The Difference between Short and Long Arm Lift Kits

In general, a long-travel kit for 2wd F-150s will provide much smoother ride on road, as your wheel travel has larger radius and hence is dramatically less curved.

Short arm lift will attach to the arm mount of stock control. While the length of short arm lift will increase the angle made by its arm, and downward gravity force will become smaller. For any short arm lifts, this is limiting factor.

In case, the angle of arm will be too extreme, also the force exerted onto the vehicle can become too vertical.

By having more amount of vertical force than horizontal force on the suspension can do lots of negative things. As an example, it will put lots of pressure on the suspension just by pushing up constantly on it and ramming it up with each bump.

The engine must also work harder for moving the vehicle back and forth because instead of all the energy going for pulling the vehicle, it will attempt to dig it down.

Shorter arm also will mean the wheel travel length available will have more curved appearance as compared to the long arm.

It is this kind of motion that gives this short arm lifts have bad reputation because of being less smooth on the pavement. The notable curve will translate it into vertical energy instead of gentle up/down movement.

This energy will travel in opposite direction that vehicle is trying and will cause rattle and shake because the suspension will battle with physics.

Comparison between long arm and short arm

Generally, you will need short arm type of lift kit in case your rig:

  • Will not be lifted more than 3.5 inches
  • Will not be daily on the highway
  • If it will do plenty of rock crawling
  • Can always be later changed to long arm lift

You will need long arm lift in case:

  • You are driving daily and need to ride smoothly
  • Won’t need to be changed to short-arm lift kit
  • Does plenty of fast off-roading

It is important that your ride needs must be fulfilled and you feel right while driving.

Therefore, you can form a group of friends in order to join any local Jeep club, then ride in with your buddies’ rigs by using both long as well as short arm lifts, so that you may get the feel for their differences before installing kit on your own Jeep.

In case of any doubt prefer for short, as it is less expensive, hence you can easily able to change for long arm later.