Handling capability with 2.5" vs 4" lift - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Handling capability with 2.5" vs 4" lift

So I come from a background of loving the twisties.
Motorcycle riding has been a passion for the last 20 years. I forgot all about cars after getting my first motorcycle 20 years ago ('96 CBR600).
I lived in SoCal and spent every weekend railing the twisty canyon roads.
Knee down for life.

Even before Motorcycles, my passion was 80's Mustangs and even then I was just as into handling as I was straight line acceleration ('84 Mustang SVO was my pride).

Anyways. I only drive 5k miles a year thanks to having a mostly work-from-home job (IT).
And a motorcycle will still be my go-to for when I wanna go fast.

But I'm definitely budgeting and planning my Bronco with an eye towards high HP as well as slight offroad capabilities.

Sorry for the long story. Here's the question.

Is there much of a difference in handing (body roll, etc) between the 2.5" and 4" lift?
I'd rather have the 4" lift, but will go with 2.5" instead if it's much, much more stable going around corners. Tires with either lift will be 33". And gearing will be 3.73 or 4.10 (taller first gear thanks to a planned auto tranny swap to 6R80).
Wheels will be stock 15" unless I can afford a *good* set of 17" wheels, which I'd rather have.

I realize I'm dreaming to think any Bronco, regardless of lift, will handle well.
I just want whatever mods I do, to be the right mods.
Because I know I'll get tempted to drive a little faster through the twisty roads than I should.
It's not a matter of "if" but "when" that happens.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:56 PM
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I dont see the extra inch and a half making much difference in cornering ability. At the end of the day a TTB Bronco is about the last thing Iíd drive if I was worried about cornering ability, let alone a lifted one.

All i can suggest is to make sure whatever lift you decide on retains the factory sway bars, make sure your steering is nice and tight, and donít expect miracles in the twisties from a 4000 pound brick

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-06-2019, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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All i can suggest is to make sure whatever lift you decide on retains the factory sway bars
Whoah, definitely something I'll have to watch out for. Thanks.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 03:53 PM
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Definitely keep the sway bars. If they have any aftermarket ones that improve cornering I'd look into that as well.

I've got my Bronco on a 4 inch lift with 35s and even with the 3 inch offset rims it corners like a sailboat. I don't have sway bars installed. Figures

One question I'd like to ask anyone chancing upon this thread: are there any detachable sway bars worth the cash?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 04:04 PM
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I run 44's and 8+" of lift (+ another 2" of body lift). I WOULD NOT EVEN THINK OF DRIVING IT WITHOUT SWAY BARS. That said, I modified both bars to work with my lift.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:03 PM
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I like the way my Ď89 handles on a 4Ē lift and 35s with sway bars front and rear. Itís still a lifted truck in the end, but it handles well for what it is.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:08 PM
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At least Stock Sway Bars or slightly Bigger bars front and rear with Good Thermoplastic Bushings minimum. Get Street tires not Off-Roaders and Make sure to keep your tires aired up and I don't mean what it says on the door jam tag, 45-50psi min with the 15-inchers. Remember the Explorer and the Firestone tires, it was all about air pressure, you want minimal sidewall roll/flex and there's plenty of sidewall on 15" tires. These are the Basics, you can do so much more if you want as stated above, Steering, other suspension bushings and Weight reduction (and or) balance, etc.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:18 PM
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Huh, 50 psi? Thatís crazy. Corner handling is not really compatible with an old Bronco.

But - if it were me and that was my goal Iíd go with a large wheel, really short sidewall, stiffen up the springs and shocks, and get room for the larger tires by cutting body panels of using fiberglass panels with a rise and wide openings. Unsprung weight would help too.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:34 PM
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Crazy is Relative!!!! What is the tire rated for? What do they do when you go to Hi-Performance driving schools and Police driver training???? They Air-up the tires! Go figure....
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, airing up the tires not only helps with MPG but also handling thanks to less sidewall flex.
At a minimum, a 17" wheel is what I figure is needed, that will still work "okay" for offroading.
A 20+" wheel would be better for street handling of course, but not work very well for 4x4 I think.

