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Sayulita Layta!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most of you BroncoSpeed guys have met me and are aware of my suspension setup. If not, lets recap:

-4" Rancho with Extended arms
-Rancho AAL in the rear
-Bilstein 5100 shocks all the way around (6)
-BFG AT's 35x12.5R15

I enjoy pre-running and chasing people in the dunes (and next summer hopefully the desert); however my truck will only see the sand a couple times a year tops. The majority of the time, my truck sees moderate to difficult trails and rocks. Keep in mind that I am on a budget, but I would like to make some changes to my trucks suspension setup; more lift, better shocks, etc. Now I have no desire to go cut and turned beams because I do not want glass fenders for the tight trails my truck will see, nor do I want the extra track width that cut and turned beams will give me.

My questions are:

1. What's a better budget shock than my Bilstein 5100? I want something with better dampening capabilities and maybe more travel. Keep in mind the front shocks, should I stay with quads up front, must have the pin style mount on top to fit in the stock location. 2.0 RaceRunners look good to me and appear to be beefier than my 5100s, plus they have the pin-mount up top.

2. What is the most amount of lift I can have and KEEP my Rancho 4" drop brackets before my steering geometry gets too out of hand? I want the truck to be align-able because I dont want any unnecessary tire wear. I really only want to gain an inch on both ends of the truck as that will give me the more clearance I need for the 35s and keep my roof low enough to fit in the parking garage at school. I was looking at going with the Deaver "Extreme" 5.5" TTB coils in the front and a shackle flip in the rear (with a zero-rate). This will soften up my ride a little, allow for a little more flex, and give me my desired ride height. My main concern is the drop brackets and their available camber/caster correction.

3. I am interested in swapping my Rancho extended arms out for a pair of Camburgs arms. They look to be interchangeable (unless they only work with extended arms... :duh ). After helping BroncoBoy23 with his SAS and seeing the beef and the adjustability of the heims. I would like something a little more stout and be able to push or pull my ttb forward/back to fine tune the clearance (because Im rubbing my bottom of my fenders now and I cant just push the axle forward a half inch). Are these arms right for me? I dont want to turn my frame into swiss cheese, so Im nervous that some of the mounts of the Camburg arms would be too close to the mounts on the Rancho arms, which could lead to all sorts of problems.
:thumbup
 

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My thoughts in no particular order:

  • The 4" Rancho kit utilizes 2 3/4dgr camber bushings, which are the max available. You will not be able to align the front if you lift it more.
  • The Camburg heimed radius arms are somewhere around 1"-2" longer than the Ranchos at the pivot point. Swiss cheese is not an issue. None of the old holes line up, but each new one is filled with a fastener. Plating the frame prior to installing the new mounts would be beneficial, but IMO not necessary for the occasional wheeling trip.
  • You will like the feel of the Camburg arms with the additional caster. They're straight, strong and confidence inspiring. The bent Rancho arms tend to bend. Ha!
  • You can run factory width turned beams and cycle 16" of travel with 35" tires, no glass. That is, if you stick with the factory 7" wheels. I suggest you move the wheels forward 1/2"-1" when you install the radius arms to help clear the A/C box and pay close attention to your bump stop position. Moving the wheels forward with a TTB has been a strongly debated subject, but it worked well for me.
  • The Rancho drop brackets are strong. Ken Leavitt runs them with good success on his C3 Bronco without turned beams. Given the pivot point with a 4" lift, the tires will tuck better into the factory fenders with the drop brackets.
  • Turned beams will allow you to get back to 0-1dgr camber bushings, which provides better durability at the upper ball joint; however, I've never experienced a problem with the 2 3/4"....other than blowing up 3 sets of ball joints/year. Ha! (That's due to weak bump stops and incorrect shock valving)
  • My suggestion for the front. On a tight budget, leave the stock arms and Rancho drop pivot brackets, pick up some Camburg arms and coil buckets. Run a 5" Deaver spring, but replace the factory spacer with a lower profile piece to maintain the 4" lift. Bolt up an FOA 2.5" x 10" reservoir shock to the Camburg bucket. You'll get a nice ride and I think around 14ish inches of travel. FYI, I'm modifying the Rancho pivot brackets to use them with my turned beams because they're much stronger than the factory units.
  • Don't do a shackle flip in the rear. Deavers will cycle as much travel as you can use without binding the driveshaft. On a budget, find a good used set, pick up some used 2.5" x 12" SAW reservoir shocks and an Autofab crossmember.
 

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Sayulita Layta!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input Brian. So what you are telling me is that it CAN be done relatively on the inexpensive side, but I wont be able to get any more lift and align the truck. All I really want is an inch more of lift haha. (I forgot you had the Camburg arms, Im going to have to look at your build again!)
 

