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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering a 3" body lift on my 04 quad cab 4x4. I have some questions that need answering before buying the kit.

-Is the steering shaft extension a must have with the lift kit installed on the truck?

-Any fan shroud mods needed?

-Will the automatic transmission shift linkage be fine without any mods?

-Which kit would you recommend? I found Daystar and Performance Accessories so far.
 

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-Is the steering shaft extension a must have with the lift kit installed on the truck?
If I remember correctly, if you buy an entire kit, it should contain everything you need to complete the installation. This would include bumper brackets, fan shroud relocation brackets and anything else you need. I've also seen kits which included shifter extensions. I am not familiar with either of the kits you mentioned and I usually prefer to put together my own kits because I can do it cheaper.

As far as your steering, you may or may not need a steering column extension. I usually look at the shaft. If it has a u-joint at the steering box or rack & pinion end, and a rag joint at the other end (near the firewall) It should be able to work. Some shafts are designed with a slip joint which can be extended by hand and in some situations I have loosened the u-joint so that it can slide back a bit on the splines. -So long as it still has plenty of engagement. If you need to extend the shaft, there are a couple of ways this can be done. You can fabricate a spacer to go between the rag joint and the flange it attaches to, but better yet, you can get rid of the rag joint and have another u-joint welded in. When you have the u-joint welded in, take into account the extra length. If you don't want to fabricate your own steering shaft, you could buy one from Borgeson. If they do not carry one in stock, they can build you a custom unit with the correct length

-Any fan shroud mods needed?
Yes. You'll have to lower it. A kit should include the brackets. But if you make your own kit, you can make brackets with flat steel

-Will the automatic transmission shift linkage be fine without any mods?
It should be…however you might have a bit of bind when you go to shift. Make sure that when you install the body lift to check the linkages for any sort of misalignment, or interference then adjust accordingly. If you have a 4x4 with a manual shifter, it will need an extension welded in, unless you want the shifter boot pulled down thru the floor inside-out with the shifter knob half hidden.

-Which kit would you recommend? I found Daystar and Performance Accessories so far.
As mentioned, I prefer to make my own kits because I can do it cheaper… Heres how. If you have a local 4x4 shop nearby. They will sometimes sell new blocks individually or sell off used blocks from trucks they remove the blocks from. I've purchased new blocks for about $5 a piece. Some people really dislike body lifts, remove them and throw them away. If you're lucky, they might simply give you the blocks and maybe some of the other pieces which might work for you, like the shroud brackets. Hardware is relatively cheap. You can purchase the body bolts from a well stocked hardware store… just make sure you buy grade 8 for maximum strength. Shifter extensions are nothing more than short steel bars that usually need to be welded in. Any piece of steel will work (tool steel would be much better)

Bumper brackets. I usually leave the rear bumpers alone because it makes it easier to climb into the bed and I simply cover the gap between the bumper and bed with a piece of diamond plate. For the front bumper, a couple of short pieces of U shaped steel channel will work for the brackets.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I remember correctly, if you buy an entire kit, it should contain everything you need to complete the installation. This would include bumper brackets, fan shroud relocation brackets and anything else you need. I've also seen kits which included shifter extensions. I am not familiar with either of the kits you mentioned and I usually prefer to put together my own kits because I can do it cheaper.

As far as your steering, you may or may not need a steering column extension. I usually look at the shaft. If it has a u-joint at the steering box or rack & pinion end, and a rag joint at the other end (near the firewall) It should be able to work. Some shafts are designed with a slip joint which can be extended by hand and in some situations I have loosened the u-joint so that it can slide back a bit on the splines. -So long as it still has plenty of engagement. If you need to extend the shaft, there are a couple of ways this can be done. You can fabricate a spacer to go between the rag joint and the flange it attaches to, but better yet, you can get rid of the rag joint and have another u-joint welded in. When you have the u-joint welded in, take into account the extra length. If you don't want to fabricate your own steering shaft, you could buy one from Borgeson. If they do not carry one in stock, they can build you a custom unit with the correct length



Yes. You'll have to lower it. A kit should include the brackets. But if you make your own kit, you can make brackets with flat steel



It should be…however you might have a bit of bind when you go to shift. Make sure that when you install the body lift to check the linkages for any sort of misalignment, or interference then adjust accordingly. If you have a 4x4 with a manual shifter, it will need an extension welded in, unless you want the shifter boot pulled down thru the floor inside-out with the shifter knob half hidden.



As mentioned, I prefer to make my own kits because I can do it cheaper… Heres how. If you have a local 4x4 shop nearby. They will sometimes sell new blocks individually or sell off used blocks from trucks they remove the blocks from. I've purchased new blocks for about $5 a piece. Some people really dislike body lifts, remove them and throw them away. If you're lucky, they might simply give you the blocks and maybe some of the other pieces which might work for you, like the shroud brackets. Hardware is relatively cheap. You can purchase the body bolts from a well stocked hardware store… just make sure you buy grade 8 for maximum strength. Shifter extensions are nothing more than short steel bars that usually need to be welded in. Any piece of steel will work (tool steel would be much better)

Bumper brackets. I usually leave the rear bumpers alone because it makes it easier to climb into the bed and I simply cover the gap between the bumper and bed with a piece of diamond plate. For the front bumper, a couple of short pieces of U shaped steel channel will work for the brackets.

