Ford redesigned the F-150 for the 2009 model year and the changes were substantial. The truck got a stronger frame, longer leaf springs for a better ride, a retuned coilover-shock IFS, and a new interior, among other things. For those of us who love the dirt, the FX4 package got a brand-new rear electronic locker in addition to all the other FX4 goodies like increased skidplating, specific shock tuning, 3.73:1 gears, and 32-inch tires. The result was a truck that worked very well in the dirt.
But like any vehicle, there's always room for improvement. The '09 F-150 FX4 had an unremarkable 23.7-degree approach angle, 20.7-degree departure angle, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Fortunately, the aftermarket has ways to improve those numbers and make the F-150 in all trim levels even more capable in the dirt.
We recently had the opportunity to travel to Rough Country Suspension in Dyersburg, Tennessee, and install their brand-new 4-inch suspension lift for the '09-'10 F-150. This kit is one of three kits that Rough Country offers for this generation of F-150. It's joined by a 21/2-inch leveling kit and a 6-inch kit. The 4-inch kit includes everything you need to lift the F-150. Up front, it includes crossmembers, knuckles, strut spacers, differential drop brackets, and driveshaft spacer. Out back, it includes lift blocks, U-bolts, Performance 2.2 shocks and various brackets. The kit has an estimated install time of eight to ten hours and requires minor cutting and drilling. When installed, the kit allows fitment of up to a 35x12.50 tire on an 8-inch-wide wheel with 41/2 to 5 inches of backspacing. Best of all, at time of print this kit was selling on their website for a very competitive $1,299.95.
So, how did Rough Country approach lifting the F-150 four inches and how did the kit install? Read on.
|By The Numbers|
|Ground to front bumper||12 in||19 3/4 in||+39.2%|
|Ground to rear bumper||22 1/2 in||27 in||+20%|
|Angle of approach*||38.5 deg||55.6 deg||+44.4%|
|Angle of departure*||29.7 deg||35 deg||+17.8%|
|*measured from passenger-side tire to bottom of bumper|
The kit installed without any headaches and we liked that there was no mystery as to where to make the cuts in the rear crossmember thanks to the easy to use templates. This specific truck was fitted with 35x12.50-20 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires. Stock, the F-150 traveled 531/2 inches up a 20-degree ramp to earn a RTI score of 369. After the kit was installed, the truck traveled 67 inches up the ramp to earn a score of 462.
After the install, the truck rode great. In fact, we were surprised at how nice it rode. Off-highway, we threw the truck through various water holes and on rough trails at speed and it performed well, with no weirdness in handling or steering. We really appreciated the improvements in approach and departure angles when we got into undulating terrain along the Mississippi River. It made a great pickup even better.
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