Ford took the 2009 redesign of the F-150 quite seriously. They tasked over 1,000 engineers, designers, researchers, and others to develop the truck, and among other things it received a new, high-strength, lighter-weight chassis, as well as a new interior and exterior. There was a lot to like about the then-new F-150. As a matter of fact, we were so impressed, we called it a “3⁄4-ton in ½-ton clothes” after testing it in our 2009 Pickup Truck of the Year competition.
Coldwater, Michigan-based BDS Suspension offers a way to make the F-150 even better for us off-highway junkies. Their 6-inch High Clearance kit fits the ’09 and ’10 F-150 and features cool stuff like high-arched crossmembers made from ¼-inch steel; CNC-machined ductile iron steering knuckles; gas-charged front struts; a steel front differential skidplate; and a rear offset spring plate. The kit allows you to fit up to a 37x13.50 tire on a 17x9 wheel with 5.5-inch backspacing.
We recently had the opportunity to visit Attitude Performance in Arlington Heights, Illinois, to watch the team install one of these kits on a customer’s 2010 F-150 FX4, and it was interesting to see how BDS approached lifting the F-150. Follow along as we show you the highlights of the kit.
When the F-150 came to us, it was fitted with P275/55R20 (31.9-inch) Pirelli Scorpion ATR tires, and the owner chose to install LT325/60R20 (35.6-inch) Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. With the BDS suspension and new wheels/tires installed, the front air dam-to-ground measurement improved from 9 inches to 17 inches, an 89-percent improvement. The rear hitch-to-ground measurement increased from 17 inches to 22½ inches, a 32-percent improvement. On our 20-degree RTI ramp, the F-150 traveled 70 inches up the ramp after the install compared to 63.25 inches in stock form, an 11-percent improvement. This translates to 482 RTI points lifted compared to 435 RTI points stock. The F-150s approach angle climbed from 30 degrees to 41 degrees (a 37-percent improvement) and the departure angle went from 23 degrees to 31 degrees (a 35-percent improvement). All of these numbers are welcome improvements, whether you’re trying to get to your favorite tree stand or through deep snow or mud.
BDS says that this kit maintains the OE movement of the control arms and this ensures an OE-style ride. We’ll agree this is the case, as during our test drive we were impressed at how well the truck rode and handled. In addition, even before the alignment the truck tracked amazingly straight, which is a testament to BDS’s design. We were also impressed at how the custom-valved struts deftly handled the increased weight of the larger tires. For this install, tire weight increased from 42 pounds to 67 pounds at each corner. We also liked the bracing that BDS integrated into the front componentry of the kit, and this bracing contributed to the fact that no compression struts are required. Finally, we liked the high clearance design of the kit, which not only looks great, but serves to enhance off-highway performance by enhancing ground clearance.