Truck Tech Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
Ford Handling Kit - Belltech
Summit Racing
Ram Front Shocks - Bilstein
Summit Racing
Ram Lowering Kit - McGaughy's
Summit Racing
Ram rear shocks - Bilstein
Summit Racing
Ram Traction Bars
Matco Tools
MATCO Tools are the Official Tool Supplier to PowerNation
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(LT)>> Two trucks purchased.

(Austin)>> Both put through the ringer.

(LT)>> And today our muscle truck build off begins. It's ragin' cajun's Platinum F-150.

(Austin)>> Versus lobster boy's '05 SRT-10. [ Music ] [ engine revving ]

(LT)>> Yeah baby, woo hoo! [ Music ]

(LT)>> We could tell early on with our testing out at the track that neither one of these trucks is gonna handle all that good in its stock condition. So we're gonna start out by bringing the center of gravity a little bit closer to the ground. We're gonna lower these trucks.

(Austin)>> And to make that happen Summit Racing sent us over each lowering kit. For the F-150 the front is going to get dropped three inches with this strut and coil over assembly, and the rear, that'll get taken care of with an axle flip kit, not to mention we're gonna add a heavy duty sway bar cause these trucks didn't even come with that from the factory and that'll just eliminate all my body roll.

(LT)>> I think my favorite part is the pre-assembled strut because even an amateur can install it. Smart thinking.

(Austin)>> I'll be done before you even start.

(LT)>> Now to get the Ram closer to the ground it's going to be lowered two inches in the front and four and a half inches in the rear, shorter coil spring, and a flip kit and longer shackle combination. We'll show you more on that later but we're also gonna freshen up the ride with a new set of shocks and to keep that rear axle under control a set of Caltrac traction bars.

(Austin)>> And since you're already on the lift I'll take the working man's truck and the working man we'll go handle mine on a set of jack stands.

(LT)>> Oh you're so gracious.

(Austin)>> It seems appropriate.

(LT)>> What a nice guy. [ mechanical humming ] [ Music ] [ mechanical humming ] [ drill humming ]

(LT)>> So what's the story man? You gave me this high and mighty speech about having to use a floor jack and you've got a portable lift?

(Austin)>> Yeah will I went and looked for the floor jack in all fairness and I saw that, and I'm like try it out. It looks easy.

(LT)>> Man you've got such a hard life.

(Austin)>> I've still got like six jack stands under there or something. It works.

(LT)>> Whenever you're working with heavy chassis parts like an axle you don't want to drop them, and that's where a pair of axle stands come in handy. The rear suspension on both of our muscle trucks is a leaf spring design, and we're gonna start the lowering process the same way on each truck, with a flip kit. Now basically we're gonna be moving the axle from the bottom of the spring pack to the top, and it's gonna be mounted in a saddle that's provided with each kit. Now that'll start off with six inches of drop, but that's a little bit too much for this truck because the front's only going down too, and it would bottom out on the frame even if I took the bump stop off. So we need a way to raise the rear end of the truck back up just a little bit, and on this truck we're going to accomplish that with a longer shackle. Now typically for most trucks this would actually lower the rear end even more, but on this generation of Ram it will actually lift it, and that's because the stock rear shackle is actually mounted upside down from the way most trucks do it. That's gonna push the back end of the leaf spring further away from the frame, which will lift it back up an inch and a half, which is exactly where we want it to be. Now I can take the spring off, flip underneath the axle, and bolt it all back together, and the dropped portion of the install would be done, but we're also going to be installing some Caltracs at the same time, and that requires a small aluminum sleeve to be installed in front of the spring pack. Now that's not a job I want to do with the spring still on the truck. So I'm gonna take it off the truck and head over to the press.

(Austin)>> Alright so the first thing you're gonna notice with this ole F-150 is that this rear spring hanger is actually coming from the bottom. So that shackle's sitting right on top. Unlike the Viper truck where the hanger's up top and the shackle's hanging, kinda floating down with the spring. So the main difference with this kit is that they give you a shorter shackle to allow for the proper travel, but up front they give you a dropped spring hanger. This will mount in the original hanger location. Your spring will mount right up here, drop it down, give you the travel you need. Freedom! [ drill buzzing ] [ saw buzzing ] [ Music ] [ drill vibrating ]

(Austin)>> And the last little part of teardown. All we've got to do is swap these center pins. That axle's gonna sit on top, lock it in place. Don't even have to take the whole leaf pack apart. Clamp it down and just swap them one at a time. [ Music ]

