There's more than few leveling kits out there for the F150s, so we decided to put together a video explaining the main types with both their pros and their cons. Even with our helpful (but very general) Leveling Kit Explainer, there's still a lot to know and a bunch of choices you still have to make when it comes to choosing the right leveling kit for your truck.

While this video did provide an adequate overview of leveling kit types, it didn't touch on a couple of important details that can help you choose the right leveling kit.

Max Tire Size with a Leveling Kit
This is one of our most commonly received questions from customers, and while it's a simple question, it has a ton of factors that play into it, which makes for some mental gymnastics when it comes to conjuring an answer. The maximum size tire that you'll be able to fit with a leveling kit depends on the year of your truck (2004-2008 F150s have a bit less clearance than later trucks, 2015-2018 F150s have front crash bars, etc.), the specs of your wheels (specifically their widths, offsets, and backspacing), and how much trimming you're willing to do (if any at all). It's why we had to do a ton of trimming on our 2011 F150 XL Truck with its 18x9" wheels with a -12mm offset and 325/60R18s (33.4x12.8") while we didn't have to do any on our 2015 F150 XLT Truck with its 18x9" wheels with a +18mm offset and 305/65R18s (33.6x12"). As a general rule, we usually give a 33x11.50" as a safe bet. A 33x11.50" will clear 2" leveling kits and taller on most wheel and tire combinations without trimming and leave you room for UCAs and other suspension mods down the road. Granted, it's a very conservative recommendation, and you can absolutely fit larger tires with the right combination of wheel and trimming, but it is a safe bet for most leveling kits.

Stage 3's 2015 F150 XLT Project Truck and 2011 F150 XL Project Truck

Struts vs. 2.0 Coilovers vs. 2.5 Coilovers
Here's another big one, and it too, doesn't have a simple answer. If you've settled on a leveled strut or a coilover assembly instead of a spacer, you have another big choice to make in whether you should choose a leveled strut assembly like the Bilstein 5100s or Eibach Pros, a 2.0 Coilover like the Fox 2.0s or Halo Lifts Boss Coilovers, or a 2.5 coilover like the ICON 2.5s or Fox 2.5s or King 2.5s. The choice really comes down to your budget, how you use your truck, and how much on-road ride quality you're willing to sacrifice to pursue off-road performance.

Leveled struts on the budget end of the spectrum provide a nice bump in overall handling and performance over stock. While they don't have the off-road performance or handling of 2.0s (much less 2.5s), they're still a great choice for a primarily street-driven truck that doesn't have aggressive off-road needs.

Bilstein 5100 Leveled Struts

2.0s are the middle child, and while they're more expensive than leveled struts, they offer up even better handling, arguably better on-road ride quality, and much better off-road performance than a set of leveled struts. While they can't handle 75mph runs through raw desert, they will let you push your truck a bit out on the trail. Still, they don't hold a candle to 2.5s in the off-road performance department and with their wallet hit over leveled struts, it can be hard to justify an "arguable" improvement in on-road ride quality for most folks.

Halo Lifts Boss 2.0 Coilovers

2.5 coilovers are built to handle aggressive off-roading. If 75mph runs down poorly maintained trail are your thing, then 2.5s are likely your winning ticket. You'll probably break something else on your truck long before you break a 2.5, no matter how hard you push them. That being said, 2.5s are valved for performance and to absorb violent impacts off-road, and because of that, they tend to have a pretty firm street ride that many find unpleasant. While we here at Stage 3 are 2.5 coilover fanboys, we also have different needs than a lot of folks, and these coilovers aren't for everyone. Their price point is also a step above 2.0 coilovers, which means you're paying a pretty penny to stiffen up your street ride. Still, you get better on-road handling and absolutely astonishing off-road performance, which is what you may need.

ICON 2.5 Coilovers

Dead-Level and why it may not be for you
Another common question is how much front lift you need to get absolutely dead-level. The answer for the 2004-2018 F150s is 2.5". It takes about a 2.5" leveling kit to get a given F150 a flat, no-rake, dead-level stance. Now that can vary a bit, especially on newer trucks whose front suspension isn't fully broken in and on trucks with a ton of miles whose rear leafs may have some sag. Still, 2.5" of leveling is about as close as these trucks get to a dead-level stance, and both 2" and 1.5" kits tend to leave a hint of rake. Now, while throwing a 2.5" leveling kit on your truck is all well and good, there are a couple of issues when you starting getting to that much front ride height. The biggest is getting nose high while towing or hauling. The F150s have rake for a reason, and its so they sit fairly level when you start loading up your truck's bed or hitch. Making your truck dead-level with a 2.5" leveling kit means you'll likely end up with rear rake when towing and hauling, which not only looks goofy, but can cause stability issues. If you're towing and hauling on the regular, but still want a leveled look, you may want to consider a set of air springs.

