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Elevating Your Ford F-250: Lift Heights and How to Do It

The Ford F-250 is a work machine that will see it’s fair share of play in the woods. Both scenarios can be rather demanding of the factory suspension and ride height. Work sights and trails have one common attribute - a lack of asphalt. Stumps, bumps, rocks, and logs can easily make it difficult to get around on four wheels. Because of this, many will opt to put a lift kit on their F-250. Here’s everything you need to know about F-250 lift heights and how to do it right.2011-2016-lifted-f250-at-a-job-site.JPG

Table of Contents
  1. What is a Lift Kit and Why Do I Need One?
  2. What’s in a Typical Lift Kit?
  3. What Size Lift Do I Need?
  4. 1 to 2 Inch Lifts
  5. 3 to 5 Inch Lifts
  6. 6 to 8 Inch Lifts
  7. Other Mods to Consider for Taller Lifts
  8. How Towing is Affected When Lifting a Truck
Shop F250 Lift Kits

Your F250 is a very capable work hourse, but occasionally it needs a bit of help. Lift and leveling kits are one way to make sure your F250 doesn't get stuck at the job site. They can also help balance out a saggy suspension to better handle hauling and towing.

F250 Lift Kits

What is a Lift Kit and Why Do I Need One?

As the name implies, a suspension lift kit lifts the vehicle. This doesn’t answer all the questions though. We need to know why it lifts the vehicle. We also need to know what it does to the suspension and why bigger tires are critical to their delivery:

Ground Clearance: By themselves, suspension lifts don’t increase ground clearance. They distance the suspension and body from the ground. No matter how high the lift is, with the factory tires in place, the axles will still be the same distance from the ground. By adding bigger tires, ground clearance will truly be increased.

Wheel Fitment: After finding out bigger tires are the key to ground clearance, one would wonder why they should even go to a lift kit instead of just bigger tires. Well, with the stock suspension you will only be able to just barely skate by without rubbing with 30-inch tires. A lift kit will help increase the size of the tire that can be fitted underneath.

Suspension Capabilities: Lift kits can help increase the capabilities of the suspension by altering certain aspects. Ride quality, suspension travel, and durability are all susceptible to improvements with particular lift kits.

What’s in a Typical Lift Kit?

The type of lift kit will dictate what your pull out of the box. Smaller lift kits up to a 3-inch lift may only arrive equipped with shock mount spacers that bolt in place to extend lift height. Larger, more complete kits - including 3-inch kits and above - will arrive with control arms, shock absorbers, and the necessary relocation brackets to install the kit.

What Size Lift Do I Need?

There is an uncanny desire to go as big as possible when it comes to lift kits, but you may wind up spending a ton of money on a lift you don’t need. This is especially true for vehicles that see little recreational use. In terms of personal preference, you can’t really go wrong but if you’re looking for a lift and don’t intend to go overboard, you will need to balance your needs with the lift kits available.

1 to 2 Inch Lifts

If you’re facing up to moderate terrain in terms of difficulty or are simply looking to fit a slightly larger tire under the F-250 you will want to look towards a 1 to 2 inch lift kit. These kits are incredibly easy to install and will instantly correct the rake in the factory suspension and even increase ground clearance.

  • Terrain: Light-Moderate
  • Maximum Tire Size: 33”

1 to 2 Inch Lifts Pros:

  • Low cost
  • Easy installation

1 to 2 Inch Lifts Cons:

  • Moderately increased tire size

3 to 5 Inch Lifts

A 33-inch tire is only going to add a little bit of ground clearance under the axle of your F-250. You also may be facing moderate to heavy terrain that demands more than just a small lift. 3 to 5 inch lifts will allow you to push the limits even further in terms of ride height and off-road capabilities, but your dollars will be pushed further with it, especially in the case you purchase a more complete kit.

  • Terrain: Moderate-Heavy
  • Maximum Tire Size: 35”

3 to 5 Inch Lifts Pros:

  • 35-inch tires can be installed
  • Suspension performance greatly increased

3 to 5 Inch Lifts Cons:

  • High cost
  • Difficult installation

6 to 8 Inch Lifts

For the most extreme situations, you will need to rely on a larger lift kit. A 6 to 8 inch lift kit is perfect for heavy crawling and extreme off-roading. These will allow you to fit very large tires underneath and will alter the way the truck handles entirely. On-road driving may be impacted negatively, the cost will be very high, and professional installation is strongly recommended. But it’s an even trade when the capabilities are taken into consideration.

  • Terrain: Heavy-Extreme
  • Maximum Tire Size: 37-38”

6 to 8 Inch Lifts Pros:

  • Off-Road Performance greatly increased
  • Maximum tire size significantly raised

6 to 8 Inch Lifts Cons:

  • High cost
  • Very difficult install

Other Mods to Consider for Taller Lifts

Before you make an impulse decision on the lift kit you want, you need to consider other modifications you should make along with the lift to keep life simple. Ride height has impacts on areas you may not be aware of, and if taken by surprise, you can wind up very frustrated by unexpected expenses. The following are some other mods to consider when adding a lift kit to your F-250.

Trailer Hitch w/ Hitch Step: Accessing the bed of a lifted Ford F-250 can become immediately more difficult with the installation of a lift kit. On work trucks, this can simply be unacceptable. A quick solution is to install a trailer hitch with an attachable hitch step to help you get in and out of the bed with ease.

Step Bumper: A trailer hitch may be undesirable to the off-road community who are facing extreme angles. Off-road rear bumpers often come configured with hitch steps built in and can actually offer benefits on multiple fronts.

Side Steps/Running Boards: Access to the cabin can also be impeded, and running boards or side steps with drop steps will be a quick cure. Side steps can also be configured to help with the bed access by extending beyond the cabin.

Differential Gears: By adding bigger tires and a lift, weight will go up, aerodynamics will go down, and the engine will have to work harder to get the tires spinning. You will feel a drop in performance here. Lower gears will help restore the loss of power and may even get the vehicle to accelerate better than before.

How Towing is Affected When Lifting a Truck

The last thing to take into consideration is the affect lift kits can have on towing. Lift kits up to 4 inches may not feel a significant difference, but 5-inch kits and above may reduce the truck’s handling when hauling a load. Light towing may still be OK, but hauling trailers and work equipment may be out of the question. Work trucks or other vehicles that can expect to tow will want to avoid the bigger lift kits because of this.

Fitment includes: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited