Major overhaul - new front and rear suspension and some other goodies - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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  #1  
Old 01-10-2013, 07:06 AM
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Major overhaul - new front and rear suspension and some other goodies

Well, I have been saving my money for a while and finally pulled the trigger on some different parts a couple of months ago. After getting everything together, the work started last weekend. The list of things that are going on the truck is as follows -

Firestone R4 Tech rear suspension
Icon 2.5" coil springs and Bilstein 5100s for the front suspension
BD Adjustable Track Bar
Viair on board air system (I have heard that the Firestone system that comes with the R4 kit is junk)
MBRP 4" Exhaust
B&W Turnover Ball hitch
NFab nerf bars
TGC dual steering stabilizers
Second set of air horns
Line X bedliner

So far, I've got the front/rear suspension done, along with the exhaust, on board air, and nerf bars installed. I'm hoping to wrap up the rest of it this coming weekend.

I had to pull the bed off to remove the old gooseneck hitch, which kind of spurred all of this into motion... I figured that it would be easier to do the bulk of this work without the bed, and I got a little trigger happy and ordered it all at once. Getting the bed off was pretty easy, except for one stubborn bolt that had to be cut. While the bed is off, I plan on doing the harpoon mod to the fuel tank.

Anyhow, on to the pictures -

Bed removed (you can see the stock exhaust, old hitch, and my old helper air bags) -







I missed a few pictures, but I pressure washed the frame and sprayed it with rubberized undercoating. I removed all of the old accessories as well. Here, you can see the stock springs gone, and the R4 springs and brackets in place.





The brackets are well designed and fit really well. The instructions on how to install them, however, left a LOT to be desired.



Springs bolted down, J Spring in place, air bags and height control valve installed -





Passenger side airbag and shock -



Air lines run and hooked up -







Viair compressor -



System complete!



I don't have a picture yet, but I have a gauge in the cab that shows tank pressure, and the pressure in the driver's side air bag (I figured that both bags would have roughly the same pressure, so no reason to see both). I mainly want to see how the pressure changes with different loads, which is why I put a gauge on the bag.

On to the front -

Icon springs and shocks installed -







Overall pictures (you can see the MBRP exhaust and nerf bars) -







I can't wait to get the bed back on and see how it all looks. The rear is sitting 2" higher than it was stock (sits as high as a stock F350 now) and the front is 2.5" higher.

I still have quite a bit to do... there is a small leak on the tank side that I have to track down and I am going to clean up all of the wiring that I have installed (wrapping it in wire loom). The hitch has to be installed, but I can't tighten that all down yet because I have to line it up with the hole in the bed. Harpoon mod still has to be done, as well as the alignment cams and adjustable track bar. Hopefully I can knock that all out this weekend. I haven't even taken it for a test drive yet because I ran out of time, and it's been raining the last two days.

I'll take some more pictures and post up when I make more progress. Tires will be coming in the next couple of months to complete the package!
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:56 PM
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Saturday update...

I finished cleaning up some of the wiring yesterday and also installed the on board air quick connect. Which is mounted right behind the bumper. I need to find some kind of cover for it to keep it as clean as possible.





Here is the gauge that I have in the cab to keep an eye on things -



The black needle is tank pressure, and the orange is the driver's side bag, which should be pretty close to the same as the passenger side bag.

Next, I did the harpoon mod. It was pretty easy with the bed off; I actually bought the Ford tool to remove the large nut on the tank off eBay for $12. Worth every penny. I went and filled up after that to make sure that there were no leaks. Filled it up almost to the top (pump stopped at $99), but it was full enough to slosh around and check for leaks and none were found.

Then I got to work installing the B&W. I just installed everything hand tight because I needed it to be able to move slightly to line up with the hole that I cut in the bed.







After tidying up a bit more, and cutting the hole in the bed, it was time to put the bed back on.





