(approx) 2 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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Hey, guys, Adam here with americantrucks.com. And today, we're taking a closer look at, and, of course, installing the Mammoth 2.5-inch Front Leveling Kit, available for the '04 and newer two-wheel and four-wheel-drive F-150s, excluding Raptor models. You should be checking this out for your own truck if you're looking to level out your truck's appearance, getting rid of that factory rake, if you're looking to fit larger wheels and tires on your truck comfortably, 33s and even up to some 35s and if you're looking to gain some better ground clearance at the front end. Now, the 2 to 2.5-inch leveling kit some consider to be the perfect level for the front of the F-150. From the factory, these F-150s come with what's known as factory rake. That means the front end is a little bit lower than the rear. Now, that is specifically there for towing applications or hauling applications. If you have added weight at the rear-end, your truck doesn't have excessive squatting. Now, some guys don't like the look of factory rake. A leveling kit will level the front out, bringing it up to match the rear height. Makes for a more aggressive and really just an all-around better-looking truck in most people's opinion.Now, the 2-inch kit here from Mammoth is great also to fit larger wheels and tires. Trying to fit 33s can be a little bit of a tight squeeze with the factory suspension and may have some rubbing at full lock. Having a 2.5-inch kit fits all 33s very comfortably and some 35s depending on your offset and backspacing as well as how wide your tires are. So, if you have something like a 35 by 12.5, that is a really wide 35-inch tire and may have some rubbing at full lock, in which case, there may be some modification, so it is worth noting there.Now, this particular kit here is also gonna get you some ground clearance at the front end for light off-roading situations, picking you up about 2.5 inches. Now, the kit is also made of a CNC machined billet aluminum, which is gonna be a pretty affordable material when it comes to some leveling kits in the category. Some of the more expensive ones are made of a steel construction, so this cuts down on some of the cost without losing any of the quality. I actually like the aluminum because you don't have to worry about rust as much as you would with a steel construction. Great for guys like us here on the East Coast who have road salt in the wintery weather months, so this guy will hold up in the long haul, especially because of the black anodized finish on top to add to its durability.Now, this particular one here is also gonna run you right around 30 bucks, making it one of the most affordable kits in the category, let alone on the website when it comes to modifications that have a lot of function to it. Some of the kits will range anywhere from 30 bucks to around 100 bucks for a basic leveling kit here, so this is on the more affordable side of that spectrum.Now, with the 2.5-inch kit, it puts a little bit more stress on your suspension components, but not nearly as much as something like a 3-inch kit or some of the bigger lift kits would. Now, there may be some premature wear on suspension components, like your CV angles are gonna be a little bit off, and your upper control arm ball joint is at a little bit of a harsher angle. You might want to consider upgrading some of those components, but premature wear is something definitely worth noting. As far as ride quality, a 2.5-inch kit doesn't sacrifice much of the factory ride quality. Maybe a little bit stiffer but not much to write home about.Now, as far as the install goes, it is a little bit involved, so I'm going to give it three out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. Now, if you have a two-wheel-drive F-150, it's going to be a little bit easier. I'd say two out of three wrenches. Four-wheel-drive guys have a little bit more of an involved process. You do have to pull vacuum from the four-wheel-drive actuator to disconnect the hub properly, so that's a little bit more of an extra step there, and it adds a level of difficulty to it and requires some specialty tools. Now, that's what we're gonna be doing on our '13 F-150 behind me, so I'll walk you through that process. Two-wheel-drive guys, very similar process but might be just a little easier on you. The install is gonna take you about two, maybe three hours from start to finish, so what do you say we get started?Tools used in this install include an air impact gun, an impact gun and/or a ratchet, swivel socket, 30-millimeter deep socket, 15/16, 27, 21, 19, 17, 13, 10, and 