Heavy-duty diesel pickup trucks are frequently altered immediately after purchase. Whether the after-market upgrades are for work, recreation, or both, two of the most common additions to heavy-duty trucks are suspension leveling and lifting kits. Here's what you need to know.
What Is The Difference Between A Leveling Kit And Lifting Kit?
Both after-market auto parts are meant to modify the suspension. The body of the truck is moved away from the tires, which allows bigger tires to be used, which in turn then increases the ground clearance under the truck. A leveling kit is chosen when only a couple of extra inches of clearance are needed. The hardware in the kit will raise the front of your truck approximately two inches. This will make it level with the tailgate in the back.
Heavy-duty diesel trucks require a rigid suspension and tires with maximum inflation in order to carry heavy payloads, but oftentimes, the weight is not equally distributed along the frame. The weight of the vehicle may be heavier in the front or back. This is common when it is loaded or has a snow plow on the front. The extra weight can cause the front tires to rub on the wheel wells when making turns. This can adversely affect handling, tire wear patterns, and the suspension, especially when loaded. With a leveling kit, in addition to your truck looking better, you can expect a better ride, smoother handling, and the increased safety that results. A leveling kit is an easy, straightforward modification.
A lifting kit will raise a truck much higher than a leveling kit. The kits are available in many different shapes and sizes. In stock kits often go up to 10-inch lifts. A custom order can lift a truck even higher if desired.
A lift kit is far more involved than a simple leveling kit and will dramatically change the suspension system. New control arms, springs, and shocks will have to be substituted for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Other parts may be needed as well, such as new driveshafts. Additionally, the brake lines may need to be re-routed or replaced, and you will likely need to replace your stock tires with much larger ones.
A lifting kit is ideal if the truck is going to be used off-road, whether for work or play. For example, loggers and other forest workers need a tough vehicle that can handle rough logging roads. Living in a climate with a heavy snow load is another situation where a lifting kit may be preferred. However, a leveling kit is far more affordable and will usually suffice for most people's needs.
For more information on leveling kits, contact your local auto parts store.