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Old 08-25-2013, 01:02 AM   #1
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***Mods, please sticky***

Seems like we are getting two or three threads per week on this topic so I thought I'd create a reference thread. There's a ton of data on the web written by folks more knowledgeable than me, I'm writing this specifically for the F150 owner looking to make an informed mod purchase.

First, definitions.

For the purposes of this thread, lets just agree that anything past factory travel up to ~16 inches is Mid Travel and Long Travel is ~17+. There are numerous opinions and marketing labels out there but it's still a topic of debate because there is such a variance in stock travel across vehicle brands. Toyotas for example can pull more than 12 inches with just a UNI upper while Fords are limited to about 9, and that's with an upgraded UCA (UNI).

Travel is simply the entire range of motion (arc) of the A-arm - compression to extension.

Up travel is compression

Down travel or extension is droop



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When considering suspension modifications you need to take into account two things; what are your goals and how much money are you willing to spend.

The least expensive route is a Uniball upper control arm (UNI UCA). The factory Ford arms mechanically bind at about 8 inches of travel. Adding a UNI upper will net about 1.5 inches of droop travel by eliminating that bind. This mod is a mechanical mod only, it has no impact on ride.

The next step after the UNI upper is a more robust coil over. Brands: ICON, KING, FOX, Bilstein, SwayAWay. There are others but those are by far the most popular. Adding an upgraded coil over is a 'dampening' modification, it has no impact on length of travel (clarification - if the shock isn't sized properly it can limit travel but they can't increase travel, that is a mechanical function). It WILL make the truck ride better and will handle rough terrain at a higher rate of speed than stock. For just an upgraded upper you'll need a factory replacement size coil over. For a MT/LT kit you will need an appropriately sized coil over.


Mid Travel / Long Travel Tech Thread-image-3097108175.jpg

I know ^^^ that ^^^ isn't a truck but it illustrates very well the travel arc. It should be apparent from looking at that image that the longer the control arms, the larger the arc and thus the more travel you will achieve.

Side note - one of the limiting factors for travel on 4WD F150's is the axles. They can tolerate only so much angle before they bind. There are better/stronger axles out there (RCV) but they are very expensive ($2,500).

The next option for more travel is longer arms.

Raptor arms are longer than non-Raptor arms and will net 11.5 inches in stock form, close to 13 inches with an upgraded UNI upper. They are a lower cost option for non-Raptor folks and WILL, I repeat, WILL bolt on in place of your factory arms. The spindles are the same so no issue there.

Side note - there are only minor differences between the 04-08 and the 09-14 frames, Raptor gear will fit those trucks as well.

Several companies (BRENTHEL, Dixon Brothers, H&M Racing, RPG, Outlaw Raptor, etc...) make MT kits (a couple are LT kits, pull over 19 inches, but all are advertised as LT). You are looking at 5k minimum and as much as 20k for one of these kits.

You will break 10k to MT your truck (f&r) unless you use Raptor gear. MT coil overs and shocks are ~5k by themselves.

Side note: longer arms require longer tie rods, axles, brake lines and wider fenders. Raptor axles will work with 09-14 but not with 04-08, spline count is different.

Now the easy part, the rear.

Deaver or National leaf springs (~1,200), bypass shocks (~2,200) and a set of bumps tops (~1,200 for frame reinforcement kit with bumps) - you only gain down travel for up travel you'll need to notch the frame. You'll need new bedsides if you go with larger tires, 37's will hit on a good jump.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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Shock tech:

Simple concise definition of a bypass shock (stolen from the web):

Bypass shocks divert oil thru passages External to the normal valving shims by running extremely stiff valving. Once the oil is forced thru the external tubes/passages it is metered by a check valve with an adjustable set screw. This allows for valving adjustments without disassembly, however, the main advantage is multi-stage damping. Why? Because when you run more than one spring rate, one damping rate will not control both rates effectively.

Quote:

SHOCK101Click the image to open in full size.


