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Please tell me about "Lifted" trucks

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  • Please tell me about "Lifted" trucks


    We have been shopping for a Ford 7.3l truck.

    In my searches I have noticed that many folks have lifted trucks.

    Obviously, those that are lifted too high would not work for trailering horses, but excluding those lifted trucks limits our choices in an already limited market.

    So, I have two questions.

    1. Is a 4" lifted truck ok to tow a horse trailer or is it something we'd want to avoid? A few I've looked at online don't seem too high.

    2. Is it feasible to purchase one and take it to our mechanic to replace the lifted parts? If that is a possibility, how much should we allow in our purchase decision price to have this done?

    We are a two horse bumper pull and custom ordered it with 16" wheels rather than the 15" ones that came with it as we were towing it with a diesel motorhome is that helps any.


  • #2
    I'm not sure about trailering with a lifted truck, but a 4 inch lift is pretty significant!

    There are true "lift kits" and then there are spacers. I believe spacers would be easier to remove. Lift kits are pretty extensive and change a lot on the truck.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


    • #3
      Avoid! One of our trucks has a 4" lift in the back and it makes the trailer ride at an angle and we believe it put undue stress on the entire truck. It's a PITA to deal with a lift and I don't know why so many put them in!

      Ours had the lift when we first saw it and we told the dealership we'd buy the truck if it didn't have the lift. So they arranged to have the lift removed and we went ahead with the deal. When we went to pick up the truck for some bizarre reason they only lowered the FRONT and not the back. Gave the truck a real sporty look but that wasn't what we were after. We pull a 20 foot steel trailer with usually 5-7 horses in it so we though maybe the lift would compensate for it-and it didn't. The trailer still rides at an angle when full, though not as much as without a full load.

      This was all maybe 10 years ago and the body shop accidently billed us for the lowering and I remember that bill was about $350, so not much. The truck is a 96 F250 and we think that the screwy angle and lifting/lowering attributed to all the front end work we had to do on it later on, though that year of truck had a predisposition to front end work anyway.

      We were recently truck shopping again and I just passed on every truck that had a lift. In addition to everything I said already, I'm 5 feet tall and practically need a ladder to get in the bed of the truck to hook up the trailer or load/unload anything. The dogs can't jump that high either!
      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


      • #4
        Keep in mind that there are a couple different kinds of `lifts`.
        One kind is a body lift where just the cab is lifted and the frame stays where the factory made it. The other kit is a frame lift that is just like it sounds, they lift the frame.

        If you are pulling a bumper pull (for lack of better words) they do make drop hitches to accommodate and level out the hitch area. Personally I have not seen one that really does the job real well, but maybe there is one out there.
        If you are pulling a goose neck stay away from a lifted truck.
        "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"


        • Original Poster

          Hum, I can not figure out how to reply with quote to several posts in one reply.

          Alicat-I agree we should probably continue to stay away from towing with a 4" lifted truck. It just crossed my mind as some photos did not seem much higher than our motorhome was.

          cowboymom-We would definitely have both the front and back lowered back to stock. Your ordeal sounds terrible. $350 doesn't seem too bad and we'd gladly pay up to $1000 for the mod back to stock.

          OGM-Yes, I think we do have one of those hitches with the drop on it from the motorhome, however, we will stay away from trying to tow with a lifted truck.

          Overall, we will either keep shopping for a stock truck or contact our mechanic about replacing all the lifted parts. It seems that the expense is in lifting the truck from what I can see. The lift upgrades are not cheap, but we'd gladly throw them away if it's feasible to return it to stock.

          Thanks for all the comments!


          • #6
            I would avoid any truck that has been lifted. They are a mechanical nightmare! Especially those with suspension lifts, you have to consider how much added strain the drive train was put under to turn a vehicle on 35" tires!


            • #7
              My truck has a 4" lift on it. As long as you do the PROPER thing and get a hitch that accounts for the lift (I have a 6" dropped hitch) as you should do for ANY TRUCK OR VEHICLE YOU ATTACH A TRAILER TO there is no angle on the trailer!!!

