Advice on 80 series lift (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jun 6, 2020
Messages
17
Location
san diego
Hey guys, looking to start really upgrading my 96 and I'm looking for a good lift kit. Currently have a trail gear front bumper, smitty built XRC 9500 winch, and 33 BFG ATs. I just moved to colorado and im going to be doing a lot of overlanding this summer. I also plan on doing a lot of road tripping so I don't want to go too big,, im thinking 2". I will definitely be putting a rack/ light weight roof top tent at some point along with a rear swing out bumper so I will be adding weight. Again, I'm not looking to go too big as this is my everyday driver. Biggest tire size I'll do is probably 35s maybe 37s. What do you guys think? Thanks for the advice

20200904_165216.jpg
 

GW Nugget

Do the best you can with what you have...
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Messages
3,352
Location
Coalinga, CA
Try 33s & a lift this summer.
Dual rate coils is the best of both worlds empty & loaded. Stay at or under the 3" of lift threshold.
If you want to go bigger tires skip the 35s & go strait to 47s... I mean 37s.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
5,869
Location
flat earth Midwest
One option is to stick with the 33s and no lift. As far as the 33s are concerned, there's no need for a lift to clear the tires. Some folks like to have the extra space, though, for rock crawling. If you haven't explored much on Colorado trails yet, you may want to do a bit more of that before a lift, depending on what you already may know about your comfort level with sidehills above the tree line and such tipsy sorts of wheeling you run into from time to time in the mountains.

Another thing is cost. If you do really want to run the big stuff and do it right, there's a lot to do with the suspension and little of it directly carries over from stock height set-ups. So you could save whatever you might have spent on lifting while running 33s (which require nothing to run at OEM suspension heights for the big jump to 37s while you have a better chance to evaluate at length what your goals are in making such changes.
 

cvenom96

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 14, 2015
Messages
318
Location
Frederick, MD
Everything @greentruck said. In reality, your stock springs have probably already sagged from factory a bit so you're probably sitting slightly lower than it did new. For what you're doing, sounds like 2" is the way to go if you really want a lift and are going to be adding more weight. You could add spacers on top of the 2" for a little more if you really needed the clearance. It's been said on here before, once you go to 4" and up, lots of things have to change. Caster plates or Slee/Delta front control arms. Probably a new front driveshaft, etc. 37s you'll probably want to regear and possibly body work to prevent rubbing. Not saying you shouldn't do it if you want, but it adds up quick.
 

Comet

Knower of little, master of less.
SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
2,183
Location
Southwest Virginia
@crikeymike from Dobinson helped me through all the hype of lifting the rig to the sky. Do what you will, decide on what you like. There are many great vendors who participate here on the forum. In the end I decided to get 1 to 1.75” of lift with progressive springs. It ended up being three inches of lift unloaded due to sagging OEM springs that had over 300K on them. The truck rides great and when fully loaded has a slight rake in the rear (exactly what I was after). The issue I see most with asking what lift others have is that your intended use may be different from theirs. I will never be rock crawling, just forest roads. I love the ride with my Dobinsons and the handling was vastly improved. If I were to do it over again, I would do the exact same thing.
 

77mustard40

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Messages
1,682
Location
Austin, TX
You might want to get that rear bumper and roof top rack on first so you know how much added weight your new suspension will need to handle. Then it’s a matter of preference on ride height and tire size. You’re in CO and may want to really think about the step to 35’s because then you will likely need to re-gear due to the altitude. There are a lot of places you can go with 33’s and an upgraded stock height suspension, that’s your lowest cost option. You will need to correct caster once you start going up so make sure you have read up on those options ahead of time, it helps having a plan.
 

Heckraiser

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
5,045
Location
Colorado
I would start with OME or Dobinsons "stock height" springs to give you a little lift and handle the weight better. Then just run that until you wear out your 33's. Once you've worn out your 33's and presumably done a couple years of trails and camping, re-assess and decide which direction you want to go.

Most of us change out our setup at least a couple times over the course of ownership.
 

on the rocks

SILVER Star
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
419
Location
Colorado
You say you don't want to go big but only mention 35 and 37. Sorry but 37 IS going big for a DD, 35, not so much and I think the perfect size for the 80 and trails in Colorado, DD is fine if setup right. Read up on Dodinson 2.5VT(looks to be about 3"), a few here using them and I think look to be a sweet spot for 35's. I ran 3.5" forever , 120K miles, and think a bit too much lift for them but was very happy with it. Without sliders you can comfortably run most trails here as long as you not going crazy and keep the stock gearing with no issues IMO. Do your homework and get you suspension complete, don't just throw on springs and caster correction and fool yourself into being good. I have been on most every trail in this state over the years and never one issue with this setup or sliders and armor, I was 3.5" lift tho and triple locked, which I rarely used.
I personally don't get spending all that money to do a mild lift than do it all over again but I was always strapped for cash to dump into the 80 so took the one and done approach.

