Compared to our HD lines, the 1500s get very little love in our Media releases – it’s time to change that.
The guys at Motorsports Safety Solutions entrust us with one hell of a task – equip their rigs to go anywhere to which they’re dispatched on a moment’s notice. Usually, this translates to running a race course at speed – after all, they drive like someone’s life depends on it as it often does. We’ve now outfit their 2016 F350 Super Duty built with a General Truck Body Service Body with a full Custom 2.5″ Dominator System with Custom Deaver Springs and shock tune to match (Click Here to View This Build). Their 2017 Super Duty received the same treatment with King 2.5″ Shocks vs the 3.0″ in the 2016.
Their 2006 then received the same treatment as the 2017, full Pintop System.
Next up was this, their 1500. We’ve not been in the 1500s as long as we’ve been in the HD market but, after working with their HD counterparts, setting up the suspension on one of these lighter rigs felt like we’d warmed up with 2 bats before stepping to the plate. A set of King’s OEM front coilovers was fitted. Normally we spec extended travel over the King OEM but limitations on the CV axles and tie-rods meant we were more comfortable keeping them where they were. After all, you’re adding a TON of damping ability and still extending travel over stock, why get greedy on a truck that’s likely going to charging open desert in the middle of nowhere?
To round off the front end, we designed a boxed, fabricated upper control arm. Tube is cool but boxed steel is sexier and stronger when properly configured. The arm is camber-corrected to account for the 2.25″ front lift allowing you to re-center your camber adjustment at the lifted height. We finished the arm off with a grease fitting to access the serviceable hat bushings with grease flutes to ensure they’re serviceable on the truck at the frame connection. On the other end, a huge FK Bearing Uniball for the ultimate in reliability. Securing the Uniball to the spindle is our in-house machined, 2-piece stainless stud affixed with a heat-treated 12-point. Cap this assembly with our (again) in-house machined/knurled Uniball Cap and O-Ring for the ultimate in weather protection and you’re left wiht an arm that corrects geometry and is built to handle the Apocalypse.
Onto the rear, no CV Boots or tie-rod ends, GAME ON! We start with a lighter rate spring that lifts the rear 1/4″. Naturally, a spring that is lighter rate and sits higher loaded will be much longer unloaded. The longest shocks we could pair with these coils followed. The rear end cycling 13″ of suspension travel meant some pretty serious side to side axle movement thanks to the rear track bar so we made a bracket to drop the pivot point to minimize the rear yaw (wag) through the range of extended suspension travel. Last, the factory rear sway bar wasn’t down to party so we added some longer links to alleviate the stress at the new bottom of the suspension cycle and all was done.
Well, the easy part was done as the suspension cycled perfectly. Thousands of miles of on-road and off-road driving and what seemed like thousands of cycles of pulling & revalving shocks followed. The result was worth it. The Commuter Kit rode like a car on-road, railed corners and, unlike it’s HD counterpart, showed virtually no shock fade on rutted fire-trails. The Performance 2.5″ sets the bar for performance in a 1/2 ton. It’s by no means a replacement for cut and weld long-travel kits or bypass shocks but, considering you bolting in coilover, matching rear shocks and a couple brackets (granted, we have some magic inside those shocks), the Performance in the dirt is unreal!
Back to the MSS Build… John carries all sorts of first-responder goodies. The shell & stacked bedslide proved to me a bit much for our production rear springs. We started by adding some tuning to the rear which cleaned it up a ton while we waited for our custom HD rear coil springs. Once installed, this build came alive. Throwing that weight in the rear to balance the rear to the front made for amazing traction and stability when pairing with the new springs and shock tuning. Overall, we were happy to be able to get another one in the books for the Motorsports Safety Solutions crew – especially with their promise to long-term torture test whatever’s installed!