Rancho does it without dropping the torsion bars
Being an originator means being an innovator, and that's what Rancho has done with its new H3 suspension kit and its Realift technology. Historically, lifting almost any vehicle with independent suspension is relatively simple; either drop all the brackets, make new knuckles, and drop half the brackets, or crank the torsion bars for a higher stance and a rougher ride. Add blocks or springs to the rear and shocks all the way around, and you're done. Since most wheelers want actual performance out of their 4x4 instead of just the jacked-up look, we all appreciate any innovation that lifts a rig so bigger tires can be fitted. The problem is that most kits also drop the torsion bars down to a stock or worse rock-scraping level. We've seen some kits that drop the front and rear crossmembers so that snowplow duty would be easy, without a plow. Try taking those kits in the mud, sand, rocks, or snow, and you'll be wishing for something else. In addition, most kits require cutting and welding of the crossmembers, as well as reworking the exhaust system. By the time you are done, lots of time and money has been spent, with no real gain in ground clearance.
Luckily, Rancho is using a trick innovation for these H3 rigs called Realift technology, which we showed you in "Neat, New, & Basic" (June '03). Simply put, the rear torsion bar stays at the stock location at the rear crossmember, while the front of the bar gets a relocator which indexes into the lower A arm, and 4 inches higher the stock torsion bar is indexed into the locator. This keeps the bar level in the stock location with no reduction in ground clearance. In fact, with the new front knuckles and rear springs installed, the bars are 4 inches higher than stock-improving approach, departure, and ramp breakover angles. Not only that, no welding and cutting off brackets are happening with this kit, and the steering stays stock, as does the exhaust. At first we thought the system would bend and whack out the torsion bars, but we checked them on the trail with remote video cameras. The bars still twist, but also bend slightly, which has the effect of smoothing out the suspension loads for a better ride. Check out the high points of an install and see how much better this style of lift is compared to a snowplow lowering kit.