(approx) 2 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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What's going on ladies and gentlemen, Travis from americantrucks.com, and today I'm going to show you how to quickly, easily, and affordably level out the stance on your 2004 or newer two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive F-150. That's all thanks to MotoFab's 2-inch Front Leveling Kit, which is currently the most affordable leveling kit that you can throw on this truck regardless of generation 2004 or newer yet again. This comes in at around the $60 price point and it almost perfectly levels out the truck. Right upfront, once you install this kit, you're going to get 38-1/2 inches of clearance from the front wheel well to the ground, and out the back, you're also going to get 39 inches of ground clearance from the middle of the wheel well to the ground as well. So it's almost a perfectly level stance, and that's awesome because basically if you throw any weight in the truck bed, let's say you got storage in there, quite often, your truck will be perfectly level with this kit.Any options that are going to be more expensive than this one are going to include lift blocks for the rear, or they're going to provide more lift up front, but there is a small issue with that, especially if you have a four-wheel-drive truck. You have your CV angles on the half shafts upfront and they're designed to operate at a specific kind of suspension geometry if you will. Once you start throwing really crazy spacers upfront, we're talking like maybe 3-1/2, 4 inches or more, you might run into some early wear and tear on those CV joints.So, a 2-inch leveling kit like this is perfect. It's not going to affect your suspension geometry. It's really not going to affect your overall ride comfort when you're driving around either, so that's a nice bonus there. It's pretty much not permanently modifying anything on the truck. It's actually technically bolt-on application and one of the reasons why it's so affordable is because of the construction and the method of how we actually use this kit. It's basically a small spacer, a small aluminum alloy spacer that we throw on top of the front struts. Everything else stays factory spec, no drilling, no cutting, no custom modifications. So you can pretty much install this at home with basic hand tools. You won't even need power tools if you really want to get this job done as affordably as possible.So, for that reason, I'm going to give the install a very healthy two out of three wrenches on the old difficulty meter. I wager you guys will probably have some experience under the belt turning wrenches if you're tackling this, it shouldn't take you more than two hours at home. And I'm actually going to walk you through that install step-by-step in just a minute. But real quick, one of the big reasons why guys and gals like to level out their truck is so that they can fit bigger wheels and tires underneath there. And we went ahead and we did a little bit of testing actually. We threw a couple of 33s on there, those fit, no problem, no big surprise there. And we actually threw on some 34-1/2-inch tires using a set of Raptor wheels, very close to the factory offset of regular F-150 wheels. We did not have any rubbing or clearance issues but it was a really tight fit.And again, there are metrics, they're 315 70s they're not actually technically 35-inch tires. So if you wanted to officially fit 35s, I wager you'd probably have to do some very basic trimming inside the wheel wells to some of that plastic under there. But again, not a huge deal. So, if you do want to fit 35s, this is going to get you pretty close. And again, if you want to stick with factory wheels, and throw some metric ones on there that come in around 34 inches, you should be good to go. So, now that we've pretty much covered everything, go ahead and check this thing out more on the site. And again, if you're looking for the most affordable leveling kit, pick up the MotoFab 2-inch option that we've got here. Come back in a little bit. I'm going to show you guys all the tools that you need, then we can get started on that install step-by-step.All right, before we get started, you'll need a standard drive ratchet, you'll need a 3/16ths Allen key or Allen head socket, a couple of standard sockets as well, an 8, a 10, a 15, 17, 18, and 21-millimeter socket. The 17 you'll need a thin wall socket that's to secure the spacer to your struts and it's a very small fit, so you'll need a thin wall socket for that. Also helpful to have a couple of extensions. You'll definitely want a dead blow mallet to help get some things loose, you'll need a conventional hammer to also smack the knuckle to separate the upper ball joint. You'll need an 18-millimeter wrench, and optionally, you can use an 18-millimeter ratcheting wrench to make things go a little bit quicker. Once you get everything unbolted, you'll probably want some hangers or some bungee cords to help hang your calipers out of the way. You're gonna need a couple of pry bars to help get the strut out of the upper and lower control arms. You'll need some sort