how to achieve a more sporty suspension? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 06-13-2005
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how to achieve a more sporty suspension?

can anyone help with this? what can i do/upgrade on my truck to achieve a more sport-tuned suspension feel. right now, my suspension is stock, and its nice, but a little 'soggy'. i'm assuming the only things i can really do are changing out the front shocks? if anyone has any recommendations on some sport style shocks that would work on my truck let me know! i've heard good things about edelbrock ias shocks... are there any other improvements i can make that would provide a noticeable improvement in handling, and especially cornering? thanks guys!

Last edited by barrman; 06-13-2005 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 06-13-2005
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Add a rear sway bar. You already have one on the front. A rear bar will flatten the cornering a bit and balance the truck more front to rear. Just don't go overly large on the rear without increasing the size of the front bar, too. I would recommend finding a factory Ranger rear bar - it bolts right on and is tuned to work with the stock front bar.

You can upgrade the shocks if you like but I think you would get better results from a stickier set of tires.

Last edited by V8 Level II; 06-13-2005 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 06-13-2005
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How much do you want to spend? You're talking to the right person about sport suspension.....

For starters:

Lower it. Not much.....unless you want to go lower. Optimum handling for our trucks is between a 2/3 and a 4/5 lowering job. I split the difference...

Mine is lowered 3/4. A lower truck results in a lower roll center of gravity (RCG), the axis in which the weight "rotates" around while shifting in corners....

Lower trucks simply handle better, and when coupled with stiffer springs, shocks, and swaybars, the rolling is reduced greatly. The act of rolling in itself is what robs many trucks of their cornering ability, because it inhibits your ability to go in the path you're intending to.

There are a couple of ways to lower the front. Springs are the cheapest and easiest way. It's also the method that is hardest on your suspension, because it alters nothing else on the suspension, EXCEPT the correct geometry....this will lead to alignment problems and increased wear on ball joints, bumpstops, tie rods, swaybar endlinks, etc. Ask me how I know.

But, it is a good cheap way to go lower. Don't simply buy any lowering spring though. DJM springs are shorter, but their spring rate is not that much sportier/stiffer than stock. If you only want 2" of drop in the front, go with Steeda's springs. They're high, but worth it IMO.

I went with Belltech, because of the 3" lowering ability, and they have quality products. I can definatley tell a difference in their spring rates, as well. Belltech is in the midrange on cost....expect to pay $160 for a pair.

Shocks....go Belltech monotube drop shocks all around. Monotube offers much better and much more efficient damping abilities than other styles (twin tube, etc.).

Belltech's shocks are roughly $50 each.

Swaybars are a little easier, partly because few companies offer them. Roush has a complete set (front/rear) for $300....engineered for Rangers to handle well. Hotchkis has a DAMN good set also....a .75" swaybar should be plenty for the rear, 1.25" or 1" on the front would be fine as well.....

MUCH MUCH MORE to talk about, but I gotta eat first.....Then I'll cover "other" front options and the rear suspension....

Till then....
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Old 06-13-2005
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Part Deux....

Aight....back for more.

The other option for the front (besides coils alone) is a set of new control arms. DJM makes the only set. The benefits are lighter arms, ball joints (included) that are designed to work at that geometry, and polyurethane bushings (firmer than stock; allows less flex in the bushing area).

Control arms are desinged to be used with a lowering coil. Most front drops using control arms end up totalling about 4 inches lower than stock...which will cause stock diameter tires to rub.

While more expensive, control arms are better in the long run I believe, if for nothing else than maintenance. BUT, I've still not found out 100% if control arms can be used with stock springs....can't get a straight answer. The benefit of this would be only lowering the truck 2", allowing you to use stock diameter rolling stock.

