Need advice on maintaining factory suspension geometry after lift

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Jun 14, 2020
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California
I own a 2020 Heritage Edition. I plan on installing a OME BP-51 shocks and springs that will raise the vehicle by 2”. I am also installing upper control arms.

I really like the Heritage Edition wheel, which I’ve fit with 285/65R18 tires, and would want to keep using them if possible.

I would appreciate some advice on how to maintain the factory suspension geometry after the lift. I was told I would need wheel spacers or purchase wheels with a different offset in order to do get close because the offset will change after the lift. Someone suggested I’d get lower control arms as well to reduce stress on cv joint if I ever plan to raise it more than 2”.

I am a noob at this, and couldn’t find the info I needed with search, so hopefully those of you who are experienced can point me the right way.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
 
I'm of a different opinion than most here that follow the classic lift strategies. Probably because I'm more sensitive and particular to suspension geometry as I use to road race.

The best thing you can do to maintain good suspension geometry is not to lift too far. Something < 2". Even after getting whatever adjusters to bring static alignment back into the good range, dynamic geometry and handling is going to be compromised. Because all the suspension links are at a steeper angle lending more lateral motions as they cycle. More toe steer, bump steer, jacking forces. Lifting also compromises anti-dive and anti-squat geometry, roll resistance, among others.

That said, the best kind of lift you can do is with larger diameter tires. There's still some compromises, but less than large suspension lifts. Increased diameter tires are the only real way to create clearance under the rear axle anyhow. Large tires are also some of the best traction aids and suspension, when aired down, that you can add.

34" diameter tires have proven to be a straightforward fit under the fenders, and still work within the limits of KDSS. A 285/70r18 at 33.7" would be the best answer to your question.
 
Thank you for your input. Being that I am happy with my tire size, maybe I’ll just lift the front 2” and the rear 1” to minimize the compromise to the suspension. Or even keep them stock height. Just felt a bit of a waste to install new shocks and springs and not take advantage of doing something to the improve approach and departure angles, but based on your input maybe it’s best to not do too much if at all.
 
It’s not a waste because you get MUCH better damping adjustability and performance from the setup, and that’s the primary goal of a shock in the first place. Plus they won’t be overwhelmed by the increased weight and tire pressure of larger, tougher tires like the stock dampers can be.
 
I went with the Tough Dog suspension Lift (under 2inches) with lt285/65r18. Rides great with this tire size. I will say that with stock wheels and a lift the tires will look a little sucked inside the fenders/wheels wells. With my evo corse wheels which are 18x8.5” with 45mm offset they poke out 0.7” more then stock and are flush or even a little sucked in. I went with UCA to ensure alignment would be good to go.

looks like an ideal 18” wheel tire size to upgrade to is 285/70r18. this will need wheel spacers or an offset somewhere below 35mm to clear the KDSS sway bars. There is a lot of excellent anecdotal reporting on the forum detailing what wheels and offset work best with this size.

With my 45mm offset wheels I would be rubbing during tight low speed turns so I am hesitant to try this size. No interest in running wheels spacers.
 
Thank you for your input. Being that I am happy with my tire size, maybe I’ll just lift the front 2” and the rear 1” to minimize the compromise to the suspension. Or even keep them stock height. Just felt a bit of a waste to install new shocks and springs and not take advantage of doing something to the improve approach and departure angles, but based on your input maybe it’s best to not do too much if at all.

A mild lift is the best thing you can do to have your cake and eat it too. I wouldn't discourage a suspension upgrade and agree with @bloc . Just that you have to be mindful of potential drawbacks, which you obviously are in creating this thread.

Your current choice of tire size, is a well balanced size when all things are taken into consideration. Pair that with a mild lift with suspension upgrade , and there's going to be very little the 200-series can't tackle.

If I had a LC and were looking for a suspension, Bilsteins new set would be very high on my list. I haven't driven or experienced this particular set, but have had some of their products on my other vehicles. They have been titans in the industry for a long time, with OEM levels of engineering and durability, as shown by factory fitments of their products.
 
I have 2020 Heritage Edition with the bronze wheels and have installed BP51, UCAs, and 34" 285/70R18 Nitto tires. No spacers.

I"ve been to a few off-road trails with pretty decent sized ruts and rocks and have not experienced ANY rubbing on full articulation.
The only rubbing is on full lock right/left turn. I asked Slee if adding spacers would get rid of this and was informed that it would actually make it worse. So, I am going to leave it alone.

