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Bracket VS Knuckle Lift Kit: 10 Differences [Discussed]

Bracket VS Knuckle Lift Kit

Last Updated on May 7, 2023

When upgrading your vehicle’s suspension, the bracket and knuckle lifts are two of the most popular options available. These suspension kits increase your vehicle’s performance, stability, and safety. But what are the differences between them?

Although they both provide enough lift, the most significant difference lies in their mounting option. A bracket mounts its own LCA, or lower control arms, and works best with coil-over shocks. On the other hand, knuckle lift kits replace the stock knuckles and control arms with aftermarket versions.

Even though a bracket lift offers increased stability and improved performance over stock components, the knuckle lift allows for greater suspension travel and ground clearance. There are also several other differences between the two. Continue reading to find out more.

Bracket VS Knuckle Lift Kit: Ultimate Suspension Comparison

Differences Between Bracket and Knuckle Lift

Bracket and knuckle lifts provide a range of differences depending on the vehicle and the desired outcome. Here are some of the major differences to take into consideration before buying a kit:

Lift Kit Design

Bracket lifts are steel brackets that bolt onto existing suspension components such as control arms or shock absorbers. Also, they may include custom shocks designed to fit the kit.

Knuckle lifts replace the vehicle’s stock knuckles with taller ones that allow larger tires and greater ground clearance. Furthermore, knuckle lifts require more labor-intensive installation due to their intricate suspension components being replaced and carrying more weight than a traditional bracket lift.

Lift Kit Height

In terms of height increases from a lift kit, bracket lifts generally offer up to 3 inches, while knuckle lifts can provide up to 6 inches of lift. But this depends on the type of vehicle being lifted and other factors such as the type of terrain you plan on driving over when off-roading.

Mounting Options

There are certain advantages when looking at mounting options for both types of lifts. Bracket kits have their own Lower Control Arm (LCA) mounts, making them easier to install and increasing vehicle weight.

Knuckle lifts replace the stock knuckles, allowing you to use your original LCA’s while providing a more reflexive turning radius. This increased capability comes from switching out multiple suspension components in one go instead of just adding one more piece.

Turning Radius

The turning radius is an important factor to consider when choosing between a knuckle and bracket-style lift kit. A knuckle lift kit (AKA suspension lift kit) replaces multiple suspension components simultaneously, increasing your vehicle’s stability when cornering aggressively or off-roading.

This is because these kits provide extra reinforcement compared to just adding one part, as with a bracket kit. Knuckle-style lift kits offer superior turn performance compared to bracket-style kits, making them the preferred option for those who demand more from their vehicles regarding maneuverability.

Ball Joints Distance

Ball Joints Distance

Bracket lifts are an economical way to add height to your vehicle as they use spacer blocks that can be placed above or below existing components such as control arms, coil overs, or leaf springs. With this lift kit, the distance between the upper and lower ball joints remains unchanged since only spacers are used.

On the other hand, knuckle lifts offer more versatility when lifting your vehicle because they employ new or modified components such as strut extensions or replacement strut assemblies for additional suspension travel.

This type of suspension lift also increases the distance between upper and lower ball joints, providing better leverage when fitting larger tires and improving wheel articulation during off-roading activities.

Steering Geometry

When using a bracket lift, you must use drop brackets to lower the center link from the pitman/idler arm for proper alignment with bigger wheels or tires, which can affect steering operation if not done correctly.

Knuckle lifts keep all steering components untouched geometry-wise because no extra parts are needed to be added or removed. But some knuckle lift kits may include special drop brackets depending on application while maintaining geometry integrity intact.

Ride Quality

Both systems will provide comparable results when comparing the ride quality between knuckle and bracket lifts, aside from small variables that can be tuned to enhance ride quality.

A knuckle lift system can maintain factory suspension geometry while increasing ground clearance. This maintains a smooth ride, with potentially improved performance over a bracket lift setup with sufficient time spent tuning shocks and coils to application-specific parameters.

Lift Kit Installation

Installing a lift kit can be an intimidating endeavor, and the duration of installation time depends greatly on the type of lift being installed. Knuckle lift kits require extensive knowledge and experience, so even seasoned installers may spend up to three hours getting everything right.

Contrastingly, bracket lifts are relatively straightforward as they bolt straight onto existing components with minimal modifications. This simplicity allows a quick and successful installation that most experienced mechanics can complete in half an hour or less.

