Shifting golf carts to a different terrain comes with different challenges, especially regarding increased weight and low ground clearance.
Lifting increases the ground clearance and enables the cart to maneuver where it would get stuck before.
There are two ways of lifting a golf cart, including using a ready-made lifting kit or fashioning yours from scratch.
Let’s look at each one of them in more detail:
Using Premade Lifting Kits
You can purchase a lift kit from most commercial stores. They include:
- Spindle lift kit
- Drop axle lift kit
- Long travel lift kit
Using a pre-made lift kit is easy, and anyone with basic mechanical skills can successfully pull it out in a few hours.
Front Lift Installation
First, go through the manufacturer’s manual carefully so you complete it without damaging other parts or posing a risk to future drivers.
You need a jack to complete this mission.
- Since there are two jack stands on either end of the front side, place one jack on each end.
- Untighten the lug nuts that hold the front wheels together and disengage them from their position.
- Next, loosen and disengage the tie rods.
- You need a socket for this step. Some bolts hold the factory spindles together. Loosen them using a socket to allow you to remove the spindles and the tie rods.
- Replace the spindles, wheel hubs, and rods with the new ones from the lift kit. Install the new spindles. You can also take this opportunity to re-lubricate any rusty parts, including joints.
- Lastly, follow the instructions that came with the lift kits to do a thorough wheel alignment.
Rear Lift Installation
The process for the rear wheels isn’t much different from the front wheels. Get a jack, locate the jack stands on either end of the back end, and begin the lifting process.
- Loosen and remove the bolts that hold the axle together, often located at the bottom.
- You have to remove the ground straps that connect to the starter for gas-powered golf carts.
- Disengage the U-bolts from their position, followed by leaf spring removal.
- Replace the leaf springs and the U-bolts with longer ones from the installation kit. Tighten the bolts properly to avoid these parts coming loose when driving.
- Lastly, restore the shocks where they should be, that is, on the U-bolt plates. Tighten the screws.
We have an article on how to use a golf cart jack which will be helpful in this process.
How to Lift a Golf Cart Without a Kit
Perhaps you are the adventurous type, and prefabricated lift kits are too boring for you.
Or perhaps you’re an avid DIYer looking for some interesting project to take on during the weekend.
It is possible to assemble a lift kit from different parts at the store.
If you think ready-made lift kits for increasing the height of your car are overrated, you can assemble one from different materials.
For starters, you will need aftermarket springs, axles, A-arms, and longer shocks which you can find in the local spare part dealers.
Note that you will need a support plate that attaches directly to the underbelly of your cart. A lift kit will allow you to attach bigger all-season wheels to your cart to increase ground clearance.
You will also need relevant tools such as screwdrivers, jack lifts, drills, and wrenches.
Here is a step-by-step video on how to lift a golf cart without a prefabricated lift kit:
Remove Cart Wheels
Like in the first section, lift the wheels using the jacks, ensuring they balance on the jack pads.
Next, loosen the nuts that hold the wheels in place, ensuring that you place them in a secure container.
Preferably, leave the nuts and bolts close to the respective wheel to avoid losing them when putting the parts together.
Remove the Axles
This step requires you to dislodge the axles from the cart.
📢 Need To Know: You need more than basic mechanical skills to accomplish this intricate process. Call a professional golf cart mechanic if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.
If you have the skills, proceed with the process up to removing the A-arms.
Add the Support Plates
After removing the A-arms and the axles, the next step is installing the support plates on the front and back sides.
Support plates should be placed next to the axles to provide extra support and strength to your DIY golf cart lift kit.
Install the Longer Springs, A-Arms, and Shocks
Basically, you are just following steps one and two backward, so it will be easier to put the cart back together if you remember how you pulled it apart.
Add the longer A-arms from the store to properly position and support the plate.
Also, remember to add the new springs and shocks on the A-arms to boost support for your golf cart.
💡 Golfible Tip: This step can be pretty intense, and you will need an extra pair of hands.
Install the New Axles
Add the new axles to the A-arms. Balancing the height at the back and front of the golf cart is crucial for smooth driving on the roads.
Ensure the balance is just right.
Proper Angle Adjustment
The last step is proper adjustment of the angles to ensure all parts are in tune with each other.
The lifting process can alter the camber and caster of your golf cart, which can cause significant steering problems.
Carefully tweak the angles and ensure that they are centered.
Most people will require professional help at this point.
Key Points To Note When Lifting A golf Cart
- The lifting process is not homogenous and different brands will require different lift kits. Be sure to buy a brand that matches your golf cart both in style and function. For the DIYer, create something that is as close as possible to the model you operate.
- For example, some golf cart brands may force you to weld together different parts, while others may require higher and stronger support plates.
- Proper wheel balancing is key to smoother future rides and avoiding potential accidents. Ensure you conduct proper wheel balancing for all models before driving. Better still, take it to the local service outlet for accurate computerized wheel balancing and alignment.
- Just as crucial, you need to understand the potential problems that may arise since the process interferes with the intended function of the golf cart. The threat is more pronounced when attempting to add height using a personalized lifting kit without expert mechanical skills.
- The whole process requires more than basic mechanical skills for success. You may need to set aside an emergency budget just in case you don’t achieve and trigger bigger problems in the process.
Can you lift a golf cart without a lift kit?
No, a golf cart cannot be lifted without a lift kit. A lift kit is required to increase the height of a golf cart, which in turn allows larger wheels and tires to be installed. Attempting to lift a golf cart without a lift kit can cause damage to the vehicle and be potentially dangerous.
Is it worth lifting a golf cart?
Whether lifting a golf cart is worth it depends on how you plan to use it. If you need larger tires, better ground clearance, or just want a heavy-duty appearance, lifting may be worth it. However, you should consider your needs carefully before deciding as lifting can also compromise the stability of your golf cart on uneven terrains.