A control arm lift is typically a combination of spacers for the top of the strut assembly and replacement upper control arms for the front axle, with lift blocks, and U-bolts for the rear axle. The spacer provides the actual “lift” for the front axle. The spacer sits between the top of the strut assembly and the body of the vehicle. This effectively makes the strut and spring assembly longer. The suspension of the vehicle is forced further downward, thus producing the lift.
The control arms are re-engineered to allow for more clearance at the chassis. That allows for greater movement, or “travel,” without the control arm contacting any other parts. The control arms are redesigned to allow for greater suspension travel, better ride quality, better ball joint angle, and improved alignment adjustment. They are also stronger and lighter than the stock control arms, reducing unsprung weight.
The control arms allow for the use of a bigger spacer, increased suspension travel, and an overall higher lift. Replacing the control arms also allows for the use of different types of ball joints, which are stronger and last longer than factory units. Be sure to do some research here, and select the ball joints that most closely match the type of activities you’ll be participating in with your truck. Lastly, aftermarket control arms allow for more suspension travel, which means they provide the clearance necessary for larger lifts, or the use of a coil over suspension, later on down the road.
The lift on the rear axle is accomplished by placing the lift blocks between the bottom of the rear leaf springs and the top of the rear differential housing. They are then secured with the longer U-bolts. This forces the rear axle downward and the rear suspension upward, creating lift. By using the combination of the front and rear suspension kits, the end result is a nice, level, lifted truck that has increased ground clearance, increased suspension travel, better ride and handling, and better alignment geometry.