Off-Road Performance

Regarding off-road performance, knuckle lifts offer more control than bracket lifts when navigating difficult terrains such as steep hills or rocky trails. This is due to their ability to increase axle articulation, which allows for better weight distribution across all four wheels.

On the other hand, bracket lifts typically offer less ground clearance and less axle articulation, making them better suited for low-speed driving on flat terrain or small bumps such as logs or rocks.

Lift Kit Cost

When considering costs, knuckle lifts tend to be more expensive than their bracket counterparts due to their increased complexity and need for custom parts like caster shims or special brackets. In addition, they may require additional labor costs if they are not installed properly.

As opposed to that, bracket lifts are much less expensive since they generally don’t require custom parts and can usually be installed with basic tools. Furthermore, these systems offer a more straightforward installation process that can often be completed in half the time of knuckle systems.

Knuckle Lift Kit or Bracket Lift Kit, Which Lift Kit is Better for Everyday Use?

Knuckle Lift Kit or Bracket Lift Kit, Which Lift Kit is Better for Everyday Use

Knuckle lift kits can improve ride quality for everyday use in various situations, both on and off the road. They are designed to raise the height of the vehicle’s suspension points and create a more level stance.

These lift kits are also often adjustable, allowing you to tweak the amount of lift depending on your needs. This makes them great for people who need to adjust their vehicles regularly or who want to fortify their suspensions in rough terrain or low-traction conditions.

Bracket lift kits are designed with a different purpose in mind. These kits include large brackets that attach to existing suspension points and raise the entire vehicle frame.

Doing this lets you fit bigger tires without them rubbing against other parts. Also, bracket lift kits can reduce body roll by rigidly connecting parts of the vehicle’s suspension system.

Does the Steering System Have to be Modified for Knuckle or Bracket Lift Kits?

Modifying the steering system largely depends on the type of lift kit being installed. In the case of knuckle lifts, the geometry of all steering components remains untouched, meaning that no modifications are necessary.

But drop bracket lifts require modifications for the center link to be lowered to achieve a full drop. During these types of installations, an adjustable track bar and new drag link may need to be installed because they are typically shorter than stock parts.

Also, extended sway bar links may be necessary to maintain alignment with the rest of the suspension system. All modifications must be done carefully to ensure proper wheel alignment afterward.

Does a Knuckle Lift or Bracket Lift Kit Work on the Rear Suspension of a Vehicle?

A knuckle lift kit is a specific type of suspension system designed to be fitted onto a vehicle’s front suspension, resulting in improved ground clearance and ride quality. These kits often include new control arms, ball joints, and steering knuckles which replace the existing components.

Bracket lift kits also offer increased ground clearance. But they are universal and designed for attachment to vehicles’ front and rear suspensions. While providing increased ground clearance and stronger handling characteristics, this type of lift yields less overall ride quality than a knuckle lift kit.

Will Knuckle and Bracket Lift Kits Affect the Vehicle’s Center of Gravity?

Will Knuckle and Bracket Lift Kits Affect the Vehicle's Center of Gravity

Installing a knuckle or bracket lift kit to your vehicle can dramatically raise the center of gravity. Depending on the size of the lift, the center of gravity can be raised up to several inches in height.

Consequently, this increased height can greatly impact how your truck or SUV handles and performs while driving. As such, it is vital to take extra caution and practice safe driving techniques when behind the wheel of a lifted vehicle to ensure maximum safety.

Do Knuckle Lift and Bracket Lift Kits Affect Vehicle Handling?

Installing a bracket or knuckle lift kit can affect the handling of your vehicle. Higher lifts require larger wheels and tires that may not be designed for optimum cornering capabilities.

Additionally, stiffer suspension components might provide more stability in straight lines but could reduce responsiveness when taking tight corners or curves at speed. Knowing these compromises is essential before committing to a certain type of lift kit for your truck or SUV.

Bracket or Knuckle Lift Kit: Consider the Differences to Make a Wise Choice!

Both brackets and knuckle lift kits have unique advantages depending on the terrain you plan to tackle. But you have to consider all the differences before making your choice.

Bracket lifts offer an easy installation process without requiring welding or cutting while providing improved handling and ride quality over stock suspensions. Conversely, knuckle lifts provide a more aggressive look, greater performance capabilities, and extra clearance for bigger tires.

Ultimately, deciding between these two suspension kits comes down to personal preference. Both will give elevation and improved performance but with different difficulty levels in mounting and installation and the associated cost.

Bracket VS Knuckle Lift Kit: 10 Differences [Discussed]

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