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So you want to lower your 04-08 F-150

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2011, 07:20 PM
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So you want to lower your 04-08 F-150

FOR 4X4 INFO CHECK SWAYZECRAZY'S POST ON PAGE 2

Well with next week being my last week at my current job I am not sure how much I may be able to be on the forums after next week, since I don’t go on much while at home. I have decided to do an extensive thread on what I know about lowering a 04-08 truck. Now must of the stuff will relate to a 09+ truck but not 100% with the key component being drop spindles, but I will get to that later.


First off how low do you want to go? You need to decide if you want to be lowered just to be leveled out with the stock front suspension, this is also the absolute cheapest option, or if you want to have a mild drop, or what some people consider a stupid low static drop.

For a simple level drop that doesn’t lower the front it is pretty basic, and any 2” drop shackle will fit as long as it is for a 04-08 truck. The 97-03 shackles will not fit. Also manufacturer doesn’t generally matter with a simple shackle, although some companies to put a zerk fitting on them to be greased.

Next is the mild drop category this will be off the shelf drop kits and can range from a couple hundred to over a thousand. Remember though all of these parts can be bought separately and also generally used parts are just as good, be leery of buying used strut/shocks though as they only last so long. Now for a mild drop you have a few options. You need to decide which kit is best for you (or which combination of parts), factors will include how low do you want to go, ride quality, and price. For the drop amount you basically have 2 options 2/4 or 3/5, both will put you level. Several companies make these two drop kits such as, DJM, Belltech, Eibach, Roush, Groundforce….and the list goes on.

Starting with the front
you have a few options that you will need to decide on. Keep in mind that someday you may want to go lower so be sure to review the stupid low category below. Please note the installation section for certain problems with installing any sort of front drop component.

There are the DJM drop control arms which I highly recommend, they do not change your ride quality since all they do is lower the strut mount. They come in 2 or 3” of drop, and cost $300-400, you may run across some DJM control arms that are labeled as 2.5” or 3.5” those are the older models, why they changed to 2” and 3” I am not sure but you should be able to find some used ones if you want that extra .5”.

Then you have the option of the Belltech drop struts which are a cheaper option at about $200 for the pair and are adjustable from 0-2” of drop. These will require you to remove the stock springs from your struts and put them onto these struts.

Then you have the option of a drop coil spring. I do not recommend a drop spring for a mild drop unless you want the firmer ride that comes with them. I would suggest Eibach if you want a spring, and will run you about $150 there are several other brands that make front drop coils that will lower you either 2 or 3”.

There is one more option for the front but it is the most expensive and I do not suggest for a mild drop. The belltech 2” drop spindles. They will retain your factory suspension geometry and only raise the spindle up to lower your truck. These can be had for as little as $400 shipped with some shopping around (PM if you can’t find it that low). The up side is that you will be 2” lower without changing your ball joint angles, this will come into play later on.

The rear you also have several options just like in the front. Again from all the same manufacturers. There is no drop hanger for the 04-08 f150’s. Please note the installation section for certain problems with installing any sort of rear drop component.

First off is the flip kit. This will not alter your ride any since it is just moving your axle to the top of the leaf springs instead of below. All flip kits will lower your truck 6” and if you are getting a 2/4 or 3/5 kit the flip kit will come with a lifting hanger to lift your truck 2” for a 4” rear drop or a 1” lifting shackle if you are aiming for a 5” rear drop. You have a few different brands to choose from but I highly suggest the DJM flip kit because you can adjust the pinion angle, they run about $150-250 depending on if it comes with a shackle or hanger.

The only other option is to get dropped leaf springs. Again I suggest Eibach if you are getting springs and they come in a 3” drop leaf they should run about $350-400. But there is also ground force which is a 4” drop leaf by its self. I do not suggest McGoughy's as they are very soft springs and are known to break easily. Drop leafs are usually coupled with a drop shackle to achieve the 4 or 5” drop.

That’s about it for what to use for a mild drop.

Now on to the really low static drops, first off its time to ditch those pesky inner fender liners! Your options are basically endless on any combination of the above parts. There are no kits for a 04-08 f150 lower than a 3/5 but I have heard of people running as much as 7/10 drops. I run a 4.5/8 drop and have minimal troubles, which in my mind are not troubles at all.

Front
The key to going past 3” in the front is the belltech spindle. You may remember that the spindle keeps all ball joint angles at stock specs, this is a must have if you combine drop components. If you use any other 2 components you will run into extreme ball joint angles and bump steer issues. Also I suggest that if you are aiming for more than 5” drop that you consider drop coils to help prevent bottoming out. For 4-4.5” drop I do highly suggest the DJM control arms in conjunction with the spindles. I suggest the Belltech struts only to achieve an additional half inch to inch if you are still not satisfied and you believe you have room with your tires.

