With the absence of front leaf springs under Ford's latest version of the new Super Duty, we decided a friendly bet amongst co-workers was in line to see who would make the biggest splash with a new Super Duty at the 2004 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers' Association (SEMA) show, held last November in Las Vegas. We figured a smaller, more hard-core company would be first to execute a lift for the new five-link Ford. However, despite all our infinite wisdom (or lack thereof), we were wrong. Rancho Suspension surprisingly stirred the biggest buzz at the SEMA convention with its 4-inch kit for the new SD. Not only did Rancho manage to beat most other manufacturers to the market with its kit, they were also able to snag a "Best New Off-Road Product" Award from the fine folks at SEMA. For these two reasons alone, we decided we should line up a ride-and-drive with the people at Rancho to get a feel for the new kit and understand the engineering that went into it. So with a free day in the December slowdown, we took a trip down to Rancho's Southern California R&D facility to see why its new 4-inch kit was named best in show. Before the lift: The Super Duty rides on the stock LT275/70R18 tires. After: With no cutting and welding or drivetrain or exhaust modifications, Rancho's new 4-inch Super Duty was easily fit with 35-inch BFG All-Terrains.After: With no cutting and welding or drivetrain or exhaust modifications, Rancho's new 4- This is it-the part that everyone wants but can't have. This little rubber bushing is perhaps the most critical component of the kit. Containing a blend of special rubber compounds, Ford spent a fortune on its development, and then once perfected, had Tenneco (Rancho's parent company) supply them along with several other rubber bushings for all '05 Super Duty pickups. The bushing is used in the upper mount of the factory control arms. The patented compound is both strong and soft, which helps isolate road vibrations from the chassis. Thanks to the unique partnership between Ford and Tenneco, those who choose the Rancho 4-inch system will relish in the better-than-stock feel this little bushing contributes.This is it-the part that everyone wants but can't have. This little rubber bushing is perh Though not the most beautifully fabricated track-bar drop bracket we've seen, it's strong enough and easily gets the job done. The Rancho kit replaces the factory pitman arm with the one shown here. This arm is forged and features "dead-on" mathematics, which perfects steering geometry and totally eliminates bumpsteer.Though not the most beautifully fabricated track-bar drop bracket we've seen, it's strong This picture shows the bumpstop spacer provided with the kit, as well as a portion of the longer coil springs. These coils are said to be state-of-the-art because of their progressive computer-calibrated winding, which helps eliminate the rough 3/4-ton truck feel. We drove Rancho's Super Duty and we can confirm that these springs are what Ford should have put under the new SD.This picture shows the bumpstop spacer provided with the kit, as well as a portion of the We drove Rancho's test-mule Super Duty a good long time to get a feel for the kit over a variety of terrain. We didn't jump it, but we did flog it over some rough stuff. Our honest assessment: The new kit makes the normally rough-riding 3/4-ton Ford pickup seem more like a 1/2-ton with upgraded shocks. We think a large portion of the ride improvement is due to the fully adjustable RS 9000X remote-reservoir Pro Series shock absorbers. With the push of a button we were able to custom-tune the truck's ride. Set the pressure to level 9, and the ride is very firm; set the level to 2, and the feel is similar to that of a new F-150 pickup. We recommend this setup to anyone looking for the ultimate control over shock damping. As for the kit itself, we like the feel of it, but hesitate to recommend the system to anyone who really plans to 'wheel a Super Duty hard. The system's rear block/four-leaf-pack arrangement isn't designed for max articulation, and the shock's relatively small dimensions (2-inch diameter, 5/8-inch shaft) could lead to shock fade under severe use. But if you need a good lift for a tow rig or everyday driver, this system rocks. SOURCES Rancho Suspension gorancho.com Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!