Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Florida Keys
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Improved Ride Quality
Looking for advice/recommendations for improving the ride on my Ford Excursion. Just bought a 2002 Excursion Limited 7.3L 4WD with 120k miles that is lifted/blocked up about 6". Rides like crap – very stiff with a bit of sway on highway even when not towing. Sits way too high - hard to get in/out - especially difficult for wife. Sags terribly towing 32' TT but surprisingly the sway is not too bad.
Even though it rides like crap I love the vehicle and want to invest a few bucks to set it up right for my needs. However, I do not want to over-invest/over-upgrade a 17+ year old vehicle. I bought it knowing I’d want to lower it to 2" to 4" above stock and replace the shocks, linkages, ball joints and upgrading from 34" to 35" AT tires for off-road and looks.
Plans for the Excursion are to use it as our family camping, fishing, hunting and towing (boat and TT) vehicle. Planning cross-country tent camping and fishing trip in 2020. No plans to tow 32' TT cross-country but I do tow TT up to 2000 miles roundtrip from Florida to the Appalachian Mountains. Don't plan to tow boat over a few hundred miles. I off-road for tent camping (without TT), fishing and hunting trips with lots of rocky, unpaved, single lane roads with occasion snow, ice, mud and hard bottom stream crossings. I will not be rock crawling, racing, jumping or mudding.
For me, an improved ride (softer and more stable) on highway and in city is more important than towing performance because I’m towing less than 10% of the time.
I want the following:
- Ride – much improved (softer and more stable) on highway and in city
- Towing – level with no sag when vehicle is packed with family and gear
- Off-roading – level, stable, not too stiff ride with clearance when vehicle is packed with family and gear
- Automatic – auto leveling with remote
- Quality – durable components made in USA
I’ve done research online and talked to a few off-road shops and everything seems to be leading me to an air suspension (helper?) system with upgraded shocks. I know ASBs and WDS will improve sway and sag when towing but neither will improve ride quality when not towing.
What’s been recommend are either a Kelderman system ($8000) or an Air Lift Load Lifter 5000 ($2900) system. From what I understand the Kelderman system is pretty much a complete replacement of the vehicle’s leaf suspension while Air Lift is more of a “helper” system that bolts onto the existing leaf suspension. Firestone has a system too that’s pretty much the same quality and price as Air Lift. I’m leaning Air Lift because it seems like Kelderman might be more of a commercial vehicle system and is overkill for what I intend to use the vehicle.
Front: Kelderman 1999-2004 FORD SUPER DUTY/EXCURSION 4X4 2-STAGE FRONT AIR SUSPENSION LEVELING KIT
Rear: Kelderman 1999-2005 FORD EXCURSION 2-STAGE REAR AIR SUSPENSION
Controller: Kelderman MECHANICAL SELF-LEVELING AIR CONTROL SYSTEM (2-STAGE SUSPENSION)
Front: Air Lift-88154-loadlifter-5000-ultimate-air-spring-kit
Rear: Air Lift-88340-loadlifter-5000-ultimate-air-spring-kit
Compressor control system: Air Lift-wireless air-leveling-compressor-control-system
My questions for the Forum:
• What are your experiences and thoughts on air suspension systems given my needs?
• Will the ride quality improve with an air bag system? I know it levels.
• Do I need both a front and rear air system for a quality ride?
• What’s your experiences and thoughts on Kelderman vs Air Lift systems?
• Is Kelderman and $8000 overkill for what I want to do?
• Is my thinking off-base or is there anything I’m not thinking of?
• Any Ford Excursion specific advice is welcome
Thanks in advance.
2002 Ford Excursion Limited 7.3L 4WD
Towing: 32ft Boat or 32' Travel Trailer