Ford F-150: Lift and Level Modifications

Want that off-road look, need more tire clearance, or maybe a little more performance out of your suspension? We have some ideas for you!

By Pizzaman711 - September 3, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2009).

So, you want to lift your truck? Whether you're shooting for real off-road capability, or the ability to fit small vehicles in your truck's shadow, the truth is there are several ways to go about doing this. This guide will give you a rundown on what you can do to lift your F-150. We'll start from the simple, inexpensive upgrades before ramping up to the massive projects. Keep reading to learn more about getting up.

Leveling Kits - 1" to 2.5" Lift

  • TXST8tj's F150 Before Getting Levelled
    Before Getting Levelled
  • After Getting Levelled
    After Getting Levelled

For the 04+ trucks you have three main options to level the front end: Spacers, levelling struts, or aftermarket coilovers. We don't recommend going over 2” of levelling on 97-03’s, 2.5” on 04-13’s, and 1.5”-2” on 14’s. Going beyond these limits put your truck ball joints, tie-rod ends, etc. at extreme angles.

Strut Spacers

Pro Comp Strut Spacers

DIY Cost – An alignment ($60-100) and a few hours
Professional Cost – $200-350 including everything needed
Skill Level – Moderate, requires larger wrenches/sockets and removing/installing a ball joint

This is the cheapest way to gain any height on your truck. For 04+ trucks, Autospring and Hell Bent Steel are the go to brands. For the 97-03’s, Daystar and Springtech receive great reviews as well.

Leveling Struts, Coilovers, and Coils

Icon Coilover Shock Absorber

DIY Cost – An alignment ($60-100) and a few hours
Professional Cost – $400-500+ including everything needed
Skill Level – Advanced, requires a 30mm socket, removing/installing a ball joint, and possibly removing/installing coil springs

This is the best way to level your truck, but also the most expensive. While some spacers offer a stock like ride, these offer a better than stock ride. Some popular brands include Bilstein, Rancho, Doestch, and Fox.

Blocks

Rear Suspension Lift Blocks

DIY Cost – Cost of parts, around $50 on average
Professional Cost – $100-150 with labor
Skill Level – Simple, takes around an hour

The cheapest way to lower or lift the rear of the truck. Theses blocks sit between the axle and the leaf-spring for added height in the rear-end of the truck. Four-wheel-drive models already come with a 1.5" block installed, while the two-wheel-drive models do not.

Regular Lift Kits - 3" to 6"

Lift Kits are the next step, usually coming in sizes of 4-8” and costing from $1300 to more than $3000 depending on options.

Dropdown Crossmember Lift

Zone Lift Kit

DIY Cost – $1000 - $1500
Professional Cost – Parts plus $4-600 for labor/ alignment
Skill Level – Advanced, may require cutting and welding as well as special tools

Generally considered the best way to achieve lift as they reset you back to around factory angles. Popular brands include Zone, Fabtech, BDS, and Rancho.

  • 03 King Ranch 6
    6" lift on 35" wheels
  • Desert Dawg F-150 4
    4" lift 35" wheels
  • Pockets F-150 6
    6" lifted on 35" wheels

Spindle Lift

Lift spindles

DIY Cost – Cost of parts and alignment
Professional Cost – Parts plus $2-300 for labor and alignment
Skill Level – Advanced, removing/installing ball joints, tie rod ends, and wheel bearings

Spindles are a cheap way to gain 3-3.5” for the 97-03 2WD F150’s. They retain factory angles, but they do make the front track-width 1-1.5” wider per side depending on kit.

Body Lift

DIY Cost – $200-300
Professional Cost – Parts plus $600-900 for labor
Skill Level – Advanced, a lot of tedious work, allow 2-3 days for install

Generally the most affordable way to lift your truck if you can install it yourself. However, it leaves a gap between the body and frame which can be a little unsightly.

Pro Tip

Body-Lift Gap Guards

Beware! If you give your truck a body lift, the frame will be exposed through the wheel wells. This isn't a problem really, but the general consensus is that it looks ugly. Gap Guards are sheets of plastic that protect those gaps from trapping things when you're off-roading. Also, they'll make your truck look better.

Big Lifts - 8" to 12"

For those who want to go bigger there is a few options, and depending on what you currently have some may be more viable than others.

The Combo

8

DIY Cost – Cost of parts and tools
Professional Cost – Parts plus $600-1100+ for labor
Skill Level – Advanced, I’d recommend a shop if this is your first install

Creative F-150 owners often mix and match parts to get their trucks over 6". Frequently people combine a suspension lift, 1" to 1.5" leveling kit if angles allow, a taller rear block or add-a-leaf, and a 2" to 3" body lift to get some extra height out of their truck. Depending on what you currently have, see above for the costs both DIY and professionally, the skill level, and the description of each.

Pre-Made Kits

Full Throttle 8
Full Throttle's 8" Lift Kit

DIY Cost – The average kit costs between $2,500 and $6,000.
Professional Cost – Parts plus $600 to $1100+ for labor
Skill Level – Advanced, I’d recommend a shop if this is your first install

Full Throttle makes kits ranging from 4" to over 16”. The 10" and under kits generally receive good reviews, however the 12" and over kits are generally frowned upon when used by themselves. To properly run them you need to upgrade your brakes, steering, and more. The crossmember on them also isn’t very nice looking.

BDS makes some great kits. I’d highly recommend these to anyone whose budget allows. They aren't the cheapest, but they’re high quality and have a lifetime warranty.

CST is another great company to look into. If you want performance and the look, this is a good place to start. Not only do their kits provide lift, but majority also increase your wheel travel.

  • F-150 BDS Suspension Lift Kit
    BDS Suspension
  • F-150 Full Throttle Suspension Lift Kit
    Full Throttle Suspension
  • CST Performance Suspension

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