Stiffening the chassis and body roll is key.
As well as proper rebound of the shocks.
Which leads to poor road riding conditions.
It won't feel like your Grandpa's Lincoln anymore.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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I have a decent grasp on what it takes to get a chassis to handle well on the street.
But I have zero idea on how those bits & bobbles affect offroading.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:11 AM
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The two generally are not compatible.


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 10:43 AM
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CZ it really all depends on what lift you get. A 4" lift that is stiff will handle better than a soft 2.5" lift. I have a 2.5" lift with 35's on mine with out sway bars. I feel that it handles great however I wouldn't take a corner extremely fast either as I can feel it lean. However thats what I built mine for. I didn't build it for fast corners so naturally my fatter balloon tires dont help either.

If your interested in a 2.5" lift mine may be for sale soon. I also have pictures with mine on 35's and 33's with a 2.5" lift. I will also add that my 2.5" lift sits pretty close to some 4" lift. I probably netted somewhere around 3-3.5" of lift.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 10:59 AM
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Big heavy wheels and tires have the largest negative effect on handling and braking. Look for lightweight wheels and lighter tires in a reasonable size.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:17 PM
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@Sixlitre tuned his suspension many moons ago for handling. Check out his threads.

I have driven my 6" lifted, no swaybarred, 37" tired 94 at high speeds (80mph) around decent corners and never had an issue.

Proper springs and shocks will do wonders for handling. That being said, a bronco will never handle like a fox/new edge mustang.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:58 PM
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For Safe Street and Handling Sway bars on/connected. For Light off-roading Sway bars on/connected deal with the rough ride or sway bars off/disconnected and enjoy the "smoother" ride. For heavy/rough off-roading Sway bars OFF/DISCONNECTED. But what do I know I never go Off-Road. Tis your choice waddaya want?
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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I have a 2.5" lift with 35's on mine with out sway bars. I feel that it handles great however I wouldn't take a corner extremely fast either as I can feel it lean.
Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Big heavy wheels and tires have the largest negative effect on handling and braking. Look for lightweight wheels and lighter tires in a reasonable size.
I totally agree to an extent.
There is something to be said for having weight in the right places, but this is a good rule of thumb.

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Originally Posted by BigBlue 94 View Post
Sixlitre tuned his suspension many moons ago for handling. Check out his threads.
Cool, thanks for the heads up.
Sixlitre is about to get Googled!

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Originally Posted by BigBlue 94 View Post

I have driven my 6" lifted, no swaybarred, 37" tired 94 at high speeds (80mph) around decent corners and never had an issue.
Wow, that's good to hear.

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Originally Posted by Stevo440 View Post
For Safe Street and Handling Sway bars on/connected. For Light off-roading Sway bars on/connected deal with the rough ride or sway bars off/disconnected and enjoy the "smoother" ride. For heavy/rough off-roading Sway bars OFF/DISCONNECTED.
Great info and exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to read about in this thread.
I never considered that sway bars might be unwanted for some offroading.
Something good for me to research, thanks!
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Did ya'll know that the first 1966 Bronco, or at least one of the variations, was originally marketed as a "Sports Car".

It's true.
Ford says it themselves in this early Bronco commercial:
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 06:15 AM
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Definitely not a '66 w/ a 200 hp V8 in the yellow and the brown ones, blue was a '66.

Cool video.

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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 07:47 AM
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Have a 92 bronco that has had a 6" lift and 35s, and is now currently at 4" and 33s. Ran with sway bars with the 6" lift and no longer run them with the 4".
From my experiences in the truck they both handle about the same. As mentioned a good lift with extended arms and properly corrected steering, that is also gone threw and at 100%, is what the big difference is going to be. At least with lifts in the relm of fitting 33/35 tire.

On same truck I have also ran 18x9.5 wheels with the 35's and 33's, and 15x10 wheels with both 35s and 33s. This seems to make more difference then the sway bars, in my opinion. The 18s and 33 is for sure more of a street setup, the big issue with taking them off road is when aired down you do not get as nice footprint as with the smaller wheel due to not having as much side wall. I mostly run this truck in sand, so your results may vary. However I have always been able to get where I wanted to be too.

I agree with most that being able to switch your setup will likely be the best way to go on this one. Sway bar disconnects, adjustable shocks, maybe even 2 sets of wheels/tires. You could also look at droop limiting the suspension with straps, for street use, though that introduces some weirdness into the suspension too.
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