GoWesty lift kit
It's no Syncro, but we'll get as close as possible.
Secretly, I've wanted the GoWesty lift kit for a long time. Realistically, I knew we didn't really need a lift kit. When GoWesty offered us a deal on one, it didn't take me long to make the decision. Was it worth it?
The install wasn't too bad, but I definitely have one suggestion - include some instructions! This is one of the things I handle at Flyin' Miata, so I get both sides of the equation. Springs are one of those things that the installer should look to the factory service manual for the proper procedure. That's a pretty good reason to not include instructions, but when there are special procedures, the installer needs to know about it. Case in point, you must have the van re-aligned (obviously) with weight in the front seats (not as obvious). GoWesty knows about this, as it's in a tech article on their website, but you have to search for the information. Why is this such a big deal? It was terrifying to drive in crosswinds with the first alignment. Since I didn't know about the weight in the front seats, it took a bit of problem solving. Fortunately, my alignment shop was happy to do a second alignment, and once it was aligned properly, it got much better. It's definitely not a modern sports car, but it's no longer scary. In hindsight, it all makes sense: they aligned it to the factory spec (about .16" total toe-in), but when we both hopped in the front, it went to nearly a 1/2" of total toe-in. That's a hell of a difference, enough that I was just starting to see tire wear after a few hundred miles. Aligned to the proper spec (with us in the van) it's much better. Still, I think I might take a little more toe out of it to see if it can be improved further. Toe's easy to adjust, so it's worth an experiment.
So, that small issue aside, they're awesome. Fitment was great, and I really appreciate that they considered the geometry and included the ball joint spacers. The van ended up taller than I thought it would (roughly 2" higher), but I suspect that's because it was a bit lower than normal to start off with. Our old dog isn't very excited about the bigger step up, but the lift kit has already gotten us into places we never would've gotten otherwise.
The ride definitely got firmer, but I'm okay with that. It wasn't terrible before, although it did get pretty bad once it was fully loaded. No issues with that any more, it's well controlled (and not prone to bottoming out) full of gear or completely empty.
More ground clearance and better approach and departure angles.
I'm not one to focus on the aesthetics, but I really like the way it looks now as well. With the big tires, anyway, it looks a bit ridiculous with the original tires (right-most picture above).
If you want the look or more off road capability, these are a great way to get there. If you're reading this, you already know about the one issue I had, so you'll know to avoid it.