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[*]My suggestion for the front. On a tight budget, leave the stock arms and Rancho drop pivot brackets, pick up some Camburg arms and coil buckets. Run a 5" Deaver spring, but replace the factory spacer with a lower profile piece to maintain the 4" lift. Bolt up an FOA 2.5" x 10" reservoir shock to the Camburg bucket. You'll get a nice ride and I think around 14ish inches of travel. FYI, I'm modifying the Rancho pivot brackets to use them with my turned beams because they're much stronger than the factory units.

[*]Don't do a shackle flip in the rear. Deavers will cycle as much travel as you can use without binding the driveshaft. On a budget, find a good used set, pick up some used 2.5" x 12" SAW reservoir shocks and an Autofab crossmember.
[/LIST]
I have most of the stuff that Brian is suggesting. I *might* be wanting to sell it.
 

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Now I have no desire to go cut and turned beams because I do not want glass fenders for the tight trails my truck will see, nor do I want the extra track width that cut and turned beams will give me.
"Cut and turn" axle housings don't add track width and don't require glass fenders. In fact they narrow the track width at static ride height.

1. What's a better budget shock than my Bilstein 5100? I want something with better dampening capabilities and maybe more travel. Keep in mind the front shocks, should I stay with quads up front, must have the pin style mount on top to fit in the stock location. 2.0 RaceRunners look good to me and appear to be beefier than my 5100s, plus they have the pin-mount up top.
A single 2.5" shock per wheel would be the most bang for your buck. Buy something used. A 10" travel shock mounted behind the coil-bucket will free up as much as 16" of wheel travel. You can find used 10" travel shocks for cheap on the RDC classifieds all the time. I would recommend Sway-A-Way simply because they have the shortest collapsed lengths and are much easier to fit. Yes, their older stuff had some issues, but the new stuff is much better and besides that, even the old stuff is good enough for most of us. Myself included.

You're going to need to build a custom upper shock mount or buy custom coil-buckets. I would check the classifieds daily and religiously... have cash in hand. When coil-buckets or shocks come up, call immediately.

If you don't want to go this far I would say leave it alone. In the end I'm afraid you'll spend a bunch of money and find out it's not doing what you want it to... at least not well. Don't waste your money on new 2.0" shocks. If you find something used OK, but don't pay too much for them.

Also, it is possible to make 5100 Bilsteins rebuildable (and revalvable). This would allow you to play with the valving and get more out the front end as is. Of course this wouldn't help shock fade, but it doesn't sound like that's a big issue for you... yet. The only problem I foresee with this (and using any shock with plenty of valving in the stock location) is that the stock mounts are only going to hold up to so much before you start tweaking the coil-bucket. You'd probably need to reinforce them.

2. What is the most amount of lift I can have and KEEP my Rancho 4" drop brackets before my steering geometry gets too out of hand?
I would imagine you'd be fine with the 5.5" coil. Keep in mind that more lift creates more clearance issues at full bump. Radius arms with additional caster would be desirable when adding more lift than the front end was intended for. Steering geometry should be good enough as long as your pitman arm matches the drop bracket.


3. I am interested in swapping my Rancho extended arms out for a pair of Camburgs arms. They look to be interchangeable (unless they only work with extended arms... :duh ). After helping BroncoBoy23 with his SAS and seeing the beef and the adjustability of the heims. I would like something a little more stout and be able to push or pull my ttb forward/back to fine tune the clearance (because Im rubbing my bottom of my fenders now and I cant just push the axle forward a half inch). Are these arms right for me? I dont want to turn my frame into swiss cheese, so Im nervous that some of the mounts of the Camburg arms would be too close to the mounts on the Rancho arms, which could lead to all sorts of problems.
:thumbup
The heim joints on radius arms are NOT intended for wheelbase adjustments. They are designed to be set at a certain point and left alone. John told me to bottom my heims with the jam nut installed and back it off three turns. Period. He didn't say to play with them until I get the front wheels where I want them. I would imagine Camburg tells their customers the same thing. The more you thread them out, the less engagement you have with the arm.... bad news. If I needed to make my radius arms 1/4" shorter I would be OK with threading them in, but not out.

I wouldn't worry about putting too many holes in the frame. If you find that you have too many holes right on top of each other, use heavy, large diameter washers (at least as thick as the frame) and bolt it together. I think it would be fine. If you're still worried about it, make some plates to go on the inside of the frame and sandwich the frame rail between the plate and pivot brackets.


