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6" Lift vs. 4" Lift

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Iron_Weasel, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Iron_Weasel

    Iron_Weasel Registered Member

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    I've got a 79 K10 running the stock 350,TH-350,part time NP203 that I'm going to be lifting here pretty soon (within the next 2 months) and I'm trying to decide between a 6" suspension lift or a 4" suspension lift.
    I'm planning on doing mostly the same type of stuff I did when I had my Jeep. Some moderate wheeling like unmaintained forest roads, some mud bogging, and a lot of desert trails with sand and rocks smaller than about 36" or so.
    I'm not looking to get too crazy, but I want to have a capable truck.

    The size of tires I get will be dictated by the height of the lift. 35's with a 6" and 33's with a 4". If I need any "extra" clearance, then I'm thinking about a 1" body lift.

    On my Jeep, if I went to anything over 3", I was looking at a Slip yoke eliminator kit, longer driveshafts, transfer case drop kit, longer shocks, longer brake lines, and a drop pitman arm. All in all, it would've run about $1000 to perform the necessary "upgrades" to go beyond a 3" suspension lift.

    I know these older trucks aren't as complicated to lift and can be done for a lot less money, which is one big reason why I bought one in the first place.

    So, my main questions......

    1) What is needed for a 6" lift vs. a 4" lift?
    Besides the obvious things like drop steering arm, longer shocks, and longer brake lines.

    2) What kind of driveline issues am I linkely going to encounter with each size lift?
    Are longer/different driveshafts going to be needed?

    3) Is there a "preferred" method of reducing driveline angles, be it rotating the axles, shiming the perches, lowering the transfer case?

    Obviously, I'm new to GM's...so be gentle. :D
     
  2. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    need more info on your truck. like short or long bed truck. and what tranny and do you want flex or stock type ride in the rear.
     
  3. Iron_Weasel

    Iron_Weasel Registered Member

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    It's a long bed (I'll assume 52" springs in the rear), TH-350 (see first line in my post above). And I'd like to have some flex...but not too much...if that makes any sense.
     
  4. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    o.k. sorry on the tranny. the best is 4" less problems. and drive line problems in the frt for the cv head on the drive shaft. i had 6" in my long bed and it bound under real hard driving and flex. you can put 35s on if its a stiff ride and not a lot of flex. but any real flex other than stock thay rub a bit. i had 38x12.50x16.5 tsls on my old ride and it had 1 ton axles and 6" lift and 3" body with all kind of flex parts and the frts would rub under full flex. but the street and trail ride was much softer.
     
  5. Jonny-K5

    Jonny-K5 1/2 ton status

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    how do you feel about trimming the front fenders a bit? by trimming the lowest lip on the rear portion of the front fender, you'll be able to run 35's. especially if you wheel with the swaybar connected. also running 8" wheels instead of 10" and using a 12.50 sized tire will help clearance.
     
  6. OffRoad

    OffRoad 1/2 ton status

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    i'd go with the 4 inch if it were me.
     
  7. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, for light wheelin, 4" is plenty. Especially if the sway bar stays connected, you trim a little, and/or you run narrow rims. All of which will help fit 35s.

    j
     
  8. mouse

    mouse 1/2 ton status

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    I'm running a 4" spring lift up front (about 5 in the back) and trimmed the fenders a little to fit 35's. No problems with the driveshafts, and it works great on the forest and mountain trails around here. I went with the higher rate (HD) front springs from TC, to handle a heavy custom bumper and winch. I would recommend it to anyone.
     
  9. Iron_Weasel

    Iron_Weasel Registered Member

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    You'll have to forgive my ignorance on GM's....I wasn't very familiar with them before and I've had this truck 2 weeks, so I'm still in the learning process. :blush:

    Anyway, I would prefer not to cut any sheet metal, though I would consider a 1" body lift to help clearance issues.
    The swaybars will most likely stay connected for the near future and I don't plan on getting a very soft/flexy lift, so the chances of the tires rubbing would be minimal at best.

    From the information I can gather, this truck should have 52" rear springs, correct?
    Also, I'm trying to decide between a ORD shackle flip kit and some front springs, or a complete kit that comes with blocks. Any recommendations?

