There are two main reasons people want performance lift kits for their diesel truck or SUV. The first is an increase in the comfort, traction, fuel efficiency, horsepower and torque, and acceleration of the vehicle, particularly when going off-road. The second reason is, of course, that they can make your diesel vehicle the most impressive looking and sounding beast on the road. With advances in technology and design you don't have to sacrifice one for the other - you can choose the optimal performance upgrades for your truck or SUV, and customise the design to fit any look you want.
Installing a lift kit should be your starting point for any performance upgrades to your diesel truck or SUV. This will raise your suspension and give you more room to work with later, so you have more options for your wheel, engine, and exhaust upgrades. Not only that, a suspension lift kit will also improve your fuel efficiency, and give you a far smoother ride.
Choosing the type of lift kit or suspension work you want done can be tricky. You have to consider not just the model of your vehicle, but also how you plan to use it. If you are using your diesel vehicle for a lot of off-road rock-crawling at low speeds, you'll have a different set of needs to somebody who does a majority of highway or long distance driving. To make the process smoother, make sure you have considered this question before you talk to your mechanic. This is mostly an issue of safety and optimal performance, whatever you plan to use your diesel vehicle for you should be able to customise its look to your preferences.
Installing a Lift Kit
Once you have decided on the appropriate suspension lift kit for your diesel vehicle, it is time to start the installation process. Again, this can be tricky with many factors to consider. Things like the length of your drive shaft, the overhang of your fenders, added air lockers, and the gear ratio in your axels all have to be considered and possibly modified. This is not a task you would want to undertake at home without prior knowledge - finding a reputable auto repair shop and discussing what the process would be for your specific vehicle is the best bet for a novice.
Disadvantages of Suspension Lift Kits
Unfortunately, modifying the suspension in your diesel vehicle does come with some risks. The extra height will change the way you navigate turns, as your centre of gravity will be raised - this can lead to less stability, but can be compensated for once you get a feel for the new handling. The recommended maximum height for lift kits is 4 inches, anything above that will lead to a considerable change in the way your vehicle handles and will take some getting used to.
If you are planning to install larger tyres after your lift kit (and you most likely will be when you see how puny your wheels look under your upgraded suspension), you should be mindful that you will lose some traction when driving at high speeds on the highway. While larger tyres are great for increasing stability in off-road conditions, you will find driving on the road will become slightly more difficult. As with the raise in your centre of gravity, it is nothing that you can't get used to with a little practise.
Body Lifts Vs. Suspension Lifts
This article has been discussing suspension lift kits, designed specifically for those who want to go off-road and get the best performance. A body lift gives you the same aesthetic results as a suspension lift, but won't give you any of the off-road performance benefits. A suspension lift kit will lift the entire frame, power train, and engine on springs to your requested height. A body lift kit will simply raise the body - giving you the same look and customisation options, but without the off-road stability and fuel economy. A body lift is substantially cheaper than a suspension lift, and doesn't require the same level of personalisation and workmanship. So if you aren't going off-road, but do want the look and sound of an off-road rig, a body lift kit may be your best option.