^^definitely give this a read over. it helped address a lot of questions I had and gives a wide range of different lift choices.
1. you say asking for trouble for going above 3"? no, but above 3" requires a drop bracket lift, which like some said is much more expensive, and modifies certain parts that you cannot undo. I would stay at 3" and not go over until you get some more experience and try out 3" first. You can then sell your lift and go bigger later, you might find you like 3". Me personally, just purchased the toytec
ultimate lift kit. some people like it, some think its overpriced, but its a solid kit.
2. Yes you do need to worry about all components, but it depends on what height you go. (This might get repetitive from everyone talking about different lift options) Usually under ~2.5" you will be fine without new upper control arms, but for 2.5 or 3, its recommended.
With a lift kit, you will most likely change your springs (and shocks so you dont lose travel=optional tho) or get a coilover, which is both put together already. With just the springs and shock you need to get them mounted on your old setup. (unless you D.I.Y. it with a spring compressor). New UCAs are optional, but will make alignment better for higher lifts.
Some kits will come with a differential drop, but its only about an inch and some say it only changes ur angles by a degree or 2. it might reduce your vibes, YMMV.
Some kits come with a sway bar relocater that just slightly adjusts the position of the sway bar. Although some people just remove it altogether.
So theres a lot of freedom to what you want to do. The bare minimum are coils/springs (and shocks if you want) and thats basically it. I highly recommend staying away from spacers. Nobody likes them..
For the rear, you can use blocks, an add-a-leaf (aal) or a new leaf pack. No-no on the blocks..get an AAL at least, even better a new leaf pack. Its more expensive but can be a much smoother/nicer ride. New rear shocks are recommended with a rear lift though, so keep that in mind.
One recommendation since you seem like someone who would do some offroading is IVD or icon vehicle dynamics
. Check out this kit: http://www.wheelersoffroad.com/05upd...agesystems.htm
Its expensive tho..but good quality stuff. Also I hear king and fox make some good things as well. OME is highly recommended for a smaller budget.
3. Not many lift kits raise the front and back BOTH 3". You can get it however. Most kits will 'level' it out by raising the front more than the rear and the truck will sit level because it comes front down from factory. So if you get an AAL in the rear and ~3" up front, it will either level it or maybe slightly nose high. Front and rear lift kits are pretty independent.
Some choose to lift the front just a bit to level it out, some lift the rear by 1.5 or 2" and lift the front whatever. Normally the rear is 1.5-2" and the front you can have anywhere from 0-3". Its all your preference though.
TIRES: If you are looking for serious off roading, the largest you should go are 265s. They might have minimal rubbing fixed by minimal trimming, but thats if you are fully articulating your suspension. For most driving, 265s clear everything. However you can fit 285s and sometimes larger on a 3" lift. Ive seen some guys with 295s on 3" lift. With that size tire you will definitely have trimming and a cab chop. Im going with a 285 tire on a 3" lift and wont trim much at all. Im not a big off roader so Ill see the beaches, snow and minor camp trails and such so its not a problem for me. It sounds like you like gettin dirty so Id recommend 265s to prevent rubbing and the like.
Whew..that was a long one. hopefully it helped somewhat and you didnt fall asleep!