• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

Improving ride quality and handling via lowering? '03 B3000, Std Cab+Short Bed.


Lefty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
2,011
Points
113
Location
Saint Paul, MN
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Transmission
Automatic
i always forget to look for the explorer bumper when i go to the junkyard. maybe i should just look on ebay or marketplace instead

i am a fan of huge swaybars. i add rear swybars when vehicles are missing them and try to go larger on both when possible
Very good! The Ranger already has a rear sway bar, but it could be stronger. Rather than buy a new one, I solved the problem with those spring pack clamps. Someday I may just find an elusive 1" rear sway bar from an old Bronco ii.
 


stmitch

March 2011 STOTM Winner
MTOTM Winner
2011 Truck of The Year
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
656
Points
113
Location
Central Indiana
Vehicle Year
2000
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
3.0
Transmission
Manual
3" drop coils can be difficult or impossible to get a decent alignment with, even with camber eccentrics. Just be aware of that if you do the Belltech front coils.

The hopping in the rear is par for the course with solid axle and no weight in the rear. Lower spring rates might help I suppose. You could consider trimming the factory bump stops down in the rear, or replacing them with "pancake" bumpstops to increase the travel so that it doesn't "crash" as much over bumps when the suspension cycles. Adding a C notch to the frame would do the same, and might be needed no matter what if you're dropping the rear more than a couple of inches.

My recipe for a nice riding, lowered Ranger would be:
- S10 coilovers in the front to give me flexibility with spring rates and tuning shock valving
- Rear C notch with pancake bumpstops to get as much travel as possible before bottoming out when the suspension cycles
- Reducing unsprung weight as much as possible (lightweight wheel/tire combo)
- Move weight toward the rear to improve front/rear weight bias (battery relocation, fuel cell if you're feeling spendy).
- Decent rear shocks to pair with the front coilovers
 

bhgl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2024
Messages
303
Reaction score
234
Points
43
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Mazda B3000
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
3" drop coils can be difficult or impossible to get a decent alignment with, even with camber eccentrics. Just be aware of that if you do the Belltech front coils.

The hopping in the rear is par for the course with solid axle and no weight in the rear. Lower spring rates might help I suppose. You could consider trimming the factory bump stops down in the rear, or replacing them with "pancake" bumpstops to increase the travel so that it doesn't "crash" as much over bumps when the suspension cycles. Adding a C notch to the frame would do the same, and might be needed no matter what if you're dropping the rear more than a couple of inches.

My recipe for a nice riding, lowered Ranger would be:
- S10 coilovers in the front to give me flexibility with spring rates and tuning shock valving
- Rear C notch with pancake bumpstops to get as much travel as possible before bottoming out when the suspension cycles
- Reducing unsprung weight as much as possible (lightweight wheel/tire combo)
- Move weight toward the rear to improve front/rear weight bias (battery relocation, fuel cell if you're feeling spendy).
- Decent rear shocks to pair with the front coilovers
I don't know if I'm quite committed to doing a full C notch.

Lefty previously recommended James Duff traction bars which would certainly help in the lateral movement department.

That Belltech kit I posted actually has a 2 Inch drop in the front, and 3 for the rear. And it comes complete with some well reviewed shocks front and rear.

I will be moving over to a lightweight wheel and tire combo come summer, we're going with the thinnest possible tire, and at minimum some alloy wheels, I currently have some 16x7 OEM B4000 wheels, but I'm debating going with a different set that's smaller and lighter weight for that exact issue.
 

superj

Well-Known Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
3,604
Reaction score
3,078
Points
113
Location
corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
183 ci of tire shredding power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
drives a stick shift ranger
Very good! The Ranger already has a rear sway bar, but it could be stronger. Rather than buy a new one, I solved the problem with those spring pack clamps. Someday I may just find an elusive 1" rear sway bar from an old Bronco ii.
i need to go back to my local junkyard. there is a bronco2 in there and its a higher trim level so it could have what i need since its 4x4 and all
 

Lefty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
2,011
Points
113
Location
Saint Paul, MN
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Transmission
Automatic
i need to go back to my local junkyard. there is a bronco2 in there and its a higher trim level so it could have what i need since its 4x4 and all
I will give you $100.00 for the rear sway bar. It would be 7/8" or 1," Some BII's come with smaller bars.
 

superj

Well-Known Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
3,604
Reaction score
3,078
Points
113
Location
corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
183 ci of tire shredding power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
drives a stick shift ranger
I have to make it over there to even look but since they have explorers and that b2, maybe i can go this weekend
 
Last edited:

Lefty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
2,011
Points
113
Location
Saint Paul, MN
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Transmission
Automatic
I have to make it over there to even look but since they have explorers and that b2, maybe i can go this weekend
Very good! I actually have an Explorer sway bar. It's just that the B2 is better. The price is negotiable. $125.00 is reasonable too. I've waited for a 1" B2 rear sway bar for over a year.