Ed
Thanks for the quick and helpful reply! I'm trying to decide if I want to do the body lift or not. My truck already has a torsion bar key lift in the front about 2" lift and a 1" tapered block in the rear with 265/75/R16's on stock aluminum wheels. The tires fit, I cant go any bigger with this setup. I want to get some offset wheels to make for a wider stance. I thought the body lift will give me the clearance to do this.
 

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A body lift should give you more room, but I wouldn't recommend running more offset to increase width stance because the front wheel bearings are not that great. Dodge uses a wheel bearing design (called a unit hub) with a very short spindle. This means the two bearings that are used, are very close to each other. And that means that it has little side to side stability. This is why the factory rims have the offset they come with. Those rims are designed to keep the mass of the tire directly in line with the bearings. Changing the offset, changes the load on the bearings and this will cause them to wear out quicker. You can run a wider tire on either the same rims or rims with the same offset (so long as there is clearance for steering) but don't try to run offset rims, otherwise you may want to get used to replacing bearings.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A body lift should give you more room, but I wouldn't recommend running more offset to increase width stance because the front wheel bearings are not that great. Dodge uses a wheel bearing design (called a unit hub) with a very short spindle. This means the two bearings that are used, are very close to each other. And that means that it has little side to side stability. This is why the factory rims have the offset they come with. Those rims are designed to keep the mass of the tire directly in line with the bearings. Changing the offset, changes the load on the bearings and this will cause them to wear out quicker. You can run a wider tire on either the same rims or rims with the same offset (so long as there is clearance for steering) but don't try to run offset rims, otherwise you may want to get used to replacing bearings.

Ed
Thanks. Yeah ive heard about the unit hubs wearing out faster with offset wheels and wheel spacers. I see a ton of trucks and jeeps around here in Michigan with huge offset wheels and spacers, im sure they have problems with worn out bearings and such. Right now my truck looks good with the small lift and the 265 tires, they are quite a bit taller and wider than the stock 245's. I just replaced my intermediate steering shaft with a Dorman brand one because the factory one was shot. I was getting a bad clunking noise and now the new shaft fixed it totally. I noticed it has the rag joint in the middle with a splined slip shaft that extends far and ujoints on each end. I will keep researching about the body lift, it seems like it may be more trouble than anything.
 

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The 3” kit I have came with everything needed, including the steering shaft extension piece. There wasn’t any extension for the shifter linkage, and I’ve had no binding issues. There was some trimming that needed to be done to the lower fan shroud, other then that, install wasn’t bad at all.
 

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Just finished mine this summer and I love the way mine sits and rides. Performance Accessories 3" body lift, 1" blocks in the rear, and slight torsion bar crank up front; fitting 33" tires (285/75/16 Dick Cepek Trail Country) on 16" Level 8 MK6 gun metal, 0 offset wheels (factory is +25). If you're looking for an affordable aftermarket wheel buy it now they're getting harder to find for our trucks. I had to go with my third choice because I didn't want black wheels and complete polished sets were unicorns at the time.

Right now I'm running Skyjacker M95 shocks (Front specifically#: SKY-M9552 Extended length: 15.69" Collapsed length: 10.02") They are for a '97 Dakota, sit between stock and extended length for our trucks, and ride a lot smoother than the Monroe Reflex I had before lift. (kept snapping lower shock bolts) Washboard dirt roads feel as smooth as most paved ones. Tires will occasionally rub slightly when turned under compression. I got real lucky and found a set of Ride-Rite airbags at the junkyard on another Dakota. Had the bed loaded and pulling a fully loaded 20' flatbed trailer just last weekend added 65 psi and pulled like a champ. Side note: I always measure height for garage clearance, it's 6'10" at top of bike mounts on shell.
 

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A couple more...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just finished mine this summer and I love the way mine sits and rides. Performance Accessories 3" body lift, 1" blocks in the rear, and slight torsion bar crank up front; fitting 33" tires (285/75/16 Dick Cepek Trail Country) on 16" Level 8 MK6 gun metal, 0 offset wheels (factory is +25). If you're looking for an affordable aftermarket wheel buy it now they're getting harder to find for our trucks. I had to go with my third choice because I didn't want black wheels and complete polished sets were unicorns at the time.