As for the rear before you were limited to 5” with a mild drop. If you simply remove the lifting hanger or put the stock shackle back on in place of the lifting shackle that came with your flip kit you will be at 6” drop. To go lower you can get a drop shackle to go as much as 8” drop, there are rumors that you can fit a 3” shackle but I don’t have proof. Now this is where the advantages of the DJM flip kit come into play, if you go lower you can simply adjust the pinion angle where other brands you would need shims. If you already have Eibach leafs then you most likely have 2” drop shackles to drop you to 5”. To go to lower you will need to get creative with a flip kit and various lifting hangers or shackles or both, details are in the chart at the bottom. Now if you have a flip kit and you want to go lower than 8” you could also use a lift block, since the axle is now above the leafs they will actually lower your truck. And that is about it for what parts to use.

INSTALLATION NOTES
Starting with the front if you go lower than 3” you will need to cut about half an inch off your tie rods and thread the rod further using a M16x1.5 die to thread the tie rod.

With my 2.5 control arms and 2” spindles I did not have to elongate the alignment holes for the lower control arms but if using the 3 or 3.5” control arms you will most likely have to elongate them or if you are using a 3” drop coil or any combination of components that exceed 3” not counting the spindle.

The drop spindles do require a 20” or larger wheel

Depending on tire size and the amount of drop, basically if you have larger than stock tires or more than 3” drop I suggest removing the front inner fender liners. This can cause more dust and moisture intrusion into the engine bay, you can cut up the fender liner so that it still blocks the engine bay and re mount it, I do suggest not having it mount to the fender lip because when the tire hits the screws that hold it in it makes a terrible noise.

In the rear I suggest anyone with anything more than just a drop shackle to move the ABS wire so that if your differential hit the bottom of the bed it doesn’t get cut.

More than 5” drop I highly suggest a notch and more than 6” you definitely need one. There is no notch for these trucks and a 6” steel pipe cut in half is the preferred method. I suggest that if you plan to still tow that you add some bracing on top of the frame rail. I used a 2x3x.25 2 feet long piece of rectangular tubing on top of each rail.

Ground clearance, my truck at 4.5” drop in the front is 4” from the ground to the frame with 31” tall tires, plan accordingly if you regularly drive over speed bumps, I lightly hit 1 out of every 4.

Flaresides sit higher! By about half an inch, keep that in mind when planning your setup.

When lowered 6-7” be cautious of your driveshaft, you do not want it to be level, if it is put shims between the carrier bearing and the frame to lower the carrier. It is ok to have your drive shaft go up from the transmission or carrier bearing.

When removing leaf springs you either have to cut the front driverside bolt head off or drop the gas tank

CHEAT SHEET
Front:
Feel free to add a drop strut from Belltech if you want to get an extra .5-1” drop on any of what I list below

1”-Belltech struts

2”-DJM control arms (better)
2”- Coil springs from any manufacturer, some come as 3” with a spacer (good)
2”-Belltech spindles (Best)
2”-Belltech struts (2nd Best)

2.5”- DJM control arms
2.5”-Belltech struts

3”-DJM control arms (best)
3”- Coil springs from any manufacturer (good)
3”-Belltech struts

3.5”- DJM control arms
3.5”-Belltech struts

4” Belltech spindles and DJM control arms (best )
4” Belltech spindles and coils (if you want a firmer ride)(good)

4.5” Belltech spindles and DJM control arms

Not going to rate these because even though I usually suggest not doing coils, at this low a stiffer spring might be needed
5” Belltech spindles and DJM control arms
5” Belltech spindles and coils (if you want a firmer ride)

5.5” Belltech spindles and DJM control arms

If you want to go lower I highly suggest you have both the Belltech drop spindles and a drop coil, then add control arms or drop struts, also don’t forget that if you want a spring with only 1” drop you can do a 3” drop coil with a 2” spacer that people use to lift the front.

Rear:
1” Shackle

2” Shackle

3” Leafs (eibach 3”)

4” Flip kit and lifting hanger
4” Leafs (3”) and drop shackle (1”)
4” Leafs (ground force 4”)

5” Flip kit and lifting shackle
5” Leafs (3 or 4”) and drop shackle (1 or 2”)

Notch suggested for 6” drop
6” Flip kit
6” Leafs (4”) and drop shackle (2”)
6” Flip, Leafs (3”), Lifting hanger, and lifting shackle (I don’t recommend this)

Notch absolutely needed from here on
7” Flip kit and drop shackle (1”)
7” Flip, Leafs (3”), Lifting hanger
7” Flip, Leafs (4”), Lifting hanger, and lifting shackle (I don’t recommend this)

8” Flip kit and drop shackle (2”)
8” Flip, Leafs (3”), Lifting shackle
8” Flip, Leafs (4”), Lifting hanger

9” Flip kit, Drop shackle, 1” lift block
9” Flip and leafs (3”)
9” Flip, Leafs (4”), Lifting shackle

You get the idea from here on 10” drop would put you at about 2” of ground clearance with a stock size tire which Is not driveable so you’re on your own after 9”

As I said in the beginning I would mention the 09+ trucks. They for the most part have the same options for lowering. Not all of the components from 04-08 will fit a 09+ truck, but if not there is a counterpart that will fit. The big exception is the spindles, which as you know is a huge deal if you want to go low. My only thoughts on this is that you could put the 04-08 spindle on the 09+ but you would have to use the 04-08 brakes. I am not sure if this would work but if you were to call Belltech I am sure they can tell you.

