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


superj

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be sure to post what you learn as us other torsion bar guys would like to do the same thing.


i had seen that deal about some stock keys being different and allowing more drop but i don't recall where i read it. i did a lot of searching too. and the kit to convert our torsion front end to a coil over front end is no longer available unless you find someone who finds one in their garage or something. that is what i wanted to do so i could build an autocross truck without having to get another ranger. i pretty much gave up on that and will probably end up using another e30 bmw since i have a garage full of e30 parts from when i raced those. it doesn't seem complicated to make your own coil over brackets though and you can find conversions for jeeps that might work on our trucks. i am just hesitant to do that stuff because i don't know why. i just think it will fail and i will crash if i do it on my own. no idea why i think that


yes, hit the junkyard for stock coil front suspension ranger u-bolts when you pull the rear block.
 


bhgl

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be sure to post what you learn as us other torsion bar guys would like to do the same thing.


i had seen that deal about some stock keys being different and allowing more drop but i don't recall where i read it. i did a lot of searching too. and the kit to convert our torsion front end to a coil over front end is no longer available unless you find someone who finds one in their garage or something. that is what i wanted to do so i could build an autocross truck without having to get another ranger. i pretty much gave up on that and will probably end up using another e30 bmw since i have a garage full of e30 parts from when i raced those. it doesn't seem complicated to make your own coil over brackets though and you can find conversions for jeeps that might work on our trucks. i am just hesitant to do that stuff because i don't know why. i just think it will fail and i will crash if i do it on my own. no idea why i think that


yes, hit the junkyard for stock coil front suspension ranger u-bolts when you pull the rear block.
Thanks for the info on the U-Bolts, I'll be sure to keep everyone updated. I may just buy the U-Bolts new if they're cheap enough since my nearest junkyard is 2.5 hours away.

It won't be a crazy drop but whatever info I get will be posted either here, on the truck's main thread when the work is done.

Right now there's a gentleman wanting to scrap his 2009 4x4 Ranger, looks mostly stock so I'm thinking on buying it to grab the keys out of it, a few other miscellaneous parts, and if they're compatible there's some new front suspension components that may be worth having.
 

superj

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For sure. That sounds like a good plan.
 

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@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.
When I "lifted" my 2011, I got about 1.5" of lift installing 2007 Ranger keys and rear axle blocks. So, looking for a set of keys and axle blocks for a 2008 or later Ranger should give you the reverse, assuming your current keys and axle blocks are the same height as a 4X4's. Drawing from memory, I replaced the shocks with ones that would fit a 2007 to eliminate the guess work on if the length and stroke would be right. Doing the reverse, again should do the same for you. But I know if the RWD torsion bar setup is the same as a 4X4 and I don't want to send you on a goose chase.

If you can, I would compare part numbers for your truck to those of a 4X4 model of the same year and see if they are the same. If they are, that should clear the path and give you a better idea what will work and what won't.
 

bhgl

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When I "lifted" my 2011, I got about 1.5" of lift installing 2007 Ranger keys and rear axle blocks. So, looking for a set of keys and axle blocks for a 2008 or later Ranger should give you the reverse, assuming your current keys and axle blocks are the same height as a 4X4's. Drawing from memory, I replaced the shocks with ones that would fit a 2007 to eliminate the guess work on if the length and stroke would be right. Doing the reverse, again should do the same for you. But I know if the RWD torsion bar setup is the same as a 4X4 and I don't want to send you on a goose chase.

If you can, I would compare part numbers for your truck to those of a 4X4 model of the same year and see if they are the same. If they are, that should clear the path and give you a better idea what will work and what won't.
Sounds like the right process. I'm hoping I can just delete my rear blocks entirely, as it stands the rear sits higher than the front which is pretty typical for trucks.
 

sgtsandman

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Sounds like the right process. I'm hoping I can just delete my rear blocks entirely, as it stands the rear sits higher than the front which is pretty typical for trucks.
Measure the difference from front and rear for the height difference due to the rake. I suspect eiminating the blocks might work but take some measurements before you jump. If it works, shocks for a coil spring, RWD Ranger should be the ticket since they don't normally have axle blocks.
 

superj

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183 ci of tire shredding power
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2WD
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none
Total Drop
none
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235s
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drives a stick shift ranger

superj

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2004
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ranger edge
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3.0 V6
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183 ci of tire shredding power
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
drives a stick shift ranger
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.

Those control arms are cool. Real cool
 

bhgl

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Folks, I regret to inform all of you.

MAB3L is in fact... A coil spring truck.

Despite a sticker, and vin page that states it's a DS model, it in fact has a 2WD coil spring frame.


Well folks,

After learning that my truck in fact had a 4.10 axle instead of the door sticker's 3.73, I was absolutely befuddled, but assumed someone had simply changed the axle or the ratio in it's long list of previous owners.

After that I dug up the truck's build code, did a VIN lookup to confirm it was in fact a Dual Sport, all that checked out! So I thought.

Well today, I finally got the opportunity to put on my new summer tires. So imagine my surprise when I come face to face with: View attachment 108583
I've been messing around trying to fix the truck's myriad of airbag codes, replacing disabled/burnt out bulbs, getting new keys, and installing power locks. I hadn't actually climbed under the damn thing. I didn't even have the opportunity when I installed winter tires, since the shop that was doing my mandatory safety mounted and installed them on the wheels the truck came with.

As I've mentioned before, this truck was in an accident at some point, and was put back together. It's been in this configuration for at least 8 years.

So, this truck's cab, and potentially bed originally sat on a Torsion bar frame. At some point, probably after the accident, it was put onto a regular coil spring 2WD frame.

