Fixing the Fabritech SAS nightmare - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-26-2008, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Fixing the Fabritech SAS nightmare

Ok,
A few years ago, I got the bug to do a 12'' lift / SAS on my '90 bronco and bought the Fabritech kit. At that time it was the only kit I could find. Now it seems there are a few more options out there, maybe not all from one vendor, but each component seems to have at least a couple reputable vendors that you could assemble pretty much a bolt on kit yourself.
Now, the steering sucks, the brushings are cracked, stuffs coming loose...needless to say im dissapointed.
Im now building my bronco into something with more function (daily driver/mild off roading). my idea is to lower the lift to 6'', run 35s, and convert to 1 tons (D60/10.25). I know the axles are overkill, but it was cheaper than regearing the existing D44 and 9''.
So obviously the whole radius arm and bracket crap that is on there is going to be a problem, and I want a new steering set up.
So heres my question, given what Im wanting the car to do, and the problems I have with the kit...What would you reccommend for fixing this nightmare?
I like the Cage off road raduis arms, and ORU (expensive) and Stonecrusher offer complete steering setups. If I repalce my Fabritech radius arms and steering with these, can i keep the rest (pretty much coils and mounts from what I can tell).
My goal is to have something quality, reliable, and street functional (I have no welding/fab skills). Ill get some pics up for reference but in the mean time go for it. Thanks for the help!!!
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post #2 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 11:28 PM
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Ok since 70 people have viewed this and no one has come up with anything yet Ill throw in my thoughts...

Sounds like you have already have a 60 and sterling? If your only running 35s why not sell the combo and use the proceeds to do whatever you want with the 44 and 9 inch which can handle 35s all day. I have a couple reasons for this. 1 its lighter, and every little bit helps with gas these days, 2 maintance is cheaper, half ton parts cost loss, 3 better ground clearace and the most imporant reason is it will allow you to get closer to doing the SAS without a welder since the 44s have the C weges on them already so you can bolt on the radius arm.

If you want to keep the 60 front (which I cant totally blame you for) I cant imagine doing it without welding. Your going to have to have someone weld on Cs or another mount like the ones the Cage arms use.

If you did a 44 I think you could do it 100% bolt on like this:
-bolt on 78-79 coil buckets using 78-79 springs
-bolt and Cage or Duff radius arms
-bolt on f-350 shock towers
-bolt on trac bar bracket and trac bar (new from cage, see other thread in this forum) or build the pieces yourself and have a local welder (exhaust shop?) burn it all together.
-you can give steering measurments to ballistic fabrication (and probably others) and they will weld it all up for you and ship it to you ready to bolt on.

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post #3 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncoboy23 View Post
Ok since 70 people have viewed this and no one has come up with anything yet Ill throw in my thoughts...

Sounds like you have already have a 60 and sterling? If your only running 35s why not sell the combo and use the proceeds to do whatever you want with the 44 and 9 inch which can handle 35s all day. I have a couple reasons for this. 1 its lighter, and every little bit helps with gas these days, 2 maintance is cheaper, half ton parts cost loss, 3 better ground clearace and the most imporant reason is it will allow you to get closer to doing the SAS without a welder since the 44s have the C weges on them already so you can bolt on the radius arm.

If you want to keep the 60 front (which I cant totally blame you for) I cant imagine doing it without welding. Your going to have to have someone weld on Cs or another mount like the ones the Cage arms use.

If you did a 44 I think you could do it 100% bolt on like this:
-bolt on 78-79 coil buckets using 78-79 springs
-bolt and Cage or Duff radius arms
-bolt on f-350 shock towers
-bolt on trac bar bracket and trac bar (new from cage, see other thread in this forum) or build the pieces yourself and have a local welder (exhaust shop?) burn it all together.
-you can give steering measurments to ballistic fabrication (and probably others) and they will weld it all up for you and ship it to you ready to bolt on.
Wow, awesome advice thanks!!!! I was under the impression that Cage made a radius arm kit that works with D60s? I just looked at the shape of the arms and figured they fit the 60, I mustve overlooked the weld on mout part.
i do want to stick with the 1-tons, although i agree that the D44 would be easier. looks like Ill go with the cage kit and a custom steering/trac bar kit (looking at stonecrusher, ballistic, and ORU,..any reccommendations). Having someone weld mounts to the D60 is fine.
And since weve established that I will be keeping the D60, what do I do about the coils and shocks. would it be the same setup as you described with the D44? The fabritech kit did include these (well the bottom coil and shock mounts and used the stock TTB buckets), could these mount to the D60 assuming I use the Cae arms (im guessing no, but just wanna make sure)?

