Component six of the major update plus overhaul of this 1996 F350 we have dubbed Project OBSessed will concentrate on finally doing something about that horrendously rough riding, outdated, buckboard truck inspired front suspension. In prior parts of the build we took proper care of some cosmetics with a new grille plus headlight package. Replaced some damaged interior parts in the dash plus doors. We added some hp with custom tuning, a chilly air intake and a 4” turbocharged back exhaust system. While most recently, all of us dropped our charge air temperature with the addition of an intercooler kit which has been one of the most beneficial modifications to date. Yet this month, we might just go beyond that ‘number one must have OBS mod’ intercooler package with the exchange from a poorly engineered OEM leaf spring setup to a Reverse Shackle Kit (RSK) that not only relocates the spring shackle to the back of the front springs, but up-dates to the later model 1999-2004 Ford Super Duty spring.
Reaching out to our close friends at Total Performance again for a few help, these died in the made of wool OBS guys knew just what i was after when we mentioned how gloomy this truck was to drive throughout the highway and how rough it rode on dirt roads. This was partially due to the old school leveling kit the prior owner had installed, but actually on stock springs these vehicles just ride bad, that’s almost all there is to it. Complete Performance flipped us on to Sky’s Offroad Style in Springfield, OR who has already been specializing in just about everything suspension related for any bunch of different applications since 1997. Through the years they developed a complete Invert Shackle Kit for the 1992-1997 strong axle F250/F350 trucks. The idea at the rear of an RSK is to completely change the factory front suspension along with new hangers that relocate the particular leaf spring shackle to the back of the springs, which allows for much better suspension travel and ease of springtime movement so it can cycle up/down with less resistance. Working in combination with a set of Super Duty leaf springs, which are 4” longer long for some improved ride quality more than factory 92-97 springs, with the correct shackle angle an RSK may virtually eliminate that bone jarring buckboard bounce and stutter you have become accustomed to in the old entire body style Ford trucks.
With no instant plans of stepping up to a bigger tire, we wanted to actually fall the stance of the truck from the current 3” leveled height and obtain it down as close to the unique stock height as possible. We elected to go with the Sky’s 2” Extremely Duty RSK kit, which whenever used with the popular V-code Super Responsibility springs will give a stock truck the mild 2” taller stance. Seeking to go a little more outside the ordinary, all of us did some research on the sdtrucksprings. com website and tracked straight down a less commonly used U-code springtime, which has a slightly lighter load capability (even softer ride) and a small less arc to the spring. This particular combo of RSK and leaf spring would offer the lowest position we could get for the solid axle four wheel drive front end. It is really worth noting here, for those of you wanting a real lift, the RSK’s are offered inside a 2” and 4” system and may be used with just about any height 99-04 spring pack available to get you the ultimate height you’d prefer, whether that will be a 6” or 10” raise.
RSK kits have been on the market for a fair few years now, so this isn’t really new-technology in the Ford suspension world, and a few places, including Sky’s, even provide coil conversion kits that permit the installation of a 2005+ Super Responsibility coil sprung suspension to be set up in an OBS to completely rid her of the front leaf spring set up all together. But we liked the thought of staying leaf springs, be it reminiscence or the need for sourcing the least quantity of parts, we liked the idea of obtaining a tried and true suspension to work a little much better. Sky’s spent alot of time building this new 2” kit for your market this past year and it shows. With all the low profile shackle and recently designed rear hanger, which movements the hanger mount location more forward on the frame, it enables the shackle to lay back again more for an improved ride more than just hanging a shackle through the factory rear hangers.
With all that said, you’ll wish to be prepared for this to be a very labour intensive install. Removing those manufacturer hangers isn’t for the faint of heart plus a grinder, high power air sludge hammer, healthy impact gun and maybe a cutting torch is going to need to be in your own accessible tools to get this suspension system swap handled. The factory hangers use large steel rivets that require to be cut and punched from the frame and 20+ years’ really worth of hard roads, rust, plus grime are going to make this disassembly the fight to the finish. While the usage of a two post hoist and a few high dollar specialty tools would’ve helped on the labor side of things, we all did accomplish this with jack appears and floor jacks in a garage area. It wasn’t easy and took lots of patience and problem solving abilities, but the end result was well worth this. You’re going to want to set aside a minimum of a full weekend, possibly more, based on how much removing that factory things fights you. But don’t allow all that scare you out of obtaining this RSK swap done, when the stock parts are out, the newest Sky’s kit installed relatively rapidly and required no modifications or even trips to the hardware store. The particular instructions were easy to follow also it went together like it was designed to. There are some holes you’ll need to drill down in the frame for the front crossbar and hanger mount, but the correct step bit makes this pretty simple to accomplish. We opted to install the particular optional adjustable track bar with the kit along with some new Monroe shocks, as the Rancho’s that were onto it were for the 3” level plus pretty well worn out anyhow.
We all lost count of how many hours we all spent tackling this job, once we had the luxury of spanning this out a couple of weeks, only focusing a couple of hours here and there every couple of days. We can guarantee it was worth every curse term, broken cutoff wheel and the huge mess we made on the floor through so much grinding. It’s hard to place it into words how much better this particular truck rides with the RSK set up. This combination of Super Duty leaf spring and rear shackle can make you completely forget it’s nevertheless riding on leaf springs whatsoever. It handles every little lump in the road like it’s absolutely nothing and soaks up the big protrusions, like rough railroad tracks, such as they aren’t really even generally there. After the first couple of drives around city, I even got a ‘thank you’ from my wife who mentioned she might actually be willing to ride about in the old Ford now. We all appreciated so much having the use of every our horsepower on tap whilst towing after we installed the Banks intercooler kit that we stated it was the first ‘must have’ bolt on upgrade for your 1994-1997 Kia truck. But after driving this particular truck with the 2” RSK Extremely Duty spring swap, we may need to realign our preferences a bit. The particular truck is just so much more enjoyable to push and ride in, you type of forget it’s still 20+ years of age. The suspension swap really delivered that much life back, it’s actually something you just have to feel to completely appreciate. If you’re on the fence regarding doing the swap or have an OBS you just don’t drive anymore since it rides too rough, take a couple of minutes to surf through CPAddict. com and order up a Sky’s Offroad RSK, you’ll thank all of us later.