Welcome to Colorado but please educate yourself on stay the trail and respect the forest service and parks. Don't be like these morons coming in and leaving dog s*** bags everywhere and s***ting all over the woods and leaving toilet paper everywhere, tearing up trails and going of the roads, People don't start getting it soon it will all get closed down. Idiot Polis needs to start stepping up and educating the public better. Sorry for rant....
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
697
Location
Eastern Washington
I ran a 1" body lift and 33's for a few years before putting on my lift. I could go just about anywhere I was comfortable taking the truck, may have had to winch over some bigger stuff but no shame in that. I would rarely rub the rear tires on the inner fender when fully stuffed but nothing to worry about.

I still have the 33's but have added the 3" lift. I don't rub tires anymore but the 33's do look a tad small for my set up. I've got about another year before they are old/worn enough to look at replacing so I am mulling 35's. I've looked at 37's but I do not want to cut up the body or add bump stop extensions. Based on what I am seeing from flexing my rig out 35's will still clear everything with no additional modifications. Still undecided though as the 33's serve me well.

Given your pic I am going to assume you have been wheeling your current set up and are determined to upgrade. For what it's worth I would put rock sliders and some skid pans on that truck before I looked at a lift. It's amazing how much more you will try with smaller tires when you are confident that the dragging of the under body isn't going to hurt anything. Add your rear bumper before the lift too, not so much to know the weight, more to see if you're happy with the tire/lift size you already have knowing you have some additional protection. If you get all that on and are still not happy then go for the lift. Anything under 3" will help with the road manners but you may still need to add things like adjustable pan hard rods or brackets and fixes for the front caster. I am happy with my ICON lift and recently helped a buddy install a Dobinsons 2.5" kit which seemed very nice and he is happy with.

One thing to keep in mind if you plan to do long road trips to remote areas is a 33" tire (or metric equivalent) is going to be a lot easier to find in stock than larger sizes in smaller towns with limited options. Take it from someone who's lost two tires at once it can be an issue.
 
Last edited:

Road Apple

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
897
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
I agree that talking to @crikeymike or David Otero about a Dobinson setup is a good place to start. After discussing your budget, intended use, and weight of your truck, they can suggest an appropriate setup. Dobinson has a wide variety of setups, are cost effective, and perform well. It’s worthwhile to invest in quality shocks if you can afford them, like Dobinson MRR’s.

Icon springs are meant for light to medium weight rigs. Since you’re adding significant weight, Icon will likely sag too much.

For overlanding, as opposed to rock crawling, 35’s would keep your lift height and center of gravity lower. With a rooftop tent, lower CG will be important to keep the dirty side down. 37’s require more lift, more modification, and considerably more money to get it done right. A 2” lift will fit 35’s, require less castor correction, avoid driveline vibration issues, less bump stop extension, and maintain balanced suspension flex.

With 35’s, you can return to stock gearing, cheaper than re-gearing the differentials, with a set of transfer case high range 10% under-drive gears, which will give you about a 4.56 ratio. 4.11 is stock. While in the t-case, most people install a set of low range 25% gear reduction for more control offroad.

A set of rock sliders and belly protection are important on the rocky Colorado trails. I’d start there before adding the lift.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
5,869
Location
flat earth Midwest
You might want to get that rear bumper and roof top rack on first so you know how much added weight your new suspension will need to handle. Then it’s a matter of preference on ride height and tire size. You’re in CO and may want to really think about the step to 35’s because then you will likely need to re-gear due to the altitude. There are a lot of places you can go with 33’s and an upgraded stock height suspension, that’s your lowest cost option. You will need to correct caster once you start going up so make sure you have read up on those options ahead of time, it helps having a plan.

All very good points here to ponder. 77mustard40 has a very important point and that is you will need to address gearing with 37s and probably would want to with 35s, otherwise the skinny pedal action will be pretty disappointing on the road. Off the road, Low Range fixes that, more or less, but if you plan to tow anything on road with those bigger tires, then you'll be visiting the diff shop.

I've wheeled most of the big passes in the south half of the state and many trails, all in less capable vehicles (76 FJ55, Isuzu 84 Trooper II and 93 Rodeo) and an 80 on 33s already sounds like overkill to me. The only place I've ever had to give it a day and turn back was Holy Cross City. I got all the way to the stream crossing in the Pig running on stock 28s...but that was in 77 before all those big tires became so popular and made the trail, well, more challenging. I didn't get that far in 93 in the Rodeo, which had the 31" factory Big Tire option. Pretty sure you won't make it all the way up there on 33s based on recent trail reports, but that gives you an idea of how I look at things stepping up to an 80.