Thanks for the great advice!!!
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post #4 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 04:36 AM
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Sounds like you're on the right track. Personally I'm all for keeping the tons, just because it's nice when you have a daily driver to not have to sweat breaking stuff when you're off road. But as Broncoboy pointed out, it does come at a cost of being a trickier install. I would advise you to take a look through my recent SAS thread, because I went largely along the same path you're on now. To answer a few of your questions;

1- The Cage arms for the D60 are indeed a weld on affair, whether you go with the older design with the weld on wedges, or the newer design that I used. Don't be afraid of this. I posted in pretty intricate detail exactly how to get the axle properly positioned under the truck. If you look in you yellow pages I can almost guarantee you'll find a mobile welding shop that would be happy to come out and burn them on right in your driveway.

2- Shock mounts. The Cage arms have the lower shock mount built in, and you should use stock F-350 upper mounts. They're still available from Ford, and they'll probably be cheaper than your shocks. This will mean new shocks, because they don't accept the TTB pin style mounting.

3- Am I correct in saying the Fabritech kit uses the stock '90 coil buckets? Ick. Drop 'em and get some '78-'79 coil buckets and coils. It looks better, gives you a better selection of coils, makes room for the superior F-350 style shock mounts, allows you to move the axle 1" forward, and is just the all around right choice to make.

4- Take a bunch of pics of the front suspension that you're removing and post them up, because I've never seen a Fabritech kit in person before.
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post #5 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 11:32 AM
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OOPS weird double post strangeness.

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post #6 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muffinman944 View Post
And since weve established that I will be keeping the D60, what do I do about the coils and shocks.
Like Dave said above the arms have the lower shock mounts on them already.

They use the '70's style lower coil retainers. They bolt right to the top of the weld on portion of the CAGE arms.

Definitely read Dave's thread. He already worked out all the bugs for you.

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post #7 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 03:42 PM
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I did the c bushing on my bronc and wish I had used the cage stuff with there staight axle kit that welds on it looks alot easyer then the c bushing

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post #8 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 10:28 PM
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where are the pictures of the current set-up?



by the way, good call on keeping the 60/sterling... One less thing to have to rebuild once youve decided to go bigger...


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post #9 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave's Bronc 90 View Post
Sounds like you're on the right track. Personally I'm all for keeping the tons, just because it's nice when you have a daily driver to not have to sweat breaking stuff when you're off road. But as Broncoboy pointed out, it does come at a cost of being a trickier install. I would advise you to take a look through my recent SAS thread, because I went largely along the same path you're on now. To answer a few of your questions;

1- The Cage arms for the D60 are indeed a weld on affair, whether you go with the older design with the weld on wedges, or the newer design that I used. Don't be afraid of this. I posted in pretty intricate detail exactly how to get the axle properly positioned under the truck. If you look in you yellow pages I can almost guarantee you'll find a mobile welding shop that would be happy to come out and burn them on right in your driveway.

2- Shock mounts. The Cage arms have the lower shock mount built in, and you should use stock F-350 upper mounts. They're still available from Ford, and they'll probably be cheaper than your shocks. This will mean new shocks, because they don't accept the TTB pin style mounting.

3- Am I correct in saying the Fabritech kit uses the stock '90 coil buckets? Ick. Drop 'em and get some '78-'79 coil buckets and coils. It looks better, gives you a better selection of coils, makes room for the superior F-350 style shock mounts, allows you to move the axle 1" forward, and is just the all around right choice to make.

4- Take a bunch of pics of the front suspension that you're removing and post them up, because I've never seen a Fabritech kit in person before.
Alright, thanks all again for the advice. Dave I went thru your thread-awesome job man!!! As detailed as anyone could ask for.
Im taking your advice and going with the 78'-79' coil buckets and coils with the F350 upper shock mounts.
I also puchased the Cage Radius arm kit and trac bar/mount kit, and got a 1-ton crossover steering setup from ORU-which has everything from the steering knuckle to the pittman arm. I know ill need to attach the 1 ton pittman arm to my bronco steering box, but what would be the easiest way to do that? Im wanting to replace my lower steering shaft and power steering box anyways, so if I have to put 1-ton steering in there its no problem. keep the advice coming!! BTW I promise to have pics of the current setup asap.
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post #10 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 02:02 AM
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Sounds like your on the right track. Ive read every post in Daves recent SAS and theres a TON of amazingly good info in there.

