Let’s face it, in a world chock-full of Ford Super Dutys, a lot of owners want their truck to stand out from the rest of the crowd. So while thousands of Blue Oval loyalists lined up to get their hands on Ford’s redesigned ’17 model, enthusiasts—as they always do—immediately set out to add their own unique touches to these brand-new behemoths. Thanks to one dyed-in-the-wool Ford fanatic, this ’17 F-350 Platinum didn’t make it a week before going under the knife at Flynn’s Shop in Alexander, Illinois.
Ready to Go
Although the owner was eager to improve the truck’s stance, curb appeal, and off-road capability in one fell swoop, there was one catch: the truck had to maintain the same plush ride quality it left the factory with. To deliver on all of the above criteria, the guys at Flynn’s reached out to ReadyLIFT Suspensions for one of its 3 1/2-inch SST lift kits. With components guaranteed to never wear, break, or fail, enough lift height to clear 37-inch tall tires and the promise of maintaining the factory ride quality, ReadyLIFT’s system fit the bill perfectly.
Affordable, Functional, and Durable
In business since 2006, ReadyLIFT Suspensions goal has always been to develop economical yet innovative suspension systems that allow clearance for larger wheel and tire combinations, provide a “leveled” stance, and maintain factory ride and handling characteristics. By accomplishing everything the folks at Flynn’s Shop needed it to, we’d say the bang-for-the-buck factor is exceptionally strong with ReadyLIFT’s 3 1/2-inch SST lift kit. The 100 percent bolt-on nature of the sub-$700 system makes for an easy install, the burliness of many of the parts reassured us they would last, and the finished product performs as advertised—there was absolutely no change in ride quality. Follow along as we spotlight key points during the five-hour installation.
ReadyLIFT Suspensions’ 3 1/2-inch SST lift kit (PN 69-2736) comes with everything you need to make a single rear wheel ’17 F-350 clear 37-inch tires, although this particular truck would eventually be fit with 35-inch tread. Thanks to Ford’s retention of a solid front axle and coil spring suspension, installing this system on a ’17-newer F-350 is about as straightforward as it gets, and all components are bolt-on.
Using a transmission jack to support the front axle (and with jack stands positioned under the front of each radius arm), Chad Flynn of Flynn’s Shop got started by installing the radius arm drop brackets. In order to align the mounting holes that connect the drop brackets to the radius arms, Flynn used an additional transmission jack to (gently) lift up on the tie-rod assembly.
The beauty of the ReadyLIFT system is that the radius arm drop brackets keep the radius arms positioned at the factory angle. It’s worth mentioning that Flynn refrained from tightening all radius arm fasteners until the truck was back on the ground, later in the day.
ReadyLIFT’s cast-iron, OEM-style track bar drop bracket is a solid piece and features a 1-inch difference in its center point when compared to the factory bracket. One tip not mentioned in the installation instructions is to break the track bar loose prior to lifting the truck in the air, as it comes torqued to more than 400 lb-ft from the factory.
Before the factory coil springs could be removed, the axlehousing vent, 4x4 vacuum line, and brake line brackets were disconnected. From there, Flynn removed the bottom shock mounting bolts, lowered the axle to relieve tension on the coil springs, and fellow technician, Jake Bosie, lent a helping hand in removing the coil springs from the truck.
In the ReadyLIFT kit, a steel spacer and sound isolator is installed on top of the factory coil springs to provide the 3 1/2 inches of added ride height, and—in conjunction with the use of the stock rubber isolators—is part of the reason why the factory ride quality is retained. The supplied urethane isolators sit on top of each coil spring spacer to cut down on rattle, vibration, and other potential sources of noise.
To compensate for the added height atop the coil springs, ReadyLIFT supplies shock extensions. Flynn coaxed them into place via rubber mallet and then secured the factory shocks to them using the supplied Grade 8 hardware.
The sway bar drop brackets in the ReadyLIFT kit are designed to lower the factory sway bar to compensate for the lift, but they also move the sway bar forward. The drop brackets attach to the frame using the factory hardware, while ReadyLIFT supplies the Grade 8 bolts, washers, and nuts that secure the sway bar to the drop brackets.
After breaking the shocks free from the rear axle, Flynn loosened all U-bolts but left the driver side assembled, albeit loose (for stability purposes), while working on the passenger side. When it came time to pull the factory block, Flynn lowered the axle just enough to remove it, and took care not to overextend the brake and ABS lines.
Here you can see the 1-inch difference between the ReadyLIFT 4-inch block (left) and factory 3-inch block (right). It’s worth nothing that longbed ’17 F-350’s come with a flat 3-inch block like the one shown here, but shortbed ’17 F-350’s come equipped with a tapered 3-inch block from the factory. This is because longbed models utilize a two-piece driveshaft, whereas the shortbed model uses a one-piece. The tapered factory block is used on shortbed, one-piece driveshaft configurations to accommodate the different pinion angle.
Another feature reserved solely for longbed model (two-piece driveshaft) F-350 Super Dutys is a carrier bearing spacer. The spacer simply drops the rear section of the driveshaft approximately 3/4-inch to keep the pinion angle happy.
Thanks to the 3 1/2-inch increase in front ride height, a set of 35/12.50R22 Toyo Open Country M/T’s have plenty of clearance. The mud slingers are mounted to 22x12-inch Fuel Off-Road Wheels Forged FF19 polished wheels.