Lift & Level Kits: Body Mount Chop, Viper Cuts and More

Lift & Level Kits: Body Mount Chop, Viper Cuts and More

Lift & Level Kits: Body Mount Chop, Viper Cuts and More

When it comes to modifying trucks and SUVs, aftermarket lift kits and leveling kits are popular choices among enthusiasts. For many people, the auto-industry jargon for components to accomplish said 'lift and/or level' - and other components - sometimes is a hurdle calling to mind, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's quote, "I know it when I see it".

Lift kits raise the vehicle's ride height, while leveling kits primarily raise the front to match the rear. While these modifications can enhance the appearance and off-road capabilities, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to install them. Together, let us review and explore the advantages and disadvantages of aftermarket lift kits and leveling kits, including the differences between the two, while also highlighting how Southern Ride Customs can assist in making informed decisions.
I. Aftermarket Lift Kits:
A lift kit increases the ground clearance between the chassis and axles. The following are the pros and cons of installing an aftermarket lift kit:
1. Improved Off-Road Capabilities: Lift kits provide enhanced ground clearance, allowing the vehicle to tackle rough terrains, larger obstacles, and deep water crossings more effectively. However, many people desire the aggressive appearance the increased ground clearance provides.

2. Larger Tire Fitment: Lifted trucks and SUVs can accommodate larger tires, which can improve traction, off-road performance, and overall aesthetics.

3. Visual Appeal: Lifted vehicles often exude a rugged and aggressive appearance, making them stand out from regular vehicles.

4. Increased Approach and Departure Angles: The higher ride height improves approach and departure angles, reducing the risk of bottoming out or damaging the vehicle. Of course, this says nothing about the increased visibility for the driver.
1. Altered Center of Gravity: Raising the vehicle's height increases the center of gravity, potentially compromising stability and increasing the risk of rollovers if not properly compensated for.

2. Handling and Ride Quality: Lifted vehicles may experience changes in handling dynamics, including increased body roll, reduced cornering ability, and a stiffer ride.

3. Reduced Fuel Efficiency: The added weight and increased wind resistance due to the lifted stance can result in decreased fuel economy.

4. Additional Wear and Tear: Components like drivelines, suspension, and steering may experience increased stress, leading to potential issues and higher maintenance costs.
II. Leveling Kits:
Leveling kits are primarily used to raise the front of the vehicle to match the rear. Here are the pros and cons associated with leveling kits:

1. Improved Aesthetics: Leveling kits eliminate the factory rake, creating a more balanced and aggressive visual appeal.

2. Enhanced Ground Clearance: While not as significant as lift kits, leveling kits provide a slight increase in front ground clearance, which can benefit off-road situations.

3. Maintained Towing and Payload Capacities: Leveling kits typically do not affect the vehicle's towing and payload capabilities, ensuring you can maintain the same functionality as before.
A body mount chop kit and Viper cuts are modifications commonly made to off-road vehicles to enhance their off-road capabilities.
1. Body Mount Chop Kit: A body mount chop (BMC) kit involves trimming or removing portion(s) of the body mounts (such as rounding a corner) located on the frame of the vehicle. This modification allows for increased tire clearance, enabling larger tires to be installed without rubbing against the body or wheel wells. By removing or trimming these mounts, the vehicle gains extra space for larger tires, improving its off-road performance; but in recent years the demand has skyrocketed for those that want the look with zero intention of ‘off road’ use and do so purely for 'the look'.
2. Viper Cuts: Viper cuts are usually performed on the front or rear fenders of a vehicle. This modification involves cutting out a section of the fender to increase tire clearance. Viper cuts are commonly made to accommodate larger tires or to prevent rubbing when the suspension is flexed during off-road driving. By creating more space, Viper cuts allow for increased articulation and better off-road capabilities.
Both the body mount chop kit and Viper cuts are typically performed by experienced off-road enthusiasts or professional off-road shops. These modifications can significantly improve a vehicle's ability to tackle rough terrain and obstacles, as they provide more clearance for larger tires and increased suspension flex. However, it's important to note that these modifications may affect the vehicle's structural integrity and can void the manufacturer's warranty. Additionally, local regulations and laws may dictate whether these modifications are legal or not, so it's crucial to check with local authorities before making any changes.

1. Limited Ground Clearance Increase:Leveling kits offer minimal additional ground clearance compared to lift kits, which may not be sufficient for more extreme off-road activities.

2. Potential Suspension Component Wear: Altering the suspension geometry can lead to increased wear on certain components, such as ball joints, tie rods, and CV joints.

3. Adverse Ride Quality: In some cases, leveling kits can result in a harsher ride due to changes in the suspension's natural characteristics.

4. Potential Warranty Concerns: Installing a leveling kit may void certain aspects of the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) vehicle's warranty (if still in effect), so it's important to check with the manufacturer.
III. How Southern Ride Customs Can Help:

Southern Ride Customsis a trusted provider of aftermarket parts and customization services for cars, trucks and SUVs. With our expertise (and that of our venders, partners and service providers) and dedication to customer satisfaction, we can assist you in making informed decisions regarding lift kits and leveling kits.
1. Expert Guidance: The team at Southern Ride Customs can provide expert advice on the right lift or leveling kit based on your specific needs, vehicle make and model, and intended usage.
2. Quality Products: Southern Ride Customs offers a wide range of high-quality lift kits and leveling kits from reputable brands, ensuring you get reliable and durable components for your vehicle. Part of the making an informed decision is knowing that even if a compenent is offered by a reputable brand does NOT necessarily mean that ALL COMPONENTS offered by - even a reputable brand - are appropriate for every make & model.
3. Installation Services: Southern Ride Customs takes appropriate steps to ensure lift kit and leveling kit installations target proper fitment and alignment to maximize performance and safety.
4. Customization Options: In addition to lift and leveling kits, Southern Ride Customs can help with various customization options, such as wheel and tire packages, exterior LED lighting and ambient interior lighting upgrades, smoking/tinting headlights & taillights and entire vehicle wraps as well as off-road accessories, allowing you to tailor your vehicle to your preferences.

Remember our motto: "Your Ride - Your Rules"

Aftermarket lift kits and leveling kits can provide various benefits for truck and SUV - and even car owners, but they also come with potential drawbacks. It is crucial to carefully consider your specific needs, driving habits, and preferences before deciding to install either modification. Southern Ride Customs can be your trusted partner in this process, offering expert guidance, quality products, professional installation services, and customization options to ensure your vehicle meets your desired specifications. With their assistance, you can make informed decisions and enjoy a personalized and enhanced driving experience.

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