"Where the Pavement Ends the Adventure Begins"TM

3 Inch Body Lift Installation
by: David Meisner
Jack Up Your Truck:
A Collection of Useful Body Lift Tricks
By: Mat Riddle

Submitted to Explorer4x4.com by: 
Mat Riddle

 Well, you’ve finally decided to lift your Explorer and if you’re like me you have opted for a body lift. Hey, it’s cheaper and you’ll still get the beefy, big tire look that you want. For myself I had driven my 92’ Explorer XLT around for about a month before deciding that I was fed up with the 29"(P235R65) tires. My Explorer just seemed so small and lacked the clearance I wanted off-road. I went to the local store and bought a 2" Performance Accessories body lift for about $100. There are other companies (Trailmaster), and other sizes too (3", 1"), but I went with the 2" because it isn’t as extreme as a 3", and I was somehow thinking I could get by without having to fix the bumpers (yeah right). Needless to say, I wanted to install the lift myself to save money and with an undertaking such as this, I trust myself the most.

 First off, be prepared to spend a good day on the lift. I had a heated garage and air compressed tools and it still took my dad and I about 8 hours. This may vary for you, but if it is your first time, it probably won’t. The PA lift comes with detailed instructions, but I am going to elaborate on it more. There are 10 body mounts. The two under the front bumper are easy to find and should be no trouble. The next 2, if you move from front to back, are under the floor mats. To get to them you’ll have to lift up the carpet on both sides and remove a rubber type cap that covers all of the inside body mounts. The third series of mounts are a pain. They are just under the front seats, and you will most likely have to remove one or both of the back bolts on the seats. For the fourth series you will need to remove the bolts that hold the rear seats in. These ones are hard, but not nearly as difficult as those under the front seats. Lastly, you’ll need to remove the rear carpet to get to the mounts in the back. It’s pretty easy, and if you’re lucky like me you might find a present from the people at Ford. When I removed the carpet padding I found a teal stained glove that had obviously been used with my truck.

 One main concern with a body lift is the bumpers, and they can be difficult. The brackets that come with the 2" PA lift are actually for a 3" and they recommend that you skip using brackets at all. That’s wrong. Anyone with a drill press or even just a drill should be able to fix the brackets. All you need to do is just cut a little off the top of the plate and make new holes 1" farther down. The back brackets aren’t very hard as you can see from the picture and in the before and after pictures you can see I managed to fix the gap quite nicely. The back brackets work well because of the way they brace against the frame, and I can easily jump up and down on the back bumper (picture). The front bumper is a little different from the back in how you can choose to attach it. You can re-drill the holes and it will work pretty well. I had more equipment at my disposal though, so I Arc Welded the bracket to the bumper. For those of you who don’t know, Arc Welding is a very powerful electric welder used on conductive metals, that practically fuses the pieces together. My dad handled the welding since he is very experienced with it and I can honestly say I think it is stronger than stock (picture).

 The last stage will be modifications around the body. The steering extender works well and I had no problems with it (picture). The mounts for the fan though, are a little cheesy and you may want to just replace them with some scrap metal or something lieing around (picture). Lastly, the rear brake cables, and emergency brake cable are fixed, which don’t need a picture. As you can see from the pictures of my engine compartment there is a difference in height, but it is nothing to worry about.

 I guarantee that nothing will feel better than when you finally get your bigger tires on. Unfortunately, you may experience tire rub. This of course varies with the size of the body lift and the tires, but I did have rubbing because despite what everyone said I decided to run 32x11.5 BFG ATs with my 2" lift. This caused a small problem with the back of the front wheel wells, which I fixed using a small rotary grinder. All you need to do is cut the plastic at the back of it for the clearance needed (picture). Be careful though, because you will probably not want to cut into the metal. As for the final word on my truck it looks GREAT! I do have a little rubbing when I turn tightly, but if I had stiffer shocks it would probably stop. I will mention though, that I am installing a suspension lift soon, though not because of rubbing, but because I need new shocks and with how much a Duff 2.5 costs I might as well spring for it. I hope these tips help.