Classic 1965-1979 Ford F-100: Now Add Bolt-in Independent Suspension Technology
Ford F-Series trucks were all about Twin I-Beam front suspensions. That’s what real trucks used, because of their simplicity and ruggedness. Or, at least, that’s what Ford’s advertising told us. Never mind that Dodge and Chevrolet were using independent suspensions for years. But today, you can do better by going independent for your 1965 to 1979 F-100 Ford truck.
Why did Ford keep the F-100 I-Beam suspension?
That’s because RideTech has designed an all-new independent suspension that bolts in. The key here is that it is a bolt-in deal. No welding or cutting is necessary. Most truck enthusiasts can sling a wrench, but much fewer can lay down a good weld.
Ford, as it did with mechanical brakes in the 1930s, soldiered on with old tech because that’s what it had always used, with no problems to speak of. So why change a good thing? But once a better ride was part of the requirement list of Ford truck fans, things changed.
Why change what works?
Ford used Twin I-Beam suspensions on 1965 to 1984 F-100s, and up to 2016 on F-250 and F-350 trucks. “Twin I-Beam” meant it was slightly more like independent suspensions because the I-Beam axle, used since the days of the Model T, was cut in half, so to speak. The pivot points were outward, looking like almost two separate axles, allowing for a longer swing.
With that ancient history out of the way, many enthusiasts want a lower truck that handles like a modern car. The RideTech front end is a self-contained unit. You remove the original front cross member, then bolt in the new suspension cradle in its place.
What are the benefits of this F-100 independent suspension kit?
The Ford rivet holes left behind from the original cross member are now for bolting in the new one. Drilling new holes is unnecessary. Just use the grade 8 fasteners, and the cradle is in.
The cradle has structural mounting points for the tubular control arms. Now the new suspension gives improved roll centers and anti-dive. Alignment of the upper and lower control arms is easy to accomplish. Delrin bushings are in the ball joints, both for smooth operation as well as to aid in adjusting the caster. You can experiment with caster slugs, which help to fine-tune settings.
Plus, you now have rack-and-pinion steering, so you can ditch the original steering box. Everything is included to mate the steering shaft to the steering column. There is also a built-in sway bar.
With the use of coil-over springs, it cleans up the suspension, eliminating the old spring and shock absorber setup. The front height is adjustable, and the Fox Factory Shock monotube-gas pressure design comes with them. And to top it off, you’re also eliminating 130 lbs.
Is there a kit to update the F-100 rear suspension?
There is also a four-link rear-end setup that includes a bolt-in C-notch for the frame to allow the rear axle more travel. It also has mounting points for the control arms and panhard bar. And this setup, besides a smoother ride, eliminates 50 lbs.
So here’s a clean, well-designed, bolt-in front end to bring your old truck ride into the 21st century. These kits work for both short- and long-bed applications. And they require no bed modifications, so all of the cargo capacity of the original truck is retained.
MotorBiscuit nor the author is paid by, nor is affiliated with, RideTech Suspension Co.