Tim Smith (on forklift) and Jake Brazille helped pull the bed so we could modify the frame
It’s been said that no good deed goes unrewarded, but if recent events give any indication, we’d also say that no stupid act goes unpunished, and we’re living proof.
Our problems began when we violated our own rule, which is to have a well thought out plan when building a project. When we started on the Hot Rod Hauler we knew what we were after, we wanted to make a cool work truck/hauler/utilitarian vehicle out of our F-350. Part of the plan was to lower it all around. From the day it was new the rear was 3 inches higher than the front and, for reasons that sounded good at the time, we decided to alter our plan and just make it sit level. So, we changed our plan and removed the rear overload springs and added airbags for handling a load, but the problem was we didn’t like the look of it when we were done. Back to the original plan—-we installed 3-inch dropped axles up front and 3-inch de-arched rear springs in the rear. And while that combination lowered the truck, and the new rear springs improved the ride dramatically, we found ourselves right back in the same situation with the rear 3 inches higher than the front.
To solve our dilemma we were faced with doing what we should have done in the first place, moving the spring brackets up on the frame. Of course, that meant we had to C-notch the ’rails for clearance during full suspension travel, and the airbag mounts already in place would have to be cut off and repositioned. Like we said, no act of stupidity goes unpunished.
The rear suspension under the Hot Rod Hauler in the final form is 6 inches lower than stoc
With the help of Tim Smith, Jake Brazille, and a forklift, we removed the bed. Unfortunately for us, Ford saw fit to use stove bolts to secure the bed to the frame, and that meant that both gas tanks had to be removed to get to the nuts. To make things easier in the future we welded nuts to the framerail’s flanges and will use button head socket screws that can be installed from the top. If the bed ever comes off again (which it will when we repaint), the screws are easily removed and the gas tanks can stay in place.
Once the bed was off, the springs were removed and the rivets holding the brackets to the frame had to be dealt with. Not only are they hard, which makes grinding the heads off the most effective method of removing them, but they swell up in the hole as well. So, once the heads of the rivets are knocked off it still requires a substantial blow from a hammer and punch to remove them.
With the spring brackets removed, they were shortened so as not to overlap the top of the framerails, which eliminated the top attachment holes in each bracket. New holes were drilled in the ’rails for the remaining two holes and the brackets were bolted in place, then welded as well.
To remove the stock rear spring hangers the heads of the rivets were ground off, the remai
As we’ve lowered the rear of the truck a total of 6 inches, axle to frame clearance became a concern so we elected to C-notch the ’rails. A length of heavy wall tubing was split and made into reinforcements for the notches and plates were cut to box the ’rails in that area.
The rivets were removed from the front hangers. However, somewhere in the truck’s past, sh
Next, the previously installed airbag mounts were removed. At this point, with the truck l
After a trip through the bead blaster, the tops of the front spring mounts were trimmed ev
Same thing in the rear, the mounts were cleaned and trimmed, then bolted and welded in pla
Here’s technology in action. A chunk of 2x4 lumber was cut to the installed length of the
Reinforcements were cut from steel plate and welded to the frame and the bag mount.
With the new, lower ride height, clearance between the axle and the frame was less than 3
We used a length of heavy-wall tubing to reinforce the notches.
The tubing was split length-wise then welded into place.