Cheap! In fact, many older trucks can be body-lifted for around $60 (it's more for later-model vehicles if they have an airbag in the steering column, because you'll need an adapter kit), which is especially appealing if you want to lift an IFS truck on a budget. And a body lift kit is peanuts when you consider that a suspension lift's ticket can be as much as $2,000 including labor. However, with the body lift you'll really only gain clearance for bigger tires. So if hard-core 'wheeling is on your slate, you're better off saving up for a suspension kit.
What's been increasing in popularity for straight-axle/factory-leaf-spring vehicles, such as Jeeps and Land Cruisers, is a spring-over axle mod. Essentially, it requires moving the leaf springs from below the axles to above them. It's not really expensive or tough, and typically the stock springs work fine. You'll need to have tubing bent for the drag link. With this switch, you'll gain more articulation and clearance simply by having the leaf springs up and out of the way.
If you have worn-out shackles, it's time to bolt in new ones, and motivation to do so will come to you in the form of inches. In last month's no-hassle shackle installation story we used ones 1 inch longer than stock and gained 1/2 inch of lift, although shackles are available 1 to 5 inches longer than stock for even more height. And a couple inches of lift from longer shackles won't risk stretching or breaking components or throwing off the alignment. There are also flip-type shackles-basically the shackle gets turned upside down-that can net you up to 8 inches of lift at the rear. But keep in mind that it'll cost you to bring the front end up to speed, and you'll probably kiss your pinion angle and driveshaft fitment good-bye with that much air. Check out "Chevy Shackle Flip" in the Sept. '97 issue for details on doing this the right way.
Cranked Torsion Bars
Yes, you IFS-ers, there is low-buck hope: You can adjust the torsion bars slightly for additional height, but make sure you crank them equally on each side. Heavy-duty aftermarket torsion bars won't lift you any higher than stock ones, but they won't wear as fast as the stockers. And then there's that downside-the pros warn of a rough ride, that you'll wear the steering components and lose suspension travel, and the alignment will be thrown off.
Replace Your Bushings
If your bushings are toast, your overall ride height will diminish, so swap in new bushings. You're not going to gain significant height, but every little bit helps, and this is dirt-cheap. And new ones may also give you a better ride by eliminating the metal-to-metal contact.
Mountain Off-Road Enterprises
P.O. Box 690
400 W. Artesia Boulevard
Off Road Unlimited (Burbank)
300 N. Victory Boulevard