(LT)>> In order to get the Caltracs installed on the Viper truck I've got to remove this pressed in rubber bushing from the front of the spring pack and it's gonna get replaced with a solid aluminum sleeve. Now these rubber bushings are held very firmly in place, and my go to tool has always been the shop press, but you guys give me a hard time and I get it. Not everybody has something like this in their home shop. So I'm gonna show you a way to do the job with something that's a little more attainable. This is the new Matco Tools long barrel air hammer, and this thing lays down 2,300 impacts per minute, and that means it'll move a ton of metal in hurry. It's power is delivered with a 3.75 inch stroke, and the forward drift design allows you to easily control the chisel on the work piece, and as a plus the rubber dampener reduces hand fatigue. The chuck design allows for quick and easy bit swaps, and in no time at all the bushing walks right out. So the one thing you do not want to do is drive this aluminum sleeve back in with an air hammer or even a regular hammer because it will mess it up. Slow and steady wins the race here. A little bit of anti-seize on the bushing will help it slide right in and prevent any galling. [ Music ] Man get that thing out of here. I don't need a bed step.

(Austin)>> I'm just messing with you man. I wouldn't do that to you. They're hideous and they're heavy. Well looks like you're almost done actually.

(LT)>> Yeah, got that driver's side wrapped up and almost done with the passenger. How about you?

(Austin)>> Sweet I'm in assembly mode too. Slap some springs on, moving to the front baby.

(LT)>> Alright well get back to it, and take your step with you.

(Austin)>> I guess. Sell it on eBay or something.

(LT)>> Next two different styles of drop kits.

(LT)>> So I've got the leaf spring in place and the axle sitting on top in its new home, and the part that's going to locate the two together is called an axle saddle. It indexes onto the spring perch, which is on top, and there's a hole which centers it in the leaf spring centering pin. Now on this particular style of kit that hole is drilled off center, which pushes the axle a little bit further towards the rear of the truck. Now that's to compensate for the different angle of the driveshaft. Now underneath the axle there's gonna be this new spring plate, and that's what the U-bolts are gonna attach to to hold everything together, and as you can see it too has a hole that is drilled off center, but we're actually not using this because of running Caltracs. The traction bar kit actually comes with its own lower spring plate and it has a hole drilled in it, but the problem is, well the Caltracs were designed for a flip kit that centers the rear axle and I need to make a new hole. Now as you can see it's just a little bit off center, but if I were to drill straight through it would kind of be a weird oblong oval shaped hole which might not properly locate the axle. So let me show you how I'm gonna fix it. [ Music ] I'm gonna start by grinding the powder coat from the top and inside of the hole, and then I'll fire up the Forney welder. [ welder crackling ]

(LT)>> In no time flat the hole is filled in. [ welder crackling ]

(LT)>> And with it ground smooth I'll use a drill press to install a new hole in the correct position about a half an inch off center. Back at the truck the saddle goes in place and the axle is lowered in position, followed by the U-bolts. Now the lower mount gets attached with four nuts. The bar installs on the front pivot and then the lower rear axle mount. The flip kit comes with a lower stock extender, which gets bolted into place, followed by the shock. [ drill vibrating ]

(LT)>> And the bump stop wraps up the rear.

(Austin)>> I'm gonna crank off the rear by shoving this old spring pack under there and bolt up this drop hanger in the meantime. [ drill vibrating ] [ Music ]

(Austin)>> Once I get my little self under here, get this guy in place. [ Music ] It's all about timing. [ drill vibrating ]

(Austin)>> I'll snug her up good later. I want to get all the weight of the truck on before we really cinch it down. Let it settle in place. [ Music ] Now if you notice this kit uses some square U-bolts and this little tab that kinda holds it in place, and it really can't go nowhere the way it's designed, but when I cinched down the other side I noticed it did move a little bit. So for just like peace of mind I'm gonna burn it in. Easy quick fix, we'll be in business. [ Music ] I went ahead and clamped down the U-bolt plate just to make sure it stays put right where I want it. [ Music ] Now on the old F-150 they give you a little wedge here. A three degree aluminum shim, and that'll just locate the pinion angle right where it needs to be so the drivetrain's all nice and happy. Then I'm gonna be in some kind of awkward little contortionous position to make this all work. [ Music ] Drop it like it's hot! [ Music ] [ drill vibrating ] [ Music ]

(Austin)>> Now you know when you start seeing shiny parts like shocks we're pretty much wrapped up. [ drill vibrating ]

(Austin)>> Off to the front.

