Why a body lift? That's a good question. The reason for any kind of lift is travel. Wheel travel that is. There are two basic types of lifts for any truck: body and suspension. While a full discussion is beyond the scope of this Tech Note, we'll quickly go over the basics of getting the most travel from your suspension.
The first step is to check and eliminate any thing that might be limiting your present travel. There are several things which can hinder wheel travel. In the Early Bronco the first thing is often the emergency brake cable. A good way to check this is to simple jack up the rear of the vehicle by the frame and check to see if the cable becomes tight. You will also want to check the brake line from the axle to the frame. In a suspension lift you would be required to replace both these items. With a body lift you do not (unless you find that they limit travel). Make sure you check for these built-in limiting straps on the front as well as the rear.
While there are number of suspension tuning mods you can make to give increased travel, a body lift is one of the simplest. It may or may not give you additional travel; it depends on where your limitations are presently. It will give you more travel if your tires are hitting or rubbing your fenders.
Many trucks have a body lift, and the owner may not even be aware of it. A body lift will be visible where the body mounts to the frame. There are 8 contact points. From the factory there will be a rubber bushing at each contact point between the fram and body. The body lift should have the rubber mount and a graphite block of 1, 2 or 3 inches.
Installing a body lift should take you at least a 1/2 day. It is a big help to have an extra set of hands available. Many of those original body mount bolts will be rusted or frozen, so it is nice to have someone who can hold it from above while you are underneath. Some things to note during the installation:
- Fuel filler hose
- Fuel filler hose will likely reach with a 2 inch lift. You may have to put in a longer piece for a 3 inch lift.
- Transmission Linkage
- Clutch rod or auto transmission linkage must be extended to the same amount of the lift. Little round pieces of metal stock are included in the kit. You must cut the linkage in the middle and weld a piece in.
- Throttle Linkage
- Throttle linkage must be adjusted out a little; there is normally enough thread on the stock linkage for adjustment. Sometimes it needs to have a bend put into it so it does not interfere with the air cleaner (if carbed).
- Lower the radiator the same amount of the body lift so that an uncut shroud may be used. Note: Do not cut the shroud so that the fan clears. You may have interference between the alternator and the stretched lower radiator hose. While it may work for small lifts, it is still recommended that you lower the radiator.
- Emergency Brake
- Your e-brake cable (where the adjustor is under the truck) will now be higher than before. You can lower the adjustor by welding in a piece of metal (use 1/4 inch plate because there is a lot of pressure here). You may be able to simply adjust the cable out looser and it may work (make sure to check it at full suspension travel).
- Steering Shaft
- The steering shaft will not be a problem if you have a rig that has a collapsible shaft (one that slides within a larger outer shaft). If you don't, then you will have to cut, grind, file, and remove some material from the plate on the firewall that holds the column in place. You may also have to modify the little plastic piece that goes around the column at the dashboard.
Two common questions about body lifts are:
What is a Hockey Puck Lift? How do I do One?Leave the rubber bushings in on the bottom of the pucks. If you can, get yourself the poly bushings and upgrade, or get some new factory rubber and improve the originals. It is the most convenient time to do it.
You will now need hardware that is 1 inch longer (or however high the pucks are). Grade 5 is supplied with the body lift kits as it is comparable to the factory hardware. You probably don't need to spend the extra money on grade 8. That may be quite a bit more expensive and/or harder to find. However, it is suggested that you invest in nylock nuts. You also probably want to use some fender style (large) washers.
Is the Poly Compound Texture an Issue for Offroading?It's probably not that critical on a Bronco. Since the Bronco's frame is boxed, it doesn't flex nearly as much as the frames on most other vehicles. On a Jeep, a lot of the axle articulation comes from frame flex, while on a Bronco it's almost all in the suspension. Also, the body flexes with the frame. There are advantages to rubber c bushings though. The C bushings have to distort a lot when one tire is higher than the other. Some hard core flatfender guys like rubber spring and shock bushings too.