The Professional Choice

Whats my best option with a 2003 F-150

4/4/11
I have a 2002 F150 2WD 4.6L V8 AT with a long bed.   I still use my truck as a truck but still want the best of both worlds (work and play).  I don’t want an air bag system and don’t want to cut the rear frame for a notch.  I’d like more than 2 inches of drop in the front and I like a little bit of a raked stance.
My question is – am I able to do a 4″ drop for both front and rear using upper and lower control arms (not sure if I’d get 2″ from the control arm and have to use a 2″ drop coil spring or if a 4″ drop control arm set with factory coils is the better way to go if available) in the front and then a hanger and shackle kit in the rear.  Of course I’d use CAL MAX shocks for the both the front and rear.
The intention would then be to install an Air Lift Ride Control Air ride rear spring kit to help with the loads the truck will see and the occasional trailering.
I’d like to do a 4″/6″ but that would just be too low for what I need the truck for so I’m hoping for a 4″ drop all around with potential for additional lowering in the future.
Please let me know what my options are.
Thanks – Tom, Port Orchard, WA

4/6/11

Tom,
You have a couple options on your F-150. For a mild drop without cutting a “c-notch” in the rear frame you can do a 2″ front and a 4″ rear kit. Your ride quality would not change and your towing performance also would not change unless you have tremendous tongue weight, in which case you would have an issue at stock height anyway. The front drop is done with 2″ coil springs in place of the factory springs and the rear is done with a 4″ leaf spring shackle and hanger kit. This kit moves the mounting points of the leaf spring up on the frame. This is all done with remove and replace parts and a little elbow grease.

If you want to go down 4″/6″, you would use the Calmax upper and lower control arms along with the 2″ coil drop in the front and a rear axle flip kit that requires a “c-notch” for additional axle travel. From a strength or towing capacity stand point you still have the same ability as factory, what you don’t have is enough travel in the rear axle to deal with any kind of tongue weight. This is a common problem with all truck lowering projects and there are a couple of very good solutions. The easiest and least expensive way to deal with it is a weight distributing hitch. These hitches have the ability to balance the load of your trailer and greatly improve the performance and safety of your towing experience. Or you can as you mentioned use a airbag assist system which also work very good. There more expensive but it’s very cool to be able to pump up the bags with your controls which you’ve installed in the cab and have you on board compressor jump to life and level out your truck whether you towing or just carrying a heavy load.

You mentioned a possible 4″/4″ drop. That might be your best bet if you absolutely don’t want to “c-notch” your frame. You would have a forward rake when empty (which is very popular with some) giving you a muscle car stance and the parts would work fine together. Any way you go your going to need to replace your shocks to have the correct length and choosing Calmax SupeShox would give you the right valving! In fact you can see all these parts at the DJM Factory Store.
Good Luck and let us know how it goes!!

DJM Tech

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