I am very satisfied with this setup. The soft and squishy stock suspension is history and even with a lift (i.e. far higher center of gravity compared to stock) - this vehicle handles far better than stock.

Hope this information helps!
 
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I have 2020 Heritage Edition with the bronze wheels and have installed BP51, UCAs, and 34" 285/70R18 Nitto tires. No spacers.

I"ve been to a few off-road trails with pretty decent sized ruts and rocks and have not experienced ANY rubbing.
The only rubbing is on full lock right/left turn. I asked Slee if adding spacers would get rid of this and was informed that it would actually make it worse. So, I am going to leave it alone.

I am very satisfied with this setup. The soft and squishy stock suspension is history and even with a lift (i.e. far higher center of gravity compared to stock) - this vehicle handles far better than stock.

Hope this information helps!
How many inches did you lift your truck?
 
Whoever told you that offset changes with lift is 100% wrong. Offset is determined by the wheel manufacturer and is expressed in an ET number. Example 17x8 ET55. The 55 is the measurement of the wheels hub offset from the face. You could lift your truck to the moon and that won't change the wheel offset.

Second. Any kind of lift will change all of your suspension geometry. Things like adjustable UCAs will allow you to dial some of those geometries back within stock specifications. Things like tie rods and CV angles have no "adjustment" and as such will never be at stock geometry again. I would say 2-2.5" is the sweet spot for lifts on these trucks. All the lift induced suspension geometry changes can be dialed out at that lift amount with the proper UCA and competent alignment shop.

Lastly, if you want to push your wheels out further, you can add spacers, effectively changing the offset of the rim. That is all spacers do is change the static rim offset. This is sometimes driven by fitment needs due to an incorrect tire width for a given rim offset.
 
I think what was lost in translation with advice to the OP, is that track width narrows with more extreme lifts. As the LCA takes on steeper angles, the track width and stability, can be lost. Hence more wheel offset to compensate.
 
I think what was lost in translation with advice to the OP, is that track width narrows with more extreme lifts.
This is correct. However, with 2" lifts, that has to be minimal. You could measure the length of both the upper and lower arms and a little simple math will give you the track width change due to the 2" vertical arc difference. Obviously, the track width will narrow the higher you go.

Ive never run spacers on any vehicle. I never felt safe enough to buy a set. That is personal preference though, I don't have any data to support that fear.
 
How many inches did you lift your truck?

Measurements for my vehicle from ground-to-fender through the center of the wheel:
Stock tires and suspension: ~35" front ~37" rear
BP51 with Nitto 285/70R18: ~38" front ~39.5" rear
So +3" front +2.5" rear.

FRONT
p3967722899-5.jpg


REAR
p3967722902-5.jpg


However...
~1.5" of that lift is from the tires.
So, the net effect of BP51 lift is ~ +1.5" front and ~ +1" rear.

Ground to center of hub with STOCK tires
p3944205714-5.jpg


Ground to center of hub with Nitto 285/70R18 Exo Grapplers
p3944413516-5.jpg
 
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Thank you for all the good advice so far!

With BP-51, ARB has delivered a cohesive suspension system tailored to each individual vehicle application. Just pair it with a set of their new control arms, and you'll have no issues with alignment. As someone stated above, offset is a wheel measurement.

In general, don't think about suspension systems as "lifts" or worry about the exact height achieved, worry about additional damping, spring rates, etc. In this case, ARB has already figured it all out for you. It'll be a major, immediately perceptible upgrade everywhere. Oh, and run 2721 rear springs.

Those tires will fit fine.
 
Since we're talking about maintaining good suspension geometry...

With larger diameter tires, offset plays an important role in maintaining good scrub radius / Ackermann steering geometry. Particularly when going up to larger diameter tires, 33" and up, it is something that should be corrected for. Either with spacers or different offset wheels. It is why Rock Warriors, meant to support 285/70r17 diameter tires (32.7") have an offset of +50mm (vice +60mm with stock tires).
 
A mild lift is the best thing you can do to have your cake and eat it too. I wouldn't discourage a suspension upgrade and agree with @bloc . Just that you have to be mindful of potential drawbacks, which you obviously are in creating this thread.

Your current choice of tire size, is a well balanced size when all things are taken into consideration. Pair that with a mild lift with suspension upgrade , and there's going to be very little the 200-series can't tackle.

