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Old 11-30-2005, 07:59 AM
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1977 Ford F100 Suspension, Lowering, Steering

I have a 77 f100 that I want to play with this winter. I would like to lower her. My plan is to cut the coils in the front. Is this a good idea? I want to end up with something that can travel at 65-85 for road trips. I have heard bad things about alignments after cutting coils. I do plan on having an alignment doe after the work. Looking to lower about 4".

Out back I am not so sure exactly how to lower. I have heard two approachs - One is to remove leaves from the springs, the other is to move the rear axle to the top of the springs. Any comments? Again, I want to end up with something that is road worthy. And again, looking to lower about 4".

Also, she is my parts hauler, so I would like it to be able to take some weight in the bed (probably nothing more than an occassional engine block).

I would like to go thru the suspension while I'm in there - New shocks, ball joints, brakes, etc. Any suggestions, I'm not building some g-machine here, but I do want to get away from the boat feeling when I go over a bump.

The old girl is not a drag car (I6 with a 3 speed), but who knows what may end up in her over the years. Any thoughts on fabbing a 4 link or something to help her hook, assuming she ever needs to?

Last, the steering is horrible. At 70 mph you can turn the wheel from the left to the right about 90 degrees without the front wheels moving. Would like to tighten it up, thoughts - New steering box, rebuild the steering box, etc.?

Needless to say, on a budget, just lookignto pretty the old girl up a bit.

Thanks,
Sammer

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Old 11-30-2005, 08:39 AM
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lower 4 in by cutting the coils.....BAD idea. You will never get the front end aligned. Unfortunately, the only way to get the drop you want is drop i beams, available, but pricey
Have your local spring shop rebuild the rears, tell'em what you want to do, and don't forget the hauling part.
Ball joints???? in a 77 1/2 ton ?????
when you rebuild the front end, replace ALL of the bushings ( no urethane please...tends to crack at the radius arms), brass king pin set, new wheel bearings, and the biggest, baddest shocks you can get (you will have to get into a shock extended/collapsed listing if you drop 4 in & get the correct shocks)
As far as the steering, is it a Ford box? if so a reman might be the best way to correct the problem
This is all gathered from many 1/2 - 3/4 ton ford builds....the things i mentioned will help you get the truck to steer as it should, no road walk, and not eat tires. Be prepared to spend between 1000-1300 bucks on all of this, then take the truck to a big truck shop for the alignment. They know how to work with a twin i beam better than most chain repair / tire shops
just my .02
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Old 11-30-2005, 08:45 AM
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RE: 1977 Ford F100 Suspension, Lowering, Steering

Thanks fitzwell. Sounds like great advice. Any thoughts on how low I can go with cutting coils (inches, numer of coils)?

Is modifying the rear springs not something that can be done in the garage?

Sammer
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Old 11-30-2005, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbilbrey
Thanks fitzwell. Sounds like great advice. Any thoughts on how low I can go with cutting coils (inches, numer of coils)?

Is modifying the rear springs not something that can be done in the garage?

Sammer
you can pro'lly get away with 1 - 1 1/2 coils, cut the springs in a 5 gallon bucket of cold water, with a cut off tool, might drop the truck 1/2 - 1 inch.

The rear springs are held togther with a tie bolt in the center, you can clamp the springs, remove said bolt (VERY CAREFULLY), remove a leaf or two & reassemble, just remember the leaf springs are under tension ( load) and can become a very damaging projectile without notice (dont ask....trust me on this one) Not something i would recommend.
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Old 11-30-2005, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbilbrey
Thanks fitzwell. Sounds like great advice. Any thoughts on how low I can go with cutting coils (inches, numer of coils)?

Is modifying the rear springs not something that can be done in the garage?

Sammer

Before you cut the coils, I would remove them, at least one, and using a floor jack under the frame, lower the jack to the ride height you are thinking you would like to run. With the tire in place, you will quickly see the camber issue you will have to deal with. This may change your mind for you.
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Old 11-30-2005, 06:03 PM
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I'm a Ford truck lover from way back,but the twin I beam front end is absolutely the worst under any pick-up,and doesn't improve with modifacation.
I have had several of these trucks over the years and never have figured out how to keep tires over 6" wide tread width from wearing the edges of the tread off too soon.Lowering or raising them only makes it worse.If the weight on the suspension never changed,you might have half a chance,but we know a truck,if used as a truck,won't happen that way.More weight wears the inside edge,towing a heavy trailer eats the outside edge.
The best set up for me was stock height,HD gas shocks,6" rims with stock back spacing,and 6" tread width light truck rated radial tires.This was on a 76 F-100 .With a good tight front end,stock alignment specs and spin balanced tires,this truck rode and handled well,didn't eat tires and was comfortable at highway speeds.
There are dropped beams available,but my experience with them was not good.I don't recall the manufacturer,but they were a fabricated design made up of round tubing ,flat stock and were red powdercoated.A hard hit on a pothole would send you back to the alignment shop and they bottomed out too easily.
Based on my experience,I'd recommend rebuilding your front end and steering components,putting on a good set of stock springs and a HD set of gas shocks.Keep the tread width under 6",on close to stock offset rims and you'll be happy.Stray too far from this and you'll have problems.
JMHO,
George
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Old 11-30-2005, 07:37 PM
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F100 front end

My professional opinion is dont even think about cutting those coil springs.even one coil will make your camber go way negative.I've corrected a lot of I beam axles over the years but still dont like to bend them too much.I have installed dropped I beams in two rangers[my personal drivers] one an 88 and also a 94. The 88 I used fabricated beams from DJM suspensions,the 94 I used Dream beams [tubular] Both trucks sat nice and low and drove and rode like stock vehicles. I used flip kits to lower the rear of both trucks also.I have never installed dropped beams in a full size truck,but I understand that you have to space the tie rods where they go through the radius arms. I never had any alignment problems with my rangers,I drove each of them for 4or 5years after they were lowered.
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Old 12-01-2005, 07:52 AM
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RE: 1977 Ford F100 Suspension, Lowering, Steering

Thanks everyone for all the advice. To be honest, this was just going to be a play project because this is one of the first winters I haven't had a project in my garage. I think I will just rebuild the suspension, it has 200K+ miles on what must be the original components.

She has been a great truck for me for the last 10 years and I am hoping to get another 10, at least. She's got a lot of rust, looks like it was painted with a brush (before I got it), and probably has 100 pounds of bondo, but I could jump in it and drive it 1000 miles tomorrow if I wanted. I think I'll focus on improving the looks to match the excellent mechanics. I'll start a new thread (or better yet look to see if there is one already) to focus on finding a replacing body components.

Thanks again everyone, this is an awesome resource.

Sammer
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Old 12-03-2005, 01:30 PM
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Keep it stock or put a complete different suspension in it.

Front suspension is one clear case of Chevy IS better than Ford.

x
Ford Guy
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:10 PM
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Yes I know it is an Old Post!

Okay I have the same question but in reverse!
I have an old 77 F100 that I would like to raise the front and lower the rear - gasser style.
Can it be done cheaply!

GCG
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