              Anyways, I would have it inspected and made sure that the lift was done correctly. I've been told many times by several different mechanics that my truck's lift job was beautifully well done. 4" is not that significant, about 2" higher than what you can get added on from the dealer IIRC. I've had zero problems regarding the lift and trailering (I don't have nerf bars on my truck, so sometimes people grumble about getting in the cab, but I've gotten in without a problem in a dress and heels!). Other than buying bigger/badder tires for the truck and getting the drop hitch I don't think there has been any difference for me towing wise - although if you are towing with a gooseneck you should make sure that the gooseneck can adjust in height to accommodate (some of the older goosenecks cannot I believe).

              I have a 3 horse trailer BP with dressing room and its been fully loaded with no problems hauling. I would not go out of my way to put a lift on the truck, but my truck was perfect for a great price!


              • #8
                It would be best NOT to have a lift kit on the truck. A lot of the lift kits are made to subpar quality. Reversing a lift kit typically can cost anywhere from $200 - $1000 (in our area in Georgia.)

                Some lift kits are "okay." If you're purchasing a diesel then you can take a truck you're looking to buy, take it to a diesel mechanic, and they can tell you if the kit will be okay. It's really a case-by-case scenario. Some people tend to cut a lot of corners when it comes to putting lift kits on their trucks. Some are not even safe to drive down the road let alone pull a trailer.
                If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                Originally posted by talkofthetown
                As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


                • #9
                  We don't haul just one trailer and we rarely use a bumper pull. Having a lift really cuts down on versatility for a towing vehicle.
                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                  • #10
                    I would not purchase a truck with an aftermarket lift kit to tow my trailer. I dated a guy that had his stock 2000 Chevy Silverado lifted with a 6 inch frame lift, done by an outfit that specialized in that. While the truck looked really cool, it ended up being riddled with problem after problem due to that lift, including problems with the driveshaft and a tranny overhaul. It also affected the gas mileage and the speedometer, since to complete the look, it had to have oversize tires. I just would not own a truck that did not come from the factory like that after seeing everything that went wrong with the aforementioned truck in the three years I was involved with that guy. I was there when the lift went in and I was there when it finally got traded in for a new truck.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jlgordon15 View Post
                      I would avoid any truck that has been lifted.
                      This was also the advice my mechanic gave me when I was shopping for a truck. Around here, most people use trucks for doing off road driving, not hauling, so shopping for a used truck was tough because most of the ones that met my criteria for engine size (7.4L) had been lifted.
                      Last edited by jenm; Jun. 17, 2011, 03:44 AM. Reason: fixed typo
                      Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                      • #12
                        Most lifted trucks also have larger off road tires that will lower your final drive ratio. Most of these tires are also not of a high enough weight rating.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you everyone. I can see for the most part that we should either avoid it, have it taken off or luck out and get a good one as EventingJ did.

                          We certainly would not go over 4" and won't buy anything that has hard off road miles on it.

                          It seems that the cool factor of lifts seems to be very popular in S. Cal. and many of the trucks with lower miles are lifted just to look good driving down the fwy.

                          We will continue to look and hopefully find one that is not lifted, but will not rule out one with a 4" or lower good quality lift. I will also call our mechanic tomorrow to see what he would charge us to return one to stock if we find one that appears in good condition.

                          We will absolutely not go any higher than a 4" lift, which as I mentioned seems similar in height to our diesel motorhome, which of course, was substantially built. I can see where you could run into quality problems and need to be careful with the after market lifts. We would use our dropped hitch.

                          Thank you all. We are glad to hear what to look out for and the good/bad experiences.



                          • #14
                            I have exactly what you're talking about - a 7.3 with a 4" lift.

                            As has been mentioned, you need an appropriately dropped stinger - your trailer should never be angled!

                            Otherwise? No problems. Mine's a 6 speed, so no tranny issues, and with all the other fun mods it has (done properly, adjusted correctly) it laughs at the weight of my fully loaded 3H steel BP.


                            • #15
                              You're in So Cal? I live in the land of lifted enormous trucks (East San Diego County). There's no problem pulling if done correctly.