The F350 pitman arm and the bronco one should be the same?...

Good luck and keep us posted.

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post #11 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 02:39 AM
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Yep, there is no need to replace your existing power steering gear box unless there is a problem with it. The pitman arm may or may not need to be changed, depending on the geometry you're going for. As for myself, I used a stock Bronco pitman arm and reamed the hole out bigger for the 1 ton Chevy TRE. I **THINK** the 4WD F-350 pitman arm is the same as the Bronco one. I say that because a different pitman arm I had lying around the shop had "F(4x2)" cast into it, implying that they have a 2WD pitman arm and a 4WD pitman arm. I don't remember what is cast on my current one. I also moved the tie rod to the top of the knuckles, and reamed the knuckle arms from the top down for 1 ton Chevy TRE's as well.

I gather that you've already ordered your steering? Did you opt to go with TRE's or heims? I've never looked at ORU's site, so I'm not familiar with their products.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave's Bronc 90 View Post
Yep, there is no need to replace your existing power steering gear box unless there is a problem with it. The pitman arm may or may not need to be changed, depending on the geometry you're going for. As for myself, I used a stock Bronco pitman arm and reamed the hole out bigger for the 1 ton Chevy TRE. I **THINK** the 4WD F-350 pitman arm is the same as the Bronco one. I say that because a different pitman arm I had lying around the shop had "F(4x2)" cast into it, implying that they have a 2WD pitman arm and a 4WD pitman arm. I don't remember what is cast on my current one. I also moved the tie rod to the top of the knuckles, and reamed the knuckle arms from the top down for 1 ton Chevy TRE's as well.

I gather that you've already ordered your steering? Did you opt to go with TRE's or heims? I've never looked at ORU's site, so I'm not familiar with their products.
Yeah, Im replacing the gear box and steering shaft cuz they are both finished.
I did order the steering setup, its TRE's.
Heres the item from the Site : http://www.offroadunlimited.com/orus...idproduct=8265
Its on the expensive site, but I needed something that i didnt have to wait until the truck was finished to order (ive gotta tight window to do this in).
The guy on the phone said that it uses a 1 ton pittman arm and would not connect to my bronco steering box, but he did admit that he was not the tech guy. Im sure I could just get a 1/2 ton pittman arm and drill the hole out (im just assuming that the 1 ton arm is bigger, but Im honestly not sure), but since im looking to replace the shaft and box anyways, thought that would be an easier fix. Keep the advice coming!!!!
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post #13 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 05:32 PM
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Well, the dude was close to being right. You can't use the stock Bronco pitman as-is, you've got to ream it out to fit the bigger TRE. I highly recommend the XKUT reamer. They've gone up in price since I bought mine, but it is still a great quality tool.

For the steering shaft I went with Borgson. The company has great customer service.
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Originally Posted by Dave's Bronc 90 View Post
Well, the dude was close to being right. You can't use the stock Bronco pitman as-is, you've got to ream it out to fit the bigger TRE. I highly recommend the XKUT reamer. They've gone up in price since I bought mine, but it is still a great quality tool.

For the steering shaft I went with Borgson. The company has great customer service.
yeah thats what I was thinking too. I got ahold of the Tech guy at ORU, who said that the output for the gear box is the same size for all the F series, so it should bolt right up. if it doesnt Im just gonna ream out a 1/2 ton arm to fit the new TREs.

Ive been able to locate the lower coil and shock mounts, but am having a hard time finding the coil buckets and upper shock mounts. FORD says that they've been discontinued. Im in Hawaii right now so I have little access to a descent salvage yard. Cage says they have them.....for over $300 a pop!!!
Im checking ebay for stuff, but alot of guys on there dont even really know what they have. Anyone know of any vendors or sites (broncograveyard couldnt help) please let me know.
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post #15 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 06:03 PM
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PM broncoboy23. He just posted yesterday that he ordered his upper shock mounts from FORD. He should have the part number you need.