By Michael Randolph

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about shocks and suspension. As most of you know, shock absorbers can be a very expensive purchase. And everyone wants to get their moneys worth. The purpose in me writing this is to make sure that everyone is well informed as to the function, design, servicing, and performance of the many types of shock absorbers (dampers) available today. There are many people who have varying opinions about the best methods for suspension design and setup. I believe there are many ways to properly setup a suspension, but would like to layout a basic foundation of understanding for everyone.

Purpose of dampers:

Shock absorbers (dampers) are designed to control and resist motion, specifically in our case, for suspension. In doing so, they produce friction between the oil and the working components of the damper. So basically they turn mechanical energy into heat. When we talk about duty we will be referring to the amount of friction the damper is capable of withstanding . This duty will help a customer determine what shock will work for their application. For example: A 2.0 non reservoir shock provides less duty than a 2.0 reservoir shock. Neither of the two are able to produce more friction than one another, but the reservoir shock can sustain the same level of performance without fear of being overheated with it’s additional oil capacity and surface area (to radiate heat). Why is overheating a shock problematic? Well, as oil increases in temperature it looses its ability to produce a consistent amount of friction. In fact if it gets too hot, oil can loose its friction coefficient permanently and become “burnt oil” just like used engine oil. When your damper overheats, there are two main effects. Your suspension becomes less predictable as your shocks do not dampen consistently at varying temperatures. And, the internal working components, which are protected from wear by the oil, will be more susceptible to premature wear. What does that mean for you? Your suspension handling will not be consistent over time, and you will spend more money and time servicing and replacing parts on your dampers than if you provided your suspension with dampers of adequate duty.

Design of a damper:

Almost all dampers today consist of a shaft with the working components bolted to one end. Of the working components, the most important piece of the system is the piston head as flow around the head is crucial to the ability of a damper to perform. Valve shims, generally in the range of .008”-.020” are stacked in decreasing diameter on both the top and the bottom of the piston head as the shims are farther away from the piston. As the piston head is forced thru the oil in the shock the valve shims deflect, allowing oil to pass thru ports of the piston. As the valve shims increase in thickness, so does the resistance to deflection, hence stiffer valving. As the piston head travels downward, the shims on the top are deflected upward and in doing so resisting extension. These are called the rebound shims. Generally the rebound shims required are a smaller diameter as well as the ports in the piston head. Why? Because the pressure inside the shock is exerting a force on the shaft and working components as a whole, trying to force the shaft outside of the body. So having ports smaller than the compression ports on the rebound side allows for more friction with less shim deflection. Actually, if the ports were the same size on the compression and rebound side of the piston, the rebound side would require much stiffer valving to achieve the same results. Generally the compression side of the piston head has larger diameter shims, and more of them. Not only to accommodate for more precision tuning, but to help compensate for the resistance the shock has to the shaft displacing the volume of the high pressure nitrogen inside the shock. This resistance to compression is exactly what makes an air shock function as a spring. The shaft temporarily exerts a force on the nitrogen inside the shock, compressing it, and causing the pressure to resist compression thus creating a spring force. On the piston head is the wear band. This band wraps around the circumference of the piston and makes contact with the inner diameter of the shock body. It does this with two main purposes. One is to locate the piston without wearing either the body or the piston. And the other is to seal the outer diameter of the piston, forcing nearly all of the oil in the shock thru the piston head’s ports. When the wear band is worn excessively it will allow the shock shaft to wobble slightly in the shock, and oil will bypass the piston without any resistance from the shims. Some shock companies have used soft metal wear bands such as copper, however, many of the benefits of added wear life are negated by wear on the body and high density particulate suspended in the oil(small pieces of copper). The seal assembly of a high pressure shock is a little more complicated than most care to understand. So we will breeze thru it only touching on the highlights. One of most notable parts of the seal assembly is the guide bushing. The guide bushing has a low friction surface allowing the shock shaft to slide in and out with very little drag, while keeping the shaft located and straight. Even with very little play in the guide bushing, there is a significant increase in wear on many of the working components. Many shocks with steel shafts that have been hard-chrome plated will eventually rust and pit. When these pits and burrs are forced thru the seal assembly they tear away at all the seals and heavily damage the guide bushing. Most notable in sealing are the first two seals the shaft comes into contact with. The outermost seal can be seen on the shock in the end cap. And is called the scraper or wiper seal. Its primary responsibility is to clean the shaft from any debris as it enters the shock. A good visual indication of the condition of the shock’s internals is the condition of the wiper seal. A tight seal will leave a small ring of oil at the seals lowest point after compression. The shaft plays a very important role in the function of a damper for obvious reasons. But choosing a shock with the best shaft for the application is essential. Most shock suppliers use either a 14mm or .625” shaft on standard dampers. Still others only offer .875” shafts. While the .875” shaft offers more strength and resistance to bending, it also created more resistance to compression. This can be a problem for light vehicles that need softer damping. Another common shaft size is 1.25”, which are used in air shocks as mentioned earlier. Whatever you choose for your shaft size, be certain it is made of stainless steel, as hard-chrome plating can flake off from dings and corrosion.
http://www.offroad-engineering.com/shtu101.html
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:59 PM   #3
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Just wanted to say thank you for this information, it is truly helpful for me as i plan my next round of mods. Looking forward to seeing your truck once it is out of the shop.
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:02 PM   #4
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Great post!

