Giving Ford's Newest Truck a Lift
One of the most recognizable names in suspension systems has recently introduced a kit for one of the best-known trucks on the market today. We recently tested the new Rancho 4-inch suspension kit for the new '04 Ford F-150 4x4 pickup, and found it to be a positive option for making an aggressive off-roader out of your new pickup.
To try something different, this time we're not gonna walk you through the install of the kit...that's what directions or 4x4 shops are for. Rather we convinced the good folks at Earnhardt Ford in Phoenix to lend us two trucks, and we had 4Wheel Parts install the kit on one of them. Then with a tape measure, a highway, and some wide-open desert spaces, we tried to find the good and the bad of Rancho's new kit. Follow along to find out what Rancho's 50 years of suspension experience can do for you and your F-150.
When compared to the stock F-150, you can easily recognize all the new Rancho parts by the Rancho red paint (there is also an Outlaw black color available.)
The base kit includes a new sub-frame, braces that run to the center crossmember, and new knuckles, among other things. However the stock upper and lower control A-arms are reused. 4Wheel Parts also added teh Rancho skidplate on the front, and the black differential skid plate that is many times stronger than the flimsy stock version.
The Rancho kit can also be ordered with a set of RS 9000X shocks. These give the driver nine different settings, from firm to flexible. We found street driving to be pretty good with them set at 5 in the front and 4 in the rear. And though you would suspect that the firmest setting would beat you to death on the high-speed run, we liked the control and stability it gave us.