Installing Dropped Axle in 48-52 Ford F1 Pickup
**********(FOR REFERENCE USE ONLY)***********
By Jeff Smith
These are the steps that I documented as I lowered my 51 Ford F1 using a 3" dropped axle and tie rod drop blocks from www.droppedaxles.com .
1. I took before pictures and measured a reference point on the pickup. I measured the distance from the ground to the lip of the fender.
2. Then I put the pickup on flat level surface suitable for working which in my case involved driving the pickup in the shop.
3. Took inventory of all the new parts: a. 3" over stock dropped axle with spindles and new kingpins from Sid b. 2" tie rod drop blocks x2 from Sid
4. I set the emergency brake to assure pickup didn't move once supported on jack stands.
5. Raised the front of pickup to give adequate access for removing axle, steering linkages, etc. and supported with adequate jack stands in a position that vehicle was stable and didn't keep me from removing any of the parts I would need to replace.
6. Removed front wheels and tires.
7. Sprayed all hardware to be removed with penetrating oil to help in removing.
8. Removed shocks.
9. Removed front brake drums and hubs.
10. Removed the four nuts holding the backing plates and then removed the backing plates with all brake parts and supported them on bucket so I wouldn't damage the brake hoses.
11. Removed steering link from pitman arm by first removing cotter pin on end of link, then by removing set screw out of end of joint using large screwdriver or chisel to unscrew.
Once set screw was backed out, ball could be removed out of joint by pulling link up.
12. Removed tie rod ends from steering links.
13. Move steering linkage out of the way so it doesn't interfere with getting the axle out.
14. Sid had already installed another set of spindles I had on the axle using new kingpins, so I didn't need the other spindles at this time. If re-using spindles on new axle, remove kingpins to remove spindles.
15. Placed jack under axle to sufficiently support weight of axle being sure not to take weight off of jack stands and rest of pickup.
16. Removed nuts on bottom side of u-bolts that secure axle to springs.
17. Once nuts were removed, removed four u-bolts that secured axle to springs.
18. Carefully removed axle from pickup by letting jack down and supporting axle on ends.
19. Since I wanted a little softer ride and a little more than a 3" drop, I chose to remove a couple leaves out of the original springs.
20. Laid original axle next to dropped axle for a visual comparison of amount of drop.
21. Removed shock mounts from old axle and re-installed on new axle.
22. Cleaned u-bolts and nuts that secured axle to springs for re-assembly.
23. Re-installed u-bolts and added 6 degrees of caster shims before installing axle (thick part of shim to back of truck). This is just a start for where the caster angle needs to be and may need to be adjusted.
(After getting mine back together, I think 3 degrees will work. My pickup actually didn't have any caster angle shims other than one flat one when I pulled it apart.)
24. Installed new axle/spindle assembly by using the reverse order of disassembly instructions above.
25. Secured axle with cleaned u-bolts and nuts being sure to align the pins in springs with the alignment holes in axle.
26. Installed tie rod drop blocks on tie rod ends.
27. Installed steering link to steering arms using new bolts that come with tie rod drop blocks.
28. Installed brake backing plates with all brake parts in reverse order of disassembly.
29. Cleaned and re-packed all wheel bearings and put back together with new seals.
30. Installed hubs and brake drums.
31. Put wheels and tires back on so I could roughly set the toe-in on front end alignment by adjusting the tie rods.
32. Once toe-in was set, I tightened up the tie rod end clamps.
33. Then, I got to put the pickup on the ground and see the results. Wheel well was now at 26-1/2", so it went down right at 3". (After rolling the pickup, it actually settled out a little more.)
34. Next, I moved to the back where all I planned on was to remove a few leaves from the springs to both soften the ride and bring the back down about 1-1/2". This pickup started out lower in the back than the front and didn't need as much in the rear.
35. The rear of this pickup started out with a total of 9 leaves per side and I decided to pull out 4 of them. I ended up threading the u-bolts farther up to account for the difference in thickness of the spring pack. Once it was all back together, I ended up with the 1-1/2" drop that I was looking for and it softened the ride some while stilling leaving plenty of load carrying capacity for anything I would ever need to haul with the pickup.
36. Once I was finished, I ended up with about a ½" difference in the height of the running board from front to rear. In my opinion, just enough rake for the look I was going for.