2001 Ford F-250 Super Duty Height Increase

Making an F-250 more capable

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

Reliable diesel engine? Manual transmission? Big solid axles? These are the components that make wheelers drool, and this ’01 Ford F-250 has them in the form of a 7.3L Power Stroke and ZF six-speed. But the stiff factory leaf-spring suspension didn’t cause drooling; it caused crying. Even with the Four Wheel Camper and custom CBI rear bumper and tire carrier, the rear suspension required single-digit speeds on rough roads to keep the pain to both man and machine to a minimum.

Our salvation came from Australian suspension manufacturer Old Man Emu, who know a thing or two about traveling over the rough roads of the Outback at speed. Fortunately for us, the Aussies love big American trucks and had just what we needed to make our heavy Super Duty float like a butterfly.

“Fortunately the Aussies love big American trucks”

How does Old Man Emu make old-fashioned leaf springs work so well? A lot of technology goes into each leaf, including shot peening to reduce spring stress, diamond cutting the ends to make them thinner and more flexible, and military wraps for less axlewrap and a margin of safety should a main leaf break. The springs also use bolt clamps instead of crimp clamps, and Teflon liners and graphite paint to reduce friction and provide a smoother ride. As a bonus the suspension not only rode better but also provided enough room for a set of 35-inch Pro Comp Xtreme MT2s and great-looking Pro Comp La Paz rims to put more rubber on the road and increase our ground clearance when the pavement ends.

Don’t let the “Xtreme” part of the name fool you—these tires are quiet on the street and even feature a 40,000-mile treadwear rating, but they are aggressive enough to get our big Ford through any terrain where we dare take our Four Wheel Camper. Now the only tears we are crying when we hit the trail are tears of joy.

By the Numbers Before (Leveling Kit, 255/85R16 tires on stock rims) After (Old Man Emu suspension, 315/70R17 Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 tires on 17x9 Pro Comp La Paz rims)
Approach Angle (degrees) 41 50
Departure Angle (degrees) 26 34
Front Diff Clearance (in) 9 10
Rear Diff Clearance (in) 83⁄4 91⁄2
Front Wheel Arch (in) 37 423⁄4
Rear Wheel Arch (in) 393⁄4 451⁄4

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