I would also consider reinforcing your current radius arms before you bend them. Adding some 1/8" plates to both sides of the arms and maybe some 3/16" plate to a few other areas could greatly increase the strength of those arms and maybe make them strong enough for your uses.

Lastly, whatever you do, YOU NEED TO CYCLE THE FRONT END. Getting limit straps and bump stops mounted properly is absolutely critical to making the suspension survive.


WHEW! I'm out of breath!
 

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I was looking at going with the Deaver "Extreme" 5.5" TTB coils in the front and a shackle flip in the rear (with a zero-rate). This will soften up my ride a little, allow for a little more flex, and give me my desired ride height.
Damn, I forgot this part.

Ditch the add-a-leaf. long travel leaves are leaps and bounds better. It's a purchase you won't regret. In fact, you might consider building up the rear of the truck first. I think you'd be surprised at how much better it handles even with no changes up front. I would do like Brian said. long travel leaves, the Autofab upper shock mount and 12" travel shocks.
 

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Sayulita Layta!
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you Steve! Lots of great information in this thread already. As for your concern with the Camburg radius arms, I dont want to actually PUSH the axles forward a lot, just enough to get it out of the rear of the fenders. This past Pismo trip I was rubbing the fenders constantly and it was making all sorts of terrible noise. I was afraid I was going to smash the fenders and cause them to bend outwards, etc. My thinking with the Camburg Heims was to only push the axle out a 1/4" or so, so that the tires will go in the wheel wheel and not touch the fenders.

As for the cut and turned beams, I found out that you can get ones in stock lengths and extended ones; I didnt know that until earlier today. With stock length C&T beams, do you run those with drop brackets as well or are they meant for stock height brackets? (I have no plans on going C&T, its just out of curiosity).
 

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Thank you Steve! Lots of great information in this thread already. As for your concern with the Camburg radius arms, I dont want to actually PUSH the axles forward a lot, just enough to get it out of the rear of the fenders. This past Pismo trip I was rubbing the fenders constantly and it was making all sorts of terrible noise. I was afraid I was going to smash the fenders and cause them to bend outwards, etc. My thinking with the Camburg Heims was to only push the axle out a 1/4" or so, so that the tires will go in the wheel wheel and not touch the fenders.
A quarter inch isn't going to make a difference. My concern isn't necessarily with Camburg's arms, it's the fact that a lot of people think the heim is adding adjustment when in reality it's only adding a better pivot.

You need to correct your bump stop placement.

As for the cut and turned beams, I found out that you can get ones in stock lengths and extended ones; I didnt know that until earlier today. With stock length C&T beams, do you run those with drop brackets as well or are they meant for stock height brackets? (I have no plans on going C&T, its just out of curiosity).
They use stock pivot brackets. That's the beauty of them.
 

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Sayulita Layta!
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A quarter inch isn't going to make a difference. My concern isn't necessarily with Camburg's arms, it's the fact that a lot of people think the heim is adding adjustment when in reality it's only adding a better pivot.

You need to correct your bump stop placement.



They use stock pivot brackets. That's the beauty of them.
Gotcha, so you are saying that if I just extend my bump stops my problem would be fixed. No need to spend $1000 on Camburgs arms? That seems like a legit answer to me, but for some reason I just feel like I am going to be Riding on my bump stops rather than using the suspensions available travel. Im most likely wrong, as I have the utter most belief that your suspension guruness is accurate.
 

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The heim joints on radius arms are NOT intended for wheelbase adjustments. They are designed to be set at a certain point and left alone. John told me to bottom my heims with the jam nut installed and back it off three turns. Period. He didn't say to play with them until I get the front wheels where I want them. I would imagine Camburg tells their customers the same thing. The more you thread them out, the less engagement you have with the arm.... bad news. If I needed to make my radius arms 1/4" shorter I would be OK with threading them in, but not out.
I thought Steve would be long winded in this thread. Ha!

Just to make myself clear regarding the above quote: What I posted may have been misleading. By moving the wheels forward, I was certainly not talking about using the heims to accomplish this, but using the bracket location. I like to experiment though, so I moved mine forward 1 1/4" initially, with precisely .495" usable thread left on the heims. Odd number, but I set one side then just matched the other. After installing the arms, I decided it was too far forward and pulled the wheels back 1/2" using the heims, which left them in the three thread range as Steve mentioned above. Due to the unequal beam lengths and I'm sure being slightly off with the bracket location from one side to the next, there is a difference of maybe 1 1/2" threads between the two in order to get the wheel positions right. Yeah, I'm not perfect. Ha!

As far as the radius arms. Although I bent mine, I think Rancho makes a very good arm that, as Steve indicated, just needs some reinforcement. Though the feel of the Camburg's is much better IMO with regards to bump compliance. If you decide to keep the Ranchos, get the powdercoating stripped off, send them to me and I'll plate them for you for material and shipping.
 