(LT)>> While Austin was taking care of the rear end of the F-150 I went ahead and knocked out the driver's side front suspension of the SRT-10. This bad boy has 70,000 miles on it and it's 15 years old. So I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to go ahead and rebuild some of the wear items in the front suspension. So I went to Rock Auto dot com and picked up a few goodies. Now they have several different grades from economy to daily driver, and to my choice, heavy duty. I grabbed a new upper control arm for each side that has new bushings and ball joints already installed so we don't have to mess around. A new outer tie rod end, a new lower ball joint, and a new wheel hub and bearing assembly that comes pre-loaded with wheel studs and an a-b-s speed sensor that'll plug right in, and to top it all off I grabbed a new sway bar end link. Now that'll completely refresh the front end and restore the handling back to factory conditions, and the new lower center of gravity will improve handling. My suspension job is three quarters done. So I'll wrap it up on the passenger side front.

(Austin)>> Later on two on the ground leads to one question. How much tread can we shed?

(LT)>> We're kicking off a new set of projects here on Truck Tech, and it's a battle of the brands. Austin and I have each picked a truck of our choice, and we're competing in a series of tests, which includes braking, acceleration, handling, and of course horsepower. Austin went with a 2015 Ford F-150 powered by the 3.5 liter EcoBoost and I chose a 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10, which has the legendary 8.3 liter V-10 under the hood. We've each been given the same parts budget of $15,000 to modify the trucks to our liking, and we're kicking things off in the chassis and suspension department. We just wrapped up the rear of both trucks, and now we're getting started on the front. [ drill vibrating ]

(LT)>> Now we've told you this before but it bears repeating because it is a matter of person safety. Anytime you're working with a compressed coil spring you want to make sure you slowly release the tension because if you pop this upper ball joint this thing could fly through there, and it would probably go right through the side of this door like Wiley Coyote through a brick wall, and if that happened Austin over there would probably use it as some excuse for a reason why his truck is slower, and we can't have that can we?

(Austin)>> You know I could hear you right? Tin can.

(LT)>> So instead of just popping the ball joint we're gonna use this hydraulic transmission jack. All I'm gonna do is pump it up and put a little bit of pressure on the coil spring, and that way I can safely pop the upper ball joint. Then I'll pop the lower ball joint, pull the knuckle off, and the spring can safely come out. [ Music ] Off to the press with you. [ Music ] [ mechanical humming ] [ Music ] [ tapping ] [ Music ]

(LT)>> You know Austin I hate to point this out but earlier you were making a lot of claims about how easy your install was gonna go and how it was gonna be done first but I can't help but notice your strut is still sitting on the ground. What gives?

(Austin)>> I'm literally almost done. I have one part to swap out, five bolts. All I've got to do is drop the spindle and this guy will come right out.

(LT)>> You know I hope maintain that almost positive almost attitude when we find out your truck is almost as fast as mine.

(Austin)>> Always positive buddy.

(LT)>> Alright, well my suspension is done. So I'm heading out back to tear apart that rear axle. What do you got left to do? Just the front?

(Austin)>> I don't know but I'll finish up if you quit talking to me and go do something else.

(LT)>> Alright get to it. [ Music ]

(Austin)>> Multi-tasking right there at its finest. There we go. [ Music ] Next smoke'em if you got'em.

(LT)>> Getting your power down to the ground is important in any high performance application. Whether you drive a muscle car or a muscle truck. So we each picked out a few different parts to go in the rear differentials of each of our pickups.

(Austin)>> I've got to say the first time I did a gear swap I was probably 15 or 16 years old. Ironically it was on an F-150 and I was a bit skeptical. I mean there's a lot of parts. It costs a lot of money, but it's not that bad of a job if you just follow the simple steps and go through it, and I see where you're taking two completely different paths on this one.

(LT)>> Well you got that right. My truck came from the factory with a clutch style limited slip differental, and this thing puts power down to both rear wheels, and it'll do burnouts all day long. So I've really got no reason to change this out. However it does come with a 4.56:1 ring and pinion gear set, which does a couple of different things I don't like. Number one it limits my top speed to only 147 miles an hour. Number two it gives the r-p-m when I'm cruising down the highway just a little bit higher range than I'd like it to be at, which cause it to drink just a little bit too much fuel.

(Austin)>> It's a gas guzzler for sure.

