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Question on truck suspension upgrade.

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Mark McC, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,565

    Hey Gang,

    I have a 1987 Ford F-150 extra cab with the eight-foot bed. I replaced the shocks and tread this past year.

    This truck is more of a keeper if I can upgrade the suspension, but I'm not sure how much I can reasonably boost the carrying capacity of the truck. I'd like to be able to carry two or three yards of mulch in the back and pull a 900-lb. trailer with 1,500 lbs. of equipment. I suppose this would mean a suspension upgrade that would make it a half-ton pickup as opposed to the quarter-ton it is now.

    Has anyone tried this? If so, how well do other components of the truck (brakes, transmission, bearings and so on) hold up under increased loads?
  2. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    I used to have a 84 F-150 4x4, AIR LIFT booster air bags work great. I had them front & rear, air up the rears & load it down, if it sags too much add more air, when not loaded just release the air pressure and your back to a nice ride.
  3. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

  4. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    Weak link with any ½ ton truck is the light duty rear end (bearings), be careful when you overload these beasts.

  5. turf9

    turf9 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    My 88 Gmc 1/2 ton was thae same so i went with the gabrial Hijackers air shocks from Napa 3 years later they works great and dont leak.I can back the walker up on the back to dump and it barely budges. I was going to the air bag thing to but things were getting pricey going that route. My 2 cents
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    the biggest issue would be the brakes
  7. aries

    aries LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 334

    You will be putting to much stress on your rears and bearing's, brakes,ect. it's not built for that light duty!
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I have put F 450 leaf springs under a F 250 without any trouble. However I started with a Heavy Duty model that has larger brakes Etc. I also did not over load the truck.

    Now last time I went new Truck Shopping The Isuzu Cab over Salesman pointed out. That the big difference between the 14,500 GVW model and the 12,000 GVW model was not the springs. They have the same springs. However the 14,500 GVW model had a larger set of Brakes and some other changes.

    In your case of a 1987 Model, I am sure your springs have seen better days. Be careful about overloading if you do upgrade the suspension.
  9. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,508

    take it to a spring shop and have them add one leaf and inspect the ones on it and replace any that are bad you won't believe the difference.Just keep an eye on the brakes check them often they will wear fast when carrying heavy loads.
  10. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    that was my other thought but i figured air bags worked well for me.
    with my truck & heavy loads my main concerns were, tires (good strong sidewalls) brakes front brakes do 60% of the braking force, keep them operating freely so all 4 pads are doing the work, keep the rears adjusted and clean of excessive dust, do not overload the axle snap the axle in half kiss your butt good bye. the truck is able to handle a big load just don't over do it. :D

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