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Resurrection: Part II

Posted in How To on September 12, 2006
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Last month, we saw what a difference a fresh coat of paint, some new bumpers, and a reworked bed and tailgate did for our project F-350. This month, we are focused on the Full-Traction Suspension four-link conversion system which replaces the factory front leaf-spring suspension with a coilover system similar to the '05-and-newer Super Dutys. We were fortunate enough to be one of the first to receive this incredible kit. In addition to the new suspension system, a new set of Weld racing wheels and matching Toyo tires were also installed on our resurrected rig. Last, but not least, we also had American Outfitters install its custom, spring-loaded, front stainless steel brake lines and spring-loaded brake line brackets.

As previously mentioned, each of the brackets has been CAD-machined and laser-crafted for strength and durability. These brackets serve as the lower mounting locations for the King coilover units.

Built to fit all '99-'04 Super Duty trucks, Full-Traction's conversion kit is available in both 6-inch and 8-inch configurations. Considering our project vehicle's intended use, we decided to go with the 6-inch system up front and new Full-Traction custom-arched spring packs in the rear.

By converting the factory leaf spring front end to a four-link system, the front axle mounting with ICG (instant center geometry) will have a true and correct caster curve throughout the entire range of the truck's linear wheel travel. The ICG reduces the total caster change throughout the suspension's movement by over 50 percent, which equates to a drastically improved "on-center" feel, better ride quality, and additional steering control when driving or towing.

While professional installation is always recommended when undertaking such a conversion, this fully bolt-on system can be installed within a day, with no welding or fabrication required. The system includes all of the necessary components, including shock mounts and a custom-fabricated, NASCAR-style front sway bar arm. While virtually any make of coilover shock may be installed with the system, we chose to use 2.5-inch King Racing units at all four corners. The King shocks are nitrogen-charged, custom-valved, and feature remote reservoirs for the ultimate in damping ability.

For added durability, all of the system's components have been engineered and built for maximum off-road punishment or heavy-duty commercial use. Heavy-duty, fully rebuildable rod ends are standard with the kit as are the 2-inch-diameter by 0.250-wall-thickness, DOM-tubing lower leading control arm assemblies. Each bracket of the system is made from 1/4-inch steel plate that has been laser-crafted for exceptional strength. Grade 8 hardware is used throughout, and a durable gray powdercoat finish is standard on every kit.

Once the suspension was installed, the massive 37x15.50x18 Toyo MTs mounted on Weld Racing Dune 8 wheels with the Pro-Loc beadlock system were installed to further smooth out the ride and allow us to travel wherever the trail led. Many thanks to all of the companies involved with making our project F-350 such a success!

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Gale Banks Engineering
Azusa, CA 91702
L&G Enterprises
San Dimas, CA 91773
Weld Wheel Industries
Kansas City, MO 64101
Toyo Tires
Full-Traction Suspension
Bakersfield , CA 93313
Eaton/Detroit Locker
Dynatrac Products Inc.
King Shock Technology Inc.
Hanson Enterprise
American Outfitters Inc.
Hella Inc. USA
Line-X of Kearny Mesa

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