REAR SUSPENSION:
````````````````

In the rear, we don't have many options. A sway bar definately helps. Like Bob said, don't go crazy in the rear unless you've matched the front to it. You want the front to have a stiffer bar for two reasons:

A) to combat understeer, something our trucks are plagued with...if the front rolls too much, it "plows" through corners. In other words, the rolling action makes the truck want to continue rolling straight. If you decrease the weight's ability to shift (stiffer bar) you thereby decrease the inertia's ability to pull you forward. Result? You make the corner; faster, and with less lean. Win-win.

B) Stiffer bars in the back will cause the inside wheel to lift during hard cornering, and if that wheel is the only powered wheel (if you have an open diff) or even if you have a differential that relies on the other wheel's torque (torsen) the truck will cease to accelerate out of the corner until the wheel makes contact with the ground again. Not a life or death situation, but undesireable at best. It will DEFINATELY slow you down in corners.


Now, also, the rear can be lowered in two ways:

A) Monoleaf -- A single leaf spring tuned for handling and lowering, and nothing else. So if you still want to haul stuff, see option B...

B) Flip Kit. This positions the axle ABOVE the leaf pack, simply moving the axle closer to the frame and "lowering" the rear. In this case, blocks that truck guys normally use for lifting can now be used for lowering, because they position the axle even closer to the driveshaft...not good for handling. The flip alone is PLENTY. In fact, a flip alone will yield a 5" drop, easily. And you still use the stock leaf pack, so you have more hauling ability than a monoleaf.

The solution for bringing the rear "back up" to a more subtle and practical 3-4" drop is to use lowering shackles from a fullsize truck. Yes, Lowering shackles. On Rangers, they actually "lift" the truck by moving the rear mounting point for the springs further away from the truck's frame. NOW, the rear is lowered anywhere from 3-4"....much better for handling that the 5"+ from the flip by itself. You want some distance between the frame and axle for proper suspension articulation.

There is one ugly side effect of the shackle...Pinion angle interference....

See this article I made on RPS for that info....TOO MUCH TYPING.
vvvvv
http://www.rangerpowersports.com/tec...ibration.shtml

Tired yet?

Now that all that's aside, you would then have a truck that handles well....

See my website for my suspension mods....and a side profile of the "final lowering effect" of all that listed above.

Like Bob also said: Tires, especially tires and new wheels, will help tremendously.

Stock rubber sucks. Period. A stickier compound and a better tread pattern will yield better handling that stock, even using the same wheels.

However, a bigger wheel diameter with a smaller profile tire will give you less sidewall flex, and when you add a wider wheel to the equation, BAM! You've got a handler....

Of course, the stock suspension can only work so well, even with wider tires.

But when you combine better rolling stock with a more agressive suspension, you have a truck that handles on rails...

At this point, I'm going to hold back and let you ask specific questions....tell me your goals, and your budget, and I'll try to come up with a good suspension system for you, and I'll even factor in different wheels and tires.

So, ask away!

Last edited by John Moorehead; 06-13-2005 at 08:18 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2005
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hmm do i smell a sticky.. i think i do.. mod sticky this up like fly paper.. please


very veryy verry good information john.. your the man..
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  #6  
Old 06-13-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92 Ranger
hmm do i smell a sticky.. i think i do.. mod sticky this up like fly paper.. please


very veryy verry good information john.. your the man..

Thanks man.

It's funny, most people on this site lift their trucks...not that that's a bad thing.

But, I am lowered, and I do race. So I am the man to talk to about this stuff.

There's SO much more I want to say, but I want to find out what he wants as a goal for his truck's handling. I haven't even MENTIONED crossweighting......
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  #7  
Old 06-13-2005
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ok you need to take a day off work and we will definatly definatly have to put this as a sticky.. like a tech library
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  #8  
Old 06-13-2005
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Bah, just give me a rainy Saturday....

I'm going to put it this way: My sister drives a 350Z 6-speed convertible. I pass her on windy roads. On the straights, I'm toast! But I've got her on the twisties....

Mr. Whipple is gonna help me on the straights....
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  #9  
Old 06-13-2005
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ooo nasty man, i love those fairlady zs man.. those are sweet and pretty fast too..
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  #10  
Old 06-13-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92 Ranger
pretty fast too..
I've had hers up to 152 mph....it FLIES.
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  #11  
Old 06-13-2005
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damn, thats fast as hell, i cant wiat till mr whipple meets you at your door, do a how to install on it...
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2005
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I'll be calling Doug on that one.....I don't go NEAR engines...**** breaks.
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  #13  
Old 06-13-2005
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^dont break your engine


also, tires with a high speed rating along with larger wheels will help is handling (i only read a bit of the post...this may have been said)