I got the bed tightened down and the lights hooked back up, and then it got dark (and cold!!). I'm hoping tomorrow to get the hitch torqued down and then the rear suspension dialed in (it needs to be lowered a bit). Then I can finally do some road testing and see how it rides. If all goes well, I'll have enough time to install the track bar and alignment cams back in as well, and then I'll be all done!
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:46 AM
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Got the hitch torqued down, and all of the rear end buttoned up. I lowered the suspension a bit and have it where I want (I think). I ran some errands in it on Sunday and it drove really well. You can still tell that it's a big truck, but a lot of the harshness is gone. You really feel the bumps in the front end more now than before. I'm really looking forward to putting a load on it and seeing how she handles.

I didn't get around to installing the track bar or alignment cams; I realized that I don't have tools near big enough for the track bar. I may have to farm that out and just have it done.

Here are a couple of pictures of how she sits now -





Hopefully the new tires will be coming in the next two months or so.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:29 PM
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Update -

I had to pull the bed off again this weekend because my fuel tank was leaking a bit from an improper seal when I did the harpoon mod last month. While the bed was off, I figured it would be a good time to keep tinkering with the suspension, so I added in some accumulator tanks to help soften the spring rate on the air bags. I used 1/2ga tanks because I wasn't sure if anything bigger would fit. Now I wish I'd have gone with 1ga, and may switch them out in the future. I mounted them up to a cross member and then ran 1/2" line between them and the bags (distance was ~12").





This pretty much finalizes the rear suspension. After putting the truck all back together and going for a test drive, I am very pleased with the results. I hooked my travel trailer up to it to see how it would handle the weight (~1300lbs tongue weight) and the system leveled itself right out after hooking up. I didn't tow it anywhere, but will hopefully do that in the next couple of weeks.

Next I moved on to the front end. I removed the old track bar and put a new adjustable BD track bar in its place.



I was not able to get the original alignment cams out. I was working at the passenger side one for a while and ended up breaking part of the ear off and decided to quit while there was still some hope of salvaging it. I will be getting an alignment before I get my new tires, so hopefully the alignment shop can get the old cam out without too much trouble.

To finish it all up, I installed a second set of air horns, along with a second 3ga tank (for a total of 6ga air capacity).

Driver side -



Passenger side -



Other than a few small odds and ends, this pretty much wraps up the project. Overall, I'm pleased with the suspension and the fit and finish of all the parts that I used. Most of the work went smoothly without too many bumps in the road, which is always nice. Hopefully I can get the bed cleaned up in the next few weeks and get the new LineX bedliner put in. The tires will come next and will completely finish this up!
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:46 PM
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Getting close to finishing up... I finally got around to having the LineX put in. I am very pleased with how it turned out. Now there are a few odds and ends, and then it is time for tires. The current tires still have a decent amount of tread on them, so I'm going to try and wait, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to.

Anyhow, on to the pics!









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Old 03-21-2013, 08:14 AM
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Great progress man! I really like everything you've done to it! What year did you graduate from A&M?
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:49 AM
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Thanks! I graduated back in 2003.

As far as the truck goes, I think the alignment cams and the tires are the only things left that I need to do. Since my old running boards had lights in them, and the new ones don't, I found some cheap LEDs and wired them into the original wiring so that they come on when I unlock the truck. It's a nice feature that lights up the ground and makes it easier to see everything when it is dark outside. This past weekend I also pressure washed the front frame/suspension, and put some black paint on everything. The truck really looks new now almost everywhere.

Last edited by TexasA&M; 03-28-2013 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:15 PM
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Finally got the alignment cams installed, as well as the steering stabilizer. The tires are on and the project is complete!

Tires delivered to my door!



New vs old (old still mounted to rim in this picture) -



Steering stabilizer (I realized after the fact that I installed it slightly wrong; the cylinders should go under the middle mount, not above, but I kind of like the way this looks, and it doesn't bind, so it shouldn't hurt anything to leave it) -



Washed, waxed, and ready to roll!









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