Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Popular Body-Lift Myths Debunked

When it comes to adding an inexpensive lift to your truck or sport utility vehicle, body-lifts are a popular method many use for gaining as much as three-inches of ride height. There are truck and Jeep enthusiasts however, who have heard stories and myths about the dangers of body-lifts, which usually come from someone’s experience on the trail. But not all of them have merit. We logged onto several off-road, truck and Jeep forums to collect 10 of the most popular, (some are pretty crazy) reasons why some people won’t use a body lift, and got real answers from the experts at Performance Accessories, the leading body lift manufacturer in the industry.

Myth #1: Brake Lines Not Long Enough:
In all applications the factory rubber brake lines are not affected by a body-lift. According to Chris Faustmann, who handles the research and development at Performance Accessories, the hard lines on the frame connecting to the master cylinder are usually coiled and have more than enough length to accommodate three inches. Some give you two or three extra feet! This is done to avoid any vibration problems that can occur with a straight brake line. On areas such as the rear differential, where the rubber hose attaches to the steel lines on the axle, some kits may provide a longer bracket to help support the existing brake line but a longer hose isn't necessary. 

Most of the problems associated with this myth occur when off-road enthusiasts combine a body-lift with a full suspension kit. Some people opt for an inexpensive suspension kit and stretch the lines. Later, they want more height so they add a body-lift and suddenly find out the brake lines aren't long enough. Whatever you choose, make sure that the kit comes complete with everything you need to do the installation correctly. High quality kits like those from Trail Master, provide a longer, Kevlar reinforced steel-braided line that's included in the system.

Myth#2: Gas Filler Tubes Are Hard To Replace:
This can be true for some body-lift kits that don’t include a new gas filler tube extension. While in most cases the factory tube is long enough, there are some models that require an extension. Some kits, like those from Performance Accessories, come with a longer gas filler tube extension that easily fits between the factory filler tube with hose clamps.

Myth#3: The Body Will Come Off The Frame In An Accident:
This sounds like one of the most ridiculous myths we’ve heard, but many people swear by it. While no-one ever claims to have seen or experienced a body separating from the frame, the truth is that it's almost impossible to separate the two with a high quality body-lift kit. On average, there are 12-16 body mounts on most pickups and sport utility vehicles, so it would require an incredible amount of shear-force to rip the body off of the frame in a head-on or rear-end collision. According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, the automobile frame must be designed to withstand the impact of a collision. Although the body of a truck or sport utility vehicle can be heavy, it won't out weigh the frame, engine, transmission and axles which will have a greater momentum of force than the body.  In addition, vehicle crumple zones in the fenders, hood, engine compartment and ultimately the cab are designed to absorb impact which will minimize the shear-force. This also holds true on a rollover, as the doors and window frame will crumple to absorb impact, limiting the leverage it may have on the body mount bolts.

But the fact remains that people sometimes build their own body-lift kits out of aluminum or steel tubing; often greater than three inches in height. This can be very dangerous and probably added to the validity of this body-lift myth. High-quality body lift kits, like those from Performance Accessories, use rnylon reinforced, polyurethane body blocks that are extruded using extremely high pressure and temperatures to make them strong, yet more compliant and energy absorbing than steel or aluminum. High-grade hardware is also provided, including thread-locker, as an insurance measure to prevent the bolts from vibrating loose. When installed correctly, a high-quality body-lift up to three inches in height is safe to use.  

Myth #4: The Vehicle Feels Too Top Heavy:
Any vehicle that’s lifted can feel top-heavy. It depends on the type of vehicle and how high you’re going. Raising the center of gravity on any vehicle will make it top heavy, and typically depends on the vehicle. Body-lifts raise the vehicle's cab, leaving the suspension and frame in the stock location. A suspension lift lowers the suspension so that the frame and body are both lifted higher. Both will feel the same with the stock tires on it. Once you add larger diameter tires, then you raise the vehicle's center of gravity, which can give you an uneasy feeling.