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  #14  
Old 06-13-2005
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More "sporty"? Replace your springs with basketballs...
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  #15  
Old 06-13-2005
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john you rock... thanks for the buttload of info... i know who i'll be directing these questions to in the future!

the basketball mod might be most inexpensive way to go.... is there a writeup on your cardomain for it yet griggs? ;o)

i'm out the door to bowl... i'll have to go over all this info again when i get back...
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Old 06-13-2005
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Well, I don't know where they come from, Brian -- but the great ideas just pour out of me...
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  #17  
Old 06-13-2005
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oh and a sidenote n3elz - i used your 'how to repack your bearings' post on r-f to help get me through changing my brakes a couple days ago... that post was damn useful!
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Old 06-13-2005
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Ah, good! I just did that again myself with Candice's truck this past weekend. She needed new rotors and pads as well. Thanks!
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  #19  
Old 06-13-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrman
john you rock... thanks for the buttload of info... i know who i'll be directing these questions to in the future!
Anytime, bro! I work during the day, so I'll only be around here during nights.

But I'll try to answer ASAP if I see anything....

Later man!

And a sidenote....John (n3elz) is the ****.....He probably knows how to build a Ranger from toothpicks....
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Old 06-13-2005
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Yes, but you don't want to smoke in it...
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  #21  
Old 06-15-2005
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ok john m.... so basically the wheel/tire setup im looking at is as follows;

18x8" wheels
30x10.4" tires (specifically, im looking at toyo proxes 255/60R18 or 285/50R18)

i think i want to keep my truck at the height its at, but still upgrade the suspension in addition to the new wheels/tires. so, if i want to keep my truck the same height, could i just leave the stock coils, and add a rear sway and new shocks all around? i know you mentioned bilstein drop shocks.... do they have um.. "non-drop" shocks? :o) thats why i was originally looking at the edelbrock ias shocks... but i havent really heard a thing about them.
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Old 06-15-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrman
i think i want to keep my truck at the height its at, but still upgrade the suspension in addition to the new wheels/tires.
Good to hear! In one of your other posts, you were talking about installing a lift kit which would be at odds with your goal of improved street handling.
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  #23  
Old 06-15-2005
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youre right about that bob... i was originally thinking of doing a 3" spindle and getting the same wheels and 32" toyos instead of the 30"ers, but i think ive dropped the lift idea. other than asthetics, a lift wouldnt really provide me with anything, and i always had balance/alignment issues with my old ranger after i lifted it. plus, i dont offroad. period. i'm too **** about keeping my truck clean ;o)
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  #24  
Old 06-15-2005
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Not bustin your *****, but that 30" package is still pretty big for agile handling...

There certainly are Bilstein shocks for a stock application, though. Those, paired with a good swaybar upgrade should really help things out.

Since you're not lowering it, I would highly recommend spending the extra money for the Roush swaybar package....You get a bigger front swaybar, and a rear one that you don't have already. So that's good .

I'm going to be real with you.....if I wasn't doing the Saleen theme with my truck, I'd be using a 17" wheel right now. 18's, especially chrome ones, are HEAVY for spirited driving. They look good, BUT......

Which brings me to the tire thing. The bigger tire and bigger wheel combined are gonna be pretty heavy. What's your overall diameter right now?

I'm assuming that since you own a 2WD XLT, you're using 225/70/R15 tires, right?

If so, that's an overall diameter of 27.4". If you get those 30's, you're going to feel slower. The added weight will hurt your braking and acceleration, and the extra weight willalso slow the reaction time of your suspension because of the added unsprung weight.

I'm using 255/45/18 tires, overall diam. of 27.0", and my wheels weighed 33 lbs. each. The tire probably weighed a good 12 pounds....so right at 50 pounds at each corner...And that's a 27" overall package!!

Not bossing ya around, you do what you want......but I highly recommend a smaller O.D. if you want better handling.....Just want looks? go with 'em....

*Also, bigger tires will effectively raise your truck. NOT good for handling....

just something to think about.....
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  #25  
Old 08-31-2005
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I can vouch for all the things you just said John. I've got a 97 S10 2.2 that came with 205/75 15's stock...I'm now running 235/75 15's, and my truck was slow before! My 2wd sits within 1/4" of the height of my friends 4x4 Blazer (which uses 235/75 15's as well) in front and I can definitely feel it. The thing leaned a lot before...now it's rediculous, but I need the ground clearance.

Eric
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