8-millimeter deep sockets, 8-millimeter hex socket or Allen key, 1/2-inch ratchet, hammer, vacuum pump for four-wheel-drive actuators, 15-millimeter ratcheting wrench is heavily recommended, and a pry bar. All right, guys, kicking off the uninstall here. Before we get started, I want to make a quick mention that our '13 F-150 we're gonna be working on here has its upper control arm replaced. Yours might look a little different than the one we have here, but just know that the process is exactly the same, and this upper control arm here is not gonna change the height whatsoever. So, that's out of the way. Let's get started with taking our brake line and our ABS line off of the knuckle and up here towards the frame just to make sure we have a little bit more slack on it.All right. Now, there's two brackets here on the side, one for the ABS line and one for the brake line. The brake line is a 10-millimeter bolt. This guy is an 8-millimeter. I have the 10-millimeter here. Let's get that one out of the way first. Now, what I like to do is disconnect the bracket, and then I'm just gonna put the bolt right back on just so we don't lose it. All right. So, now I switched over to an 8-millimeter to do the ABS. All right. Now, following those brake lines back up here to the frame, there's one more 10-millimeter, so let's switch back over and get that guy off. All right. So, now all this has a bunch of slack, and we're not gonna be putting excess pressure on it. All right. Now, we have to get our caliper out of the way. Now, in order to do that, I'm gonna use a 19-millimeter socket and a swivel socket along with my air gun to pop this bolt off and the bottom one down here. Now, it's going to remove the entire caliper from the bracket. So now I have my caliper hanger, and this is gonna help hang the caliper up onto the frame, so we're not putting stress on the brake lines as well. I'm gonna put that guy there. From here, we're gonna work off the caliper. All right. Now we can hang it up.Next step, of course, is to get the rotor out of the way. Now, in most cases, if you pull on it, the guy is probably stuck on there. There's a little bit of rustling corrosion on the inside of that hub there, in which case you can grab a mallet and carefully tap on the outside of the rotor here to dislodge it. There you go. Now we can set this aside. Now, we're going to switch back over to the 8-millimeter socket and get our dust shield out of the way. There's three bolts holding this guy on, two on the bottom, one at the top. All right. I'm going to grab a 3/16 hex socket, and we're gonna get the ABS sensor off of the hub. All right. So, that guy comes out, a very small screw. We're going to carefully pull that guy out of the hub. All right. And we're just gonna let that guy hang off to the side. Now, we're going to take our sway bar end link nut off. That's an 18-millimeter deep socket we're going to use, and I'm also gonna use a swivel socket just to make life a little bit easier with this air gun. With that guy loosened up, I'm actually just gonna keep this on a couple of threads. We wanted to make this loose so that the lower control arm can drop down a little bit.Next up, let's loosen up the upper control arm castle nut. Now, this guy here has a retainer pin in the middle, which yours may also be bent on the other side, so you may need to unbend it, and you're basically just gonna pull it out from the middle of the castle nut. I'm gonna set this aside. Now, we're gonna use an 18-millimeter deep socket, again, the swivel, so basically the same assembly we used for the sway bar end link and loosen this guy up. Now, what I'm gonna do is just take that castle nut and thread it on a couple of threads because we still have to dislodge the upper control arm from the knuckle, and we want to make sure this is on to catch it, so it doesn't pop out. So, now let's get our tie rod end off. Now, I'm going to use a 21-millimeter deep socket to loosen up this nut. Again, the same thing. Thread it on a couple of threads.All right. Same concept applies to the tie rod end. We had the nut on a couple of threads. I'm gonna use a mallet to tap on the backside here, right in the steel portion, so I don't damage the ball joint there, and we'll have that dislodge from the knuckle as well. So, if you need to, you can grab a ball-peen hammer and tap right on the side of the knuckle there as you just saw, and that should dislodge it. All right. Now, we're essentially gonna do the same thing for the upper control arm. You can use a ball-peen hammer to hit right up against the knuckle there. You do not want to hit the upper control arm ball joint. Make sure you're focusing right there. There