1998+ Lift FAQ's


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JohnnyO

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Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle Year
2008
Make / Model
Sport Trac
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5''
Tire Size
245/70-17
My credo
"I'm not Mr. Lebowski, YOU'RE Mr. Lebowski. I'm The Dude."
In response to repeated questions about the lack of selection and cost of late-model lifts:

4x4 98-present Rangers, 96-01 Explorers, 01-05 Sport Tracs

"I have a late-model Ranger and I can't find a suspension lift."

No, you can find a lift kit. You just can't find a cheap lift kit. And that's what you really want, isn't it?

For 4x4 98+ Rangers and 96-01 Explorers and 01-05 Sport Tracs there are exactly two choices for suspension lifts. The Superlift 4" kit for about $1900 and the Dixon Brothers desert race long-travel setup for about $4200 (with shocks). $3000 without the coil-over shocks, but then you've got no shocks.
www.superlift.com
www.dixonbrosracing.com

The Superlift gets you taller blocks for the rear on Rangers and new rear leaves for Explorers and Sport Tracs, for which the kit costs more. It basically lowers the mounting points for the crossmember and torsion bars for the front and you can fit a 33" tire. The crossmember will still hang low and make an excellent mud plow. They recommend using their front driveshaft which lasts longer under the lift and costs an extra $450.
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*Bulletin*
The Superlift kit is now available from TRS Fab & Off-Road at a discount.
http://www.trsfabandoffroad.com/products/superlift_suspension.htm
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Dixon Bros. is a coil-over conversion that replaces the torsion bars for more ground clearance and most of the components with long-travel pieces that are also stronger than stock, steering, A-arms, halfshafts, etc. They do not say how much it lifts the truck, from the pics on their site I'd guess around 5". Dixon Bros. also widens the front track which requires wider fiberglass fenders, so you can add that plus paint to the cost of the kit.

"What about the RCD 5.5" coil-over kit?"
RCD quit making it, it is out of production. You may find one still in stock somewhere.

"I heard the Trailmaster kit is cheaper than Superlift?"
Not by much and it used ball joint spacers instead of new knuckles like the Superlift, so it is weaker. It is also out of production.

"But the lift kits for older Rangers cost so much less."
Yes. This is true. Next question.

"But I can fit 33's with a bodylift for a lot less money."
Yes. This is true. Next question.

"But I don't want to go off-road, I just want a taller truck with big tires to impress girls at the mall."
Get a bodylift. The girls won't know the difference.

"The SLA suspension does not have as much travel as the older TTB."
Yes. SLA control arms are not as long as a TTB axle. Geometry is what it is.

"If I do a bodylift, how will my tow hooks fit?"
You will have to cut some big ugly notches in your valence. Or leave the tow hooks off. Or get a winch instead.

"Can I lift it for free by turning up the torsion bars?"
Not exactly. You will need a front end alignment afterward, so call it $50. Also whatever amount you "lift" it by is how much downtravel you lose because all you are really doing is adjusting the suspension downward. Also it increases the angle on the CV joints, which can be a bad thing. I have turned the bars up on one Ranger and one Sport Trac that I've had and did not run into any problems. Just keep the torsion twist to 1.5", 2.0" at most.

"It will ride hard if you turn up the torsion bars."
A little firmer, I never thought it was objectionable. The more you crank the bars the harder it will ride. Again, keep it to around 1.5".

"What about different torsion bar keys?"
They'll only do so much. Again, geometry is what it is.
Note however that the '08-up OE keys and rear blocks are lower than earlier models. It is possible to swap to the earlier keys and blocks to get a little higher.

"How big a tire....?"
The late-model front end is not real happy with tires larger than 33". A combination suspension and bodylift will allow you to fit 35" tires but the wheel bearings, tie rod ends, and CV joints won't like it. As long as you don't mind replacing wheel bearings and take it easy off-road, go ahead. The Dixon Bros. pieces are stronger but cost a lot.

"I have an Explorer (or Sport Trac). Can I do the same things?"
Basically yes. Explorers and Sport Tracs already sit pretty level. The front suspension is the same as a Ranger. The rear is sprung-under whereas a Ranger is sprung-over. You can do a torsion twist and get Warrior rear shackles for an inexpensive 1.5" lift all-around. For more, like a Ranger you are looking at a bodylift, Superlift, or Dixon Bros. The lift kits cost more because they include new rear springs.

"Why is there no lift kit for my '95 Explorer? Isn't it the same as the '96 and up Explorer?"
Not quite. On '95 Explorers, first year for the SLA front suspension, the torsion bar mounts are welded to the frame instead of being bolted on like the '96 and up. Therefore you cannot install the necessary drop brackets.

The undeniable truth of late-model Ranger/Explorer 4x4's is that they are cheap to lift a little and expensive to lift a lot. It is what it is, so quit your whining. A torsion twist, shackles, and an alignment can all be done for less than $200 to get 1.5" of lift and fit 32's no problem and you really only need the shackles on Explorers.

4x2 98+ Rangers, 95-01 Explorers, 01-05 Sport Tracs

Pro Comp, Fabtech, and Camburg have 2wd lift kits and spindle lifts. Kits depend on what suspension you have. XLT models have coil springs and Ranger Edge, Explorers, and Sport Tracs have torsion bar suspensions. Most common are lift spindles. Ranger Edge spindles can be used to lift an Explorer or Sport Trac if you swap to the Ranger brake rotors. Dixon Bros. has a long-travel 4x2 lift for torsion bar Rangers, Explorers, and Sport Tracs. Like their 4x4 kit it widens the front track so you will have to add flared fiberglass fenders. Again, it is good but pricey.

"Those lift spindles cost a lot less than the Superlift kit. Can I use them on my 4x4?"
No. Next question.

"Can I do a torsion twist on my 4x2 Ranger Edge/Sport/Trailhead (or 4x2 95-01 Explorer, 01-05 Sport Trac)?"
Yes. Everything said about the 4x4 torsion twist applies.

"Can I do a torsion twist on my 4x2 Ranger?"
Not if it is an XL or XLT. It has coil springs, not torsion bars. The only Ranger 4x2's with torsion bars were the Edge/Sport/Trailhead models. Torsion bars first appeared on 95 Explorers and 98 Rangers, so if your rig is older than that it will not have torsion bars.

"Can I put a bodylift on my 4x2?"
Yes.

Last but not least....

 
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