    Keep in mind that this truck is not a daily driver. In the two weeks I've had it, I took it to work with me once to remove the old transfer case shifter linkage (gotta love working at a dealership and having lifts you can stand under :cool1: ) in preparation for an ORD NP-203 twin stick shifter.

    At most, this truck will see maybe about 200 - 300 miles a month...if even that, so take that into consideration when steering me towards a complete kit or a setup from ORD.
     
  10. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    being a longbed, i'm gonna say go with a 6" lift. the breakover angle is a pretty big advantage.
     
  11. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    I'm a big fan of ORD. They've done me right every time I've ordered from them. Okay, lift, I'd go 6". I'd call up ORD, and have them put together a complete "Kit" with everything you'll need. I really like thier Shackle Flip for the rear. I think Tuff Country springs have a nice quality ride.
     
  12. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    based on what you are saying, I'd recommend...

    1) 4" shackle flip kit for the rear, perhaps from Sky Manufacturing, theirs is cheaper than ORDs...

    2) 4" BDS or Tuffcountry front springs. If I was you I'd go with BDS, they have a NO questions asked lifetime guarentee. The TCs will be a bit more flexy, but you dont want crazy flex and the swap bar is staying connected... so yeah, the BDS's will work perfectly for what you want to do. If you ever wanted more flex in the future... no problem, remove the sway bar and its already there. www.jdsoffroad.com has awesome prices on BDS springs too.

    3) Black Widow Performance-built shackles, much beefier than the stock stamped ones.

    4) new spring bushings for the rear 52s and a new frame bushing up front. The BDS springs will come with new spring bushings, so all you'll need is one for the frame bushing.

    5) steering correction, a dropped pitman arm will work for ya... most people go to cross over steering, because when the drivers tire droops a lot you basically **** the steering geometry with a factory-style setup. You will have your swaybar attached though, so I don't think it will be a problem for you. Added benefit of going with the drop pitman is that you can almost certainly find someone here on CK5 that will sell theirs CHEAP because they are upgrading to x-over.

    6) longer brake lines... I have some stainless braided lines from ProComp that work well. They are for fullsize chevys with 4-6" of lift. They are for sale cheap if you're interested because I need some trick hella-long ones for my new front suspension.

    anyway thats the best thing I can come up with that matches what kind of perf you want, and also saves you $$$$. hope it helps,

    j
     
  13. scubahard

    scubahard Registered Member

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    I have a 1981 K1500 Short wheel base. I currently have a 4" lift and I am thinking about going to a 6" or replace it with a better 4". Since you have a long bed I would suggest a 6" lift. With my 4" I have replaced both the front and rear driveshafts. So look out for that. I have a stiff ProComp lift (not recommended), 35" tires, with swaybar, and when I flex I do not rub. I think the Body style changed in 1981 so it might be a little different for you. Check out BDS. Tuff country makes it really easy way to pair up a number of different size lifted springs for the rear with the shackle flip.

    Since you already said that you were new to GMs let me add a few things that I wish i did from the start:

    1)This has been said a thousand times........order the bolt on Steering box brace from ORD.
    2) Go through and tighten down all the bolts that hold your bed to the frame. Mine were almost all loose.
    3) check body mount bolts. Two of mine were really loose and it caused the bushing to get torn up.

    Welcome to the world of GMs!! :laugh:
     
  14. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    I would say go 6" unless your not planning on any future upgrades... when i first got my truck it had a 6 inch superlift and 35x12.50's... I thought i'd never need/want anything bigger. Now i find myself thinking about going at the fenders with a sawzall and/or installing a body lift so i can fit 38's. My point is if you put a 4 Inch on it make sure your not going to end up wishing you put a 6" on.

    also you don't have to install a brace on the steering box... just weld it to give it strength... Mine was welded when i got my truck and from the size of those welds i doubt i'll ever have a problem with steering box/frame cracks.

    the 6 " will definetly require a longer driveshaft... the PO on my truck lifted it and blew out the 700 right after so he never drove it with the lift much. When i bought it came with a corvette 700 to replace the shot stocker and after i did the swap I drove it out to the lake where i had a job all summer at.. vibrated so bad on the highway it actually wore out the yoke and my U- joint caps came off. The driveshaft lengthening and a new yoke only ran me 200 bucks.
     
