Golf carts come with rubbish suspension. Sure, it’s okay for you don’t want to carry more than two people, and you’re fine with traveling at walking speed. If you want to speed things up and make sure you make it out of divots and holes while driving around the course, you need to upgrade the cart’s suspension.
Upgrading your golf cart’s suspension essentially turns it into an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). You get better handling and maneuverability in the cart, and you can take on rugged terrain. If you want to beef up the suspension, you must purchase a lift kit.
Complete lift kits come with suspension parts, and some have new wheels. There are all types of suspension kits, but you don’t need a prefab kit to lift the suspension. You can gather the components yourself and fit them without taking the cart to the mechanic.
However, you’re going to have to have some basic knowledge of vehicle suspension and the tools to do the job yourself. Let’s look at how to lift a golf cart without a kit.
How to Lift a Golf Cart without a Kit – A Step-by-Step Guide
- 1 How to Lift a Golf Cart without a Kit – A Step-by-Step Guide
- 2 What are the Disadvantages of DIY Lift Kit Installation?
When you’re not buying a lift kit, you will have to source the parts you need from online vendors. We recommend using Amazon; you get all the components you need in one place, and all you have to do is enter them into the search bar.
To complete the lift modification to your cart, you’ll need a set of A-Arms to raise the vehicle, new springs, and shock absorbers with longer travel. However, those are all the basics you need for the job. Lift kits may include bumper plates, new axles, and wheels, but you don’t have to spend the extra money on these parts to lift your suspension.
The cart will run fine on the old wheels. If you feel like upgrading them, great. However, buying the basic components first allows you to complete the job, benefit from the additional ride height, and purchase the wheels later. It’s the better strategy for golfers on a budget.
After you have the components, follow this step-by-step strategy for fitting the parts to the cart. You can make most of the changes yourself if you have the right tools available.
Step 1 – Remove the Golf Cart Wheels
Remove the wheels from the cart. Keep the nuts close to the wheels or inside the wheel well to ensure they don’t roll away.
Step 2 – Strip the Axles
Carefully strip the axles from the cart. After the axles are off the cart, you have access to the A-Arms. If your cart doesn’t have A-Arms, you’ll have to purchase a set to change them out.
Step 3 – Fit the Springs and Shocks
If you have A-Arms, all you need to do is swap out the springs and shocks with the new ones. The standard A-Arms should have enough travel to allow a 3.5″ spring and shock absorber to fit the cart.
You get a decent increase in ride height without compromising stability. It works with the original wheels, and there’s no need to go to the expense of buying an entire kit.
Step 3 –Fit the New Axles
If you replace the A-Arms or fit upgraded A-Arms to older models with different suspensions, change the axles to accommodate the upgrade.
Step 4 – Adjust the Wheel Angle
Upgrading the suspension will change the cart’s wheel alignment. You’ll have to ensure you have the correct tow and camber in the wheel. This may require trial and error settings to get right. Or you can have a professional service complete the wheel alignment for you.
What are the Disadvantages of DIY Lift Kit Installation?
Tools and Skills
When you try to do DIY lifting of your cart suspension, you open yourself to several problems. First, are you a mechanic, and do you have the skills to do the job? If you don’t have the right tools and the knowledge of how to work on suspension, why do it yourself? Sometimes it’s better to have the expert do it for you. It might cost you a few dollars, but at least you get a proper job.
May Affect the Golf Carts Performance and Appearance
Lifting kits come with an array of parts that change the ride height and the width of the wheelbase. They give the cart a squat look that’s aggressive and outlandish. However, a DIY lift using springs and shocks might change the look of your cart to something you don’t expect. The lift cold makes the cart look awkward, ruining its styling.
May Damage the Chassis
If you’re a newbie at playing around with golf cart suspension, you might miss something and cause mechanical failure in the suspension parts when operating the cart. The suspension is responsible for removing stress from the chassis. When the suspension is not functioning correctly, it might lead to overstressing and damage to the chassis and frame of the cart.
Lifting the Cart May Compromise Safety
Lifting the cart changes its center of gravity. You have better stability and resistance against tipping over when you have a lower ride height. However, when you lift the cart, you elevate the COG, making it easier to tip it.
A cart with a higher center of gravity navigating down a slope might only need to turn slightly to the side to unbalance the COG. As a result, the cart tips, causing an accident. For this reason, most aftermarket lift kits include all the components to lift your suspension safely.
You increase the wheelbase on the cart’s horizontal axis with a lift kit, increasing stability and resistance against tipping events. You don’t get that same effect when just replacing the springs and shocks in a DIY job.
It’s better to go with a prefabricated spindle-drop or A-ARM lift kit. You’ll find them in 3.5″ and 6″ kits and many sizes in-between. Lift kits are relatively inexpensive, ranging from $250 to $1,100 for kits including wheels.