Ok guys, here is the final thread for all 80-96 lift and tire info. I hope that anything replied too will be more info, and we can make it a sticky for new members. Here we go!
There are three different body styles in the 80-96 era. 80-86, 87-91, 92-96. In 1980 FoMoCo introduced a four wheel drive version of their Twin-Traction Beam suspension. This suspension and axle design is normally only recommended for tires up to 35 inches if off-roading is done. Tires up to 38 inches have been run on TTB but it is not recommended for heavy off-roading. The first two years, 80 and 81, the frame was sort of expiramental and is less desirable for off road use. From 80-86 the bodies and fenders were more squared off and the fender openings are generally referred to as being larger than later models. From 87-91 the bodies and fenders were much more rounded, but the grill and frontend was still partially squared off. These models do not have as large of a fender opening. From 92-96 ford made their last broncos, and these included a front end update for a more curvy look. The fender openings stayed the same from the 87-91 model years.
What follows is what size tire you can fit both stock and with the lift amounts listed.
Generally 33 inch tires will fit without rubbing issues except on the radius arms. Some rubbing may occur on the fenders under extreme flex but can be fixed with very minor trimming and if the rubbing occurs on the bumper it can be spaced out to fix this problem. A 4 inch lift can fit 35s with minor trimming but 33s are recommended to alleviate any rubbing issues. A 6 inch lift can fit up to 35 inch tires with minor rubbing if any. Skyjacker makes an 8 inch lift that can be used to fit up to 38 inch tires, but this puts a lot of strain on the TTB axle setup.
Another issue is whether to get radius arm drop brackets or to get extended radius arms. Extended radius arms can increase flex and offer better ground clearance, but also cost much more. Extended radius arms are also much stronger. Drop down brackets use the stock radius arms and do not offer as much flex or strength or ground clearance but are also much cheaper.
The stock sway bars can be reused with a lift if you absolutely think they are necessary. Many members believe that taking the stock sway bars off makes no difference in handling or body lean, but this modification does help the suspension flex properly. Unless you drive like Mario Andretti, this modification will be a good one for you.
Another question often asked is what is the difference between a kit and system when looking at suspension kits. A kit lifts the rear by the use of blocks or add-a-leafs or a combination of those. A system completely replaces the rear leaf springs and offers both better flex and better reliability. Using blocks for lift can be dangerous off road because they can easily break or slip out causing damage to the vehicle. Replacement leaf springs are a much better way to lift the rear of your vehicle.
Another question is whether to get a body lift or suspension lift. A body lift uses longer bolts and bushings of some type to lift the body off the frame. Generally this is not recommended over a suspension lift for off-roading, but it is a cheap alternative to fit bigger tires if necessary. One major disadvantages to body lifts is that the bolts are longer and this puts more strain on them and in extreme situations have been known to break. A suspension lift basically moves the axles away from the frame allowing for fitment of larger tires. This is usually better than a body lift because it also increases travel.
Driveshaft modification is generally not needed for lifts up to 6 inches, more than 6 inches of lift it is recommended that you lengthen your driveshafts to eliminate vibration and increased strain.
Here is a list I have compiled of the different lift heights and the companies that make them:
2 inch lift-coils and alignment cams only: Rancho, Superlift, Skyjacker, BDS, Rough Country
2.5 inch lift: Rough Country, Tuff country
3 inch lift: Rancho
4 inch lift: Skyjacker, Superlift, Rancho, BDS, Dick Cepek, Rough Country, Tuff Country, Pro Comp, Trailmaster
6 inch lift: Skyjacker, Superlift, BDS, Dick Cepek, Rough Country, Tuff Country, Pro Comp
8 inch lift: Skyjacker
Skyjacker, Superlift, Rancho, BDS, Dick Cepek, Pro Comp, Trailmaster and Tough Country all make extended radius arms for the various lift sizes.
Body lifts are available from Performance Accessories in both 2 and 3 inch lift heights.
Another thing to keep in mind when doing a suspension lift is steering. If the stock geometry were to be kept in place, the increased angles would create excessive bumpsteer. To correct this, the steering geometry must be changed. The most common ways to change it are to use a drop pitman arm (either included in most kits or an option), to flip the tie rods to the top of the steering knuckles, to use Superlift's Superrunner steering system, or to use some combination.
Flipping the tie rods to the top of the knuckles works perfect for a 4" lift with the stock pitman arm. For a 6" lift, a drop pitman arm is also needed. In either case, a drop pitman arm will suffice by itself. Superlift's superrunner steering utilizes a drag link, 2 equal length tie rods (as opposed to the stock drag link/ tie rod combo), and adds an idler arm in addition to the drop pitman arm. It is designed for use with Superlift's suspension systems, but most others can be modified to accept it.
Diagram explaining Superrunner steering:
6" lift with drop pitman arm and tie rods flipped to the top of the knuckle (also dual steering stabilizers)
6" lift with Superrunner steering and tie rod flip:
As far as radius arms go: Pro Comp also makes extended ones for their Stage II kits.
One thing to keep in mind is that Tough Country, BDS and Dick Cepek use new brackets with the extended radius arms, instead of reusing the factory ones.