  15. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    I was at 4.... then went up to 5".. plus 1" of body lift... now Im going back down to 4". I've got 39.5x15x15 TSLs now, and should be able to fit 42s with my new slightly-lower lift. Its all about getting the body out of the way. I really don't think 6" (or more) is necessary, unless you want Rockwells or 44" tires.

    that comment is, of course, terrain dependant... mud guys want some height... I do trails and some rocks, so I want a nice low COG.

    j
     
  16. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    you don't care about shedding some fender... he does.
     
  17. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, but he's also talking about small tires and leaving the sway bar on. It'd be cheaper and easier to stay at 4"... there are just less issues to deal with and steering/shaft corrections etc are easier with the lower lift. Later on if he decides to go "hardcore" with the K5, at that point he probably won't care about the "shredding" of fenders. My trimmed fenders take offense to that shredding comment BTW... they think they look very attractive. ;)

    j
     
  18. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    never meant to hurt your fenders feelings... :haha:

    there are definetly less issues with a 4" but like i said if he has any itch at all to go bigger, do it now and save yourself a lot of work. That itch will grow with time. It's 4x4 evolution.

    I wouldn't call 6" and 35's hardcore just a pretty capable rig, but 6" and 42's I would...
     
  19. Iron_Weasel

    Iron_Weasel Registered Member

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    I went from a nice little nimble Jeep to a big full size truck...so the fact that I essentially have to learn how to drive offroad again has a lot to do with what I'm planning.
    Seems there might be some confusion....it's a K10 long bed truck, not a Blazer. If that has any bearing on anything that has been mentioned thus far..I don't know.

    85% of what I plan on doing is mostly desert trails. Lots of sand, some light mud here and there, and some rocks, nothing major. 10% will be forest trails, and the remaining 5% spent in the mud.

    I'm not new to the 4x4 world by any means...I know what types of terrain I mostly frequently wheel in. As such, I'm trying to design the truck accordingly. For the vast majority of what I do, massive amounts of flex simply aren't needed, hence the fact that I will likely keep the swaybar connected.

    Anyway....
    My initial phase is deciding between 4" or 6" lift and 33's or 35's.

    I've definitely decided on two things so far.
    ORD Steering Brace.
    ORD NP203 Twin Stick.

    As for the lift/tire combination, I'm leaning towards a 4" suspension kit, probably from Tuff Country, and a yet to be determined 1" body lift. Rancho or Heckethorn shocks, and maybe some Dunlop Mud Rover tires in the 35x12.50x15 variety. Although I had some Mud King XT tires on my Jeep and was rather impressed by them considering the relatively low price.

    One more question:
    Is there a "definitive" list of things that generally need to be done to allow for a 4" lift?
     
  20. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    not as far as I know. If you use a shackle flip kit in the rear and new springs up front, you'll need those and...

    1) longer brakelines
    2) drop pitman arm and/or raised steering arm
    3) longer shocks
    4) new/longer ubolts

    driveshafts may or may not need to be lengthened, it would be wise to assume that they will before you start though. Also, the rear end may need to be shimmed so you have a good pinion angle... though I'm not sure if that will be such a problem on a longbed rig like yours.

    Pretty sure thats it. Some of those things, such as longer shocks, you may be able to "put off" if $ is a concern in the short term, but should be addressed at some point prior to actual wheelin. There are lots of other things that some people do at the same time that are good ideas, but not 100% necessary, like:

    1) replacing the bushings in the rear springs
    2) replacing the frame bushing on the back of the front springs
    3) upgrading to heavier duty shackles (ORD style, the factory ones are pretty flimsy)
    4) custom-mounting shocks with some kind of factory shock tower (fords) so longer shocks can be used.

    the list goes on and on... but thats what I can think of at the moment. :)

    j
     

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