We've all been there: Presented with a problem, we choose the seemingly easy solution that turns out to be more complicated later on. One case in point is the body lift on our '92 Ford Ranger.
Early '83-'92 Rangers need at least a 3-inch lift to clear 31-inch tires. Suspension lifts are initially more expensive, but keep the body at stock height. Body lift kits are relatively inexpensive, but hold hidden costs that must be addressed for the vehicle to function properly afterward. The body-mounted radiator must be dropped to line up with the engine-mounted fan. Shift levers disappear into the transmission tunnel and are difficult to reach. Bumpers, which are frame-mounted, must be raised to match the new body height, lest yawning gaps rear their ugly heads between the bumper and body. Gas filler tubes must be stretched. Steering shafts may need lengthening. Finally, body lifts place more leverage on the body mounts, opening the possibility for bent mounts on the frame and body.
With so many issues to address, and triple-digit weather constantly overheating the ill-cooling Ford, we decided to drop the body back to stock height. We trimmed the fenders and bedsides for tire clearance, and here's how the trimming was performed.