I figured I'd start this thread because it seems like every week at least one thread pop's up about those dang torsion key's. So feel free to add info here and I'll add up to the top so everyone can find it easily.
Torsion Front (97-03/04 Heritage 4x4)
Don't get aftermarket key's. They put you way out of factory spec and eat up ball joints like there's no tomorrow. Instead either crank your factory key's (free plus alignment) or get a full suspension lift.
Coil Front (97-03/04 Heritage 2x4)
Don't go over 2" with a leveling kit or lift coil's without getting aftermarket control arms. Again way out of factory spec and you'll never be able to get it aligned correctly.
Don't get the coil spacer's that are meant to wind in-between the coil's so they can't compress to provide lift. Not only will your ride be horrible but next time the suspension droops chance's are they will fall out. Instead go with either lift coils or the spacer that goes above or below the coil.
Leaf front (If you have to ask you don't have it)
Don't put block's under leaf's in the front. It will mess up steering and create's a stress point for them to crack. Instead your options are full lift leafs, lift hangers, or mini-leaf packs.
Coil-over Front 04-11
Don't go over a 2.5" level unless you really like replacing balljoints.
Leaf rear (All Years)
If at all possible don't stack blocks. Either get a single block the right height, an add-a-leaf, lift shackles, or lift leafs.
Body Lifts (All Years)
Now this is more of a gray area along with personal preference. Don't get a body lift if you plan to excessively beat on the truck or if the truck show's signs of rust on the cab or bed near the mounts. It will eventually crack and the body lift will push threw because it's creating a stress point there.
If you can't do the install yourself you might as well go suspension, install will run you anywhere from about 500-800.
If your dead set on a body lift go with a 3". Most 1" and 2" body lifts don't come with the bumper relocation bracket's and therefore will require either custom fab to line them up or leaving them dropped down with a gap.
Towing (All Years)
Once lifted with bigger tires don't forget to regear if you planning on hauling or towing a lot of weight, your transmission will thank you. Also just because add-a-leafs increase weight capacity it still doesn't mean you should exceed what your truck is rated for. Also generally most custom lift leaf packs will decrease capacity.
Gears (All Years)
Don't forget to regear your axle when you jump up tire sizes. While it might not be needed right away it's a good idea to plan for it in the future. You'll be able to get power and some gas mileage back as well as relieve stress from the transmission. This is almost a must if your still planning to haul a lot of weight with the truck.
A general rule of thumb for gear's goes:
33" tire: 4.11 gears
35" tire: 4.56 gears
37+ tire: 4.88 gears or lower if you can find some that fit depending on how big you go
Airbags (All Years)
Don't run the line's near anything that will get hot (exhaust), anything sharp, or anything that will move in the suspension travel and can pinch it. Having a bag blow or deflate is gonna be a bad day.
Don't Know What Size Tire You'll Be Able To Fit? Read Here
Stock: 31-33" tire depending on width and wheel choice
Torsion Bar Crank: 35x12.50s"
6" Lift: 35-37's depending on width and wheel choice
9" (Suspension plus body lift): 37-38x13.50's sometimes wider again wheel choice
Anything bigger than that and your looking at a custom lift, and you'll need to definitely upgrade brakes and other suspension components.
Stock: 31" tire max
1.5-3.5" (Level, Body Lift, Spindle): 33x12.50" on a wheel no wider than 9" with about 4.5" of backspacing
6.5-7.5" (Suspension, or a combo of above): 35x12.50" Again same wheel rules as above
10-11"+ (Combo of above): 37-38" Depending on wheel and tire width
Anything bigger than that I would not recommend on the Ford 8.8 rear end.
The smallest wheel you can run on the 97-03's is a 16" wheel with the very rare exception of the earliest of the early 97's which can clear 15" wheel's due to a smaller brake. However there is not many truck's that can in this year range and it's even rarer to find a 15" wheel in the 5x135 bolt pattern.
Don't know how to lift the rear? Read here:
Your options for lifting the rear basically consist of lift shackles, blocks, add-a-leafs, or custom leaf packs. What you decide to go with depends on the money your willing to spend and how you want the ride to be. By far the best ride quality will most likely come from a custom leaf pack (Deaver, National, Atlas, Alcan, etc.) however this will run you anywhere from 500-1000 generally depending on your truck and how much lift you desire.