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great advice on here for you stan, i will throw my 2 cents in too... gusset the rancho arms and leave the front end as is. do the rear like brian and steve said (deavers, autofab x-member and shocks) and to cure your front fender issues lose the 35's and go with 33's. i think the 33's will work much better for you and run them on a 7" wheel and you will be good to go with no more fender issues.
 

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for what your saying you want to do and the budget you have the setup. just do the little upgrades to the rear, gusset the front and some res shock and you will be golden for what you want and can spend
 

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thanks stan..im gonna copy you, and i def know i'll be plating the extended arms i have. i beleive that they are trail master arms, they feel and look very solid. the only thing really holding me up is that i need to re-do my exhaust and remove a body lift. im gonna try to post up pics of the lift parts, and i'd love for you guys to tell me where to gusset/plate the brackets and such.

and im savin for f53's which if i remember correctly are the direct replacement deavers
 

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Everyone is giving you good advice here is some more food for thought, you can get an adapter through 4 wheelparts for about 20 that converts your eye mount to a standard mount, my brother found them and is using them on his ranger so far works very well for him and gave him a little more droop. I ran the bilstein 5100s on the front for over 2 years probably about 1500 desert miles on them and they worked well, now I have single 2.5" up front ont he front of the coil. To contrast the bilsteins with the singel 2.5 for you, I felt that the quad set up was a little more controlled overall. Dont get me wrong I like what i have now but I think Steve is giving you good advice if you go to a single 2.5: run it on the rear of the arm. I think I ma going to add a 2.5 to the rear on mine as I have been beating on mine alot, I still may stiffen the front just a hair though as well. If you dont mind the money the camburg performance set up is a good one, basically its the springs (5.5) arms, and cut and turned beams. It was a vast improvment over stock for me and I was pulling a solid 13" of travel. For what you have and not spending a ton of dough I owuld look into the eye conversion for the factory bucket, and go with the deavers in the rear Brian is correct on the F53 being for the F-150, if you use htoughs you will need a spacer on the mounts or convert to F-150 mounts. THe only problem with the deavers that are available for the bronco is that they are stock height, they no longer offer the +3" so you will be sagging a little in the rear. To level mine out I had deaver bolt an 1" block to the pack. Not my favorite thing but I have not had any problems. Also with the 5.5" springs I have not had a problem with tearing up A/C boxes (knock on wood). No fiberglass for me either at this point and with 35s I have very minimal rubbing with 33s you should be good to go. Hope this adds to everyone elses suggestions they are giving you good info.
Jeremy
 

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crap...i gotta have a rear level, or a little higher than the front when the truck is empty. i dont want it to sag too bad when i load it up, about 3-4times a month i have 8-900lbs in the back depending on what im doing to the house
 

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Everyone is giving you good advice here is some more food for thought, you can get an adapter through 4 wheelparts for about 20 that converts your eye mount to a standard mount, my brother found them and is using them on his ranger so far works very well for him and gave him a little more droop. I ran the bilstein 5100s on the front for over 2 years probably about 1500 desert miles on them and they worked well
The problem I see with the eyelet adapter is the fact that you have to run a shorter shock. You'll gain droop but you'll lose bump.

now I have single 2.5" up front ont he front of the coil. To contrast the bilsteins with the singel 2.5 for you, I felt that the quad set up was a little more controlled overall. Dont get me wrong I like what i have now but I think Steve is giving you good advice if you go to a single 2.5: run it on the rear of the arm. I think I ma going to add a 2.5 to the rear on mine as I have been beating on mine alot, I still may stiffen the front just a hair though as well.
The feeling of less control with the 2.5" shock you have now is a problem with valving and has nothing to do with having a single shock versus 2 shocks per wheel.
 

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The feeling of less control with the 2.5" shock you have now is a problem with valving and has nothing to do with having a single shock versus 2 shocks per wheel.[/QUOTE]

Steve, thanks for the feedback on that:thumbup, I only have a couple of trips on the new set up and I want to play with the valving still. I need to learn to tear down the kings....currently they are valved at .12 on compression and rebound, I feel like the compression needs to be a bit more as I feel liek the front is diving more than it should. The upside is now the a$$ end is working much better thatn when I had the bilsteins and stock bucket. SO far I am really liking the over all setup, I still want to 2 link the rear and go with the F53s and a 3" triple bypass but I need to save the dough, short term I am going to have a set of FOAs back there as soonas I can get the upper mounts changed. Still only a 10" shock but its an interm measure.
Jeremy
 
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