it goes. We're gonna do the exact same thing we just did, but to the lower control arm to knuckle joint right here with this 15/16 nut. Perfect. So, it doesn't look like we're gonna need to hammer that. It looks like it dislodged. If yours does not dislodge like this one just did, you can use a hammer and do the same process hitting this, making sure you're not damaging the actual ball joint.Now, this next step is a little bit more unique to the four-wheel-drive guys. Now, if you have four-wheel-drive, we have to pull vacuum from the four-wheel-drive actuator to disconnect the CV axle from the whole knuckle and hub assembly. The reason we're doing that is to avoid damaging the four-wheel-drive actuator and/or the CV axle when we're lowering the lower control arm and lifting the truck. Putting that at such a high-stress angle, pulling down on it in order to get the strut in and out can cause damage to the four-wheel-drive, which is why you're gonna need this tool here, which is a vacuum pump, which is gonna help pull vacuum from the four-wheel-drive actuator. We're gonna pull 24 pounds of vacuum using this gauge here. We're gonna disconnect everything we need to, set this aside, and pull the entire hub and knuckle assembly off.All right. Now, the vacuum line here is right above where the axle connects to the hub. Just gonna pull that guy straight back and disconnect. I'm gonna take my pump and connect the hose to the bigger fitting. All right. Now, I'm gonna pump this and focus on my gauge here to 24 pounds of pressure. That's gonna be the sweet spot right there. It's a little high, so I'm gonna do it again. Perfect. Now, I'm gonna carefully set this aside without releasing the pressure. I'm gonna seat that right on our lower control on there. Now, with that pressure pulled, I'm basically gonna disconnect the upper control arm and the tie rod end and then use a 13-millimeter socket to remove the axle nut. From there, I'll pull the CV axle out of the hub. Now, because we relieved that pressure, we'll be able to slide that right out. From there, I'll remove the lower control arm nut and pull the entire knuckle assembly off the truck. All right. So, this is all gonna be kind of one motion. So, I'm gonna take, first off, the upper control arm off. Keep that guy down there. I'm gonna put this nut back on just so we don't lose it. And our tie rod end is coming next. That, we did not want to happen, so we're gonna bring this guy back up. Still holding pressure, which is awesome. Perfect. Tie rod end nut's going to go back here.Next thing I'm gonna do is use a 13 socket to remove the axle nut, pull the CV axle out of the hub and remove the lower control arm bolt. All right. So, you can see this guy slides right out. Lift up here, remove the lower control arm nut. I'm just gonna drop that to the ground, and this whole assembly is gonna come with me, just like that. Pull the pump with me, and there you have it.All right. So, here I have the entire hub and knuckle assembly on the ground, and I want to show you guys what the reverse side looks like. This is where the CV axle actually connects to the hub. Inside is our four-wheel-drive actuator, and you can see the teeth going all the way around. I still have our pump hooked up. So, what I want to do is I'm gonna show you guys what this actually does to give you some context as to why we need to do it. As it sits, I relieve the pressure. I did not remove any vacuum from this. Here I'm gonna pump, and as I pump, you can see the teeth start to lift up. Pulling vacuum, the 24 pounds that we just did, as you saw, lifted the teeth up. That disengages the four-wheel-drive actuator from the CV axle and allows us to slide it out. Now, if I were to relieve that, you'll see this seat back down, and that would, in theory, engage the four-wheel-drive. So pumped up and relieved. You can see it sinks back down into the hub. So, that just gives you some context as to why we need to do that.Next, we're gonna remove our bottom strut bolt from the lower control arm. The nut is a 30-millimeter, and the bolt head is a 27, so you're gonna need some specialty sockets. I've got my 27 short socket on my 1/2-inch ratchet and my 30 socket on my air gun. There it is. I can set that aside. All right. Next, we can pull the bolt out. All right. Next up, we can remove the three top strut tower nuts. These are 15 millimeters. I'm gonna use a ratcheting wrench. Definitely recommend this, and you're gonna get these guys off. All right. Now, to get our strut assembly out, I'm gonna use a pry bar right underneath of that, right in this little seat here in the lower control arm, and basically, you're gonna pry up and outward to get it