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1992 Ford F-150 - Project Fiery Redhead, Part 7

Right Front View
Ken Brubaker
| Senior Editor, Four Wheeler
Posted January 1, 2005

Suspension, wheels, tires.

Project Fiery Redhead - Part 1
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 2
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 3
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 4
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 5
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 6
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 7
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 8
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 9
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 10

With each turn of the wrench, our '92 F-150 is becoming more reliable. Reliability is a crucial element in a good work/trail truck, but equally fundamental to a well-rounded truck is off-highway capability. It is with this in mind that we went to work installing a new suspension system and some bigger wheels and tires.

We installed Rancho Products' 4-inch Performance System, which provides 4 inches of lift in front and 3 inches of lift in the rear. This kit fits all TTB-equipped '81-'93 Ford 1/2-ton trucks, and allows fitment, and full travel, of 33-inch tires. The kit includes Rancho's unique, patented extended radius arms, new front coil springs, all of the needed drop bracketry, new rear add-a-leaves and all hardware. We also bolted on a set of Rancho's amazing new RS 9000X adjustable shocks (see sidebar).

While there aren't a significant number of components included in the Twin Traction Beam (TTB) suspension kit, installation can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. Ours was both, as the vast amount of rust that had gained a foothold during our 14-year-old truck's life complicated the install. The guys at Attitude Performance, the Redhead's official buildup shop, spent well over 8 hours on the install, and once again, due to rust, some replacement parts had to be ordered directly from Ford, which created even more down time. But the improvements are worth it. The Redhead most certainly looks better too.

The following photos will give you a basic idea of how Rancho approaches generating lift under a TTB Ford.

Shock Tech
The Rancho RS 9000X shocks we used in conjunction with our suspension kit offer the precision of tunable compression and rebound damping (though not independently) through nine metered settings. With the simple turn of the shock-mounted dial, we can fine-tune the shocks' performance so they can offer the ride and handling we want, whether we're driving on- or off-highway. The 9000X features Rancho's exclusive 15-stage velocity-sensitive valving, a 16mm-diameter hardened and double chromed rod and a 32mm-diameter piston with Teflon band. The 9000X can also be controlled with an optional in-cab remote control kit.

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Wheels and Tires
We wanted two things from our wheel-and-tire package. From the tires, we desired an aggressive tire that still exhibited good road handling. We wanted the wheels to be strong and easy to clean. We settled on a set of 33x12.50-15 Goodyear MT/Rs because they offer a strong three-ply sidewall, excellent durability and puncture resistance and an aggressive tread pattern. When it came time to select wheels, we called the folks over at Summit Racing Equipment and asked them to suggest a wheel for our application. They recommended the 15x10 Eagle Alloy 117 Series one-piece tri-spoke wheel. Its one-piece design makes it strong and the simple design makes it easy to clean. This wheel is available in polished, chrome or painted silver. We opted for the polished surface. Summit also stocked new McGard lug nuts for our application.

In the Driver Seat
The difference in on-road ride quality was immediately noticeable. Before the install, our F-150 suffered from a loose steering feel and a bit of road wander, probably caused by the worn OEM radius-arm bushings. Now, after the install, our truck tracks down the highway straight as an arrow. We don't hesitate to take it on extended drives because it handles so well. It's no surprise that the MT/Rs produce a bit of noise at highway speed, but their performance off-highway far outweighs a little noise. We find that with the truck unladen, the best ride and handling seem to be found with the front shocks set at the number 4 setting and the rear shocks at the number 1 setting. With both set at the 1 setting, the ride is plush, but wallowy. Off highway, at low speed, we bump the front shocks to 5 and the rear shocks to 3. Installation of the Rancho suspension and the 33-inch MT/Rs gave us an increase of 7 inches of height in the front and 6 inches of height in the rear over stock. This has increased our approach, departure and ramp-over angles to a point where we can travel over most terrain a fullsize truck needs to go without worry.

Project Fiery Redhead - Part 1
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 2
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 3
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 4
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 5
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 6
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 7
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 8
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 9
Project Fiery Redhead - Part 10

Sources

Attitude Performance
Arlington Heights, IL
847-593-0505
www.attitudeperformance.com
Daystar Products International
www.daystarweb.com
Rancho Industries
734-384-7804
www.gorancho.com

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