The Tough Country ones utilize a unique adjustable bushing, which can aid in alignment issues:
Dick Cepek also utilizes new brackets, which retain the stock style radius arm bushing
(they are in the bottom left corner of the picture)
BDS uses brackets similar to Dick Cepek:
There is also another option to lift the rear of the Bronco: a shackle flip. Using either the front hangers for the rear leafs off a F-250/350 (there is some debate as to whether or not F-150 hangers are the same) and to install them in place of the factory rear hangers on the Bronco. This can net anywhere from 3-5.5" inches of lift. The actual amount of lift will vary from application to application and the different methods used. Sky Manufacturing also makes a shackle flip kit that utilizes a new rear hanger for the rear leaf. It accomplishes the same goals as the F-250/350 method.
Here's an example so you get an idea of what I'm talking about
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a lift are the brackets themselves. Superlift, Skyjacker, BDS, Dick Cepek, and Pro Comp use brackets that have two pivot holes drilled in them, one for 4" and one for 6". This allows you to upgrade to a 6", should you become unsatisfied with your 4" down the road. All that is needed are new shocks and coil springs.
Some companies' brackets are much beefier than others. Superlift, BDS, Tuff Country, Trailmaster, and Rough Country use a drivers' side brackets that bolts on in addition to the existing factory one.
This picture illustrates the driver's side bracket for the passenger side beam (6" Superlift kit):
Dick Cepek, Pro Comp, Rancho, and Skyjacker completely replace the drivers side axle pivot bracket and use passenger side brackets that are much larger than the other companies and use more bolts to fasten them (the actual number varies from company to company, but you get the idea that they use more right?). If you look closely at the following pictures, you should get the idea. Whether any of this makes a diffence is yet to be seen as there are aggressive wheelers on this site running or who have run both designs with luck
Here are pics from the different companies websites to give you an idea what the kits look like:
Superlift 6" kit with radius arm drop brackets:
Superlift extended radius arms and stock arm with drop bracket comparison:
Tuff Country 4" Lift with extended radius arms:
Rancho 4" kit with extended radius arms:
Skyjacker 6" complete system:
BDS 6" kit with extended radius arms and dual add-a-leaves:
Dick Cepek 4" kit with extended radius arms:
Pro Comp 6" kit with extended radius arms:
Trailmaster 4" kit with extended radius arms:
Black Diamond if I recall correctly they do not make radius arms yet for 4" and 6" TTB lift kits. They only offer radius arm drop brackets. The company itself is largely Jeep associated, but do make lift kits for Fords other then the '80 - '96 era. Plus other companies worth mentioning for people with deep pockets are: Fabtech, AutoFab, and Fabritech. Fabtech is for 2WD TTB Fords, since not all our members here drive Broncos. AutoFab also makes a 4x4 kit dealing with replacing your OE TTB with a longer one which means no more drop brackets. The previous two lift companies are if you plan on desert racing your truck or using it professionally in Tough Truck competition. Fabritech is from Jeff's Bronco Graveyard and makes a bolt on kit for Solid axle swaps on TTB Broncos/F-150, Rangers, and '97+F-150s. However this kit is really only for the people that have more money then time, because you will find that most do their own SAS for less money then the kit. The last three kits mentioned are extremely expensive compared to the others mentioned previously.
Something that will vary from vehicle to vehicle is whether or not you will need camber adjusment sleeves and extended brake lines after the lift.
The TTB is a difficult suspension to align, lifting it doesn't make it easier. After lifting, you should take it to a competent alignment shop and have them work on it. If your camber is off too much, you will need adjustment sleeves, which can be pricey. Whether or not you will need these is strictly based on each individual rig. One may need it and another with the exact same kit may not. It is pretty much luck of the draw, but chances are you will need them if you want your Bronco to align properly, especially down the road.
Don't get cheap with the brake lines: buy extended ones as it is a very cheap price to pay considering what they are in control of.
With all that having been said, if you are having trouble understanding anything myself or wes said, use the search feature. All this has been covered before, where do you think I learned it?
When bigger tires are added, you will suffer an engine loss because more mass and a larger diameter tire is having to be moved. Changing the ring and pinion gears in your axles are one way to get this power back. The thread in this link explains everything you need to know about this change.
Larger Tire and R&P Gear Info
The Autofab and Camburg kits do not "bend" the beams on a TTB, that is how they do I-beams. Think about it, if you bent the beams, how would your axleshafts work. What they do is cut out the lower ball joint and move it outward to correct the camber angle.
Also, you can get plenty of travel with drop brackets as well, you don't need the fancy desert racer setups. IIRC, mine gets almost 13" right now. The advantage to the desert racer kits is that you retain the stock pivot brackets and steering geometry, which are more durable for jumping.
ALL OF THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN COMPILED FROM A PERVIOUS THREAD. THE CONTRIBUTERS TO THIS THREAD ARE: WES, ANDY351, AND MAX.
PLEASE REFER TO THIS THREAD FOR ANY INFORMATION YOU NEED ABOUT LIFTS, TIRES, OR GEARS.