Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Exeter, NH
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I don't remember when Ford switched to a coil spring front end - I think it was 2005. My lift kit is unique in that it also incorporates a coil spring conversion - most lift kits just stick with leaf springs since the kits are a lot cheaper. To convert to coil springs, you need all the extra bracketry for the coils. I think a few people have successfully converted the older leaf spring style to coil springs using the factory components from a later model.
On my lift, the coil springs replace the leaf springs entirely. Most lift kits just include new front leaf springs that replace your existing front leaf springs. The shocks and springs serve two completely different purposes. The springs carry the weight and the shocks dampen the oscillations that occur when you hit a bump in the road. Without shocks, your truck would bob up and down for a while every time you hit a bump. The shocks don't carry any weight - they just help dampen suspension movement. Coil springs do the same thing as leaf springs - it's just a different design. Coil springs generally have better ride quality than leafs springs do, which is why they are predominantly used on the front end. In the rear, the leafs carry the weight and also keep the rear axle from moving side to side. In the front, they don't keep the axle moving from side to side since the steering forces easily deflect the axle - to keep this from happening, a track bar is added between the frame and the axle to keep it from moving side to side.
Since your truck has leaf springs, don't even concern yourself with coil springs. The conversion is certainly doable, but it will add a lot to the cost of the kit. The only reason it's usually done is to improve ride quality. My conversion seemed to improve ride quality, but it's not going to ride like a Cadillac (not that a 3/4 or 1 ton truck should).
So in summary, your basic lift kit should include new front leaf springs, shocks, rear blocks and u-bolts, track bar relocation brackets, and a possibly a drop pitman arm. An upgrade to this (and increased cost) would be new rear leaf springs instead of blocks. New shocks are needed since the lift increases the distance from the axle to the frame. If you reused your old shocks, you would tear them apart the first time your suspension fully extended.
2003 F-250 4x4, 7.3L PowerStroke
6" Skyjacker Z-link lift, 35" MT Baja ATZ tires
Warn 16.5Ti winch w/ hidden mount
Front & Rear ARB Air Lockers
Dynatrac Free-Spin Front Hub Conversion
Edge Juice Programmer
Fabtech Ladder Bars
AutoEnginuity w/ Ford Enhanced package - New Hampshire seacoast - Just bring beer!
Last edited by Greg03PSD; 01-13-2012 at 05:05 PM.