Designing a new front suspension.
In the last installment, we left you with an overview of how we plan to convert an '04 F-150 FX4 into 4-Wheel and Off-Road's new desert runner. This month the truck is in the hands of Jesse Nelson and Dave Dinsmore at JD Fabrication in San Marcos, California, to begin the new long-travel suspension and drivetrain modifications.
JD Fabrication started by focusing its attention on the all-new Ford IFS and has developed a plan to build a custom front suspension that is stronger and much more bump-friendly. The stronger part is no problem for Nelson and Dinsmore. Everything these guys build leans toward overkill. So naturally their material of choice for our Ford's new suspension is nothing less than 4130 chromoly steel. Building suspensions that handle bumps is no problem for these guys either--they eat, breathe, and sleep the stuff.
They knew the front would keep an A-arm design, but they planned to lengthen the arms for increased suspension travel without binding the CV-shafts. They also have plans to upgrade the shocks with Bilstein 9100-series coilovers and hydraulic bumpstops. Are you drooling yet? Well, if all this doesn't excite you, what if we told you that JD Fabrication also plans to offer our trick new suspension as a kit for your new F-150? Yeah, we thought you'd like hearing that.
So this month we'll walk you through the front suspension design and pick up next month with the upper A-arms and rear suspension. At this point we've got a lot of seat time in stock '04 F-150s, and love the way they perform in the high-speed rough stuff. We can't wait to see what these trucks are capable of after JD Fabrication gets done with ours.