There are countless reasons why Ford’s pickup trucks are the most sold pickup truck in the world. They can handle almost any terrain with ease, they are great for hauling trailers when you’re camping or on the job site, and they are affordable to purchase and maintain. The suspension area is one of the few areas Ford could improve on.
Many Ford pickup owners feel the need to boost their suspension. Due to the front coil spring, the size of the radius arm, and the rear leaf spring design, Ford pickup trucks are known for having a lower suspension. While Ford made these design decisions to maximize fuel economy and use smaller tires, it has become increasingly popular for owners to modify their Ford pickup truck.
Fortunately for the Ford pickup truck community, there are dozens of options to improve the suspension on these trucks to fit any wheel size you can imagine. In most cases, with some simple modifications and after-market parts, you can fit up to 40-inch tires without having to worry about breaking an axle or ruining your transmission.
The Ford F-250 is one of the most popular heavy-duty pickup trucks on the market, and many owners choose to increase their suspension to fit bigger tires. Since there is an overwhelming number of options, here are a few accessible ways to raise your suspension on your F-250.
How to Fit 35-Inch Tires
Regardless of the model of F-250 you have, you will need to make some modifications to your truck if you want to add 35-inch or 315 tires. Even though the super duty model of the truck can fit 33-inch tires, some after-market products will be needed to fit larger load-bearing tires.
The fortunate thing about adding larger tires to the F-250 is that the rear wheel wells will not need any modifications since larger tires can already fit. One method of altering your front suspension is by adding a 2-inch coil spacer or a leveling kit.
It is important to know that 35-inch tires are considerably wider than the tires they offer at the dealer. Generally, wider wheels that have the correct offset (0mm offset with an 8.5-inch wheel well; -12mm offset with a 9-inch wheel well) are vital to preventing rubbing and uneven wearing of your tires.
Before choosing a tire size, you should know how fast you can drive your truck and what common road conditions you will be putting your car under.
The 35-inch tires are a great option for drivers who want to improve their trucks’ capabilities in extreme terrains like mud, sand, and snow. The size of the tire will allow you to drive your truck with few adverse effects on your towing capabilities. Further, by only adding 35-inch tires, it will be just as easy to hop into the bed or cab of your truck.
What About a Four-Link Conversion
Four-Link conversion kits are a great option when raising the suspension of your truck to fit larger tires. Adding a four-link kit will effectively lower the center of gravity on your vehicle which will improve the handling of your vehicle, especially in inclement weather and rough terrain.
Ford trucks by design are already incredibly safe but raising the suspension will alter the nature of your vehicle. By adding a four-link conversion to your truck, you will improve the safety of your vehicle by decreasing the chance of your truck rolling during a crash, which is more common when lifting your truck.
While the F-250 is a well-built machine, it still has its problems. By design, the radius arms will inhibit articulation over time and eventually cause significant changes to the camber through continuous use of the suspension. Although these issues will rarely affect the everyday driving capabilities, they will become noticeable when you put your vehicle to the test.
For drivers who plan to haul heavy payloads or drive in extreme terrain, lowering the center of gravity of your vehicle is a smart investment.
Lift Blocks, Leaf Springs, & Air Bags
While the front tire wheels are the main focus when lifting your truck to fit 35-inch tires because they are smaller and help steer the car, the rear wheel wells should not be forgotten. There are several methods in boosting the suspension and performance of your rear wheel wells, where the preferred method will depend on the desired performance and budget.
Adding lift blocks to your truck will be the least expensive option and often the easiest. Lift blocks work by matching the suspension of your rear tires to the front tires, making this method incredibly easy to install and adjust. It’s important to note that if you plan to install larger tires such as 37-inch or 40-inch, you may cause axle wrap. In these cases, you should think about installing traction bars with tires bigger than 35-inches.
Another great option to increase the suspension of your rear wheels is by replacing the leaf spring pack with one that has more arch. This will raise the suspension while putting less stress on your axle, unlike lift blocks.
The downside of installing an upgraded leaf spring pack is finding a product that can handle an empty truck and a heavy load. Before purchasing a leaf spring pack, you should consider the different loads you will typically use your truck for to determine how stiff your springs should be.
For the best of both worlds, adding an airbag to your suspension system is a great option. Airbags can be used in tandem with a soft leaf spring to give you the ultimate protection. This will allow you to raise your suspension while also minimizing pressure on your axle. For the best use, remember to deflate the airbags when your payload is low and inflate them when pulling or carrying a heavy payload.
The Importance of Proper Tires
While raising the suspension of your truck is necessary to fit larger tires, the type of tire you consider buying is just as important. The main reason drivers want to add larger tires to their trucks is to carry heavier payloads and improve handling in tough driving conditions. That is why you need a tire that can withstand the pressure.
In this scenario, the lightweight tires that come with your vehicle and that are widely available, are likely not enough for your needs. If you’re thinking about hauling a trailer or carrying more than 3,000 lbs., you’re going to need thicker tires with a better tread.
It is highly suggested that you buy tires that can handle at least 3,000 lbs. when fully inflated. This will ensure a smooth ride for your truck and limit the harmful wear and tear on your tires and suspension system.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to add 35-inch tires or larger to your F-250, you’re going to need to increase the suspension on your truck. Depending on the year and model, you may need to research how much suspension you need and whether you can get away with only improving the front wheel suspension. Further, if you own a different model of a Ford truck, like the F-150, the process can look different.
While there are many different options to increase the suspension, along with dozens of brands, understanding the common conditions you will put your truck under is the most important when choosing a suspension method.