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Old 01-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lowering an F150 FX4

Hi all,

One of the things that works against my F150 is that it's an FX4 model, with a factory lift.

What are my options for removing the factory lift and lowering the truck to a more sane level, aerodynamically speaking?

I use the 4WD for towing an RV on grass sometimes, but I do not off-road in the full sense of the word, so I could even lower this more than the standard truck if that was possible.

I'm only interested in safe options, which means I won't be cutting any springs.

Also, I'd like to keep the 4WD, because I have this idea in the back of my head of using supplemental electric drive on the front wheels, as has been shown elsewhere...

What are my options?

(I know this is a basic question. I've read F150 forums and not seen a clear answer, since everyone's usually going the other way )

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The rear is going to be easier than the front.

REAR
Check to see if it has lift blocks under the leaf spring. There's going to be a 1 or 2'' piece of steel (a block) between the leaf spring and the perch. Pull that out if it has one.

Or, aftermarket catalogs sell lowering shackles for these trucks. Unlike Jeeps and other lightweight leafsprung SUVs, adding a longer shackle to the spring will lower it. This way, you could retain your towing springs but lower the back.

Get a leaf pack with less arch in it .

Front:
Try to find smaller springs. Are the control arms any different on an FX4 than a regular or a 2wd model? If not, you should just be able to stick a smaller spring in and re-align it.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll post photos tomorrow, and then someone in the know will be able to shed light on the front end.

At the rear, the spring bolts through brackets at each end that are welded to the frame. One has a small pivot to allow the spring lengthening as it straightens.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The part that allows the spring to expand is the shackle. It is attached to the spring and pivots from a frame mount. A longer one should lower the truck.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Here are the photos I promised

The first two are the front passenger side suspension from front and behind. I suspect a new strut/spring that was 2-3" shorter would work. The driveshaft currently hits the wheel 1 1/4" lower than it leaves the transfer case, so a 2 1/2" lift would just be the same angle reversed.

The third photo shows the back suspension spring and shackle - a longer shackle would give a drop and there's 2" of room above it.

The fourth photo shows there's a metal spacer block giving 2" of lift. I can remove this block and snug the nuts up. I noted the thread stops just short of where the bolts would be, so I would need to tighten four more nuts onto the back of these nuts so there was good thread supporting it. That's more secure than using a bunch of washers on each one.

So, I see a clear free way to get a 2" drop at the back, and a 4" drop if I replace the shackles. I also noted while back there that the dampers were original and need to be replaced. I assume this is true at the front also, so that is my excuse to get new dampers/springs at no additional cost.

It's not an immediate project, but when I do it, I will remember to re-align my headlights, since the truck will be lowered more at the back.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi,
The rear's first option presents itself: you can clearly see the raising block that rides between the leaf spring and the axle. Take that thing out and you're down a couple of inches really quick.

If you want to get pretty crazy, you can turn the U-bolts over and mount the axle ABOVE the leaf spring, but there are certain hazards associated with that, not least of which is the ugly bonking sound when the spring compresses and the axle knocks into the frame rails.

As to the front, there are many many vendors selling assorted options for lowering truck front ends, including Fords...but I have no idea how many of those are for the 4x4 models. You may be able to find some shorter spring/shock combinations that will lower things and serve well enough.

Be aware that as you go lower, you're altering driveline and steering linkage angles. Usually truckers run into problems along these lines as they try to gain more height, and considering you're probably not trying for huge changes you're not apt to run into any serious problems and I think in most cases you'll actually be straightening things out (which is good for MPG), but it's something to keep in mind.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That is great info. Thank you.

I will remove the spacer block as a free way to level the truck a little.

The rest will have to wait a few weeks until I get the replacement suspension parts.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Had no idea these trucks used struts in the front! Thats news to me
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i'd see if they put a puck, on top of the springs infront(because the back blocks look like 2 inchers).

actually it looks like the strut is what changes the height.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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This truck does not use a strut.
The front suspension is SLA. Note the upper control arm and upper ball joint left of the spring in the first image, and clear shot of the upper control arm to the right in the second. The spring and shock are in a more compact coil-over assembly, but the damper is not used as a suspension link. But I have heard any coilover type suspension referred to as a 'strut' this is incorrect.

I do not know where the added height of the 4wd front may be from. On Monday I could take some measurements of a '06 XLT 2wd for comparison if you would be interested plasticuser. The added height maybe from the wheel centerline on the upright, and not the spring. Sort of like a drop spindle, only the 'spindle' is closer to the lower balljoint.

As for the rear, I would leave the block/U bolts in place. Ford and the aftermarket already sells drop shackles for these trucks and would be much easier to replace than dealing with the weight of the live axle. There are several components bolted to the housing, mostly brake hosing, but I would not chance that hosing moving about.
Fords rear shackle is M-3000-G will lower a 4wd rear 1.5" and is ~$100 US, I have been looking at it(lowers 2wd 2") to make loading/unloading a bit easier.

Ford maximized the room for the box height in the back. Flipping the rear axle is out of the question unless you want a serious slam(c-notch) which would also require cutting holes in the bed for axle clearance.

A quick google brought up a couple of links Summit Racing shows two 4wd kits,
McGaughy's Suspension Parts - 70010(2"/4") - $365.95
Ground Force Suspension - 9966(2"/3.5") - $569.95

I have no connection or experience with either company, just letting you know what is available/price range.

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