Right now I'm running Skyjacker M95 shocks (Front specifically#: SKY-M9552 Extended length: 15.69" Collapsed length: 10.02") They are for a '97 Dakota, sit between stock and extended length for our trucks, and ride a lot smoother than the Monroe Reflex I had before lift. (kept snapping lower shock bolts) Washboard dirt roads feel as smooth as most paved ones. Tires will occasionally rub slightly when turned under compression. I got real lucky and found a set of Ride-Rite airbags at the junkyard on another Dakota. Had the bed loaded and pulling a fully loaded 20' flatbed trailer just last weekend added 65 psi and pulled like a champ. Side note: I always measure height for garage clearance, it's 6'10" at top of bike mounts on shell.
Your truck looks great. What all comes in the Performance Accessories 3" kit? Did you run into any problems during the install? Im concerned about the auto trans shift linkage. I have the 4.7 v8 with auto trans. Did you install the steering shaft extension that came with the kit? Thanks. Just trying to get the most info on it as i can before buying the kit. -Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The 3” kit I have came with everything needed, including the steering shaft extension piece. There wasn’t any extension for the shifter linkage, and I’ve had no binding issues. There was some trimming that needed to be done to the lower fan shroud, other then that, install wasn’t bad at all.
Good to hear, thanks for the reply. What brand of kit did you use on your truck?
 

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The 3” kit I have came with everything needed, including the steering shaft extension piece. There wasn’t any extension for the shifter linkage, and I’ve had no binding issues. There was some trimming that needed to be done to the lower fan shroud, other then that, install wasn’t bad at all.
Good to hear, thanks for the reply. What brand of kit did you use on your truck?

Unfortunately I can’t remember, I’ve had it on for 7ish years now, but the one from performance accessories has some pictures where the brackets all look the same as what I’ve got, so that could be it.
 

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The PA kit had all the pieces needed. I did use the steering extension and would recommend it. It comes with automatic trans linkage extension has to be welded in. Mine is a 5-speed and I dropped a Core shifter it it with the 3" lift adapter they make. Two other items of note: the radiator extension was a slight challenge and I cheated a little- my friend has a shop lift so I was able to lift the entire body straight up instead of the one side at a time process.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The PA kit had all the pieces needed. I did use the steering extension and would recommend it. It comes with automatic trans linkage extension has to be welded in. Mine is a 5-speed and I dropped a Core shifter it it with the 3" lift adapter they make. Two other items of note: the radiator extension was a slight challenge and I cheated a little- my friend has a shop lift so I was able to lift the entire body straight up instead of the one side at a time process.
Good to know about the trans extension. I hope my truck will shift fine without it because i have no access to a welder. If needed ill have to take the truck to the shop down the road to have it welded on.
 

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Okay, I did some research on the difference between PA's 2002 kit and 2004 kit. The extensions I ran into, but didn't use, are for the stick shifter and the manual transfer case shifter... neither of which you'll have to worry about. Before you install read through the instructions so you know what to expect. Very clear step by step with color pictures. Perfect for my OCD and ADD. The part of taking the fan off the clutch for the 2004 would have been a world of help on my 2002.

https://performanceaccessories.com/index.php?controller=attachment&id_attachment=180
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okay, I did some research on the difference between PA's 2002 kit and 2004 kit. The extensions I ran into, but didn't use, are for the stick shifter and the manual transfer case shifter... neither of which you'll have to worry about. Before you install read through the instructions so you know what to expect. Very clear step by step with color pictures. Perfect for my OCD and ADD. The part of taking the fan off the clutch for the 2004 would have been a world of help on my 2002.

https://performanceaccessories.com/index.php?controller=attachment&id_attachment=180
Thanks for that link. Ive pretty much decided not to do the body lift. It just seems very involved and there's more work to be done than originally thought. Those instructions really changed my decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ive read through the instructions for the 3rd time and understanding the whole process better. The lower fan shroud has to be cut and i dont see anything about drop brackets for it. I noticed they have an extension piece for the lower radiator hose. Is it really needed? How about the extension for the gas tank filler neck? I understand the steering extension and how to install it. I'm not seeing anything about a transmission linkage extension.
 

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For the auto there is no extension linkage for the transmission. Also no drop brackets for the rad, that’s why the lower shroud is trimmed, so it doesn’t contact the fan. The extension that’s still lived into the lower rad hose is needed though. No extensions for the fuel lines as well.
 

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Ive read through the instructions for the 3rd time and understanding the whole process better. The lower fan shroud has to be cut and i dont see anything about drop brackets for it. I noticed they have an extension piece for the lower radiator hose. Is it really needed? How about the extension for the gas tank filler neck? I understand the steering extension and how to install it. I'm not seeing anything about a transmission linkage extension.

My bad, the auto-trans linkage I spoke of early on is actually the manual t-case linkage. I didn't have to deal with either so misspoke.

Glad you revisited the instructions. Lifted Dakotas aren't that common and here in Colorado it's nice to turn heads of the over-lifted street queen diesels and the Tacoma's wishing they had a V8. It is a fairly "simple" install. The lower hose extension is a must and does take a little effort to put together, the lower fan shroud trim is easy, and the filler neck will stretch back into place (an extra set of hands from underneath to hold it in place while you reset tabs and screws is nice).
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I wonder if there's a 1 piece flex hose available that is long enough. May look into that. Thanks everyone for the good info, it really helps. I'm more confident now. I should be able to do the whole job. They say it takes 7-8 hours to install the kit.
 
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