JBG lists THESE on their site.

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Originally Posted by muffinman944 View Post
yeah thats what I was thinking too. I got ahold of the Tech guy at ORU, who said that the output for the gear box is the same size for all the F series, so it should bolt right up. if it doesnt Im just gonna ream out a 1/2 ton arm to fit the new TREs.

Ive been able to locate the lower coil and shock mounts, but am having a hard time finding the coil buckets and upper shock mounts. FORD says that they've been discontinued. Im in Hawaii right now so I have little access to a descent salvage yard. Cage says they have them.....for over $300 a pop!!!
Im checking ebay for stuff, but alot of guys on there dont even really know what they have. Anyone know of any vendors or sites (broncograveyard couldnt help) please let me know.
Ok everyone,
Heres the recap. After much discussion and debate I have decided to completely discard my Fabritech kit and construct a 1900 Bronco with D60/Sterling, 6'' lift and 35'' tires. heres what Im going with:
-D60/Sterling off '97 F350
-35x12.5R16 Dick Cepek FC-II on 16x10 Pro Comp wheels
-1 Ton TRE crossover steering conversion (Off Road Unlimited)
-Raduis Arm Kit, track bar/brackets, dual shock mounts, shocks, 6.5'' coils (Cage Offroad)
-'79 Bronco Coil pad/retainer, upper coil retainer (Broncograveyard.com)
-'79 and earlier F150 coil buckets (salvage yard)

This is probably as "bolt on" as a (good) SAS will get IMO. If you can fab and weld, I have no doubt that you could easily cut your costs by 70%. next is to go to Texas and tackle this monster!!! As always please post comments or concerns, and I always need advice!!! You guys have been a lifesaver so far!
BTW, I talked to Jim at cage for a while. He says there he gets tons of guys who are fed up with their Fabritech kit and want some quality. Im hoping that once its all done, this thread can become a good reference for guys who arent very knowledgable on SASs, fabbing, or steering, ect (why else would you go for the Fabritech stuff) that want a quality SAS, but might not be comfortable enough to just cut grind and fab stuff. To all of you that can (especially those whove advised me so far), my hat goes off to you! Serioulsy, the knowledge you have is amazing, and thank you for caring enough to help the wanna be gear heads out there (namely me) stay on the right path.
This thread would be a waste without pics of before, new parts, and after, so I will get them on (waiting on an email for the "before" pics).
Keep the responses coming!!!

Last edited by muffinman944; 05-29-2008 at 07:26 PM. Reason: posted too soon
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post #17 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 07:12 PM
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The stock Ford coil buckets are indeed discontinued. I pulled mine off of a '77 that was in the junk yard. The nice thing about these is that Ford bolted them on instead of riveting them like '80 and later. I'll keep my ear to the ground for you and see if anyone is selling a set. Otherwise, I think that those JBG buckets that were linked in the above post will work fine. They just don't have a lip wrapping around the bottom of them like the stock ones have, which isn't really a problem at all. It just makes the mounting of them slightly trickier.

edit: Good choice. You should be able to get a nice price for that Fabritech kit on eBay.
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post #18 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 08:59 PM
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Where are the pics of the current set up.


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post #19 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 09:20 PM
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sounds like a good plan, except ORU for the steering. it can be had for much cheaper if you can make it, or call Trevor at wfoconcepts.com

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post #20 of 167 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave's Bronc 90 View Post
The stock Ford coil buckets are indeed discontinued. I pulled mine off of a '77 that was in the junk yard. The nice thing about these is that Ford bolted them on instead of riveting them like '80 and later. I'll keep my ear to the ground for you and see if anyone is selling a set. Otherwise, I think that those JBG buckets that were linked in the above post will work fine. They just don't have a lip wrapping around the bottom of them like the stock ones have, which isn't really a problem at all. It just makes the mounting of them slightly trickier.

edit: Good choice. You should be able to get a nice price for that Fabritech kit on eBay.

Thanks,
I did look at the '77 Bronco buckets, and theyll work but it will put at more than 6'' if I bolt 'em straight up. Cutting them and stuff is an option, but I wanna see if I can get a set of '79s, if nothing else, just to have one thing less to think about. If im unable to get some '79s ill jump on those. (Thanks for the heads up JoesBronco!).
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