of pry tool or a small flathead screwdriver, or a chisel to get the dust cover off of the axle nut if you're working with a four-wheel-drive truck. Obviously, an impact gun is going to make the install go a little bit quicker. You'll need a torque wrench to torque that nut down for that axle shaft and you'll probably want a compression tool of some sort for the calipers once you reinstall everything. And of course, last but not least, you definitely want some eye protection when you go to hit that knuckle with that hammer.All right. Once you have your tools out, the first thing you need to do is grab your 13-mil socket. We're going to remove our caliper secured with two hex bolts on the top and bottom. All right. Once you've removed those two hex bolts, you can slide the caliper off of your pads. We're going to set this aside for now on top of the steering knuckle because we may have to smack the back of the rotor in order to unseat it. Okay, once your caliper is out of the way, you can now remove the bracket. It's secured with two larger hex bolts. These are both 21-millimeter flanges, so grab your 21-millimeter socket for these.Once you remove this bolt here, go ahead and keep your hands on the pads and the bracket and slide them off of the rotor. Okay, now we can pull our rotor off. Sometimes the rotor might actually be seized up there on the hub assembly just from a little bit of corrosion. If that happens to you, grab the lug nut and actually thread it onto one of the studs just a little bit so that the rotor doesn't fall off. You can grab a rubber mallet, you can just tap the back of the rotor in order to unseat it.All right, next, we're going to start tackling the removal of the hub assembly and the nut for our axle shaft. Because this is a four-wheel-drive truck, we want to separate the axle shaft from the steering assembly. It's going to make removal of the shaft a lot easier. Before we do that, we're going to remove our dust shield here. It's held in with three 8-millimeter bolts. Let's go ahead and grab an 8-millimeter socket. This top one is kind of hidden behind the hub here, so you may need a swivel socket as well. Also, I forgot to mention, you want to make sure that you hang your calliper up out of the way while you're working here. It's useful to have some sort of metal clips or you could just use a bungee cord as well.Next, we're going to tackle removing the dust cover for the axle nut itself. You can see this likes to develop a lot of corrosion. There's a lot of moisture that gets inside of here after a while, so you want to spray that down a little bit, and it's real simple. You can grab a small flathead screwdriver, some sort of metal pry tool. Grab a small hammer, just gently tap around the dust cover to help unseat it. It is an aluminum cover, and it's a very soft metal, so it probably will roll in on itself a little bit. That's okay. Now that we finally have that dust cover off, we can remove the axle nut, it's not held down with a lot of torque so you can probably get away with a hand ratchet, but you'll need a 15-millimeter deep socket for this. Once you get that nut off, that's really all you have to worry about for now. Once we get everything disconnected, this should fall out and the splines of the axle shaft should separate on their own. All right, working our way here, right to the side of the steering assembly. We're going to remove our tie rod end link here. It's held on with a 21-millimeter nut, so you'll need a 21-millimeter deep socket.Now, before we get started here, there's something to keep note of. Our truck's in good shape. Your truck might have some miles and corrosion on it. If you go to spin this nut, and the entire end link itself starts spinning, what you'll have to do is swap out your 21-socket, and instead, you're going to have to grab a 21 wrench for the nut, and you're going to actually have to hold the stud here, so the hex shape stud, you'll hold him with a 10-millimeter socket, and you'll actually spin the stud while keeping the nut stationary, and that's how you're going to break it free. But for now, let's try a regular deep socket and see if we can get the nut out of there. Also helps to keep some pressure on the end link. That'll also help keep it from spinning.Next, we're going to work our way back here. We have our sway bar end link in the back here. We're going to loosen him up next, but before we do that, we're going to pull the vacuum line off of the knuckle. This is for your four-wheel drive. If you have a four-wheel-drive truck, it's just held in with some pressure, so just gently grab it with your hand and pop it free. All right. While we're actually tackling these lines, I decided we're going to make it easy on ourselves here. You definitely want to get as much slack as possible and remove these lines from the knuckle. So, you got some brackets right here. You got an 8-mil bolt and a 10-mil bolt. Go ahead and pop those off before we do anything else. All right, next, we're going to do the ABS line here. This is the last line that kind of has some tension on the knuckle. You'll need a 3/16ths Allen key, or Allen head socket for this one. Once