One other thing you may have noticed I never mentioned was air bags. That is completely different since it should be a custom setup and not the Air Ride Technologies setup as they do not go very low, in fact my ride height is lower with springs then their ride height. The only thing I have to say is that I suggest the spindle again so that way you do not have to go as far down with the bags.


Well that about wraps it up, good luck. And of course if you still have questions PM me, I will still be on the forums just not as much as lately which allowed me to comment on more threads on this matter.
 

Last edited by azmidget91; 08-08-2014 at 11:44 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2011, 07:21 PM
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Reserved for any thing else I want to add

For those lowered below 3.5" and are not running a drop spindle, you most likely have bumpsteer. While browsing the Michigan Metal Works site I saw they have a bumpsteer kit for the 04-08 trucks. It will correct the bumpsteer and they claim it fixes toe issues, so I assume they are shorter than stock so you done have to trim the tie rods.

http://michiganmetalworks.com/store/...product_id=139
 

Last edited by azmidget91; 07-03-2014 at 12:43 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2011, 07:38 PM
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Nice writeup and good suggestions!
 
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:58 PM
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great post brother. Gonna help out a lot of guys who wanna go low!
 
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:56 PM
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If anyone needs more help regarding the Belltech parts please let me know.
 
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:19 PM
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hey there i need some help guys, has anybody tried the Doetsch lowering kits??? if so, how good are they??? what lowering kit would u guys recommend??? i've thought bellthech would be the best choice but im not sure how low i wanna go, 2/4 or 3/5????? which one would look better???
 
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:02 PM
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I have never heard of anyone using that kit. But it does sound pretty nice. 2/4 is really not very low in these trucks I would suggest the 3/5. I am kind of partial to DJM though, but that is your decision
 
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:19 PM
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thanks buddy..
 
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2012, 08:17 PM
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I need a part # for the cam washers for the 3.5 lowers to correct my alignment, I am currently sitting at -1* camber and the alignment guy couldn't get them zeroed out.

Thanks guys, also I see a small slot for them to sit in?
And would it be better to get upper or lower cam washers to fix this?
 
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:36 AM
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First of all the upper control arms have no adjustment for alignment.

Secondly you don't need any sort of cams. People often believe that the cam bolts will give you more adjustment, but they do not. All they do is make it easier for the mechanic to adjust the alignment.

And lastly to the actual problem. With the 3.5 arms you have to elongate the lower control arm mounting hole to allow more adjustment. Also most likely you will need to cut about 1/2" off the tie rods and thread them about an inch further with a M16x1.5 die.

Let me know if you need more clarification.
 
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:11 PM
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I got ya, I already chopped my tie rods when I installed my lowers, and I see what you're saying about making the slot wider for the control arm bolt. Im guessing I should file them out about 1/4" inch?

Thanks for the help man, I couldn't see any slots for cam washers on the uppers or anything for the lowers either, so I asked the pros!
 
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:48 AM
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What would I have to do for a 4wd(4x4) truck I hear they sit two Inches higher then 2wd trucks? If I want to look flush sitting on 24in rims with a mild drop?
 
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rancid019 View Post
What would I have to do for a 4wd(4x4) truck I hear they sit two Inches higher then 2wd trucks? If I want to look flush sitting on 24in rims with a mild drop?
Just remember that your truck is 1" higher than the front and 2" higher in the rear. So depending on how low you want to go just remember you need to go an extra inch in the back to be level so if you want a 2/4 drop you need to actually drop 2/5. Most likely you will need to remove the factory lifting block from the rear to install your drop. That will lower your truck 2" in the back. so then you would only need to go another 3" to match the 2" drop in the front. Of course that is assuming you keep the 4x4 struts. If you change to 2wd struts or get aftermarket 2wd struts then you will be the same as a 2wd truck.

So basically either switch to 2wd struts and shocks and just go off of the normal 2wd drops (2/4 3/5...) or just keep in mind that if you remove the rear block you will drop 2" (so be careful of flip kits since you will have to remove the block) but if you do a leaf spring and shackle drop just remember that you are 2" higher with the stock block.
 
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:52 PM
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Yeah I found out from one of my other posts about this that I can switch out my shocks and struts to 2wd which I am gonna do and instead of 24" rims gonna do 22" and look at doing a 2.5/5 drop Thanks all this info is much needed I know more info for lifting a truck but none for lowering.
 
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:02 AM
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Maybe someone here can tell me, soooo i bought a mcgaughys #70009 2/4.5 kit and the rear was a flip kit with lifting shackle. It lowered the rear of my truck 5.5 instead. Now it bottoms out and sits a inch lower then the front and kinda goofy looking. Anyway to raise it up an inch in rear? Its a 2008 xl crew cab 2wd
 
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