Global Pandemics -> Idle Hands?


I’ve had a lot of 4WD’s over the years. I’d have to count to say how many exactly, but it’s more than 10. Maybe close to 14? In all that time I’ve never put a lift kit on. There was that one body lift I did, so I guess that sorta counts, but never an actual suspension lift, beyond cranking the torsion bars to level the front.

Some of this is owing to the fact that I’ve always had Mitsubishi 4WD’s, and on the Pajero in particular, you don’t need a lift to run 33’s.

But suddenly… years later… here we are with too much time on our hands. And I’ve gone and done it. A “spacer lift” from Daystar. Not even a true lift. Just a boyracer-bandaid-bolt-on. Why, after all these years, do I suddenly need a “lift kit”? Have I turned into a Toyota wannabe?

No.

While having two toyo’s does make me a “be”, it doesn’t mean a “wannabe”. The truth is, the Prado doesn’t fit 33’s stock (Advantage Mitsu!). I bought it with the bigger tires and fancy wheels sitting in the cargo area. We were smack dab in the middle of winter and it was thankfully fitted with snow-tires. The PO assured me it just needed the factory mudflaps unbolted in order to fit these wheels and tires.

So when I swapped to the bonus wheels and tires a few weeks back, I was surprised by the amount of noise coming from my wheelwells, as I was backing out of the garage. It was tight. And not in the new vernacular “tight”. There was no room! I removed the factory flaps and… nope. Still contact. Perhaps the previous owner hadn’t ever attempted to turn the wheels? Ahem. I began clearancing the wheelwells, first by trimming plastic, and then when that failed, I grabbed the mini sledge. But even with the body seam flattened, the tires still would not clear at full lock.

Enter the cheap lift.

When I posed the question on The Gearhead Project Forum (sneak peek HERE, my eloquent buddy John Rimmer (of Middle Earth By Montero fame) had this to say:

If you were my dad, and you bought me some ice skates for hockey season that were a half size too small, and then when I started to complain about how they hurt and made me suck on the ice, you resolved to taking a hammer and hacksaw to my feet…well, I’d hate you and blame all my future mistakes and poor life choices on how terrible of a father you were.

Despite his sage advice, I went against all things moral and proper in the 4WD world, and went “Daystar”. Under 100 dollars CAD bought me 1.5 inches of vertical joy. The tire centers are now just above the mid-point of the wheel well, and suddenly parking this short wheelbase feels tight and nimble again! In real world measurement, I gained just over an inch from the wheel center to the edge of the fender well. I’m happy about that because I like to keep my COG as low as possible. CV angles are still reasonable, and handling is relatively unchanged. Sure, it’s a faux suspension lift in some ways, but the tires do fit now, and I have a real 20 inches of rocker panel clearance.

But the question remains: Was I missing out all these years, by running stock height? Or is the government-imposed lockdown making us consider doing things we never would have normally done?
I don’t really know the answer, but I do know this:
Suddenly my wife’s 100 Series is looking a little too close to the ground. Hmmm…

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