The next best ride quality would either be shackles or add-a-leafs. Shackles will net you around 1.5"-2" of lift and generally run in the 100-200 dollar range, but are a very easy install. Add-a-leafs (AALs) are known to firm up the ride some if you think your rear end is too bouncy and will also add weight capacity but remember don't exceed what your truck is rated for. These will net you again around 1.5"-2" of lift, however the install is not for the faint of heart. It involves taking apart your current leaf pack to put in the aal and can be very dangerous if not done properly or carefully. AAL's come in two sizes: a short and long leaf, the general consensus is that the long leafs ride much better than the short leafs, however they also cost more.
At the bottom would be blocks, this is by far the cheapest and easiest way to go but also sacrifice ride. Remember don't stack blocks if at all possible, and you will need a set of longer u-bolt's when you install these too.
Thinking about converting to 4x4? Read this
Converting to 4x4 isn't a simple or very cost effective swap, expect to spend about 3k in parts and probably double that in labor if you can't do it yourself. And that's with using junkyard parts, otherwise the sky is the limit price wise. Unless your seriously attached to the truck or your going full show or mud truck and don't care about your base vehicle its more cost effective to just buy another truck to play around in thats 4x4.
The only real options are to do a solid axle swap and then either do a leaf front suspension or a 4-link suspension up front, with leaf being the cheaper route and the linked being the better riding one. If your trying to convert from ifs (independent front suspension) to an ifs 4wd suspension, I'd just forget about that idea. The only real feasible way to do this is to literally just do a body swap if you wanna keep your original truck body. Because of the way are frames are designed and the ifs suspension is you almost really need to swap everything from the frame and below.
However if your dead set on doing this here's a short/incomplete list of things you'll need:
Front Axle (might as well do the rear too so you can match lug patterns)
Wheels (axles will change your lug pattern)
Transfer case crossmember
Leafs or a Link setup
And a lot of custom fabbing
Leveling: Daystar, Springtech, Rough Country, etc.
Lifts: Fabtech, Rough Country, Springtech, Doestch, Pro Comp, etc.
Body Lifts: Performance Accessories (PA)
Lift Leafs: National, Deaver, Alcan
Some Brands to Stay Away From
Unless your building a pure show truck and really don't plan to use it I'd try to steer clear of Full Throttle Suspension and Bullet Proof Customs. Horrible looking drop down crossmembers and they allow you to run a tire size way to big without upgrading anything around it.
After installing any lift, besides spindles you should get an alignment afterwards.
Well, that's all I have for now. But I'm not too familiar with coil-over front suspension unless its long travel so I decided to leave that out until I can collect more info on it or until someone post's up some info for me to add.
Last edited by pizzaman711; 01-31-2012 at 01:08 PM.
Reason: add info
suggestion: put it in your sig, it won't get stickied (we tried with mine) and the same questions will still pop up because people are too lazy to search.
looks good, one more thing though, specify 2wd, 4wd, year, etc. alot of people are either clueless or pretty helpless so if you make it simple hopefully they won't post asking. it's very frustrating after you've handed it to them on a silver platter and they still ask the question thats in front of them
i believe the towing part is wrong. as long as the tires that you bought have the same rating you can tow the same amount. blocks do nothing to decrease the leaf springs weight handling ability.
aftermarket leaf springs however, are usually softer and decrease your towing capacity.
Thanks for the input I'll go back and edit that along with add the info for the 04-08. See what I was thinking was with the blocks there and a large amount of weight it would possibly cause axle wrap faster than it would on a truck with no blocks. Also I was thinking that since majority of people forget to regear it would cause even more stress on the transmission with larger tires and the same amount of weight they might be used to normally hauling.
Cool, it'd be awesome if they can sticky it. If not hopefully we'll be able to at least keep it on the first page for a while. I went back and added some tire size info for the 97-03's too. Hopefully I can get wandell to read over it and make sure it all checks out haha.
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