you pull that out of there, it's just a matter of gently releasing the sensor.Next, we're going to tackle the sway bar end link like I said earlier, the nut here is an 18-mil. You can try and get lucky and spin the nut off with a socket, but most likely, unless your truck is brand new, the end link is just going to spin, so you'll want to grab an 18-millimeter wrench, and you'll need to grab an 8-millimeter socket for the stud. Now comes the fun part and that is the upper ball joint here. Once we remove that nut, the stud might be stuck inside of here in which case we're going to have to kind of gently tap on the knuckle. I say gently only in spirit, but anyway, let's grab this first, we'll need an 18-mil deep socket and you'll probably need a very large breaker bar if you don't have an impact gun like me.Now, if you were like most of us and you were unlucky, then chances are the stud is still stuck in here, in which case you're going to have to come in with a hammer and you're going to have to tap on the knuckle here. Now, guys, this is an aluminum knuckle, okay? So, you want to be careful with smacking this aluminum here. You want to use a flat face, you want to be very careful about hitting it. You also don't want to smack anything up here because you could mess up the upper control arm, or the ball joint, and it's also helpful to have some safety glasses here.Everything's pretty much separated here. We have plenty of play in this and that's good. And by now you probably have realized that the axle shaft here wants to fall out of our knuckle and that's exactly what we wanted it to do because we're going to have to put some pressure on the lower control arm in order to get the strut out. So, now we can start removing that. We're going to do the top nuts for the strut. You'll need an 18-millimeter socket or wrench. I would definitely recommend a ratcheting wrench. It's going to make this go a lot quicker. So, when we go to remove the top nuts here for the strut, there are three in total. I just want to break them loose. There's some wiring up here from the wiring harness that might be in the way. It's held in with some plastic tabs, so if they get in the way, you can just remove those. Go ahead and get these three nuts off of here, and then we'll tackle the bottom bolts, and then we can remove the strut.All right. Now I'm not going to remove this last nut entirely. I'm actually going to keep him on there just enough to hold the strut in place because once we remove those bottom bolts, the entire assembly is going to want to fall down, including the knuckle and the lower control arm, and that's a lot of weight. So, just keep one of those nuts in here. Let's get the truck up a little more and get those bottom bolts out. Now, the nuts securing the strut to the bottom of the lower control arm are located right here inside these little pockets and you can use that same 18-millimeter deep socket to remove them.Now we're finally ready to remove the strut. So you're going to have to put a little bit of leverage on the lower control arm. You can do that with a large pry bar or if you've got a big buddy with you, they can kind of just push down on the whole assembly. So, go ahead and get your pry bar in there. And before we do that we have to remove that top nut there. That's going to unseat the strut from inside the pocket here. Again, you'll need an 18-millimeter ratchet or a socket. Now, when you also go to pull the strut out, the upper control arm, the bushings on there might be a little bit stiff. So it's helpful to have a second pry bar, and also a good buddy, again, if you have one, I got Joe with me today, so he's going to help separate those upper and lower control arms so we can get the strut out.So, once you have the struts removed. Now you can finally install the spacer. Before you do throw the spacer on there, you have to make sure you have the new studs installed as well. These are Allen head bolts that they provide in the kit. You'll need that 3/16ths Allen key or Allen head socket. You want to make sure you get these things good and tight because once you got these seated on here, you're going to be using those factory nuts in order to secure the strut and if you spin the nuts on, and the studs aren't tight enough, you could actually make the studs come loose. So, make sure these are nice and tight. Once you've got the studs on there, all you have to do is throw the spacer on top of the strut assembly. And the holes only lineup in one particular direction, so there's really not a guessing game here. Once you have it lined up, and you have it on the studs, you're going to grab these nylock nuts in the kit, and you'll have to tighten these down as well. These are 17-millimeter nuts, you'll need a 17-millimeter deep socket, and the holes that these go into are a little bit tight, especially if you're using impact sockets. So you might want to use a thin wall socket, or it's just good practice to actually, as you can see here, this one doesn't fit so we're going to need to use a Chrome socket, but it's a good practice to get all these nuts hand-tightened a little bit until the nylon ring in there starts