Front end refresh/strengthening


BudgetB3000

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Hello all,

I recently picked up a 98 B3000 4x4 with 180,000 miles. I’ve had other 4x4 vehicles in the past but not have had the IFS that this Ford has. I really want to take this truck off-roading and beat on it a bit because I’ve always babied my other cars. The plan as of right now is to swap in an 8.8 in the rear and keep the 31 A/T tires that I have. The front suspension on this truck is something completely new to me. I don’t want to do a solid axle swap as I’m a semi broke student and I’m not sure I’d have the time for it. Anyways my main question is what could I do the the front end to make it stronger/safer/more reliable? I would like to keep it at least semi stock if possible. Would new bushings be worth the money? Also is the 7.5 inch rear end capable with the 31 inch tires if I toss a locker in it or would it be better to just go for the 8.8 swap?
 


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adsm08

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For 31s and an open diff the 7.5 is up to it. For a locker I'd go with a 31 spline 8.8.

IFS, even the light-duty version on the Ranger isn't inherently weak. Chevy has used a similar setup in their 3/4 ton pickups for decades.

I would check it all over good, replace any worn joints or bushings, and go from there.

I personally prefer TTB to IFS because the difficulty in working on the two is about the same, provided all the right tools are available, but TTB parts are much cheaper. One wheel bearing for an IFS suspension is usually about $135. I can get all four of my front whee bearings for less than $50. Just one example.
 

BudgetB3000

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Thanks guys :icon_thumby: I’ll probably swap in the 8.8 and leave the front end as is for now after I check out the bushings
 

fastpakr

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Do take the time to ensure your vacuum hubs are working properly. If not, you can chase down all the vacuum lines as well as make a small modification to the outside of them that allows you to engage them by hand in a few seconds.
 

BudgetB3000

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Do take the time to ensure your vacuum hubs are working properly. If not, you can chase down all the vacuum lines as well as make a small modification to the outside of them that allows you to engage them by hand in a few seconds.
Sorry to berate you guys with questions but what is this modification that you speak of?
 


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