Everyone should know by now that we're huge fans of Daystar, especially their lineup of Ford truck leveling kits. They are our neighbors, after all, and they do make some of the finest and highest quality leveling kits on the market for virtually everything that may need one. With all that in mind, we decided that the best way to squeeze some 34" tires onto our 2011 F150 EcoBoost Project truck was with Daystar's 2" front leveling kit. We headed over to Extreme Performance for a little help and even managed to learn a thing or two about Daystar's leveling kits -- not all of it good.
For those of you unfamiliar with Daystar's leveling systems, these kits feature polyurethane spacers that install on the tops of your F150's front struts. The spacers slightly lift your truck's front end, helping to reduce some of it's frontal rake and let you throw on slightly larger wheels and tires. Daystar says you can fit on up to 33" tires, but we'll be sticking on some 34s since we don't mind a little rubbing or trimming -- we're cool like that.
As per usual with these sorts of things, take the proper precautions. Pull your truck's negative battery cable, wear goggles, make sure your truck is properly secured on jack stands or lift, wear sunscreen, and just be safe in general. Also double-check that all the necessary parts are included in the box for your leveling kit.
There a couple of things to note before your get started. Most importantly, your 2" leveling kit does not, in fact, come with 2" thick spacers. As you can see above, the spacer itself was right about an inch thick. This still gets you 2" of leveling. While the spacers aren't all that thick, they play into your truck's overall suspension geometry and will get you the correct amount of lift. Secondly, Daystar's kit may not actually get you a full 2" of lift. All ride height gains are completely dependent on the condition of your truck's front suspension. Our kit, for instance, only got us about 1-3/4" of extra height on our F150. We blame Bill's lead foot and the fact that he most definitely likes to use all 500 lb-ft of torque (and every ounce of braking force) that this truck can muster.
On to the actual install. First step is to loosen the lug nuts in a proper crisscross pattern before lifting your truck up on jack stands or a lift. Once your truck is raised, pull off the tires and set them out of the way somewhere.
Next, unbolt your brake line mounting bracket from the frame and let it hang down and out of the way of your control arms and links.
With your brake lines slackened and out of the way, remove the nut holding your truck's upper ball joint to the spindle.
Detach your truck's swaybar endlink before completely removing the ball joint from the spindle.
With the ball joint nut removed and the endlink detached, use a ball joint tool, breaker bar, or whatever else to force the ball joint out of it's spindle. At this point, you should be able to move the spindle away from your strut assembly and out of the way. Just make sure not to over-extend your brake lines.
Now that you have slightly more room and have relieved some of the tension on your suspension, you can squeeze a wrench up on your truck's strut mount to undo the nuts holding the strut assembly to your truck.
Once the strut tower nuts are removed, loosen the lower nut of your strut and then force the entire strut assembly down and away from your truck with your muscles and anger. The top of the strut mount should now be exposed.
Now for the bad news. Daystar mentions in their instructions that you may have to trim down your strut mount bolts in order to fit their extenders on. Yeah, our test-fit showed that they weren't going to sit flush against the top of the strut mount. We had to get really rowdy now.
Before we got to the cutting, we threw nuts on all three bolts and screwed them on just far enough to clip the necessary amount off each bolt. This helps prevent chasing the threads and shearing off more than you need.
At least this part looks awesome. This would probably be much less fun with a hacksaw in you driveway, though.
Once we were done throwing sparks everywhere, we took off the nuts and made sure the cuts looked fairly clean.
Now that our factory bolts were the proper sized, we poured some thread locker compound in Daystar's extenders and tightened them on to our trimmed factory bolts.
With the extenders installed and tightened down, you can throw on the actual spacers. Make sure the extenders fit properly through the three larger holes of the polyurethane puck.
After the space is sitting pretty, you can push the strut assembly back into place and carefully align the bolts with the proper holes in the frame.
We used a floor jack to bring the strut assembly (and the rest of the suspension) back into proper position before we screwed on the nuts for the strut mount.
Now came the second trickiest part of the operation (after the cutting). Chris used a pry bar to help force the upper control arm down so that he could reinstall the upper ball joint back into the spindle.
From there, everything was easy (except for the fact that we still had the other side of the truck). We bolted the endlink back up, tightened down our ball joint nut and lower strut bolt to specs, reattached our brake line bracket, and even managed to throw the wheels and tires back on before we took it off the lift.
And here are the results. As you can see, we have noticeably more space in the wheel well to play with, and our truck sits much more evenly. There's still a slight rake, but it's greatly reduced since we got Daystar's kit on. Anyway, thanks to Marty, Chris, and the guys over at Extreme Performance for letting us come annoy them with our truck and cameras yet again. Stay tuned for more action on our EcoBoost project truck by checking out its dedicated page.