Keep me posted.
 

superj

Well-Known Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
3,604
Reaction score
3,078
Points
113
Location
corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
183 ci of tire shredding power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
drives a stick shift ranger
ok, if the weather cooperates
 

JoshT

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
V8 Engine Swap
TRS Banner 2012-2015
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
4,275
Reaction score
2,334
Points
113
Location
Macon/Fort Valley, GA
Vehicle Year
1999
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
I'll take a closer look at those rear leafs, and the cab mounts. I'll be honest though I won't be able to fix them anytime soon, just don't have the facilities, time and money to lift the cab.
Doesn't take much to change mounts.and you don't need to lift the cab much. Pull back the carpet and break all 6 bolts loose. Remove bolts on one side and use a floor jack to raise that side off the frame. Remove old mounts, and set new mounts in place. Lower cab and reinstall bolts. Repeat for other side.

3" drop coils can be difficult or impossible to get a decent alignment with, even with camber eccentrics. Just be aware of that if you do the Belltech front coils.
I was trying to figure out how to say the same. I was going to recommend a DJM kit with drop arms, but looks like those are a 4/5 drop. I could have sworn there was a 3/4 kit with arms.


I will give you $100.00 for the rear sway bar.

------------------

I've waited for a 1" B2 rear sway bar for over a year.
Didn't know these things were worth their weight in gold now. I've got two, unfortunately I've got a place for both. First one was a salvage yard pull almost 20 years ago. Put it in my 84 a few weeks before totaling it, and will be going on my 99 when I figure out what I'm going to do with the axle. The other was a complete surprise. Bought the 85 last year thinking it was a neglected, but mostly stock, truck. When I was strapping it down on the trailer I was pleasantly surprised to see that big ole sway bar under there.
 

bhgl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2024
Messages
303
Reaction score
234
Points
43
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Mazda B3000
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
@Lefty @superj

So my Dual Sport has the same front suspension as your Edge's. I know Lefty's been able to lower his by cranking down his Keys and switching out blocks in the rear.

I'm mostly looking for 2" in the front, 3" in the rear, which seems to be the max before serious issues with ball joints and other things start happening.

I may just post my questions in a new or in the main thread for the truck but thought I'd start here.

Front Torsion Keys:
I've read that in 2009+ Ford started installing Keys that lowered the truck by about 1.5 or so inches from the factory to improve fuel economy, but it's hard to find any information on people swapping them in order to LOWER their trucks. I've read that some folks used to do a ReKey Mod where they'd find older keys to swap in. Would anyone here have some info on the keys?

I've read quite a bit about key flips, but I don't want to risk them failing or otherwise not doing their jobs well, I could also back out the adjustment bolt, but I'm worried that at a 1.5-2inch drop I'll have basically nothing threaded in at all.

Rear Blocks:
Things seem as easy as just pulling the stock 2 Inch lift blocks from the leafs/axle, but looking at it and from what other folks have mentioned, I may need new U-Bolts to actually hold the thing together safely. I imagine I could just grab typical 2WD U-Bolts and be good from there. But if there's something I should be looking out for. Let me know.

Shocks/struts:
I'm imagining I would need shorter struts for both the front and rear but I'm not sure. I need new struts regardless so I'm happy to be replacing them.

If shorter struts are necessary, what Ranger/B-Series models would I be looking to purchase them from, most 2WD without Torsion bars still have standalone struts, but does anyone know if they will work for a torsion bar application?

Bump Stops:
Shorter Bump stops will be necessary at the front, they can be found on the aftermarket, but I may try to make my own using some high density poly material I have on hand. Some folks have mentioned that they've had to cut out the area that mounts the bump stop, but I think that may only be for those doing full coilover conversions.

As for the rear I've got no clue.
 

Lefty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
2,011
Points
113
Location
Saint Paul, MN
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Transmission
Automatic
@Lefty @superj

So my Dual Sport has the same front suspension as your Edge's. I know Lefty's been able to lower his by cranking down his Keys and switching out blocks in the rear.

I'm mostly looking for 2" in the front, 3" in the rear, which seems to be the max before serious issues with ball joints and other things start happening.

I may just post my questions in a new or in the main thread for the truck but thought I'd start here.

Front Torsion Keys:
I've read that in 2009+ Ford started installing Keys that lowered the truck by about 1.5 or so inches from the factory to improve fuel economy, but it's hard to find any information on people swapping them in order to LOWER their trucks. I've read that some folks used to do a ReKey Mod where they'd find older keys to swap in. Would anyone here have some info on the keys?

I've read quite a bit about key flips, but I don't want to risk them failing or otherwise not doing their jobs well, I could also back out the adjustment bolt, but I'm worried that at a 1.5-2inch drop I'll have basically nothing threaded in at all.