out of its seat and slide it down. Now, we can set this guy aside.All right. Kicking off the assembly here of our 2.5-inch spacer, what we're gonna be doing is installing this to the top of our factory strut assembly using the hex screws and 17-millimeter nylon locknuts included in the kit. Now, this guy is specific when it comes to top and bottom. You want to check out the threaded holes, so other side. Threaded holes are a little bit smaller. From the backside or from the bottom, those hex bolts are gonna screw through and be our new studs connecting it to the strut tower. They're going to sit directly on top of the factory studs and install using the nylon. We're going to grab each one of the 8-millimeter hex screws. We're gonna put them through the bottom, threading them through the smaller holes in the top, and you're going to grab an 8-millimeter hex socket or an Allen key and tighten these guys down, just like that. Repeat that for all three.All right. Now, with these three studs installed, we can drop it onto the factory studs. It only goes on one way, so if you try to line those three open holes up and it doesn't line up, just keep rotating it until it drops right on. Grab a 17-millimeter socket along with the nylon locknuts, and you're gonna drop those guys onto your factory studs, and then use the 17 socket to tighten them down. Now, I'm only gonna tighten them down by hand at first. Do that for all three, and then take the impact gun and tighten them down. I'm gonna swap out that hex socket for the 17 and now gun these guys on. All right. So, now we're ready to throw this back in the truck.Now, we can take our strut assembly, throw it back in the truck and use our factory nuts, and I'm gonna leave one right up here on the upper control arm to tighten it down at the top of the strut tower. Grab the other two nuts and thread those on as well.Next step, we can seat the bottom of our strut back into the lower control arm. Now, I'm gonna use a pry bar for this to help us guide the strut back into place. Now, you'll see when trying to seat the bottom of the strut, we're bottoming out on the sway bar end link nut, so I'm just gonna take this guy off, and that will give us a little bit more range to pull the lower control arm down. So, from here, pull the control arm down and seat the strut. There you go. I'm gonna take a pry bar and insert it into the strut seat and I'm basically prying up to get the bolt hole to line up. It might be a little bit of a trial and error, but you can get it to line, just like that. There you go. All right. Lift the axle up, thread on the giant nut, and now we can tighten these two down. All right. So, now you can grab your 30-millimeter socket and your 27 socket for the bolt head and tighten them down.All right. So, next is to reassemble our knuckle and hub assembly. Now, in order to do that, we have to pull vacuum again. Twenty-four is the magic number. Already have that taken care of here. We also lowered our truck down to the ground, and we're using a hydraulic floor jack to push up on the lower control arm. The reason we're doing that is these two angles, due to our lift kit, we're at a little bit of a hard angle, and it wasn't lining up with the lower ball joint here and the CV axle. Now, the reason we're jacking that up is to make sure that this can go straight into the hub, line up with the actuator and lock into place. You want to make sure that you're doing this one properly. Now, this is the most difficult part of this entire process, getting this guy to click back in properly. You want to make sure that the threading comes all the way through the hub. You want to see past the threading just to that little chrome ring right around it. That's how you know it seats all the way in, and it will be locked into place without any rotation abilities. So, now what we're gonna do is lift this guy up. Already took the nut off the bottom control arm ball joint. Got that placed up here for safekeeping. Lift that guy up and line everything up and click it back into place.All right. So, like I said, that is the trickiest part making sure the threading comes all the way through. I'm gonna put our 13-millimeter nut right on that stud while holding it in place, threading it on as much as I can by hand. Then I'm gonna use a ratchet to carefully tighten it down. You want to make sure it seats properly. You'll feel if it doesn't seat, and using a ratchet just makes it a little bit easier. There it is. All right. So, once you have that tightened down, what you want to do, with vacuum still at 24, rotate this. The axle should move freely in that hub. Now, I'm gonna release the vacuum. All right. And then try it again