"Before" and "After" Observations: Excursion Suspension and Other Modifications
I would like to sincerely thank all who have done the years of hard work, be it thoughtful engineering or simply trial and error, and have found quality solutions to the inadequacies that Ford overlooked in the Excursion, and then have taken the time to post their results and insights in this and other forums. It simply makes what I do a "cut and paste" afternoon of wrench turning in the driveway.
On March 8, 2011, I purchased a 2001 7.3l diesel Ford Excursion. The truck had 55,000 original miles. This vehicle will not be a daily driver; I have a 1986 Volkswagen for that. My desire is to have this truck spend its life pulling my 8500# travel trailer. With any luck, my grandchildren will be driving this truck. I have pulled the trailer for the past seven years with a 2001 K2500 Chevrolet crew cab Duramax/Allison.
OK, so here are the results of my spring swap and other modifications.
1. Front axle: installed “X” code springs
- front right gained 3”
- front left gained 2 1/4”
- front bump stop clearance was increased from 1/4" to 2 1/2" (not so accurately measured with the fingers on my right hand)
2. Rear axle: installed “B” code springs + the two short leaves from the original pack + two “shims” that are each of equal thickness of one leaf (the “shims” were necessary to accommodate the LandYot Radius Rods. Without the “shims”, the rods were close to fouling on the “B” code’s’ bottom overload spring). I kept the stock Excursion 2" block.
- right rear gained 3 7/16”
- left rear gained 4 1/8”
3. Installed Hellwig rear antisway bar, which, after installing the modified “B” code rear springs, required fabricated longer front links to avoid fouling on the rear differential.
4. Installed LandYot radius rods. No more wandering, at all. None. Zip. Nada.
5. Shocks: Installed F-250 Bilstiens up front. Installed Excursion Bilsteins in the rear, (I probably should have used F-250 shocks in the rear, but I had the Excursion rear shocks prior to the spring swap).
6. Replaced the front bump stops, (original front left had rusted off), with the 2003 model bump stop.
7. In addition to the suspension mods, I also installed a 6.0l transmission cooler, TYMAR air intake, PHP FU performance chip, and the Edge Insight, with EGT probe. I also replaced the front locking hubs, as well as the rear brake calipers, brake hoses and left rear brake line, (the right rear brake was sticking).
Impressions of “before” and “after”:
- Having driven a 2001 Duramax/Allison crew cab for the past seven years, I first noticed the Excursion’s lack of acceleration, but then again, it weighs 7500#. It will get out of its own way, but did not scoot like the Duramax.
- The Excursion was aligned properly, but while cruising the interstate, the truck would wander left, then left again, then back to the right. I found myself trying to guess which direction it was going to shift next.
- When traversing bumps, railroad tracks, and pot holes, or simply cornering, the truck would handle akin to walking on a water bed. That is, when the front bump stops were not banging off the axle so hard it made me cringe.
- Just installing the Hellwig antisway bar and the rear Bilstein shocks made the truck ride like a Cadillac on the interstate. Nearly all the wandering was corrected, and the waterbed feel was all but gone. However, the front bump stops would still bang hard on the axle when encountering a rough rail road crossing.
- With the addition of the new springs and front Bilsteins, the Excursion now rides like a truck; no more Cadillac ride. What was lost in smoothness was more than made up for by response to rough road conditions. Now when I drive over rough pavement or a rail road track, the Excursion hardly bounces at all. And when I drop my 8500# travel trailer on the bumper, that Cadillac ride is nearly realized once again.
- The PHP performance chip simply rounds out the package. The Excursion is now a pleasure to drive with or without the trailer. The chip has “woken up” the 7.3l.
I’m still running the stock size 265/75 R16 tires. They look a little small now that the body is sitting higher, but they will have to do the job for the foreseeable future, as my bank account will see little in the way of truck money for some time to come. My wife will see to that. However, I think I see a “towmaster transmission” in my future. I can buy one of those for what it cost me to replace the fuel injectors alone in my Duramax.
The Ford Excursion, with its 50’ turning radius and cavernous fuel tank, will probably never be Consumer Reports truck of the year However, the addition of an antisway bar and good shocks provides for a fatigue free driving experience. And, with a few additional modifications, it can be the towing beast with power and room to spare for years to come. I am really loving this truck.
Last edited by the ponz; 06-07-2011 at 10:03 AM.