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The Mechanics of Lifting: Why 2WD Lift Spindles Don't Fit 4WD Models

The Mechanics of Lifting: Why 2WD Lift Spindles Don't Fit 4WD Models

Posted by Trekline Motorsports Tips on Aug 11th 2023

If you're a truck or SUV owner thinking of customizing your ride, you've probably come across the terms "2WD lift spindles" and "4WD lift spindles". These components are a staple in the aftermarket automotive world, used to elevate a vehicle's stance while preserving its factory ride quality. However, using 2WD lift spindles on a 4WD vehicle is a common misunderstanding that we want to clarify.

Lift Spindles and Their Role

Lift spindles, also known as steering knuckles, play a crucial role in altering a vehicle's height. They achieve their lift by relocating the vehicle's wheel bearing down a specific distance (3", 3.5", or 4", for instance). This relocation effectively lifts the vehicle while keeping the suspension geometry virtually unchanged.

How Drive Systems Differ

Understanding why 2WD lift spindles cannot be used on 4WD vehicles involves a basic comprehension of the fundamental differences in drivetrain design. In a 2WD system, power is sent to either the front or rear wheels. The lift spindle works perfectly in this configuration, creating lift without significant alterations to the suspension system.

Contrastingly, in a 4WD system, power is delivered to all four wheels simultaneously. This system is designed for off-road conditions and slippery surfaces. The front wheels are connected to additional drivetrain components, such as the front differential and CV axles.

The Challenge with 4WD Vehicles

For 4WD vehicles with Independent Front Suspension (IFS), the front axles attach to the differential at one end and run through the wheel bearing on the spindle at the other. When a lift spindle relocates the wheel bearing, it ends up sitting directly in front of the lower control arm.

If you attempt to install 2WD lift spindles on a 4WD truck, the front axle will be directed straight through the middle of the lower control arm - a physically impossible fit. This unsuitable fit can lead to a myriad of problems, including drivetrain damage, uneven tire wear, compromised handling, and other potential safety issues.

Why Some 4WD Lift Kits Include Spindles

Some aftermarket providers offer spindles in their 4WD lift kits. However, the spindle in this context isn't the component providing the lift. Instead, these kits come with various brackets that lower the control arms and differential while supplying longer struts to achieve the intended lift. By moving down all front-end components, room is created for the front axles to fit properly. But such kits come at a higher price compared to 2WD lift spindles due to the complexity of the design and components involved.

Choosing the Right Parts for Your Vehicle

Lifting your truck or SUV provides increased ground clearance and a more aggressive stance, but it's critical to use parts designed specifically for your drive system. Choosing 4WD-specific lift spindles ensures proper fit and functionality, maintaining your vehicle's integrity, safety, and performance. As a trusted manufacturer of aftermarket parts, we are committed to guiding you in choosing the right fit every time. Always remember, the right lift begins with the right fit!

Understanding RWD and Its Compatibility with 2WD Lift Spindles

When it comes to 2WD systems, there are two main types: Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) and Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD). Our 2WD lift spindles are specifically designed for RWD vehicles, where the power from the engine is sent to the rear wheels. This configuration is common in many trucks and SUVs, providing a balanced weight distribution and better traction. RWD systems are free from the additional drivetrain components found in 4WD, making them an ideal candidate for our lift spindles. The simple structure of RWD allows for an easy and effective lift without causing any unwanted changes to the vehicle's suspension geometry or handling characteristics. If you own an RWD truck or SUV, our 2WD lift spindles will help you achieve that desired elevation, enhancing both the look and performance of your vehicle.