I knew this thing was one of Frankenstein's creations when I bought it, it had a Ranger's airbag, mismatched front headlights, a B4000 fender on the driver's side, and a B3000 fender on the passenger, but I'm now painfully aware of the totality of the kludge that is this supposed Mazda B3000.

Thank you everyone for you advice on Torsion Bar drops, I hope what's been posted can help someone else down the line accomplish their own drops on their DS/Edges.

Forgive me forum, for I have sinned, and insisted on research before practice.
 

JoshT

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You seem to have figured out that your is coil spring instead off torsion bar, so you may want to check the rear to see if you actually have a block. Given what you've found about the truck I'd seri0ously be questioning the vehicle's history. It's a package that is supposed to come with torsion bars (I assume that was true for all year), but it has coil springs and that is not an easy swap. That means your truck is either a fluke from the factory or someone has swapped the frame. If the latter, why? Only reason I can think of is combining two bad trucks to create one good one.

That said if the truck was well sorted, I don't think I'd let it bother me too much. If you are coil spring, you actually happen to have the better suspension for lowering. Since that is what you want to do, you got lucky here.

I still want to address a few previous posts that seem to not be relevant for your truck any longer, but may be for someone searching in the future.


When I "lifted" my 2011, I got about 1.5" of lift installing 2007 Ranger keys and rear axle blocks. So, looking for a set of keys and axle blocks for a 2008 or later Ranger should give you the reverse, assuming your current keys and axle blocks are the same height as a 4X4's. Drawing from memory, I replaced the shocks with ones that would fit a 2007 to eliminate the guess work on if the length and stroke would be right. Doing the reverse, again should do the same for you. But I know if the RWD torsion bar setup is the same as a 4X4 and I don't want to send you on a goose chase.

If you can, I would compare part numbers for your truck to those of a 4X4 model of the same year and see if they are the same. If they are, that should clear the path and give you a better idea what will work and what won't.
Torsion bar suspension of the same year use the same components for both 2wd and 4wd. Same components is not taking into acount different "spring rates" on the torsion bar, and different steering knuckles for 2wd and 4wd. Control arms, keys, shocks, etc are the same.

The key change happened in 2008. There were a lot of people with '08+ Rangers looking for the earlier keys to lift. There were a few with pre-08 Edges looking for the later keys to drop, but that was mostly on another forum that is no longer around.

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?
Stmitch gave you potential one source. Rick's Rangerz might also carry them. They are all over ebay.

Shocks are a good question. I'm going to be checking to see if 2wd coil spring shocks are even remotely close to fitting since I'm aiming for that ride height for now.

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.
All I can say there is, if interested, reach out to him and good luck. I've been trying to get a source of upper arms for these for at least 6 months, probably over a year, because both me and lil_blue_ford want them for our AWD trucks. There are two companies that made arms for these back in the day that are still in business and claim to make them.

One is Michigan Metal Works. They made a flate plate arm with a custom high angle balljoint (the "jeebus joint") and corrected angles and length for lowering a torsion bar Ranger. Told me over a year ago that they still make them in batches and to watch the site. They never went live on the site. In the last several months I messaged them again. Said they were getting ready to make some and could send an invoice. I never got said invoice. They claimed there was an issue with email, I provided another address. They ghosted me. Won't respond to any attempts to communicate.

The other is Illusive Design. I like this design better, round tube adjustable, and uses replaceable stock balljoint with angles corrected for lowering. I reached out to Brian over a year ago, I don't recall the details, but seems like he wasn't making them at that time. After MMW ghosted me I reached out to Brian again. Through Facebook this time and we conversed a bit. This was in the last two months. Says that he will be making them again and allegedly there are several more people wanting a set as well. Claimed that he is still setting up his shop after a move and wants to make some design changes before making more. I've got no problem with waiting for that, but he can't/won't give a guestimate as to how long that wait may be. I'm not asking for number days here, is it going to be 6 months, a year, more? Just helps me determine how to proceed with my build.

Anyhow, if you are reading this and interested in upper arms for lowering a torsion bar Ranger, please reach out to these companies and express your interest. It might help motivate them to do something. Also if you do, please let us know that you did and what they said.
 

stmitch

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Not sure about the VIN situation, but as far as I know, the Dual Sports all had fender flares (kind of like the Edge model Rangers did. Here's a DS:
 

bhgl

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Not sure about the VIN situation, but as far as I know, the Dual Sports all had fender flares (kind of like the Edge model Rangers did. Here's a DS:
There were some warning signs I wasn't dealing with a DS, lack of matching body coloured grill and bumper is one thing as well.

Given that it was just over 20 years old, and had some mismatched panels already, I think I let more than I should have slide given that a sticker and a VIN report said Dual Sport.

At least it has the LSD!
 

superj

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2004
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ranger edge
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3.0 V6
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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
All the dual sports i see in marketplace seemed to gave flares like that. There is a nice one in austin for sale and njce on in mcallen or brownsville, also for sale.

I see ranger prices are dropping back to normal, so thats nice. I might get another just for fun
 

bhgl

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All the dual sports i see in marketplace seemed to gave flares like that. There is a nice one in austin for sale and njce on in mcallen or brownsville, also for sale.

I see ranger prices are dropping back to normal, so thats nice. I might get another just for fun
There's an Edge being sold for near scrap price in my town, I'm debating buying it just to go through with the minor drop and post the details as recompense.

Ranger prices up here are still pretty rough for anything you'd want to actually buy and drive, but there's a decent amount of trucks needing some amount of work that are selling for more reasonable prices, but that usually involves some amount of rust repair.

I wish we didn't have such a rust problem up here, sends more trucks to the scrap yard than anything else.
 

JoshT

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Just to ask the dumb question. You are using the VIN on the dash right?

I wouldn't waste your money and time buying an edge to lower it. Even if the truck isn't what you thought, it sounds solid and you have the better suspension for lowering.
 

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