to lock itself in. And then just kind of hold the spacer so it's nice and steady drive those home.Once you've got these nuts driven home, you might come to notice once you throw the strut in there that it actually changes the orientation of the strut 180 degrees. And that causes a little bit of a problem because we actually have to get the bottom studs here in our lower control arm, but they're actually at a little bit of an angle. I'm going to show you guys how to fix that in just a second, but go ahead and grab a 17-mill socket, get these driven home, then we'll head over to our table vice and I'll show you how to adjust the angle on the bottom here.So, we have the spacer in place, and like I said, these spacer studs are now facing the opposite direction of the factory studs. So, what does that mean? You have to put the strut back in the opposite direction, rotating at 180 degrees. That causes a small problem because as you can see here, the angle of the studs that secure the strut to the lower control arm are now going to be facing out like this. So, it makes it a little bit harder to actually get the strut back in place, especially when you're cranking down on that upper and lower control arm. So, if you have a table vise, pretty simple, just get the strut inside the table vice, you want to get the table vice so it's pressing against the bottom tongue here of the stud itself. Get it nice and tight, and then you can actually use the entire strut as kind of a lever in order to rotate this bushing. And we're just going to rotate it so that that angle is now opposite of the way it used to be.All right, guys, now comes the fun part. We're going to throw our strut back in place here, and again, you're going to need two big old pry bars and probably a buddy to make sure you get the bottom studs lined up in the lower control arm first, then just push the top and until the studs up top line up with the pocket. All right, our strut's back in place after a little bit of hard work and sweat, the hard part is over. Now it's just a matter of assembling everything and getting everything back together. Honestly, the last hard part of this thing is going to be getting your axle shaft back into the knuckle, but that's going to be easy. I'll show you how it's done.First thing we want to do is secure the strut back in place. That way this whole assembly doesn't come apart again, so go ahead and grab those factory nuts and secure the top of the strut. Again, you'll need an 18-millimeter socket or a wrench. Now, as I'm tightening down all these top nuts here, I'm only getting each one just a little bit tight because we want to make sure that the strut is flush inside the pocket here before we drive all of these home. All right. Now that we have all three relatively tight, we can drive each one home.Now our strut is secured, our upper and lower control arms and all that good stuff are not going anywhere. Now we're going to get the knuckle lined up with the upper ball joint, but if you have a four-wheel-drive truck, in order to do that, you've got to get the axle shaft back through the hub here. Pretty simple stuff. One thing you want to make sure of, you do not want to rip the boot on this axle because if you do, when you go to take your truck out, there's going to be axle grease all over the place, and you could end up frying one of these and locking up your wheels. All that bad stuff can happen just from tearing this boot. So take your time with this stuff. Make sure you're not ripping this thing on any studs or anything like that. But basically, what you want to do is line up the splines on the actual shaft itself with the splines inside of the hub. Also makes sure that the O-ring inside the hub is still seated, and greased up, and if you need to throw a little bit more grease in there. But basically, what you need to do is get the stud itself for the axle shaft through the hub, we'll get that nut back on there, then we're going to torque it down.All right, now that we have our nut in here, we're going to torque this down to 30-foot pounds using our torque wrench. And again, you'll need a 15-millimeter socket for this. If you've noticed, I haven't really been torquing anything else to spec. And that's because you're probably gonna need an alignment once you get this done, so they're probably going to come back in here, loosen up some stuff, make sure everything's looking good, but, it is critically important that you have this torque to spec. Again, you don't want any issues with the hub being loose, and you also don't want your wheels locking up or anything like that. All right, now once you have that torqued down, you can go ahead and grab one of these mangled little caps here, and throw it back in place.Okay, we're making good headway. Now, the next big thing is getting that upper ball joint into the top of the knuckle. You might've seen some bad stories about this stuff. It's really not that hard as long as you have a floor Jack. So, what we're going to do, we're going to get the truck down as low as we can so that the entire assembly is just off the ground. You're going to find a nice flat spot on the bottom of the