and it locks in. You can't move that axle freely. That's how you know it's done correctly. If your axle still moves freely once you release that vacuum, you want to go back and do it again. Pull the nut off, make sure it seats all the way in and repeat that process. From here, we're gonna start reconnecting our components and tightening those components down.At this point, let's tighten up the bottom nut here with a 15/16 socket. All right. Next, let's do the upper control arm, so I'm gonna take that castle nut off, push the upper control arm through, and I might need to use a pry bar for this guy to finish that off. All right. So, now we can put our nut back on along with the spacers. Now, before we tighten those guys down, let's take off the tie rod end nut and seat that back in the knuckle as well. Now, we can grab our sockets and tighten them both down. So, now I'm gonna grab my 19 socket and my swivel and tighten up the upper control arm. Switching over to a 21 deep to tighten up our tie rod end. You want to make sure the upper control arm castle nut here is lined up with the open hole in the stud. If it is not, you may need to either tighten it, or you've gone too tight, need to crack it loose a little bit just to make sure they line up. Grab the retaining pin and put that back through.All right. Before we go any further, let's reconnect our vacuum line to the two little connectors at the back of the hub. They just slide right on there. All right. So, next step, what we're gonna do is swing our ABS line back into place on the hub, making sure we're being pretty careful with it. You don't want to damage that. And then you can take that smaller hex screw and put that back in by hand and then grab your socket or Allen key and tighten it down. Next, slide your dust shield into place, making sure that the ABS hose is going through that little opening there, and you're lining up these to the open threaded holes. Put those 8-millimeter bolts back in, all three of them, before tightening them down just to make sure they're all lined up properly. All right. Grab your 8 socket and tighten them down. All right. So, now you can grab your rotor and put it back on the hub. I'm gonna take one of our lug nuts, and I'm gonna thread it on the stud just so the rotor doesn't pop loose when we're trying to put the caliper on. I find this to make your life a little easier.All right. So, next, we're going to take our caliper off the hanger on the frame and slide that guy back onto the rotor. Grab the factory nuts and put them back through. Okay, now you can grab your socket and tighten them down. All right. So, now I'm gonna grab my swivel socket and my 21 socket and tighten down our caliper bracket bolts. Now, I'm gonna use my 15-millimeter ratcheting wrench, and I'm gonna tighten up our top strut bolts. Next, we can tackle the ABS and brake line brackets. Now, if you remember correctly, the ABS line is an 8-millimeter, then the brake line has two 10-millimeter ones. So, let's take those guys right off of the knuckle here. And do the same thing for the 10 millimeters.All right. Now, the last step here would be to reconnect our sway bar end link. Now, unfortunately, with a lift kit here, it can be pretty difficult depending on the lift kit size to actually get the sway bar bolt to come back through enough to put your nut on top. And that's going to be the case here. Now, from here, you have two options. One, start repeating this exact same process on the other side of the front, and when you disconnect the sway bar over there, it loosens it up and gives you the ability to flex it downward to put the nuts back on. Option two would be to put the weight of the vehicle back down on itself, and when it pushes down and lifts the suspension back up with the wheel, it will push the stud back through. So, you can take two options. We're gonna go ahead and repeat on the other side, and then we'll be able to finish the sway bar up. But from here guys, you want to make sure you're torquing down all of your bolts as well. Definitely don't forget about that. Make sure you're looking up the proper torque specs for your specific year, gen and model. With that said, that will wrap up the install, just repeat on the other side, and you'll be good to go.That's gonna wrap up my review and install for the Mammoth 2.5-inch Front Leveling Kit, available for the '04 and newer two-wheel and four-wheel-drive F-150, excluding Raptors. Now, if you want to pick yours up, you can do so right here at americantrucks.com.
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(approx) 2 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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