                              I just bought a used 2500 that has spacers which we keep meaning to remove. It's almost impossible as you said to find one without a lift. Many are done by the dealerships to make them look cooler. Some are easy to get rid of, some a little more difficult. I'd take any truck you are looking to buy to a shop that specializes in lifts to check the quality/removability factor.

                              I like small lifts but the extra gas and larger tires is just too expensive. I love my big truck but the spacers have got to go!


                              • #16
                                I *had* a 1995 7.3l with a lift as well. LOVED the damn thing. I STILL miss it, in fact, even though at 223k miles and me being single at the time, I felt I needed something more reliable. Now that I have Mr Fixes-Anything, I wish I had the truck back... I even saw one for sale and went to look (and ran screaming when I saw it was a gas).

                                FWIW, I towed the grey gooseneck in the picture and had the nose slid up so it rode level and when I sold that trailer for my current 2h BP, I bought a drop hitch. There are ways you can do it properly, safely, and comfortably for the horse(s).
                                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Macimage View Post
                                  Hum, I can not figure out how to reply with quote to several posts in one reply.
                                  Just to the right of the quote button at the bottom of the post is a button that has a quote mark (") and a plus sign in it. That is the multiple quote option. As you read along, every post you want to quote just hit that button. When you are done reading use the Post Reply button at the top left or the bottom left and all the posts you picked will show in your reply box as quotes.

                                  Originally posted by EventingJ View Post
                                  As long as you do the PROPER thing and get a hitch that accounts for the lift (I have a 6" dropped hitch) as you should do for ANY TRUCK OR VEHICLE YOU ATTACH A TRAILER TO there is no angle on the trailer!!!
                                  Staying out of the lift in a truck is good or bad thing (I have no idea).
                                  But I totally agree with this. So many people tow with their trailer not level.


                                  • #18
                                    I have an F250 v-10 that I purchased used. It was owned by a guy who was retired and had a llama/alpaca breeding operation. He used it to tow regularly (though he didn't know what the little OD shutoff button was for and thus didn't use it...) He wanted to sell me the matching stock trailer for the truck, but it wouldn't suit my 17hh+ish warmblood horses.

                                    I own a simple, common Kingston 2-horse without tackroom ( I call it my 'tunafish' can ) and I use a drop hitch to tow it. I tow A LOT. I am lucky to live in an area with super duper services providers for trucks and trailers (Yeah Histand's in PA !!)

                                    The truck has a 'lift kit' but I never wondered if it was factory installed or not. I have a wonderful mechanic almost literally around the corner, so I will ask him about it the next time I see him. I will also ask him if it effects the gas mileage.

                                    I have no problems towing, and this time of year I usually am towing about 2days/week if not more.
                                    "Friend" me !



                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                                      The truck has a 'lift kit' but I never wondered if it was factory installed or not. I have a wonderful mechanic almost literally around the corner, so I will ask him about it the next time I see him. I will also ask him if it effects the gas mileage.
                                      The lift is not what effects the gas mileage, it's the size of the tires. You could lift the vehicle and leave the stock size tires and would not have a difference in MPG. I had a Chevy Z71 in high school and being surrounded by rednecks in "jacked up" trucks (as we call lifted trucks in the south ), I wanted one too. My dad being the mechanic that he is told me that he would never lift my truck because he would not pay for the inevitable repairs from the extra wear and tear. So I talked him into turning the torsion bars up which allowed me to go up in tire size and have the appearance of a "jacked up" truck. Yeah this lasted all of about a month. my truck went from 13 miles to the gallon to about 8!!!! My show horse was at a barn about 40 miles away so filling up double the amount of time definitely ate into my pocket. Luckily my dad was much smarter than me and had set my old tires aside figuring I wouldn't last long, and put those back on!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by jlgordon15 View Post
                                        The lift is not what effects the gas mileage, it's the size of the tires. You could lift the vehicle and leave the stock size tires and would not have a difference in MPG.

                                        OK. The tires are 'stock size.' I will ask my mechanic about whether or not it is a 'factory installed' lift, though he has never made a negative comment about it.
                                        "Friend" me !