2.5 leveling kit compared to stock

A second issue with getting up to 2.5" worth of front leveling is upper control arm contact with your truck's front springs. At 2.5" of leveling, the upper control arm's deflection angle reaches a point where the inside portion of the factory upper control arm (UCA) can start to contact the front coil spring at full droop or while driving aggressively. The only real solution is grab a set of aftermarket upper control arms that offer more clearance. Just keep in mind that aftermarket UCAs generally have maximum backspacing requirements which limits your tire width options on stock and some aftermarket wheels with higher offsets.

If you have any other general questions about F150 leveling kits, feel free to post below. If you have specific questions about your build or fitments, please give us a call directly at 623-434-5277, and we'll see if we can help you out.

11 Comments

Rudy Richardson

Date 3/13/2018

The new Shelby trucks can be ordered lowered ,i understand. How and what are they using to accomplish this, spindles, struts, springs or any combination of these. Can they be purchased or is it a special item. ?

Rudy Richardson

Date 3/13/2018

The new Shelby trucks can be ordered lowered ,i understand. How and what are they using to accomplish this, spindles, struts, springs or any combination of these. Can they be purchased or is it a special item. ?

Steve owen

Date 9/15/2018

I recently had fox/bds coilsover installed on my gasoline 2014 F150. The front tires are offset while the back tires are not. Is that standard and ok? Thank you, Steve Owen OKC

Jeff Whibley

Date 1/29/2019

I have a 2016 ford f150, 4wd. I have installed a 2in leveling strut extension and I am wondering if I would be able to fit a Bfgoodrich KO2 tire (285/65/R20) without rubbing on the stock rims.

Eric

Date 2/15/2020 11:31:31 AM

I have those and had to do a little very minor trimming... only when loaded, turned and in reverse... the 15+ have a little more room so I'd imagine you would be fine without any trimming.

ELWOOD Six

Date 1/1/2020 11:55:00 PM

I have the exact same question.

Brian

Date 4/2/2019

I have a 2015 f150 xlt supercrew... with a 2in rough country leveling kit. I want to put 295/70/18 dick cepek trail country exp tires on but wasn’t sure if they would rub or would I need to put wheel spacers on. Please help

Andrew Farris

Date 5/9/2019

I have a 2.5" supreme suspensions level ready to be installed. However, I'm having second thoughts because I've seen where people claim it can ruin your front suspension and make it hard to align the tires afterward. How likely is this "damage" and would going down to a 2" help even though my rake is exactly 2.5"? Thanks

Fred Dantzler

Date 9/12/2019

I’ve got a 2015 XLT supercrew 5.0 v8 4x4. Do I risk control arm issues with the 2.25 inch leveling kit? With the leveling kit and OEM 17x7.5 wheels, can I fit 295/70R17 tires? Would 285/75R17 be better? I don’t want to do any trimming or mods. Thank you.

Fred Dantzler

Date 9/12/2019

I’ve got a 2015 XLT supercrew 5.0 v8 4x4. Do I risk control arm issues with the 2.25 inch leveling kit? With the leveling kit and OEM 17x7.5 wheels, can I fit 295/70R17 tires? Would 285/75R17 be better? I don’t want to do any trimming or mods. Thank you.

Anson

Date 1/9/2020

I have a 2006 Lincoln Mark Lt it’s basically a F150. I’m the 3rd owner and when I purchased it had already had a leveling kit put on plus 35x12.50R18’s on the factory 18x7 rims. I have zero rub at all turning ratios and still looks to be an inch to inch&1/2 clearance. I’m wanting to get away from the stock rims as they’re looking pretty rough. Can I go to a 18x9 rim with the same tires and still be safe? I’m thinking the wider rim would bring the ride height down slightly to give clearance for the extra 2” in rim width but not 100% sure. Any help is appreciated

Anson

Date 1/9/2020

I have a 2006 Lincoln Mark Lt it’s basically a F150. I’m the 3rd owner and when I purchased it had already had a leveling kit put on plus 35x12.50R18’s on the factory 18x7 rims. I have zero rub at all turning ratios and still looks to be an inch to inch&1/2 clearance. I’m wanting to get away from the stock rims as they’re looking pretty rough. Can I go to a 18x9 rim with the same tires and still be safe? I’m thinking the wider rim would bring the ride height down slightly to give clearance for the extra 2” in rim width but not 100% sure. Any help is appreciated

Danny

Date 4/16/2020

My 2015 screw 4x4 only has 2 inches of stock take! WTH? Maybe go with 1.5 kit instead of 2? I don’t haul heavy loads.

Add Comment

Mailing List

Scroll to TOP