lower control arm and you're just going to slowly raise it up using your floor Jack. Obviously, your truck's down on the ground here. You want to make sure that it's not actually coming off of your Jack stands, or your lift, or whatever. So, take your time when you're applying pressure to that because you want to give these struts some time to compress as well as the spring itself. You just want to go up as high as you can safely. Once you see this truck starting to move, that's when you know it's time to stop. Once you've got it high enough, we're going to close that gap here with the upper ball joint. We're going to get the stud through the hole using a pry bar. It's pretty simple. You're just going to put the pry bar inside the strut using one of the coils, pull down on it, and then we'll get that nut in place.All right, now that we've got that nut on here, we're going to tighten everything up. Now, most likely when you go to tighten this nut down, the entire stud's going to spin. We don't want to deal with that. So, we're going to do our old trick here, 18-millimeter wrench for the nut itself, and we're going to spin the stud. You're gonna need an 8-millimeter socket for this one.Next, we're gonna do the tie rod end link here, again, 21-millimeter deep socket for this one. Now we're going to do our sway bar end link here, and it's the same setup, 18-millimeter wrench and 8-mil socket for the stud. All right, guys, our suspension is pretty much back together. Now it's just a matter of getting some of the smaller stuff back in place before we throw our brakes back on. So we're going to get all these brackets and lines hooked back up. Let's get this 10-mil bolt in here for this primary bracket, and again, you'll need a 10-mil socket for him. And then for the ABS line, it's that little 8-mil bolt with an 8-mil socket.Great. Now we're going to get our ABS line back in place there and make sure there's no dirt or excessive build-up of any gunk on the sensor there. And then get that a little Allen head bolt back in there. And again, you'll need a 3/16ths Allen key or Allen head socket. Now we're going to throw our break stuff on. Let's get our heat shield on first, they are marked left hand and right hand. So, just take note of that. You don't want to throw these on the wrong way and then go to fit your brakes on only to realize that they don't fit. That would be annoying, right? So, go ahead and get this in place, and again, you will need an 8-millimeter socket to get these on here, and if you're using an impact gun like me for this top one, you will also need a swivel socket.Okay, guys, we're in the final stretch here and now we're going to get our brakes on. Let's go ahead and throw your rotor back in place and it makes it a lot easier to actually get the bracket and the caliper back on if the rotor is flush against the hub. Let's go ahead and grab a lug nut and just thread it on there all the way till it's nice and tight. All right, now we can throw our bracket on for our pads and our caliper. Keep both of these big bolts in here. These are pretty fine threads on these bolts. And again, the rotor may try and give you some trouble with the fitment here, so you want to make sure that these are really lined up and hand tight before you drive them home. All right, once both of those are threaded sufficiently and you have clearance, you can come in with your 21-mill socket.Now we can throw our pads in place. One thing before you do that, make sure the retaining clips are on here and you also want to make sure that you're putting the pads on the appropriate side of the rotor. You can see here we have our markings for the piston inside the caliper, so this is our inside pad. Make sure he's nice and flush and do the same thing for the outside. All right, now we're going to throw our caliper back in place. We want to make sure that the pistons themselves are also pushed in all the way, so I have a compression tool here to make sure of that. If you don't have a fancy tool like this though, you can use a simple C clamp, it'll work just fine. All right, now we can throw the caliper in place and get him nice and tight using the factory bolts. And again, for these guys, you'll need a 15-millimeter socket.All right, so once you got your wheels back on, go ahead and take it out for a test drive. And before you do that though, if you have a four-wheel-drive truck, make sure four-wheel drive engages and disengages properly, that way you make sure those vacuum lines are installed there, certainly don't want anything grinding inside that shaft or inside the hub. Also, you're probably gonna want to get an alignment because your suspension geometry will change just a little bit. It's not gonna be anything crazy noticeable, but your steering might be off a little bit and it's just a good idea to get that corrected.But that should wrap up this review and install of MotoFab's 2-inch Front Leveling Kit fitting your 2004 or newer two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive F-150. Thanks for watching, and for all things F-150, keep it right here at americantrucks.com.
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