(LT)>> We're rocking about 11 miles to the gallon. So I went to Summit Racing and I'm gonna swap it out with a 4.30:1 ring and pinion gear set, and I also picked up a master install kit, which comes with all the bearings, shims, and seals I need to complete the installation. Now these 4.30's are going to do a couple of different things for me. Number one it'll give me a much higher top speed. Number two it'll lower the r-p-m when I'm cruising down the highway, which maybe will improve my fuel mileage a little bit.

(Austin)>> Can't hurt.

(LT)>> And number three, this thing makes so much power anyway it's really not going to hurt my acceleration, but I notice you don't have any gears over there. So what are you doing?

(Austin)>> I'm rocking the Detroit True Trac. This is my go to pick. It's got the helical gear style limited slip differential, and that's to ensure that I've got two tires turning in just about any situation. Best part is no extra oil additives and it's maintenance free. You slap it in. It's quick and easy. Not a problem.

(LT)>> So if you're not re-gearing it what ratio does the truck have?

(Austin)>> So stock this old boy comes with 3.55 gears, which does not sound good but you've got to remember we've got the six speed automatic transmission. So with a first gear ratio of 4.17:1 it actually turns out into a pretty nice drivable gear. I mean it's acceptable for me, I'm rocking.

(LT)>> I mean it'll get that baby V-6 off the line with a little enthusiasm. What about install time? I guess that's pretty simple?

(Austin)>> Simple and easy dude. New bearings, new races on the rear diff, swap over a ring gear, not even pulling a pinion.

(LT)>> So all you've got to do is set the backlash. This is a full gear setup, pinion depth and backlash. Takes a little bit longer but that's alright cause when we're done both of these trucks are gonna be a lot more fun to drive, a lot more useable, and maybe you'll be able to do a decent burnout.

(Austin)>> Guaranteed.

(LT)>> Time will tell. By lowering both of our trucks we've improved how they look and how they'll handle. So to test that out in a not so scientific way we've come out to a big empty parking lot to have some fun. You know I've heard that some people think that we do too many burnouts.

(Austin)>> Is that even a thing dude?

(LT)>> Last time you had the F-150 out you were only spinning one tire and that doesn't look very good at all.

(Austin)>> It was so embarrassing. It didn't even want to do the slightest bit of burnout, and we should have actually be able to get both tires hooked up today.

(LT)>> Alright so here's the story. This is a burnout contest for tread depth. My truck right now is about 8/32nd on the back tire, and whoever can destroy the most rubber in 60 seconds is gonna be declared the winner. Where are you at?

(Austin)>> 9/32nd.

(LT)>> Alright well let's get to it.

(Austin)>> Alright you hit it first.

(LT)>> Never gets old. [ engine revving ]

(LT)>> Now I did consider taking it easy and only using about half throttle just to make Austin feel better but at the end of the day I've got 500 horsepower in a V-10. So I've got to let it all hang out. Anybody seen a tire store around here?

(Austin)>> Four, three, two, one, shut'em down.

(LT)>> Now I really don't know what to say other than that was a blast. Yeah we're down to 0/32nd.

(Austin)>> We can still take some measurements on that.

(LT)>> No that doesn't count. We measured in the middle. Alright you're up. { engine revving ] [ tires squealing ]

(LT)>> I've got to give Austin a little bit of credit. He is working at a horsepower disadvantage but he's still putting on a pretty decent show, for a Ford that is.

(Austin)>> Come on Advance Track let's go baby! [ Music ] [ tires squealing ]

(LT)>> Five, four, three, two, one, wrap it up.

(Austin)>> This thing sucks. I think we've still got a little work to do. Just a little bit.

(LT)>> After all the dust is settled and the smoke has cleared a quick inspection of the tread depth shows this wasn't really that much of a contest. What's the story with that F-150?

(Austin)>> Dude electronics in the new trucks cannot keep this in a burnout for the life of me, no matter what I do. I've still got some work to do man.

(LT)>> Well that's alright. The point of coming out here is to test the posi, which we know that works great, and we now have two great looking trucks that are sitting a little bit closer to the ground but remember, this is a shootout which we're measuring with dollars. So how much did you spend?

(Austin)>> $1,890 bucks all in so far. That's suspension and True Trac.

(LT)>> I'm a little bit more than that. I think mainly because I put traction bars on, and a master rebuild kit, and ring and pinion. $2,494. If you guys any more information on any of these trucks or how to do a burnout you can contact me directly. Otherwise visit us at Powernation TV dot com.

(Austin)>> Catch you next time on Truck Tech.
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