If any one is interested I have attached my receipts for my Front and Rear Long Travel Kit. So people can get an idea of what things cost.
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Mid Travel / Long Travel Tech Thread-invoice_1.jpg   Mid Travel / Long Travel Tech Thread-invoice_2.jpg  
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:35 PM   #5
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Pat

Great build man, wish i could of been at the VDF shop when your rig was there. I used to live about 45 min from the shop.

WarSurfer

Sorry if you have already answered this in another thread as i see some great input on the myriad of "Raptor conversion" threads" but i can't seem to find this answer. The biggest reason I'm not sold on converting my front end to run 3.0's and Raptor parts is the fact that i don't want my front end to be so much wider then the rear. Is there any way for me to have them match without the use of spacers in the rear. I have seen plenty of posts about TT running spacers in the rear but I'm just not sold on it and maybe you have some more knowledge on this.
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eco-BEAST 28 View Post
Pat Great build man, wish i could of been at the VDF shop when your rig was there. I used to live about 45 min from the shop. WarSurfer Sorry if you have already answered this in another thread as i see some great input on the myriad of "Raptor conversion" threads" but i can't seem to find this answer. The biggest reason I'm not sold on converting my front end to run 3.0's and Raptor parts is the fact that i don't want my front end to be so much wider then the rear. Is there any way for me to have them match without the use of spacers in the rear. I have seen plenty of posts about TT running spacers in the rear but I'm just not sold on it and maybe you have some more knowledge on this.
I can only think of two other options:

1) Wheel offset

2) An actual wide track rear diff. You can get a Raptor take out for less than the cost of new wheels. It's not necessary from a capability perspective and LOTs of guys out west are running two track widths. However, it will impact handling (under steer).
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarSurfer View Post
I can only think of two other options: 1) Wheel offset 2) An actual wide track rear diff. You can get a Raptor take out for less than the cost of new wheels. It's not necessary from a capability perspective and LOTs of guys out west are running two track widths. However, it will impact handling (under steer).
What do you mean by "Raptor take outs" and by chance do you know how much difference I'm looking at in respects to front to rear width?
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:33 AM   #8
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I believe by "Raptor take outs" he means when some one with a Raptor sales their OEM rear diff.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patclarke View Post
I believe by "Raptor take outs" he means when some one with a Raptor sales their OEM rear diff.
I've already got an OEM 4.10 in the rear so would that make the swap easier? Or does that even matter at all lol What kind of damage am I looking at for an install?
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:04 AM   #10
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To be honest I have no idea I will let some one else chime in on that, but I am running wheel spacers on the back of my truck. The only issue I had was that my 8 year old OEM studs could not handle the wheel spacers and broke. This was easily fixed with new hubs.
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