The fact is that your decision on using either a body-lift or full-suspension will depend on the type of off-roading you will be doing. A body-lift is safe to use and will give you more fender clearance to run larger tires. If you plan on doing some serious off-roading, where you need more articulation and axle control, along with greater approach and departure angles, then a full-suspension will be a better choice.

Myth #5: Transfer Case Linkage Doesn’t Work Or Is Too Short:
This is a case of buyer beware. Older vehicles with a manual transfer case linkages will often require an extension. Budget body-lift kits often don’t include items like longer transfer case linkage or a steering column adaptor. So make sure you do your research. A good kit will include everything you need to properly lift the vehicle without any linkage problems. Performance Accessories also uses a high-quality, CNC precision machined steering extension that is checked and test fit to ensure that it works properly on the vehicle you are lifting.

Myth #6: The Body Mount Bolts Will Bend Under Severe Off-Road Use:
Let's face it, you can bend the vehicle's frame if you hit it hard enough, so even a high-grade body mount bolt is susceptible to bending. Just like any other metal component on your Jeep or pickup truck, they can bend if they are slid up against a rock. Remember that a body-lift block is inserted between the frame and the factory body mount. So the bolt stays in exactly the same position as it did originally. Several Jeep owners for example, have bent their body mount bolts when the vehicle slides over a rock, or if it takes a hard hit on a skid plate that's attached to the body mount under the radiator core support. There are products, however, that can protect your body-mount bolts. Several manufacturers make skid plates that can be attached to each exposed body mount to protect them against hard hits.

Myth #7: There’s A Big Gap Visible Between The Frame And Body:
This one is also true, but again it’s buyer beware. Many people don't like the space between the frame and body that's left after its been lifted. The gap is simply unappealing and doesn't look cool when you view the vehicle from the side and see open air in the wheel wells. Performance Accessories manufactures Gap Guards that are included with, or are available for, all of their body-lift and Premium Lift Systems. Gap Guards are polyurethane pieces that are easily attached to the inner fender-wells of the vehicle to cover up the gap. They also limit moisture and dirt from entering into the engine compartment and make the whole installation look great.

Myth #8: Body-lifts Limit The Air-Flow From The Radiator Fan:
This is solely dependant on the body-lift manufacturer. Some vehicles use an electric fan that’s attached to the radiator. When the body is lifted, there’s no effect on the fan and radiator cooling. On other applications, where the fan is physically raised higher in relation to the radiator, manufacturers like Performance Accessories provide a fan shroud extension that maintains the proper operation of the fan and cooling system to prevent overheating or damage to the fan.

Myth #9: Loss Of Steering Control:
Another situation where the buyer needs to beware. Without a proper steering column extension, there can be some steering issues. Poorly made steering extensions can break, wear and even fall off over time. For this reason manufacturers like Performance Accessories provides each kit with a high-quality, CNC machined steering extension. Each extension is quality checked during the machining process to ensure that it fits perfectly and provides reliable service.

Myth #10: Body-Lifts Aren’t Good For Towing: 
Body-lifts don't affect the towing capabilities of any pickup truck or sport utility vehicle. The frame, hitch and suspension are not affected by a body-lift and the tow rating of your vehicle will remain intact. This myth started, however, when people tried to tow or pull a vehicle out from a stuck position by wrapping a tow-strap around their bumper. Bumpers are not made for handling any heavy load and a tow-strap should only be attached to a receiver hitch or tow hooks that are mounted to the vehicle's frame. Despite this fact, Performance Accessories uses laser cut, heavy-gauge steel brackets that relocate the bumper to the factory frame.

We've only covered the top ten body-lift myths here, but if you have any comments, questions or suggestions for answering more of your body-lift questions, we're happy to listen and give you a reply. For more information, visit www.p-a-g.net.
By DS Media

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