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Long-Term Updates - My Ford F250 Saga

Posted in How To on May 1, 2012
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This month, we were given some reader input and we thought we’d let one of them tell you firsthand about some of the off-road products floating around out there.

We ordered a new 2011 F-250 as soon as we could last year from Galpin motorsports since its GAS operation could do the mods we wanted and still warranty the truck. We had Galpin install a 6-inch lift with 20-inch RBP wheels and 37x13.50 Toyo MT tires.

I made lots of changes to the suspension; basically the kit was junk. The adjustable shocks needed to be fully stiff to even be okay on the street. Galpin/4 Wheel Parts helped and swapped out for King adjustable shocks with remote reservoirs. They’re great shocks, and we are totally happy, but they were expensive.

The rear lift block and stock springs were too stiff for my use—we carry either two dual-sport dirt bikes, tow a small toy hauler, or tow a Jeep TJ. Deaver provided great replacements, and by eliminating the two shortest helper leafs, I was able to get a level stance. It was totally worth the price and we got a very smooth ride in the rear.

A great upgrade was to put Light Racing hydraulic shock dampers in the front. They welded right in place and provide two inches of progressive stop and resulted in two inches of added travel (I never bottom out). These stops have a welded cup that 4 Wheel Parts placed exactly where the stock stops sat. Combined with the rear Deaver leafs and the adjustable King shocks, the ride is spot-on.

The front steering was really crappy (technical term). It was vague and dead—always wanted to wander and is loose. I finally found a fix. Bud’s OC Diesel shop installed Dynatrac ball joints, a heavy-duty track bar by Baja Designs, heavy-duty tie-rod ends, and a dropped the pitman arm to place the draglink parallel to the track bar. The frontend is much tighter than new, with zero negative harshness.

Twenty-inch wheels look cool, but they are just wrong. I should have stayed with 18s for off-road. I bent a rim first day out. The 20s did not allow for enough sidewall for off-roading. And, the chrome is totally shot after just one year. I already need to get the wheels re-chromed. They’re disappointing, and I actually might toss them and go to 18-inch wheels when I get my next tires.

The 2011 Ford Super Duty itself is totally comfortable and is my daily driver. I get 16 mpg or sometimes more. It is a tremendous tow vehicle. There are 28,000 miles and no problems with the Ford as of now.

Paul Gardner
Aliso Viejo, California

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