarded for full sizes but in toyota-land old man emu, bilsteins and dobinsons are commonly named. the best option would be to also match a lift in the rear so you restore some rake.
 

beginnerhunter

Active member
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
728
My philosophy is keep it mild. Mild lift (2.5" or less), mild tire increase (34" tall, 11.5" wide or smaller), stock wheels. Do all that and it shouldn't be a problem. I have 2014 GMC with 1.5" level kit that mounts below the strut and 275/70/18 tires. It looks great but rides okay. Struts are worn and need to be replaced. I'll probably go with the Bilstein 5100 to level it some time this year.

A friend has a 2012 Chevy and Bilstein 5100 level and a 2.5" rear block (provides 1" rear lift). He wanted it this way to keep some rake. He runs 275/60/20 on stock rims and loves this setup. He says it is stiffer but eliminated a lot of body roll.
 
Last edited:

mdhunter

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
831
Location
Maryland
I did a 2” leveling kit on both a 2014 and a 2018 F150. The kit worked fine but running 33” tires won’t help your fuel economy.
 

Mainer207

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
67
Location
New York
My philosophy is keep it mild. Mild lift (2.5" or less), mild tire increase (34" tall, 11.5" wide or smaller), stock wheels. Do all that and it shouldn't be a problem. I have 2014 GMC with 1.5" level kit that mounts below the strut and 275/70/18 tires. It looks great but rides okay. Struts are worn and need to be replaced. I'll probably go with the Bilstein 5100 to level it some time this year.

A friend has a 2012 Chevy and Bilstein 5100 level and a 2.5" rear block (provides 1" rear lift). He wanted it this way to keep some rake. He runs 275/60/20 on stock rims and loves this setup. He says it is stiffer but eliminated a lot of body roll.
How many miles have you run it for?

I’m thinking I’ll put a 1.5” rough country kit and keep with the 265/65/18 size tires (probably some toyo open countrys). I’m hoping the mild level and not oversizing the tires will keep the ride comfortable, fuel economy about the same, and save on the strut wear.
 

Gr8bawana

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Messages
3,500
Location
Nevada
I have lifted every truck I have ever owned and put on larger than stock tires which are pretty useless on a truck.
I put a 3" lift on my Dodge with no ill effects about 12 years ago, although it has a straight front axle which is more durable that independent front suspension of the GM. As far as ride comfort? It's truck, I don't expect it to ride like a luxury car.
The lift gave me room for 285/75/16 tires which are just over 33' tall. I also had 4.10 gears installed to get my power back with the larger tires, which in turn allow me to chain up all 4 tires when needed with no problem because the tires are big enough that the chains don't come anywhere near any brake or steering components.
I did the same with a Suburban I had before the Dodge except it was a 4" lift, with the Positraction rear end it would go almost anywhere.107112
107111
 

beginnerhunter

Active member
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
728
How many miles have you run it for?

I’m thinking I’ll put a 1.5” rough country kit and keep with the 265/65/18 size tires (probably some toyo open countrys). I’m hoping the mild level and not oversizing the tires will keep the ride comfortable, fuel economy about the same, and save on the strut wear.
Idk, I bought it used with the level. I think it was on there a while. Got a few thousand on so far. Honestly the ride isn't bad I'm just really type A so I notice things more than most. And I like the elegance of the Bilstein level, less parts.

I average 18mpg (mpg app, not the lying info screen lol) with the e rated KO2s and it's probably not been calibrated so I'm likely getting better than that in reality. But I drive like an old man with a sore foot.
 

nrpate05

Active member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
579
I don't have any experience but have been researching a lift on my truck too. Sounds like as long as you keep the level mild (different for each truck, I think), you don't need to worry much about other parts. If you put a big level on it can cause premature wear to UCA's, CV joints, etc. This can be mitigated with a differential drop, however. Ride height adjustable shocks can have the same issues too if you max them out. It also sounds like the higher you go the stiffer they get. Kind of like if you max out an air suspension it gets really stiff. Not sure that's helpful, but I think putting a 1.5" level on your truck won't be an issue.
 

