Fast Ford Lifting: Rough Country Leveling KitPosted in How To: Suspension Brakes on December 1, 2011 Comment (0)
The KISS philosophy (“Keep it simple, stupid”) is something every truck owner has to revert back to now and again. It’s not as though we can do anything to simplify our truck’s complex electronics or things of that nature, but we can control what modifications are placed onto our pickups. The last thing guys who use their 3⁄4-ton truck for daily driving and heavy hauling want is to take away function. But let’s face it: You read this magazine because you enjoy modifying your truck, and, like us, you have to ride that line between what looks cool, works best, and fits within the budget.
Our buddy’s ’08 Ford F-250 recently rolled 65K on the odometer. With the original tires worn flat out, he was ready for a change. Since he felt the truck could benefit from a slightly taller stance and a more level appearance, he picked up the phone and contacted the lift experts at Rough Country Suspension. Rough Country offers a variety of lifts for the 3⁄4-ton Ford, but one of the company’s simplest and most affordable kits comes by way of 11⁄2-inch front lift coils.
These direct replacement coils are designed to remove the factory nose-down rake that is common on the late-model 3⁄4- and 1-ton Fords. And with a little more nose room, the truck can easily clear the suggested 33x12.50 tires on stock wheels.
We grabbed some floor space at our buddy’s shop and using a few jackstands, a floor jack, and basic handtools, we had the lift installed in a little over an hour. Overall, the new lift and beefier tire combo gave the truck a better stance and appearance, all while keeping it the functional workhouse that the factory intended it to be.
Giving the truck a more level stance are Rough Country’s 11⁄2-inch lift springs. The beefy aftermarket coils come powdercoated gray and use a similar spring rate to maintain the factory ride.
Installing the front coils is as easy as unbolting the lower shock mounts and brake line routing brackets. For a little extra coin you can upgrade with Rough Country’s shocks, but on our truck the factory shocks were retained.
Though it’s not listed in the instructions, we found that unbolting the rear radius arm mount from the frame allowed the axle to drop more easily. We did this one side at a time so we could carefully control the axle. Be sure to keep an eye on your ABS and brake lines as you lower the axlehousing.
With the added lift, the truck easily cleared the fresh 33x12.50 Nitto Terra Grapplers. Wrapped on the Ford’s 20-inch factory wheels, the Terra Grapplers are an excellent all-terrain tire that work extremely well in dry dirt and rocks and roll smoothly and quietly over the pavement. Though we’re very happy with our tire choice, it’s worth noting that given the F-250’s large fenderwell opening, we could have run a 35-inch-tall (maybe 37) tire on the factory wheel set.
If you use your truck for towing heavy loads then we suggest adding a set of helper airbags to the rear. We love the look and stance of a leveling kit, but nose-high towing simply isn’t safe or fun. Airbags help keep the nose from shooting skyward and improve the truck’s handling while towing. Companies such as Air Lift (www.airliftcompany.com), Carli Suspension (www.thecarlisuspension.com), and Firestone (www.firestone industrial.com) all make great bolt-on helper bag kits.