Lifted Japanese Kei Truck

A lifted Japanese Kei Truck is one way in which you can increase the functionality of your Kei. If you have a Kei truck, then you know that there is little clearance between the body and the road. Because of this, drivability may be affected. To reduce the amount of scuffs and rub on the body, you may wish to lift your truck. If you have ever wondered about how and why you should use a lift kit on a Kei truck, read on to find out more.

Lifted Japanese Kei Truck blue. Shows how well a kit can rise the overall height.

A smoother ride

One of the biggest advantages to having a lift kit is a smoother ride. Regularly, Kei trucks have drivability issues. Because of the low clearance, the driver usually feels the bumps and the dips in the road. Increasing the distance between the road and the chassis helps to give a bit more stability to the ride. It also allows you to use larger shock absorbing tires to increase the comfort of the ride. This is especially true for off-road Kei vehicles like the Suzuki Carry.

Better Stability

With a lift kit, you have the option to use wider tires. The wider tires can sometimes be double the size of the standard Kei tire. This increases the overall stability of the truck. This is especially true if the truck is to be loaded or when you are using the truck for off-road purposes. Essentially, you are turning the truck into an ATV type of vehicle while retaining the look and the functionality of the mini truck.

Safer driving on a lifted Japanese Kei Truck

The higher truck allows for better visibility. Because of the increase in the visibility, you have clearer driving conditions. This affects the overall safety of the vehicle. We should note that where there is an increase in the visibility, you have a bit of a decrease in the incline stability depending on how high the truck is lifted. As many of the Kei trucks are front end heavy, focus on balancing the lift to the overall weight. That being stated, the higher body allows for some clearances from debris and scrubbing, which would not be available on the standard packaging. Choose the lift kit which best suits your needs.

Lift Kits available

Like most vehicles, there are several kits which are available to lift your Japanese Kei Truck. The best kits are those which lift anywhere between 2” and 6”. Anything more than this will cause issues with the chassis and the framework of the Kei. When picking your kit, look for lift kits specifically designed for the make and model of your Kei. Adhere to the instructions and the suggestions of the manufacturer and the lift kit provider for best results.

Full body lift kits should not be used on Kei trucks. The body and the overall framework are different. Tires which are added to the body should clear the framework when the chassis is lowered. Scrubbing of tires on the framework should be fixed immediately, as this could cause tire damage and decrease the safety of use.

Installing a lift kit – rear tires

While you can purchase a lift kit already installed on your Kei truck, most people purchase kits. Lift kits for Japanese Kei trucks are 2 to 3 inches. Overall, you may increase the height to about six feet from the top of the cabin to the road. To install your lift kit, follow these general instructions.

First, remove the rear tires after securing the vehicle with the proper jacks and safety equipment. Once the tire is removed, you will want to replace the existing plates with the new lift plates. There should be only two bolts per plate which need to be removed. Keep in mind that you should not have to bend the framework of the car. Everything should go together smoothly. When the back two tires are added back, lower the vehicle into place. Tires should not touch the framework of the vehicle but have plenty of clearance to allow for loading and driving.

Installing a lift kit – front tires

Front tires will require a bit more work. Remove the front tire. Then, remove the coil from the font of the vehicle. You will need to add the base plate to the coil and the camber plate to the top of the base plate. When this is completed, you can add the coil back to where it was before. The base plate acts as a spacer and will be the equivalent of the pates that you just installed on the back of the Kei truck.

Be mindful of the overall look and settlement of the Kei truck once you have added the coils back and lowered the truck. There are a few issues which should be noted. First, the tow may need to be adjusted. Second, you may have to cut the framework to avoid rubbing. If you do not wish to cut the framework, you may need to have larger spacers. Finally, the camber of Kei lift kits bends outward. However, this is common on full-size and on mini trucks and Kei trucks.

A lifted Japanese Kei Truck of a white kei truck.

A general note about a lifted Japanese Kei Truck

It is highly recommended that you have a mechanic install the lift kit for you. As you will adjust the tires and how the tires interact with the overall vehicle, it is critical that the kit is installed properly. If you are importing a Kei Truck which already has a lift kit, have the vehicle inspected to ensure that the kit was attached properly. You do not want to have issues with the struts in the future.

Before installing your kit, check with the local licensing authority to find out if the lift kit will affect your Kei truck’s ability to drive on-road. Most Kei trucks must be 25 years old or older to gain access to roadways. However, if you have the proper street legalization kits, you may drive on-road, if the lift kit adheres to the proper safety regulations.