Does a suspension lift increase clearance for tyres? Posted on 15 Apr 13:33 , 0 comments
No. It does not.
I am assuming you have come to this blog post to figure out how you can fit bigger tyres on your rig. I often get asked the question whether a suspension lift will allow that to happen, and as you can see from my response above, the answer is no.
My summary for getting bigger tyres on your rig is:-
- Putting in a 2” body lift;
- Adjusting the caster of the wheels; and then
- Choosing the correct offset for what your modifications can allow for.
Why does a suspension lift not fit bigger tyres?
Basically, you are not changing the swinging arc or natural travel of the suspension, because all you are doing is pushing the spring down. You are not changing the travel path of the tyres, therefore, if you lift the suspension and you hit a bump, the suspension will compress and the tyre will still scrub.
You have probably seen a lot of people post comments and pictures on Facebook claiming they fit larger tyres with a suspension lift alone. They probably did, with the help of Mr Grinder and a lot of chop chop. This method is just about making something fit, not about making something fit properly.
I really don’t recommend you do this, the more you have to cut away at your body panels, the more chance of rust in the future.
Will a body lift allow more clearance?
This is because you are essentially moving all the suspension components away from the body, giving a consistent clearance from body panels.
Some rigs (e.g. entire Izusu range, Holden Colorado’s, Hilux’s etc), still have issues with tyres scrubbing on the body mounts behind the front wheels, even after putting in a 2” body lift.
If you have experienced this issue, you would have seen that this body mount is much, much larger than the other body mounts situated around the car. The reason for this? It is a safety feature of the vehicle, to prevent the wheel from being pushed into the footwell of the car (crushed legs, feet etc), in the unfortunate event of a collision or wheel coming loose.
Because these body mounts are a safety feature, tampering with them can be dangerous so be cautious when considering what I am about to say next.
In order to fit bigger tyres on my rig, I have cut away at a portion of these body mounts (one either side of the car). If you decide to follow what I have done, I cannot stress the importance enough of only removing what you MUST, and it must be enclosed it again (being don’t just leave the thing hacked open) in order to retain structural integrity.
See my collage of photographs showing what steps I took to re-enclose the body mount after I cut away what was needed.
Please, consult an engineer before considering this option first.
Camber and Caster
Another way to create clearance for larger tyres, without chopping this body mount mentioned above, is to adjust the caster. Adjusting camber and caster is involved and I have not addressed how to go about this in this blog post.
You can speak with your local wheel joint regarding the adjustment of caster with the use of plates to allow for larger wheels.
When putting larger tyres on your rig, you need to give consideration to what size offset your rims will be.
The more positive offset, the more tucked in the wheels will be towards the body. This means, the more negative offset you have, the more the wheels will sit out from the body.
The further out the wheels sit, the bigger the swinging arc of the tyre, which will cause heavier contact with the body mount and body.