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I have decided that I want to upgrade my suspension, and am aiming for (eventually) a 3 or 4 inch lift with 35 or 36 inch tires. The problem is, I dont have the money or the facilities to just go all out and do the whole thing at once. So I would like to hear suggestionas as t where I can start. I assume that things like new bushings will be a good idea, and running big rubber like that I'll probably want steering stabilizers or power ram assisted steering. But having previously been dedicated to sports cars, I am very unfamiliar with offroad suspensions, but I learn fast. So what I want to hear is suggestions for first steps I can take toward getting myself the suspension I want. I also want to know what a decent rig tends to require by way of parts, and what kind of cost I am looking at. Im not planning to do any rock crawling; it just isnt my thing. So any info from those of you who have already been through it would be really helpful.

Body trimming is not an option. Years down the road? Maybe, but it simply is not happening now. Can I really only run 35's with a 4 inch lift if I trim the fenders? Also, this truck is mainly for street driving, and the offroading it sees wont be deep mud or rock-crawling. Anything offroad will mainly just be trails. So I'll avoid 36's, if they're that much of a problem. It rides very firm now and I like that, thats good for the street. I suppose I would consider a small body lift, but that just doesnt sound ideal to me. Still looking for recommendations and steps I can take, work I can do now without doing the whole suspension at once. Thanks for the great replies.
 

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You can start by crawling under the truck and just look at what you have.

There are several ways to lift the suspension. Some are safe and some are not. As well some are cheaper methods than others.

First thing is safety. Never-ever use lift blocks to lift the front suspension. It's dangerous.

Here are some ways you can lift a leaf srung suspension.

Replacement springs; This is the usual way to lift a truck. Lift Springs are sometimes sold as lift kits or entire lift systems. They can allow for a smoother ride or a firmer ride than stock because the springs can be made with a certain spring rate and arch that can be much better than stock. But they do require a break in period before you get a good ride, and they are usually the most expensive way to lift.

Rearched springs; This method involves removing the stock springs and having them arched to create lift. The problem with rearched springs is, if they aren't done right, the first time, they will eventually sag to their original shape and worse.

Add-A-Leaves; Instead of replacing the entire leaf springs, to create lift, an Add-A-Leaf can be installed to lift the truck. An Add-A-Leaf is simply a single, highly arched spring that is installed in your existing spring pack. When tightened it makes the springs in your spring pack conform to the Add-A-Leaf's shape which lifts the truck. The downside to an AAL is that it can make the ride stiffer and you're limited to about 2.5 inches of total lift.

Blocks; This is the cheapest method of lift but it's only good for the rear axle. It adds lift by spacing the axle further down under the springs. However it will also cause axle wrap up as they create leverage. You can counter the axle wrap by installing traction bars, but then it no longer becomes a cheaper method. Some off roaders actually prefer to remove the blocks due to the nature of spring wrap.

Hangers & Shackles; Instead of using lift blocks, you can lower the entire spring pack on the frame to create a lift. To do this, you need to extend the Hangers and Shackles. (The rear springs require a Shackle flip) This could be a cheap method to lift if you do all the fabricating yourself, but there is alot of labor involved. Currently there is a How To on a shackle flip and extended hangers.

Finally there is a way to lift the truck about 3 inches for under $100. (If you shop around for the parts, you could do it for under $30) Although it's not as desirable, a Body lift is a very cheap but effective method to get clearance for those 36 inch tires.

Ed
 

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Keep in mind that going to 36" tires will have more negative effects on the vehicle. Change in speedometer gear will be needed, eat up brakes quicker, U joints quicker due to radical angles of the drivelines. This size tire will require that you cut out the front fender wells for the tire clearance. Three to Four inch lift over stock will NOT be enough for these tires. There are lots of "hidden" costs that will surface.
 

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If you get a 4 inch lift and stay at 35's you will be able to run them with minor fender trimming and you won't have excessive driveline angles or need new brake lines.
 
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