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Upgrading 1/2 ton front suspension

Old 11-08-2018, 08:28 PM
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Default Upgrading 1/2 ton front suspension

Is there a way to upgrade the front suspension on a 2005 1/2 ton SCAB to the equivalent of a 3/4 ton? The reason for asking is I'm investigating the possibility of replacing my 5.4 with a Cummins 4BT. I spoke at length today with Diesel Conversion Specialists in Montana and while they're very familiar with swaps into 3/4 ton & above they've never done one with a 1/2 ton. The 4 BT weighs approximately 750 lbs & the gentleman I spoke to believes the 5.4 may be lighter so upgraded suspension MIGHT be required depending on the difference in weight. I searched the interweb but can't find the weight of the 5.4. They're experts in their field & he told me a 4 BT can be tuned to easily provide more torque than the 5.4 spec of 365 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm. I tow a 4000# trailer & my 5.4 seems to struggle and it only has 68,000 miles on it.
I'm not interested in raising the entire truck for larger tires, etc but if heavier parts will fit my truck I'd like to know what's involved.

At this stage it's a gigantic 'is it possible?' and we didn't discuss the price. I very well may just stick with what I have b/c the conversion could cost the same as a VG used 3/4 ton truck with a diesel and I'm not willing to spend that much. Considering that a new 4BT crate engine is $7500 (includes exhaust manifold, turbo, etc) the additional labor & various adapters could double the cost. If the front end COULD be upgraded that'd just add to the overall cost.

Suspension upgrade & engine swap right now = pipe dream.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PDX1953 View Post
Is there a way to upgrade the front suspension on a 2005 1/2 ton SCAB to the equivalent of a 3/4 ton? The reason for asking is I'm investigating the possibility of replacing my 5.4 with a Cummins 4BT. I spoke at length today with Diesel Conversion Specialists in Montana and while they're very familiar with swaps into 3/4 ton & above they've never done one with a 1/2 ton. The 4 BT weighs approximately 750 lbs & the gentleman I spoke to believes the 5.4 may be lighter so upgraded suspension MIGHT be required depending on the difference in weight. I searched the interweb but can't find the weight of the 5.4. They're experts in their field & he told me a 4 BT can be tuned to easily provide more torque than the 5.4 spec of 365 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm. I tow a 4000# trailer & my 5.4 seems to struggle and it only has 68,000 miles on it.
I'm not interested in raising the entire truck for larger tires, etc but if heavier parts will fit my truck I'd like to know what's involved.

At this stage it's a gigantic 'is it possible?' and we didn't discuss the price. I very well may just stick with what I have b/c the conversion could cost the same as a VG used 3/4 ton truck with a diesel and I'm not willing to spend that much. Considering that a new 4BT crate engine is $7500 (includes exhaust manifold, turbo, etc) the additional labor & various adapters could double the cost. If the front end COULD be upgraded that'd just add to the overall cost.

Suspension upgrade & engine swap right now = pipe dream.
I suppose anything is possible. I wanted to throw another angle at you that you may or may not have considered. Unless youíve got the payload package your truck is probably right around 1500# - 1600# payload. From what Iím seeing the Cummins is about 800# in short block form and the 5.4 is about half that. After you add in all your accessories and suspension modifications you could wind up reducing your payload to sub 1k pounds. After you factor in passengers and gear it will leave you with little to none to put on the back as tongue weight. Just some food for thought. Tho, ripping around in a Cummins 150 does sound fun it may be far from your best option. I own 2 trucks with the 5.4 and they will tow 8k pounds pretty easily, these things run great. Have you considered re gearing to 3.73 or 4.10 ?

Last edited by FjordsFords; 11-08-2018 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by FjordsFords View Post


I suppose anything is possible. I wanted to throw another angle at you that you may or may not have considered. Unless youíve got the payload package your truck is probably right around 1500# - 1600# payload. From what Iím seeing the Cummins is about 800# in short block form and the 5.4 is about half that. After you add in all your accessories and suspension modifications you could wind up reducing your payload to sub 1k pounds. After you factor in passengers and gear it will leave you with little to none to put on the back as tongue weight. Just some food for thought. Tho, ripping around in a Cummins 150 does sound fun it may be far from your best option. I own 2 trucks with the 5.4 and they will tow 8k pounds pretty easily, these things run great. Have you considered re gearing to 3.73 or 4.10 ?
I agree that anything is possible and this is more of a 'what if' situation than anything else at this point.

I have the 7600 lb factory tow package & my gross combined weight is around 11,200 with 1/2 a tank of gas, 35 gallons of fresh water & maybe 15 gallons each of grey & black water. In 2005 (and other years) there were three diff options: 3:55, 3:73 & 4:10. The 3:55 towing capacity was 7600 lbs, the 3:73 was 8100 lbs & the 4:10 wasn't available with the 6.5 ft bed / scab 2wd. If the customer bought the 2wd scab & an 8 ft bed they could get the 4:10 & it's rated at 9500 lbs.

Another member said he swapped to a 4:10 b/c his truck is raised & he's running either 33" or 35" tires. He claims that he consistently gets 14.5 cruising at 80 mph but while I'm not saying he's blowing smoke I'm skeptical. I think a 4:10 would be a big improvement over 3:55 but what does that do to my mpg?

The local mechanic I use has two shops, does great work & used to work at the dealership where my truck was purchased in 2005 so I'll talk to him about swapping gears. It's had to believe but the original owner paid $32k for it 13 years ago. You can get a pretty decent new truck for that much today. Or a super nice 2 -3 year old one. He died in March & I bought it in April for $10k & it had just under 59,000 miles on it. I've put 9,000 miles on it since mid April but 6100 miles of that was a 31 day trip.

Maybe I'll win the lottery & never have to think about this again. Right .............
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Old 11-15-2018, 03:55 AM
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Thereís definitely a higher spring rate front suspension option from ford. I believe it came with the snow plow prep package and maybe some other options. I had it in my truck for a while and didnít like it because I had no extra weight up front. If youíre just looking for a heavier spring rate up front you can have new springs installed no problem. If you want an entirely beefed up front end you can do that aftermarket but itíll be much more expensive than a set of springs
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Old 11-15-2018, 02:12 PM
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Thanks for the information.

I've decided to leave everything stock. Diesel Conversion Specialists have never installed a Cummins 4 BT in a 1/2 ton & were worried about the extra weight compared to the 5.4. After doing more investigation I learned it'd be anywhere from $15,000 - $25,000 for the conversion & in my area I can find a good used diesel pickup for $25k. The pipe dream is now over.
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