Mechanics

FORD RANGER SUSPENSION PROBLEM

1996 Ford Ranger • 200,000 miles

I have a six inch lifted ranger and when I get on the gas the front tires tuck inward how do I fix that?
Avatar
Guest
February 1, 2013.



Take that stupid lift kit out and throw it away. No suspension and alignment expert would ever do that to any vehicle since we know what the consequences are, and if you have the twin I-beam suspension as only Fords did, that is the worst suspension system ever developed as far as tire wear goes. Ride height is WAY more critical on them than any other car or truck. Due to its design, you will see the tires tip severely when you raise it off the ground. The same thing happens when taller springs are installed. In some cases you can get away with drop spindles. Those won't change the effective ride height of the suspension but it will still adversely affect "scrub radius" which will lead to poor handling and reduced braking under some conditions. Lawyers and insurance investigators love to find modifications like this. They will convince a jury you were partly to blame for the crash when the other guy ran the red light because you were less able to avoid it, and they will be right.

You have enough going against you already as far as tire wear. The handling was acceptable as it was designed. There's no need to make it worse. Tipping the wheels even a little puts the vehicle weight on a different part of the spindle and that will add stress to the wheel bearings. Changing the angle of the control arms or I-beams puts the rubber bushings in a permanent twist and reduces their life.

There are offset ball joints available as "problem solver" parts to correct "camber", the inward and outward tilt of the wheel, on some trucks that were designed with no alignment adjustments, (common on Fords), but those ball joints will not provide enough adjustment if you can physically see the wheels leaning. Normally they are used to make minor corrections when the springs have sagged a little from age, but the proper, (and easier) repair is to replace the springs.

I had a lot of students who wanted to raise or lower their vehicles in my Suspension and Alignment class in a community college, but once we discussed how the suspension and steering geometry work along with the braking system, and they understood scrub radius, not a single one of them wanted to pursue the project. Instead, they became real concerned with measuring ride height on every vehicle they worked on. If you want me to, I can explain scrub radius, but it takes a long time to type everything. You can find a better description in any automotive text book.

Caradiodoc
Feb 1, 2013.