Rear Blocks:
Things seem as easy as just pulling the stock 2 Inch lift blocks from the leafs/axle, but looking at it and from what other folks have mentioned, I may need new U-Bolts to actually hold the thing together safely. I imagine I could just grab typical 2WD U-Bolts and be good from there. But if there's something I should be looking out for. Let me know.

Shocks/struts:
I'm imagining I would need shorter struts for both the front and rear but I'm not sure. I need new struts regardless so I'm happy to be replacing them.

If shorter struts are necessary, what Ranger/B-Series models would I be looking to purchase them from, most 2WD without Torsion bars still have standalone struts, but does anyone know if they will work for a torsion bar application?

Bump Stops:
Shorter Bump stops will be necessary at the front, they can be found on the aftermarket, but I may try to make my own using some high density poly material I have on hand. Some folks have mentioned that they've had to cut out the area that mounts the bump stop, but I think that may only be for those doing full coilover conversions.

As for the rear I've got no clue.
Sounds like you have a solid plan. You can only lower the front end by 5/8" without new keys. Keys are no big deal. I'm sure that any dealer who sells suspension kits will be able to connect you with the right ones.

You will also need to have an alignment when you are finished (to readjust the camber?).

I do remember checking underneath. Speaking offhand, I don't think you will need new bump stops in the rear.
 

bhgl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2024
Messages
303
Reaction score
234
Points
43
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Mazda B3000
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Sounds like you have a solid plan. You can only lower the front end by 5/8" without new keys. Keys are no big deal. I'm sure that any dealer who sells suspension kits will be able to connect you with the right ones.

You will also need to have an alignment when you are finished (to readjust the camber?).

I do remember checking underneath. Speaking offhand, I don't think you will need new bump stops in the rear.
Alignment will most definitely be needed.

The trouble I'm having sourcing keys is that most everyone and their mother is selling lift keys!

Any thoughts on what do do for struts?
 

Lefty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
2,011
Points
113
Location
Saint Paul, MN
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Transmission
Automatic
Bell Tech is a reliable aftermarket company that sells suspension kits. They will help you. Give them a call.

I'm not sure about struts. I just did not change mine all that much.
 

stmitch

March 2011 STOTM Winner
MTOTM Winner
2011 Truck of The Year
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
656
Points
113
Location
Central Indiana
Vehicle Year
2000
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
3.0
Transmission
Manual
You can get lowering keys from Illusive Design and Fab. Not sure if it's still the case, but they were a site sponsor here at one time:


I think at one time Illusive sold lower control arms for torsion bar trucks that would provide a couple of inches of drop, but I only read about a couple of sets in the wild.

They also still show adjustable upper control arms on their site (although they say out of stock) that would let you dial camber back in when dropping more than 2-3" in front:


I'd reach out to Brian at Illusive and see what he can still get, or what he suggests.

Honestly, lowered torsion bar trucks have a reputation for a rough ride. I'd seriously consider deleting the torsion bars and converting to coilovers. It's going to require some fab work, but will result in the best outcome, and may not cost too much more than whatever you end up doing with keys, control arms, new shocks, etc.
 
Last edited:

bhgl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2024
Messages
303
Reaction score
234
Points
43
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Mazda B3000
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
You can get lowering keys from Illusive Design and Fab. Not sure if it's still the case, but they were a site sponsor here at one time:


I think at one time Illusive sold lower control arms for torsion bar trucks that would provide a couple of inches of drop, but I only read about a couple of sets in the wild.

They also still show adjustable upper control arms on their site (although they say out of stock) that would let you dial camber back in when dropping more than 2-3" in front:


I'd reach out to Brian at Illusive and see what he can still get, or what he suggests.

Honestly, lowered torsion bar trucks have a reputation for a rough ride. I'd seriously consider deleting the torsion bars and converting to coilovers. It's going to require some fab work, but will result in the best outcome, and may not cost too much more than whatever you end up doing with keys, control arms, new shocks, etc.
I have floated the idea of just converting to coil overs given my use case, but the easiest way to do that is with some pre-made brackets which appear to no longer be sold. That along with compatible control arms could be the BEST solution, but also quite expensive.

If at any point I do decide to go LOW, I think the coil overs are the better solution. The main reason I'm looking to swap in the later model year OEM keys is to avoid the cost, and the time involved with a more comprehensive solution. I'm only looking for about 2 inches at the most in the front which shouldn't require too much of an overhaul, just an alignment, and new bump stops, in theory.

I might still give him a call just to see if he can answer some questions for me!

Thank you for the info!
 

Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Members online

Today's birthdays

Member & Vendor Upgrades

For a small yearly donation, you can support this forum and receive a 'Supporting Member' banner, or become a 'Supporting Vendor' and promote your products here. Click the banner to find out how.

Latest posts

Truck of The Month


TexasDuck66
July Truck of The Month

Recently Featured

Want to see your truck here? Share your photos and details in the forum.

Follow TRS On Instagram

TRS Events

25th Anniversary Sponsors

Check Out The TRS Store


Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Sponsored Ad


Amazon Deals

Top