Long Story-2" to 3" Lift, Lots of thoughts and questions.... - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 08-06-2013, 11:16 AM
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Long Story-2" to 3" Lift, Lots of thoughts and questions....

Hey guys,

I have reached the point where it is time to replace my OEM Rancho shocks. I also have decided that I would like to get rid of the "raked lowrider" look on my stock suspension 2003 6.0 CCLB. Since I want to get Bilstein 5100's I want to make my suspension changes at the same time to avoid spending money twice on shocks.

I'm hoping my questions and research can help some of the common questions that members come up with when deciding to lift a truck. I've done lengthy searches on X-codes, mini spring packs, add-a-leafs, hangers/shackles, and leveling spring packs. My impressions from searching are as follows:

No matter the route taken, I know I will need an adjustable track bar.

- Add-a-leafs - Initial lift is good but sag over time and tend to distort factory springs, also found reports of hardware wearing into the factory springs causing damage that required replacement.

- Leveling spring packs - Mixed reviews here, some like 'em, some hate 'em, some sag, some don't, some ride rough, some don't. Seems like a gamble what you experience if going this route.

- Mini spring packs - The only ones to consider are made of spring steel such as those made by ICON or Deaver. Non spring steel packs gouge the main leafs and the mini pack leaves tend to crack.

- X-codes - I would only buy these new (Dealer quoted $375+tax per pair) some users mention a lift of 2" but research seems to show they settle down to 1.25"-1.5" For the money however, they have the best ride for the lift they provide.

- Hangers and Shackles - Reuse the factory springs for the smoothest ride and provide the exact lift they advertise i.e. 2.5", 3". Prices range from $310 (2.5" lift, Rough Country Suspension, crash bar included) to $824 (3" ICON, total cost of crash bar kit and shackle/hanger kit)

I want to lift my truck 2-3" front AND 1.5-2.5" rear in order to maintain the factory rake. I need the rake because I tow a 14,000 lbs. gooseneck trailer and when it is hitched to my truck I still have 1/2" or so rake downward to the front of the truck. To achieve my goal, I will need either a 5" (for 2" front lift) or 6" (for 2.5" or 3" front lift) rear axle lift block to replace my factory 3-5/8" rear block.

As of now I do not plan on changing out my 265/75/16 Goodyear Duratracs, however, if I do upsize when it's time for new tires, I would go to 285/75/16 so that I could keep my stock rims and stay close to recommended rim widths. Also I need to stay close to stock tire height to minimize my gear ratio change from taller tires since I tow heavy.

I intend to use hangers and shackles on the front to maintain the factory ride and gain some suspension travel.

SO! Here are my questions regarding this lift plan:

- At what height lift, front and rear, do I need to install longer swaybar end links to maintain proper swaybar geometry and travel?

- At what lift height will the rear driveshaft carrier bearing need to be spaced down to minimize vibrations? Is my planned 1.5"-2.5" increase in rear lift (that's the difference in height overall from the factory block being removed) going to require spacing the carrier bearing?

- Will this change in rear axle block height cause more/severe axle wrap while towing my trailer? Will I need traction bars to minimize axle wrap while towing? I don't hot rod the truck when towing heavy and I don't have any tunes on the truck so I'm running stock power levels empty or loaded.

- For the towing weight I'm working with, is there a better type of rear lift block to use? One Up Offroad sells blocks that have top and bottom plates for the U bolts to pass through effectively keeping the bolts and blocks from spreading or walking? Is this helpful or necessary?

- Why is there such a price difference between the ICON and Rough Country hanger kits? ICON's 3" kit is made in the USA, what about Rough Country's 2.5" kit? Does ICON's hanger not need the crash bar because it's made better?

WOW, this turned into a long post, sorry 'bout that. I've never lifted a truck before so please go easy on me, I just want to do this right the first time and not turn the truck into a death trap or a rolling set of problems.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, comments or suggestions.

Last edited by ponyexpress94; 08-06-2013 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:06 PM
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285s on a stock wheel is too much tirea nd not enough wheel, they will wear out in the center if you run them over about 40 psi. Run them up to 50 psi and the outer edges of the tread will never see the pavement. My 285s wore in the centers on 8 inch wheels, I threw them on a set of tens and they got a full footprint on the ground.

Before I went with a full on lift, I had an add-a-leaf, nothing else. The truck didn't dog walk or bump steer. On a leaf spring truck, I wouldn't sweat the track bar with only a 2" lift. Remember, a track bar travels in an arch, the leafs up and down, a longer track bar (adjustable for lack of a better term) will increas that arch during articulation.

A lift in the front matched by a lift in the rear will maintain the raked look that you are wanting to get away from. I would look into a full on 4" lift kit. Measure your block and the block that will be included, then throw them both on the shelf and buy a block equal to their combined hieght. For the price, this is a really good set up, I wish I would have gone this route. PMF Single Traction Bar Kit

As far as shocks go, the nitrogen shocks that come with most lifts are stiff as hell. Either an RS9000 adjustable of a Bilstiein should do the job and not be so stiff.

My 2003 didn't have a crash bar, I have no idea what their purpose in life is supposed to be, but mine doesn't have one. Yes, hangers will maintain the factory ride. At 4", you can simply swap the sway bar mount to the bottom side of the frame and re-use the OEM links. But you will need a track bar drop bracket and a dropped pitman arm.

If it's the rake that you're concerend about, pull the rear blocks, a friend of mine did and it looks, hauls fine.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:06 PM
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I'm not trying to get rid of the rake, just eliminate the lowrider look in the front. I want to have more gap between the front wheels and the wheel well. The only way to do that is to go higher. Since I need the rake, I have to lift the rear as well.

Simply getting rid of the rear block wont allow the squat I need in the rear when towing heavy.

A 4" lift is getting too high for the clearance I need to crest hills when pulling the GN trailer. Too high a lift will not allow me to keep the trailer level when loaded - I will have to keep the neck high to avoid smashing my tailgate cresting hills and then the tail of the trailer will drag through low areas because the neck is up.

The blocks I want are in fact one tall block and not an additional one that is to be stacked on top of the factory block.

Good advice on the tires. That was something I was wondering. I will factor that into my decision if I choose to go to the 285's later.

I didn't realize that there were sway bar mount kits that reused the factory links and just attached them to the bottom of the frame. Most of the parts lists and installation instructions lack good pictures of all the components of the kit discussed.

Thanks for the link to the PMF Traction bars, I really like those if the need arises.

Last edited by ponyexpress94; 08-06-2013 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:42 PM
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It's not a kit to relocate your sway bar mount, it's more unbolt and install under the frame.

Unless the truck squats within 3 inches of contacting the tire or suspension, I don't see where the block would help with the squat. My friend without blocks uses a GW with TWO full size half ton mud trucks on it, no issues of any kind. He's using a 2000 F250, also.

I had a 2" add-a-leaf with 28s, it was about as tall as I would ever go with 285s. Any thing more would look a little dorky on 285s. I wouldn't use another Rough Country front add-a-leaf on a bet, bad fit and wear issues, that's why I went with a Pro Comp front/rear spring lift.

Keep in mind, F350s have a pretty tall block, therefore, the 2nd block for a 4" lift may not be that tall. Have you asked any lift mfr's how tall their F350 block is for a 4" lift? How tall of a single block were you looking for?

Given your trailer restrictions/concerns, I'd get a set of x-springs and be done with it. Well, I'd do some new shocks, too, just because I was in there.
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