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Thread: Body Lift Installation

  1. #1
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
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    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
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    Wrench Body Lift Installation

    Intro:
    A body lift is used to raise up the body from the frame to add tire clearance without adjusting the suspension. A body lift is helpful for fitting larger tires but will not increase frame/drivetrain clearance for offroad applications. The Vehicross is limited to 4” of suspension lift (without fabrication) due to the restricted downward travel of independent front suspension. Suspension & body lifts can both be installed to help balance out lift, tire clearance & drivetrain stress.
    The Vehicross currently has 1” & 3” body lift kits available for purchase through Independent4x. The 1” body lift kit is a simple installation of adding a 1” spacer to the body-frame mounts. The 3” body lift kit requires more modification to hoses, wires, mounts, brake lines, drivetrain linkage & bumpers but essentially is the same process as the 1” body lift. When purchasing a kit from Independent4x, use the “Trooper” model designation to receive the appropriate kit.

    Tools:
    1.) Jack & jack stands
    2.) Wood blocks in different sizes (2x4, 4x4)
    3.) Metric socket & wrench set
    4.) Penetrating oil
    5.) Welder (optional)
    6.) Jig Saw or something to trim cladding
    7.) Metal cutting tool
    8.) Impact wrench (optional)

    *Installing a 3" body lift should take between 6-10 hrs.

    Procedure for installing the 3” body lift kit on a Vehicross:

    1.) Open the box, it should look something like this:


    2.) Prior to installing, spray the body mounts bolts with penetrating oil to help break up rust build up

    3.) Remove the front & rear cladding bumpers. Note: the rear bumper will wrap around under the quarter panel cladding which may have to be removed to release the tabs

    4.) Remove the front & rear internal metal bumpers as they will attach the frame to the body


    5.) Chalk the wheels, apply the hand brake, place the transfer case in neutral, & disconnect the battery terminals

    6.) Loosen the 14mm auto trans linkage bolt shown in picture. It is accessible from the driverside above the transmission.


    7.) Check all brake line clips & remove/loosen any that may pull a brake line during lift. Note: I only had to remove the 4 clips holding the hand brake lines to the body but your experience may be different so check all brake lines prior to lift.

    8.) Remove both circular safety brackets located byside the rear driveshaft on the crossmember

    9.) Locate & loosen the 10 body mount bolts but do not remove. For reference there are 2 mounts in the front, 2 behind the front tires, 2 in front of the rear tires, & 4 behind the rear tires. You will need to pull up the carpet to access two of the body mounts (per side) as shown below.



    10.) Now you’re ready to lift and you will want to have a helper before starting the next part.

    11.) Remove the 5 body mount bolts on the passenger side of the VX. Place a jack with wood blocks under the body between the F&R tires. Note: Be sure not to jack the frame & the cladding, only the underbody. The 4 body mounts behind the rear wheels thread into the frame and the other 6 mounts use a bolt & nut.


    12.) Slowly start lifting the vehicle, have your helper keep an eye on the engine bay for hoses and wires

    13.) As long as nothing is binding/stretching, continue lifting the VX until there is a 3” gap between the body mount & frame. Now it time to gather the new spacers & bolts. Make sure to split up the bolts appropriately (the 4 rear mounts have a metric thread for the frame).

    14.) Place the new spacers in position above the old body mounts and thread the new longer bolts to hold the spacers in place. The narrow spacers are used only in the front. Do not tighten, just secure.



    15.) Before you can lift the drivers side of the Vehicross, you need to check a few things for the steering in the engine bay.

    a.) After lifting the passenger side, the power steering lines may be starting to tighten up. I felt that the lines would be a little short once I lifted the driver side so I unbolted the reservoir & bolted it a little lower.


    b.) This kit comes with a steering column extender piece that fits onto the splined shaft at the gear box. For whatever reason, you definitely need this piece on a Trooper but I couldn’t get enough room to install the piece. Our VX have a teleoscoping steering colum that just extends after you lift it. Since I’m not sure if your experience will be the same as mine, I would take the time to mark the position of the splined shaft at the gearbox & loosen the fixing bolt. If the steering shaft needs to be extended, it will simply slide away from the gearbox when lifting the driver’s side and you will aready have it marked to keep the steering wheel aligned. Note: I later learned that the gear box needs to be removed in order to install the extender piece. I haven't found a need to use the extender since I haven't had any problems after 500 miles & two offroad trips.

    c.) Remove the engine mount located near the steering shaft because it will rub once the lift is installed.


    16.) Now you are ready to lift the drivers side of the Vehicross. Repeat steps 13&14.

    17.) Check all spacers to make sure they are in place (remember you should have used ten total). Once you have verified everything is in place, tighten all bolts to correct specs & use thread locker where possible.

    18.) Take a breath… almost done. Walk around your now higher Vehicross & make sure everything looks nice and level. Now is a good time to recheck the steering shaft & power steering lines mentioned in step 15.

