Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HOW TO: Improve the Ride Quality of a 1997 OBS Ford F350

Old body style 7.3 diesel based Ford heavy duty trucks have always been known for their reliability and longevity. Unfortunately, they have always lacked a bit in the ride quality department. When these trucks were newer and suspension manufacturers offered a variety of products for them, the focus was generally always on lift height rather than ride quality.

After perusing Carli Suspension's options for the 2005+ Ford F250/F350 Super Duties, a local customer had an idea - why not combine the reliability and timeless looks of his 1997 F350 with the ride quality and off road performance that Carli Suspension products offer for the 2005+ trucks?

We did some research and realized that some had already converted their old body style trucks to 2005+ radius arm suspension, with most of them using stock components. With frame widths being very similar, our curiosity was piqued. Carli Suspension's Ford Dominator 3.0 kit uses complete new coil buckets and rear leaf springs, while Carli also offers fabricated radius arms. Rather than utilize stock 2005+ components like many of the builds we had seen, why not upgrade everything?

Here is a quick rundown of this build:

-1997 Ford F350 Crew Cab Long Bed 7.3 Powerstroke 4x4
-Rebuilt 2006 Ford Super Duty Axles Front and Rear featuring Dynatrac Free Spin Hubs and Dynatrac Ball Joints, New Seals, and more
-Carli Suspension Dominator 3.0 (4.5" lift) Suspension System featuring Carli Fabricated Radius Arms
-20" Method Race Wheels NV's with 37x12.5x20 Toyo Open Country R/T tires

We will be posting more updates here on this blog as this build progresses!

First we stripped the factory front suspension and steering components.

We then mocked up positioning of the radius arm brackets.

Once the radius arm brackets were measured and calculated as in the correct position, we mocked up the Carli Suspension coil buckets to get a rough idea of where they will sit in relation to the front axle.

We then tested clearance of the King 3.0 shocks that are included in the Carli Dominator system to ensure clearance.

With the passenger side bucket mounted, we will move onto the driver side. The driver side is a bit more complicated as the track bar bracket must also be mounted.

Stay tuned for more updates!

For more information about Carli's Ford Dominator 3.0 system, click here.

To se updated pictures of this build, click here!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Preorder Carli's new 2014+ 2500 Suspension Systems!

We are excited to announce that we are now accepting preorders on Carli's 2014+ 2500 suspension systems! Here is what Carli has to say:

The day has arrived and it’s our pleasure to inform you that the 3” front, 1” rear lift 2014 - 2500 Commuter, Back-Country and Pintop Systems are now available for pre-order! We’re expecting the Pintop and Commuter 2.0 systems as well as ALL individual components to begin shipping mid-April. The Back-Country Systems will begin shipping mid-May.

We've never released systems about which we’re this excited. After nearly 2 years of painstaking R&D to ensure we bring to market the best riding, most geometrically correct and complete suspension systems available, we're VERY confident that our suspensions will exceed your expectations. Despite losing those who required a first to market, immediate solution, we persisted and stuck to our guns. Not surprisingly, we can now guarantee the products we’re releasing are geometrically sound, travel is as linear as possible, coils have the proper forces being applied and rear “wag” is minimized all with unparalleled ride quality. The systems are priced a bit higher than their 2013 and below counter-parts; however, the 2014+ systems are far more inclusive than earlier years. No more “Do I need control Arms, track bar, full springs, etc…?” All necessities are included in the base systems to ensure optimal performance. This, of course, doesn't mean you can’t add accessories (Steering Stabilizers, Torsion Sway Bar, Differential Guard, etc.) to make the kit your own; we've, however, taken care of everything else for you!

As for those waiting on the 2013+ 3500 systems, we’re going to get one in the shop ASAP. We have shocks and both Full Leaf Spring Replacement and Add-A-Pack options to fit the 2013+ 1 tons. Once valving is completed, we’ll make these systems available.

For those in the market for just a front leveling kit, we've elected not to manufacture one at this time. As stated above, this new platform requires far more than just a set of coils and shocks to function correctly. With all the parts needed to improve front ride quality and geometry, a leveling system would be expensive enough that neglecting to do anything to the rear would be ridiculous given the amount of improvement the additional components would add at a negligible price point. We're a performance suspension manufacturer; this decision was made to achieve the level of performance you've come to expect from our brand.

The “Systems” pricing in the following PDF includes all “Base System Components” + one of the shock packages. Again, you can see the amount of parts it takes to make a proper suspension in the new platform. We've yet to release a product with this amount of confidence and can honestly say these are the best riding systems released to date.

For more information about these new systems, click here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Super Sizing a 2004 Cummins

Last week, we had the opportunity to perform some upgrades to a customer's truck that had already received some suspension modifications, but the customer wanted more. This truck traverses back roads for many days at a time, and the customer wanted a suspension that not only was capable of going wherever he wanted, but a suspension that was capable of doing so for many days at a time without compromising comfort. For this task, we selected Carli's 6" Dominator suspension system.

Here is a before picture with the old 3" setup:

We began with the front end, mounting the Carli radius arms and crossmember:

We then mounted the Carli coils, fabricated shock towers, and King 3.0 front shocks:

We then moved on to the rear, mounting the Carli full progressive leaf springs, King 3.0 shocks, and long travel air bags:

The customer already had a Carli torsion sway bar, so we retained it and reused it with the new suspension setup:

Converting to radius arms requires the correct wheel and tire combination. We switched this truck to Method Race Wheels 17" standards with 4.5" of backspacing:

Here it is when we pulled it out of the shop:

The customer immediately took the truck to the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari 2015, a trail run dominated by Jeeps and smaller 4 wheelers. This truck had no problem traversing the terrain!

For more information about Carli's Dominator suspension system, click here.