SuperDuty lift updates

Update 6/5/2002 - I had a creaking sound that I found was coming from the large trackbar bolt. I tightened it more and the sounds seems to have disappeared. I still have an occasional popping sound I can feel under my feet.

Update 6/6/2002 - I received a couple emails that said the popping sound was probably my swaybar links needing tightening. I happened to find some greaseable swaybar bushings in AutoZone. I retorqued the swaybar links and installed the new bushings. The new bushings allow the swaybar system to flex more freely like it should. The popping sound is gone also.

Update 6/13/2002 - The creaking sound has returned. As I looked at the trackbar it seemed to me that the trackbar needs to be able to move freely with the suspension, and that tightening it more might be making the problem worse. I loosened both trackbar bolts, and retorqued them so the trackbar could move freely. The creaking is gone.

The truck drives better after installing the new swaybar bushings and loosening the trackbar. I think the components were too stiff before and not letting the suspension articulate like it should.

Update July 2002 - I still have some minor vibrations at highway speeds. Nothing bad...just noticeable. I can tell visually that my driveline angles aren't correct. I'm going to correct them and see what that does.

The angle of the transfer case end was 6 degrees.

The angle of the rear axle pinion was 11 degrees, measured across the U-joint flange. It should theoretically take a 5 degree shim to correct this, but I read on the internet it's best add another degree to compensate for axle wrap under normal driving. Therefore, I'll use a 6 degree shim. While I had the driveshaft off I greased the axle slip joint. Click here to see the driveshaft removal and the regreasing.

While looking for shim information on the internet I found 4Crawler Offroad that makes custom shims. They also make angled lift blocks, which is a combination of a shim and a lift block. I'm having them make me an angled lift block combination of a 1" lift block and a 6 degree shim. I think the 1" block will make truck sit better and hopefully the shim will take away some of the vibration.

Here are the shim blocks.

The pinion/driveshaft angle looks better after the installation of the shim blocks. The vibration that I had is gone. The truck also looks better with the 1" lift from the block.

I searched the archives at Ford-Diesel.com and found that several people fixed their funny lift kit problems with an adjustable trackbar. I searched the internet and found that Fabtech sold one (P/N FTS451). I ordered one from Summit Racing. Here is a picture of the trackbar. It comes with sleeves for early (pre March 1999) Superduties.

As I noted earlier, I was able to get rid of some of my noises by loosening the trackbar bolts. This didn't seem like the proper solution, and I've noticed the steering seems a little looser with the bolts not tight. I thought the adjustable trackbar might be the correct solution.

With the factory trackbar muscled into the Fabtech trackbar bracket the passenger side leaf spring had a "I'm being pulled to the left" look. When I took the factory trackbar off I measured the trackbar holes on the axle and the bracket. The trackbar holes were 29 3/4" apart (center to center). The trackbar was 29 1/4", so the factory trackbar was pulling the axle 1/2" to the left. I can see how these could cause funny noises, etc. as the suspension is pulled off center.

When I installed the adjustable trackbar I found a problem. It was almost an inch too long! I think it's meant to be used with a stock trackbar bracket. I cut ~3/4" off each of the threaded ends. The modified adjustable trackbar went on as smooth as silk. The bolts slid right into their holes with no effort...just like they should. The instructions say to torque the trackbar bolts to 110 ft-lbs, but I'd guess I had to use 200+ ft-lbs to get rid of the creaking and groaning. (update: Ford specs are 350+ ft-lbs.)

I've had the adjustable trackbar on for several days now, and I must say the truck drives great. It feels alot more solid. The squeaks/groans/pops seem to be gone. I'm considering the lift kit project to be finished.

Update September 2002 - The truck was doing pretty good, but the steering had alot of wander in it. I couldn't find any problems with the frontend components, so I adjusted the steering box and now the steering is alot tighter and it returns to center better. I think that did the trick.






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