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Picture of Installing a Leveling Kit on an F150 (2004+)
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Installing a leveling kit on an F150 has its advantages and disadvantages. Lifting the front of your truck two to three inches will allow for larger tires, but will also wear out ball joints slightly quicker (this would be a good time to replace ball joints/brakes if needed). If you’re unfamiliar with these independent front suspensions, then install may take you approximately two hours, but can be done in less than an hour with experience. If you want to gain more clearance or increase tire size, then this is the simple modification you’ll want to do.

Parts/Tools Needed:
• Jack
• 1 Jack Stand
• 4 Blocks for Rear Tires
• Tire Iron/Socket to Remove Front Wheels.
• Hammer & Punch
• Pry Bar
• Bungee strap
• Locktite®
• Impact Wrench
• Torque Wrench (22-111 ft-lbs)
• Wrenches (15mm, 27mm)
• Ratchet and Sockets (15mm, 18mm, 21mm, 30mm)
• Safety Glasses & Work Gloves
• Leveling Spacer ($70+)

*A truck alignment will be required after this install due to the change in the geometry of the front suspension.
 
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Step 1: Preparation

Picture of Preparation
To start, set the parking brake on your truck and place blocks in front of and behind the rear tires to ensure the truck wont roll. Jack up the truck high enough needed to remove the front wheel. A jack stand placed on the frame of the truck should replace the jack. This will be helpful later on when the jack may be needed. Make sure the lower A-arm is free hanging.

Caution: Eye protection should be worn at all times during the installation. Gloves are highly recommended.

Step 2: Upper Strut Mount

Picture of Upper Strut Mount
On top of the strut mount, you will see three bolts protruding out the top. This holds the top of the shock in place. Using the 15mm wrench/socket, remove two of the nuts. Loosen the third nut but do not remove it completely yet. The far inside nut may require you to use a 15mm socket instead.

Step 3: Sway Bar

Picture of Sway Bar
The sway bar is attached to the lower a-arm. Using the 18mm socket, remove this sway bar bolt.


(http://www.f150online.com/forums/members/gas+can-albums-sway+bar+end+links-picture147802-driver-sway-bar-end-link.html)

Step 4: Tie Rod

Picture of Tie Rod

The tie rod end is located just to front of the upper control arm. Use the 21mm socket to remove the nut. A few hits with the hammer on the steering knuckle (not the tie rod) should allow the tie rod to pop out if it happens to be stuck.

Step 5: Upper Ball Joint

Picture of Upper Ball Joint
The upper ball joint is a part of the upper control arm and attaches to the spindle. Use the 21mm socket to remove the nut on the underside of the ball joint. This ball joint is usually pretty difficult to pop out. Strong hits to the upper part of the spindle with the hammer will allow the upper ball joint to pop out. Be sure to not let the spindle and hub assembly fall out. Use some sort of strap that will hold the spindle up as to avoid tension on the brake line or overextend the CV axel. Attaching the strap to the upper control arm will usually work best.

Step 6: Lower Strut

Picture of Lower Strut
At the base of the shock, you’ll notice where it is bolted to the lower control arm. Remove this bolt using the 27mm wrench and the 30mm socket. Using the hammer and punch, remove the bolt.

Step 7: Installing the Spacer

Picture of Installing the Spacer
Now, the third nut on the upper strut mount can be removed. This will allow you to maneuver the entire shock assembly out of the truck. The spacer can then be mounted to the top of the shock. Your spacer should have come with a different set of nuts. Factory nuts should only be used with the factory studs. In turn, the spacer nuts should be used with the spacer studs. Use Locktite® on all six studs, and torque both factory nuts and the new spacer nuts to 35 lb-ft (48 Nm) using the torque wrench.

Caution: Applying too much torque to these nuts may cause damage. All nuts/bolts should be torqued to factory OEM specs.

Step 8: Reinstalling the Shock Assembly

Due to the placement of the studs, the entire shock assembly will be rotated 180 degrees in order for the studs to line up with the factory holes in the upper strut mount. Once set in place, snug up the three nuts on the upper strut mount.

Now the lower strut bolt hole will need to be lined up in order to insert the bolt. The hammer & punch may come in handy during this process.

After applying Locktite®, the lower strut bolt should be torqued to 351 lb-ft (476 Nm).

Caution: Applying too much torque to these nuts may cause damage. All nuts/bolts should be torqued to factory OEM specs.

Step 9: Reinstalling the Upper Ball Joint

Picture of Reinstalling the Upper Ball Joint
Place the jack under the lower control arm, and apply as much pressure needed to reconnect the upper ball joint with the spindle. Using a pry bar to force the upper control arm downward may be helpful. Once the upper ball joint and spindle have been connected, apply Locktite® and torque the ball joint nut to 85 lb-ft (115 Nm).

Warning: Do not apply more pressure with the jack than needed. The truck should not be lifted off the jack stand it was placed on. Failure to do so can cause injury.

Step 10: Reinstalling the Tie Rod End/Sway Bar

Picture of Reinstalling the Tie Rod End/Sway Bar
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Apply Locktite® to the tie rod end, reattach it, and torque to 111 lb-ft (150 Nm). Similarly, apply Locktite® and connect the sway bar to its designated location. Torque the sway bar to 98 lb-ft (133 Nm)

After this has been completed, return to the upper strut mount and torque the nuts to 35 lb-ft (48 Nm)



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Step 11:

Picture of
Reattach the wheel and repeat the process on the opposite side. Once you have completed the install, be sure to have your truck aligned. Now it’s your time to go tire/wheel shopping. These kits will allow tires up to 35”, depending on the offset of your wheels.
DougS18 months ago

This is very informative, but can I use a spring compressor to compress the suspension/strut, remove the three nuts at the top of the strut assembly and just rotate the whole strut assembly/shock tower out to install my 2.5 inch kit?