If I had a LC and were looking for a suspension, Bilsteins new set would be very high on my list. I haven't driven or experienced this particular set, but have had some of their products on my other vehicles. They have been titans in the industry for a long time, with OEM levels of engineering and durability, as shown by factory fitments of their products.
When bilstien offers more front spring rate choices I’ll be on that bandwagon. For now with the significantly different weights people might have over the front axle I can’t quite endorse it as a solution on par with the more adjustable options. But yes they do make truly great suspension parts and I’ve been very happy with their stuff I’ve put on other vehicles.
 
When bilstien offers more front spring rate choices I’ll be on that bandwagon. For now with the significantly different weights people might have over the front axle I can’t quite endorse it as a solution on par with the more adjustable options. But yes they do make truly great suspension parts and I’ve been very happy with their stuff I’ve put on other vehicles.

Adjustability is a double edged sword. While we often chase more adjustability and interpret that as better, no disrespect, but the majority of end users have no where near the ability or time/effort to tune a suspension. What we discuss on these boards with basic static tuning of spring rates and heights, often confusing spring rate for height adjustment, is barely scratching the surface of what real suspension tuning is about.

I've spent a lot of my time over the years tuning suspensions of many vehicles. I've learned enough to be dangerous. What I look for now is a well developed suspension systems, that's greater than just the sum of some parts. The value of a great suspension is not about the specific parts/spring rates for a single front vs rear axle, but the overall suspension tuning as part of a cohesive vehicle.
 
Good luck finding a no lift suspension upgrade. I looked hard for one. You might be able to get a basic OME setup with zero lift, but once you are spending that much money, you are within spitting distance of the cost of a better suspension. My recommendation is to find someone who knows suspensions and has experience with land cruisers. You can buy off the shelf suspensions from the web all day long, but having someone who knows the nuances of suspension tuning and can match the suspension to your rig and how you plan to use it, is worth its weight in gold. I highly recommend Ben at Filthy Motorsports.
 
Adjustability is a double edged sword. While we often chase more adjustability and interpret that as better, no disrespect, but the majority of end users have no where near the ability or time/effort to tune a suspension. What we discuss on these boards with basic static tuning of spring rates and heights, often confusing spring rate for height adjustment, is barely scratching the surface of what real suspension tuning is about.

I've spent a lot of my time over the years tuning suspensions of many vehicles. I've learned enough to be dangerous. What I look for now is a well developed suspension systems, that's greater than just the sum of some parts. The value of a great suspension is not about the specific parts/spring rates for a single front vs rear axle, but the overall suspension tuning as part of a cohesive vehicle.
What suspension do you recommend?
 
Adjustability is a double edged sword. While we often chase more adjustability and interpret that as better, no disrespect, but the majority of end users have no where near the ability or time/effort to tune a suspension. What we discuss on these boards with basic static tuning of spring rates and heights, often confusing spring rate for height adjustment, is barely scratching the surface of what real suspension tuning is about.

I've spent a lot of my time over the years tuning suspensions of many vehicles. I've learned enough to be dangerous. What I look for now is a well developed suspension systems, that's greater than just the sum of some parts. The value of a great suspension is not about the specific parts/spring rates for a single front vs rear axle, but the overall suspension tuning as part of a cohesive vehicle.
I agree adjustability can pose problems but it’s not very difficult to learn the characteristics we should be looking for and an adjustable setup allows us to make a mostly one-size-fits-all setup like BP51s work for varying levels of build and tastes. Case in point: I’m building my kings without compression adjusters because I have faith that Ben can set up the valving, after the consultation that I did pay extra for. And if it’s not correct, I can make the changes at home, though it is a lot of work to get the front struts out. Contrasted with a comp adjuster that will likely get set to one position then forgotten.
At the end of the day whether someone runs stock front end or winch/battery/armor/compressor/etc can add hundreds of pounds to the very front of the vehicle, and preload adjustments alone aren’t the best way to handle this. I’m not sure the point at which coil bind enters the picture but needless to say that’s something to avoid. To their credit bilstein sells these with 650# springs which is the right direction for lots of load, but then that means the setup might be too stiff to get good compliance for a stock-weight build.
My point is bilsteins new system is very close to being a great system, and great build quality is a big part of that, but IMO they need to add a feature or two before they are quite there.

As for stock height kings can be configured for that while still gaining all the down travel, but it’s a lot of money to pay for zero lift.
 

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