If you do plan to stay stock for now, the OME stock height coils are an economical way to take out the sag and beef up capacity. You can run stock height shocks and no need for caster adjustment or anything else. I started on the OEM Tokico shocks, but up front they weren't up to dampening out the weight of the winch and AUX battery (yours looks similarly weighty), so I went with the OME Nitro sports up there. The weird shock combo works really well. You can accomplish that for under $1000 and that will take you far enough to see where you want to go next with things.
 

77mustard40

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Messages
1,682
Location
Austin, TX
I didn’t want to influence you with my setup, there are tons of options so be true to yourself and your needs. That said I went with the basic 2” Ironman springs and shocks, Landtank caster plates and Delta’s rear pan hard lift bracket. I’m rolling on 35’s and really like the set up but I’d like to invest in the xfer case underdrive and low range gears to get my RPMs back to stock for high range driving. It’s not terrible as is, but Im at 600 not 6000 feet above sea level.
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
Messages
17
Location
san diego
You say you don't want to go big but only mention 35 and 37. Sorry but 37 IS going big for a DD, 35, not so much and I think the perfect size for the 80 and trails in Colorado, DD is fine if setup right. Read up on Dodinson 2.5VT(looks to be about 3"), a few here using them and I think look to be a sweet spot for 35's. I ran 3.5" forever , 120K miles, and think a bit too much lift for them but was very happy with it. Without sliders you can comfortably run most trails here as long as you not going crazy and keep the stock gearing with no issues IMO. Do your homework and get you suspension complete, don't just throw on springs and caster correction and fool yourself into being good. I have been on most every trail in this state over the years and never one issue with this setup or sliders and armor, I was 3.5" lift tho and triple locked, which I rarely used.
I personally don't get spending all that money to do a mild lift than do it all over again but I was always strapped for cash to dump into the 80 so took the one and done approach.

Welcome to Colorado but please educate yourself on stay the trail and respect the forest service and parks. Don't be like these morons coming in and leaving dog s*** bags everywhere and s***ting all over the woods and leaving toilet paper everywhere, tearing up trails and going of the roads, People don't start getting it soon it will all get closed down. Idiot Polis needs to start stepping up and educating the public better. Sorry for rant....
Well said. I've got quite a bit of trail experience in california and have even done part of the rubicon. I only was thinking of 37s because I roll with a lot of rock crawlers and they've been chirping in my ear. Realistically I think I'll do 2-2.5" ome or dobinsons and eventually upgrade to 35s. I know it's not needed but the added insurance and confidence with extra clearance is welcome
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
661
Location
Maine
You will be happy to go 2.5-3" with 315's. Its a great capable setup and stops just shy of where everything falls though the floor with mod needs and cost.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
280
Location
bozeman montana
I agree that talking to @crikeymike or David Otero about a Dobinson setup is a good place to start. After discussing your budget, intended use, and weight of your truck, they can suggest an appropriate setup. Dobinson has a wide variety of setups, are cost effective, and perform well. It’s worthwhile to invest in quality shocks if you can afford them, like Dobinson MRR’s.

Icon springs are meant for light to medium weight rigs. Since you’re adding significant weight, Icon will likely sag too much.

For overlanding, as opposed to rock crawling, 35’s would keep your lift height and center of gravity lower. With a rooftop tent, lower CG will be important to keep the dirty side down. 37’s require more lift, more modification, and considerably more money to get it done right. A 2” lift will fit 35’s, require less castor correction, avoid driveline vibration issues, less bump stop extension, and maintain balanced suspension flex.

With 35’s, you can return to stock gearing, cheaper than re-gearing the differentials, with a set of transfer case high range 10% under-drive gears, which will give you about a 4.56 ratio. 4.11 is stock. While in the t-case, most people install a set of low range 25% gear reduction for more control offroad.

A set of rock sliders and belly protection are important on the rocky Colorado trails. I’d start there before adding the lift.
Do this. But with eimkieth RAMs. You’ll be a happy camper! Pun intended I guess😂
 

LandLocked93

SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 11, 2018
Messages
643
Location
Colorado
If you're in Denver, go to Slee Offroad in Golden. One stop shop. They can look at what you have and consider also the weight you intend to add and get the right springs and shocks in the beginning. They can also tell you what needs to be refreshed.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Richmond, VA
I am very impressed by the basic 2" ironman lift on my 80. I also have a smitty built winch and trail gear front bumper.
Would you mind sharing pictures? I'm stuck between the 2" IM, the 1.75" (45mm) Dobinson, and the "Stock" OME springs. My original suspension has close to 200k miles on it so I'm looking to replace it. I just ordered 285/75/16s (33s). Will be running a front bumper so going to go with the medium/heavy springs in the front.
 

LandLocked93

SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 11, 2018
Messages
643
Location
Colorado
Oh go 3", any brand you choose. If you're gonna do it, then do it.
For the cost, get as much lift (up to 3, 3-1/2") as you can. You won't regret it. Keeps your future, low-cost options/upgrades available.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom