Upgrading A Super Duty Suspension For Towing And Daily Driving

I wish I could buy a truck- new or used-and trust the factory parts will last forever. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Everything has a shelf life, and the factory parts don’t last forever. The majority of our readers have older, used trucks, and what I’m taking away from that is, you guys are going to need a source for parts that you can trust.

Today, we’re starting from the ground up on Lloyd’s 2015 Ford F-250. Lloyd is an in-house guy of ours that recently acquired this truck and wants to use it to the fullest. The truck was monkeyed with prior to purchase, but we’re looking to remedy some of those issues. Lloyd has a large camper trailer that he tows out west, and having a suspension sturdy enough for that is mission-critical. For a truck with a set of wheels and tires as well as a small leveling kit, it isn’t ready.

Knowing we want parts we can trust, we reached out to a few suspension experts, including BDS Suspension and Fox. Each company has offered up the recommended parts, that will take the Super Duty from “it will do it” to “it will do it better”. Let’s take a look in the shop and see what we have to play with.

Before things get installed, we wanted to learn more about our new parts. We caught up with the BDS and Fox Marketing Manager, Carter Reed, to get his thoughts. First and foremost, if someone has a stock truck that works daily, why choose BDS and Fox for upgrades? “BDS has been around for more than 25 years, building top-quality suspension systems and accessories that are backed by a no fine print warranty,” Carter says. “We offer a full gamut of products to include IFS kits, radius arm kits, 4-link long-arm conversions, FOX coilover conversions, and more to help you up the stance and capability of your vehicle.”

Parts Used For The Install

BDS Suspension

  • 55380 stabilizer mounting kit
  • 013443 4-inch suspension kit
  • 033411 4-inch coil kit
  • 123251 radius arm kit
  • 013409 rear box kit
  • 85760 NX2 Nitro series shock absorbers
  • 85700 NX2 Nitro series shock absorbers
  • 003629 6-inch rear springs
  • 123408 recoil brackets
  • 123409 recoil bars
  • 123402 carrier bearing drop kit

Fox Suspension

  • 98224010 2.0 steering stabilizer

We aren’t just replacing a few pieces here and there and calling it good. We are removing the suspension entirely and making sure this truck has a long, trustworthy life. “The objective with my truck is to make it appealing to look at and do the job at hand. I daily drive the truck and when it isn’t empty, it is pulling my big camping trailer,” Lloyd says. “I want a suspension that will clear the upcoming wheels and tires I want to add and I would love for it to tow better.” Without further ado, let’s dig in.

Out With The Old, In With The New
Like any installation, the removal of the old stuff is imminent. The truck has some miles on it, therefore the parts should be replaced anyway. For starters, we got the truck in the shop and nosed up into the lift area where the wheels and tires on the back were removed. Since they were easily accessible, the rear shocks were taken off and the rear wheels and tires shortly followed.
On top of the rear axle was a set of old lift blocks and helper bags. Because we’re going up with the truck, these parts are no longer going to work. As you can see in the photos, these parts have been under there a while and the new parts that are going in are not only going to look better, but we’re hoping they improve the driving experience.
With the rear of the truck ready for parts, it was time to start reassembling this piece-by-piece. The new leaf springs, BDS’ Recoil bars, and new rear shocks were first on the to-do list. We put jack stands underneath the rear axle because the old leaf springs were about to be removed. Once they were out of the way, the new leaf packs were carefully put in place. Each side comes with all new hardware and bushings.
Before securing them, the bracketry for the Recoil bars needs to go on. The Recoil bars are going to keep the rear axle from dancing or moving during acceleration. Oftentimes, without these bars, you will have what we call “axle wrap” and your pinion angle, depending on how high the load is, can cause catastrophic failure to a universal joint or axle yoke.
We had a few questions for Carter about the Recoil bars, too. Is BDS satisfied with the design? Are these a necessary part for trucks, and can you customize them? “The idea behind the Recoil traction bars was to improve on the design and flaws found with many traction bar kits on the market today. Traditional traction bars have a hard mount on the axle and frame that doesn’t follow the arch of suspension travel. This puts everything in a bind, impacting ride quality and suspension performance,” Carter explains.
“With the Recoils, there is an adjustable spring-loaded, full-float design, allowing you to easily dial-in the preload on the springs for use on-road, off-road, and on the track. We offer vehicle-specific mounting solutions, allowing these to be an easy bolt-on fitment for a wide range of applications. These kits come in a gloss black powdercoat finish, but customers are able to paint/powdercoat any color they want without affecting the no-fine-print warranty.”
For those of you interested in the benefits these traction bars offer, as well as customizing your ride, these fit the bill. The Recoil bars have eyelet ends that slip into their bracket to be secured. On the rear of the truck, the brackets work together with the rear leaf spring mounting. On the front, we had to drill holes on each frame rail where nut serts would go so the front brackets could be secured to the truck. Once the brackets were placed on the truck, the bars would adjust to the correct length, slip into their new homes, and be secured tightly to the brackets.

Another additional upgrade this Super Duty earned was BDS’ Carrier Bearing Drop Kit. Some of these trucks came equipped with a two-piece driveshaft. When you raise them, the driveline can develop a vibration or shimmy. “BDS takes the care to offer complete lift systems so you’re not hunting for hardware or having to fab up brackets to get your truck back on the road after installing the lift. Case in point is the carrier bearing drop kit,” Carter says. “Simple enough by design, this component is only necessary on trucks with a two-piece rear driveshaft. It is designed to reduce the operating angle by lowering the carrier bearing mount to eliminate rear driveline vibrations.”
As for the rear shocks, this was accomplished by removing the hardware from the old units and replacing them with the new NX2 Nitro Series shocks. The NX2 Nitro Series shocks were news to us, so I was curious about what the purpose was behind the design. “The NX2 series is built to be a great baseline shock for BDS. It’s a high-pressure, nitrogen gas-charged twin-tube designed with quick damping in any situation on and off road, along with vehicle-specific valving to ensure comfort,” Carter says. “These shocks are a good option to start with.”
Per Carter, if you’re looking to take your truck to the next level, BDS also offers FOX 2.0 Performance Series monotube gas shocks as well as larger 2.5 remote reservoir shocks and coilover options for improved off road damper performance, too. With the rear of Lloyd’s truck complete, it was time to move up to the front where things got serious. From the factory, these trucks come with suspension parts that aren’t necessarily designed for a taller suspension. That said, upgrades were a must.

This upgraded track bar bracket will fix the geometry of the steering with the new suspension parts.

BDS’ track bar bracket is extremely beefy. Much like the other old parts, the stock one was going to need replacing to work with our new lift. The front coil springs were loosened and safely removed so the new, upgraded 4-inch springs could be mounted. The next front-end upgrade includes the radius arm kit. Front brake line relocation brackets are included as well.

This kit includes massive tubular radius arms that are built to handle far more than factory replacement parts. The radius arms, however, do feature a factory-style rubber bushing mount at the frame to keep the NVH levels (noise, vibration, and harshness) at bay. These are 3 1/4-inch diameter bushings that are quite large and offer a long, maintenance-free service life.
The new radius arms mount right in the factory location, so the installation is simple. Included in this kit are alignment cam locks that allow for adjustability for caster. Something factory arms do not offer. The arms are designed to keep the geometry of the front suspension within spec while compensating for the lift that is being installed.
To finish off the front, Lloyds truck earned a set of BDS’ 4-inch coil springs. Unlike the factory ones, these springs are designed to withstand full coil bind and bounce right back to their original height. Sagging springs are a thing of the past. Each coil has been shot peened for increased tensile strength and they are coated with a polyester-based powdercoating that flexes with the springs.
With the specialized coating, not only are you getting the incredible ride, but you are also getting a protected part that will last. Lloyds Super Duty has now been equipped with all of the latest parts and it is out and better than ever. “I wanted to be able to safely tow more and find the truck physically more appealing,” Lloyd says. “With BDS’ upgrades on board, I get that and more.”
Lloyd’s truck is now more than capable of handling any load and is steering straighter than before. The ride is much more comfortable. It glides over the road smoothly, and when towing, the weight is distributed better. “I don’t need to worry about weight distribution when hooking up to a trailer now,” Lloyd says. “All that is left is a set of wheels and tires to finish this whole thing off.”
We can’t thank our partners at BDS Suspension and Fox for helping us out on this project. We are ecstatic with how it turned out and we are even more excited about how well it performs. For more information about BDS Suspension, head on over to their website here. What do you think about this Super Duty’s upgrades? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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