    19.) Adjust the auto trans linkage. This may take some time to get it correct as your shift positions will act funny if the linkage is too loose or too tight. I ended up adjusting mine a few times after test drives to get it feeling normal again.

    20.) Now we need to adjust the transfer case lever which should still be in neutral. There are two ways to do this & it really depends on if you have a welder available.

    a.) Welder available: remove the center console covering shifters. Remove the transfer case/auto shifter plate from the body. Cut the transfer case shifter above the base and weld in the 3” extention provided in the kit. Reassemble. Disclaimer: I did not extend the shifter this way and it may have different steps than the ones I provided.

    b.)No welder: remove the center console covering shifters. Using a dremel or grinder with cutting wheel, carefully cut back a square piece behind the transfer shifter which will allow the shifter enough room to shift into TOD. Reassemble console. Note: your shifter will be STUBBY!!!!! Like it or hate it you can easily extend it later or keep it forever, it wont cause any problems.



    21.) Reattach any clips you may have removed for the lift. Check the radiator as it may have moved a bit. Optional: you can use the new radiatior mounts provided in the kit if there is any radiator movment otherwise it shouldn’t need any adjustment.

    22.) Check your fuel tank fill line and extend hose if the fill line is taut. My fill hose was fine so I didn’t install an extender. There is an extender in the kit if the fill hose is too tight.

    23.) Bumpers need to be reinstalled, the front bumper should go on as normal with possible trimming needed at the bottom lip. The rear bumper will need significant cutting from the lower portion to clear the frame. Take your time and use a smooth cutting tool like a jig saw. The metal internal bumper cannot be installed after body lift which brings up and important safety tip to look into making some kind of new bumper to protect the gas tank during a collision. I will use square tubing (3”x1”) with tow points on the frame & a hitch reciever to protect the gas tank.


    24.) Congradulations, You’re Done!!!!! Take your Vehicross for a test drive & enjoy being lifted without the stress to the drivetrain

  2. #2
    Member Since
    Jun 2002
    Location
    2001 Ebony S/C #1304
    Posts
    3,634
    Thanked: 9
    "Take your Vehicross for a test drive & enjoy being lifted without the stress to the drivetrain."

    Looks like 99% of the stress is in the install, hahaha.... no no, I kid I kid....

    Good job. Now waiting to see who goes and couples a massive body AND suspension lift (Im sure its already been done, of course).
    Gary Noonan
    '01 S/C VX / '18 Forester XT

  3. #3
    Member Since
    May 2016
    Location
    2000 green vx 1234
    Posts
    3
    Thanked: 0
    Nice - great directions. I need to do this in order to get bigger tires under my green dragon. Do you have any perspective/feedback on this type of body lift Vs a torsion bar adjustment and new rear coil springs? Can/should it be done with torsion bar/springs changes?

  4. #4
    Member Since
    Jan 2015
    Location
    1999 Ebony VX, 0209
    Posts
    555
    Thanked: 15
    With a suspension lift you can get 33's in there. With suspension lift and a really big hammer you can get 35's. I currently run 31's with just a coil spring/torsion lift and wish I had gone to 33's. If you go beyond 3" on the front end with a torsion lift you will probably want a diff drop bracket. Unfortunately this seems to be a custom fabricated item. Also the springs don't raise the VX strait up, and moves the center of the wheel forward a bit in the wheel well. There are ways to correct this, but I haven't done it yet.

    Also with a body lift it will be easier to fab rock sliders. Without a body lift I am looking at making a down angle mount or come up with something creative. One slider I found uses a down angle mount and smallish 1" x 1" tube. They may be strong enough, but the small size worries me so I am measuring out my own build for this part. I have the tube I need for this, but still need some other parts (heavy angle pieces). This would be a lot easier with a 2" body lift. If I hadn't already done a 2 3/4" (3" before the suspension settled) spring/torsion bar lift I would be looking much harder at this as an option. If I was to do this now, I would also have to rebuild by winch mount, and I really don't want to go through all of that again.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the ride and the lift. No matter which way you go there are changes and obstacles to overcome. Nothing customer is ever easy, but it so worth it when it works.

    I wish I could tell you what tire sizes fit which body lift kits, but I really don't have an answer for that question.
    --------
    VX Status: Running Great! Build is coming along nicely...

  5. #5
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    Location
    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnyguy View Post
    Nice - great directions. I need to do this in order to get bigger tires under my green dragon. Do you have any perspective/feedback on this type of body lift Vs a torsion bar adjustment and new rear coil springs? Can/should it be done with torsion bar/springs changes?
    If you're going 35" tires or bigger, you'll find the suspension lift maxes out the IFS in order to get enough lift to fit the tires. You can run it this way and I know several VXers who have for years. I opted for 3" body lift + 2" suspension lift to get the ride height I wanted, but still leaving some down droop in the IFS. It worked well for years, until I went to 37" tires and SAS. If you're planning on running tires smaller than 35", I would just put a suspension lift on your VX.

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