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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Lift, tires, light question

Ok guys forgive my ignorance here but I'm new to diesels and new to any type of automotive upgrading.... I grouped all my questions in here so I don't start 3 threads.

I just bought an 01 f250 7.3l lariat and love it. So far it's got

5" turbo back exhaust
F6 dp chip
Isspro gauges
K&N filter

That's about as far as I think I'm going engine wise for a while, and the rest of my play money I want for a lift, tires and lights...

The stock leaf springs are completely flat in the front, so they definitely need to be swapped....
As far as lift I'm looking at 4 or 6 inch lift, don't want to go any higher. I'd like to play around a bit offroading and such and would like to get a quality lift kit.
I looked at the fab tech performance 6 inch kit, like 1600 bucks. Here's my question- the other kits I looked at came with leaf springs and shocks- this one comes with shocks and springs. Again forgive my ignorance but do the springs replace the leaf springs or what? Anybody have any reccomendations for a reasonably priced kit for me? Will be needing new leaf springs as well

Tires- well I don't have much tire knowledge, current size is 30 inch, I'd like to go to 35, and I'd like a mean looking tire that will last and be good in mud sand but also be my daily driver and towing tires so I need to compromise. I'm getting about 22mpg (and haven't installed the chip or exhaust yet!) and don't want to sacrifice too much mpg

Lights--- I want some super bright looking head, tail and clearance lights. I'm not sure where to look or what for this. On 4wheelparts I found recon lights, but they were only 40 bucks and I wasn't sure if they are that good or bright. They look awesome but I want a light, this will be my outdoorsman truck, trails and such I want good lights ( and I'm going to add a light bar later as well,when I can dump some money into a bumper).

Mirrors- I tow a 4500 lb boat frequently on about 23ft trailer and problem one is seeing the back wheels of the trailer when putting down a ramp, problem two is rear lighting when dropping the boat in at night. Is it expensive to upgrade to newer model mirrors with the towing lense in them (the fisheye type deal)
And besides going led for my reverse lights what can I do for more back up light?

Previous owner had tinted the rear window so even backing up out of my driveway early mornings and such is kind of a "hope I don't hit anything" deal

Last edited by RDG; 01-11-2012 at 07:44 AM. Reason: language issue..READ THE RULES
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Any help would be appreciated
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 03:01 PM
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The front springs should look relatively flat - they normally don't have much (if any) arch to them.

As far as the kits go, the front springs will always be replaced. It's highly unsafe, and probably illegal, to use lift blocks on the front end. The rear is a different story - you can reuse your existing springs and add blocks to give you the required lift, or you can get a kit with new springs that have a bigger arch so that the lift is provided by the springs. I am personally not a fan of lift blocks, so when I did my lift, I got new rear leaf springs instead of using blocks. There are plenty of trucks out there with rear lift blocks.

I don't have any recommendations on a lift kit for you - my kit also included a coil spring conversion for the front end, so it is quite a bit more pricey than a kit that uses leaf springs all the way around. The lift kits normally come with most everything that you need. A basic kit should have all the leaf springs (possibly blocks for the rear), u-bolts, shocks, and possibly a drop Pitman arm for the steering. You'll also want to get some longer brake lines. If you have a 2-piece driveshaft, you'll need to shim your center support bearing down to take some angle out of the driveshaft. Some people have successfully fit 35" tires using nothing more than a leveling kit, but a 4" lift is about normal to make sure you don't have any tire interference issues with 35" tires.

If you don't want to sacrifice mpg, then don't put a lift or bigger tires on. Your mpg will suffer - it's simple physics. I lost about 1.5-2 mpg with my lift and tires.

I have 35" Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires on my truck. I think they have an agressive look and they work pretty well on all road (or off-road) surface conditions. They are a bit noisy on the highway, but I don't mind and it's not too annoying. They are also load range E, so hauling and towing isn't a problem as far as weight capacity goes.

I don't have any aftermarket lights, so I don't have any recommendations there. The newer HID lights are supposedly really bright, but also quite pricey.

2003 F-250 4x4, 7.3L PowerStroke
6" Skyjacker Z-link lift, 35" MT Baja ATZ tires
18" Wheels
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!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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I expect the 1-2 mpg drop and that is ok. To be honest I expected much worse fuel mileage. I thought I would be downgrading from my v-6 exploders 17mpg. But I'm getting 21-22 without those upgrades in the vehicle yet...
I am already outperforming my mileage goal so a drop in 2Mpg is acceptable for the look and slightly added ground clearance I will gain.(bottomed out my gear box twice already, don't like doing that haha)

Still confused about springs, do coil springs replace leaf springs entirely, supplement shocks or what,
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 05:01 PM
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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
18" Wheels
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.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 08:13 PM
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I am not saying anyone is wrong but my lift kit was blocks for the front and back and I've had no issues. I also didn't add any leafs to the rear I installed air lift air bags instead for towing. I also run the Mickey Thomsons but in a 37" by 13.5" wide. As for lights go with hids in your head lights and fog light and leds in the rear if you want brighter out back too. I also mounted two 5" fogs behind my grill and will probably put another 2 there as well as I've seen some members have done.
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