Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Planning Suspension modifications

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    • #40536

      Hello All,

      “13 Vital Off-Road Tips for Truck Camper Rigs” by Jefe4X4 was a very timely to my effort to plan long term for suspension modifications to my truck. I am a long time lurker of this website, and it has been hugely influential as I have built my truck camper rig over the past two years. The information from this site has saved me time and money in selecting the truck and camper as well as guiding many of the upgrades we made to our camper. The article is also timely as I was putting together my thoughts this weekend to ask the forum for the collective wisdom on truck suspension modifications. I have a 2017 Ford F-350 crew-cab, SB, SRW, 4×4, Diesel paired with a 2011 Wolf Creek 816, and am considering a 2.5″ lift and moving to 35″ tires etc. I have made lots of mods to the camper, but from a drive-ability perspective have only added the Torklift Stableloads to the truck.

      The article is an excellent primer, but I would love to hear more thoughts on suspension lifts and other mods, particularly given the expense associated with them. I would like to make a plan for the truck that allows me to make improvements that build on each other and keep me from undoing earlier modifications etc. My current rig is pushing my truck’s 11,500# GVWR and I feel over the two years my rear springs have lost an inch or more of height when loaded. As I said above I am considering a 2.5″ front and rear lift and moving up to 35″ tires to hopefully provide more clearance, suspension travel, and a better ride on and off road. I have looked at Carli, Icon, and BDS systems among others, and am looking for any input from those with experience with these brands and specific components that are worthwhile. i.e. do I really need new radius arms or not? Beyond the lift I am planning for a new Buckstop bumper and winch, anythings else that is a must do to improve on stock OEM components?

      Thanks – Daniel

    • #40927

      You’ve already read what I have to say about suspension mods. Your truck is already set up to take the load, as you chose well. AFAIK, the ’17 Ford 350 has enough fender clearance to take 35’s without rubbing. Does the DEF tank hang down below the frame rails? This is crucial. I only did a 3″ lift to gain tire clearance as our truck campers are tall enough without much lift. The woe is keeping the overall height as low as possible with as much approach, breakover, and departure angle as you can muster. My bro John has a 1999 F-250 with Camper package (upper overloads) long bed with standard size tires and he’s been able to go anywhere I go. Of course, he won the first, “King of the Hammers” off-road race and an especially gifted off road driver, so that plays into the equation on how he can motate over really ugly terrain without a scratch. Bro John’s Ford does sit lower in back even with the upper overload spring. So maybe try a 1800-2K pound helper spring in the pack on the rear. It’s a cheap fix and has the plus of giving you a tri-load feature with about a 2″ loaded lift over stock. I have this one, and when the truck is empty I basically ride on this spring. It’s not a bad ride, but not good either. With 500 pounds of load the susp. gets down to the regular spring pack and gets noticeably stiffer. With the 2350 pound camper on, the susp. descends to the Stable Loads, overload single, and 3 upper overload giving a firm but very stable ride. The ride has been the best the few times when i’ve loaded 5000 pounds of crushed rock in the bed. Braking was the only casualty.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #42689


      I too, am looking to make some upgrades to my recent acquisition of a ’16 F350 CCLB SRW 6.7L 4×4 (all stock) with a ’17 N* 850 SC. I am not very smart as far as suspension goes. But what I would like is to make it as best of an overlander as I can without sacrificing too much on road. I plan to go on an extended road trip at the end of the year cruising around US and Canada with preference for doing some beginner to intermediate overland routes (not opposed to more challenging routes if I have some experienced people taking me along). I have been told a small lift (no more than 2.5″) and some upgraded shocks? I see Jefe recommends a helper spring in the rear giving a 2″ lift? Would this be better than a regular lift? If I did a helper spring should I still consider after market shocks? Also hearing a leveling kit up front is a big help but others say not required as the camper kind of does that already? Lastly, the truck is a daily driver for the next few months before I leave on my planned trip but can deal with a bit of uncomfortable ride when empty so long as works as I want with camper loaded. Plus being summer I try to go on two wheels more than 4 except when taking my dogs out.

      Any inputs are appreciated (and please feel free to explain it in a “for Dummies” fashion as mentioned, not “suspension smart” over here).


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