LuketheDog

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
1,188
Location
Sedalia, Colorado
Curious to hear about the quality of ride with those Bilsteins. I have a 2011 Tundra Rock Warrior and that was the route I was going to go, but a buddy said when he put them on his ford the ride turned super stiff and rough.
I have no complaints, they definitely aren't too stiff, factory shocks are too mushy anyway on most new 4x4s. I have them on the top setting, brought the front up 1.5" and leveled the truck out and allowed me to go up slightly in tire size without any clearance issues.
 

tzone

Active member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
242
Location
MN for now
I did a 2” leveling kit on both a 2014 and a 2018 F150. The kit worked fine but running 33” tires won’t help your fuel economy.
Most fords have 275/65/18's or something close. Those are 32". You'd think 1" more dia. wouldn't matter much, but dang it does. Did the same deal...but I think that the tire design has more to do with it than bumping up an inch in diameter.
 

MTGomer

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
2,513
Location
MT —> AZ
I have lifted every truck I have ever owned and put on larger than stock tires which are pretty useless on a truck.
I put a 3" lift on my Dodge with no ill effects about 12 years ago, although it has a straight front axle which is more durable that independent front suspension of the GM. As far as ride comfort? It's truck, I don't expect it to ride like a luxury car.
The lift gave me room for 285/75/16 tires which are just over 33' tall. I also had 4.10 gears installed to get my power back with the larger tires, which in turn allow me to chain up all 4 tires when needed with no problem because the tires are big enough that the chains don't come anywhere near any brake or steering components.
I did the same with a Suburban I had before the Dodge except it was a 4" lift, with the Positraction rear end it would go almost anywhere.View attachment 107112
View attachment 107111

Good looking truck gr8. I took you more for a subie or old ford shagin wagon type of guy.
 

mdhunter

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
831
Location
Maryland
Most fords have 275/65/18's or something close. Those are 32". You'd think 1" more dia. wouldn't matter much, but dang it does. Did the same deal...but I think that the tire design has more to do with it than bumping up an inch in diameter.
I am running BFG AT KO2's that are 275/65R20, love the tires but they are heavier (10 ply I think) versus the factory ones it came with. I shouldn't complain as I did it to myself...
 

tzone

Active member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
242
Location
MN for now
I am running BFG AT KO2's that are 275/65R20, love the tires but they are heavier (10 ply I think) versus the factory ones it came with. I shouldn't complain as I did it to myself...
Same. Ran the same ones on my 2014 Ram 1500. MPG dropped 1.3MPG. I actually liked the originals better. Lasted longer anyway.
 

elkhnter

Active member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
321
Location
Somewhere in the camper!
Getting new tires, 1 1/2” leveling kit and alignment on my 2014 F250 next week. Already have a set on airbags on the rear. Need to bring the front end up a bit. Rides great with 20# in them, might stiff with 50#.
 

88man

Active member
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Messages
631
Location
Pa
Like previously mentioned in the F150 very hard to beat the Bilstien ride height adjust 5100 front and rear. Set front at 2.25 and rear at .5. Also the new fords leaf springs are very very soft so I typically add another. No worries running 33's or upto 34s. Back in 2010 with I believe rough country the block spacer type in the front I did break two front springs. No issues with the bilstein.
 

The Yetti

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2017
Messages
85
Location
Widefield, Colorado
I put one on my 2011 Ram years ago and have had no issues. Have it aligned right after. I'm running 285-70/17s right now. Will probably have new struts, ball joints and tires put on before hunting season. The Toyo Rough Country R/T's have 38,000 miles on them right now and have a few thousand more on them.
 

danwolf

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2019
Messages
99
Location
South Texas
I put a steel leving kit on my 2012 Tundra, no problems. My 2011 tacoma came with a poly leveling kit on the front, had little travel and a soft ride. I put heavier springs (Old man emu) that lifted me about 2.5" and AAL's with Bilstein 5100's. I run pizza cutter 33's... 255/85/16 on 4.10's with a 4 banger, no problem. Rides much better and no preload like the spacer kits. Gets me anywhere I want to go.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LCH

Straight Arrow

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
3,146
Location
Gallatin Gateway, MT
If you install lifts on your vehicle, please adjust your headlights. Late last night after a long day and a trip from Great Falls (a couple hundred miles) a lifted vehicle with oversized wheels was behind us for too long a spell, with glaring headlights lasing into my eyeballs off the rear view mirrors. I was about ready to bust out some headlights!:mad:
 
Top