1979 Ford F150 8 Inch Lift Kit – Skyjacker Lift Kit for Old Farm Truck, Battle Born Beadlock Wheels and General Grabber X3 TiresLift comes with tires and wheels for an old farm truck
We love old trucks. They remind us of better times and past adventures that are still sweet in our memories. Their looks, feels, smells, sounds and more bring back memories of fun and discovery. Still, old trucks are old and usually need some updating and refurbishment. Nothing makes an old truck look and feel better than a new suspension lift, a new set of tires, and some nice new wheels. The truth is, our 1978 Ford F-250 Custom 4×4 Redferd is in need of a lot of restoration, but the building blocks are solid and ripe for the next 41 years of on- and off-road miles. We have to start somewhere, and putting the old truck together with parts from Skyjacker Suspensions, General Tire, and Battle Born Wheels is a great way to mechanically refresh the truck and completely revamp its appearance.
1979 Ford F150 8 Inch Lift Kit
Our old Ford 3/4-ton Redferd is a 1978 model, which puts it firmly in the “Low-Boy” F-250 camp. What does this mean? Let us explain. In 1977, Ford began a design change to its 4×4 3/4 ton trucks, which initially did not start but resulted in a different suspension height for these trucks. The change began with the engine being changed from the FE (360/390) engines to the 351m/400 (which shares the engine bolt pattern with the 429s and 460s). Then, in 1977.5, the trucks changed from taller 4x4s (sometimes unofficially called High-Boys) to slightly lower 3/4 ton 4×4 trucks (nicknamed Low-Boys). The idea, as is generally accepted, was to make these work trucks a little more civilized and comfortable to drive. The change was also accompanied by a switch to wider frame rails, a move from a divorced transfer case to a married ‘case’, and the relocation of the gas tank from its in-cab location behind the seat to the back of the truck, under the bed. . Not much of that matters here, except for those of us who like big tires. For us, the loss of “High-Boy” is the loss of tire clearance. Redferd’s tires were low and we wanted bigger tires. Here’s how we refreshed the Redferd’s look with new springs, shock absorbers, tires, wheels and more.
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We started the installation by supporting the vehicle from the chassis from the ground. We have a Bendpak 10K lift and that helps a lot, but you can easily do this with a few sets of jacks and a floor jack. We then installed new springs (the kit is available with lift blocks for the rear or replacement springs for about $600 more). We opted for full rear springs because Redferd’s factory leaf packs were used so heavily.
We then braced the rear axle and removed the U-bolts, spring plates, and shock absorbers from the axle so we could lower the axle and remove the old leaf springs and factory blocks. The factory blocks will be reinstalled with new springs and U-bolts.
Now is the time to replace the rear brake hose, which runs from the frame to the axle. You can get rid of this problem by loosening or relocating the top connection of the brake hose, but after 41 years the rubber brake hose at Redferd’s factory was looking pretty worn out. Fortunately, Skyjacker also makes front (PN: FBL93, $122.56) and rear (PN: RBL93, $62.87) replacement brake hoses. In our opinion, these are additional options that should be available. Don’t forget to add brake fluid and bleed the brakes after the lift is installed.
Once the rear springs were removed, it became apparent that Redferd’s rear clamp bushings were in need of major replacement. Looking at replacement bushings, we found this Moog leaf spring clamp (PN: K150411, $29.79 from RockAuto.com), and since the bushings were already installed in these clamps (and the Skyjacker’s new springs), it was a breeze to do. buy a pair.
Of 11: 1979 Ford F 150 4×4 Flareside
With the clamps bolted to the back of the new leaf springs (the clamps need to be installed before the springs are installed on the truck), we lowered the axle, installed the factory suspension block, and installed the included new U-bolts and nuts using the factory U-bolt spring plate. The long end of the spring extends toward the rear bumper, and the thick end of the mount points toward the rear of the truck. For 5/8 U-bolts included with the lift kit, tighten the U-bolts to specification (100-120 lb/ft).
Once the rear suspension was basically complete, we installed the included pair of Skyjacker’s new Black Max shock absorbers. These shock absorbers feature twin-tube construction, chrome-plated shafts, vehicle-specific multi-stage valving, advanced foam cell technology and increased fluid capacity for maximum heat dissipation.
Between the power steering system having a small leak and the leaking driver’s side front axle seal, Redferd’s front axle was in terrible shape. It was covered in a substance that looked like brownie batter, but it definitely didn’t taste like it! After scraping some of the goo off the axle, we backed up the axle and removed the front U-bolts, U-bolt spring plates, worn shock absorbers, and original springs (along with about 10 pounds of greasy, greasy dirt).
The upper and lower factory spring plates had to be left in the parts washer to strip the oily dirt coating off for a few hours. The kit comes with new U-bolts, washers, and nuts, but you’ll need to reuse these parts to reassemble the front suspension.
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The Skyjacker’s rear springs come with rubber and steel bushings, while the front springs use polyurethane bushings with new steel sleeves. We like to oil these and hammer them on. The poly bushings go in first, then the steel sleeve is installed. Ours installed pretty easily, but you can also use a bench vise or C-clamp to press them into place.
From there we removed the factory drag link to install the new drag link from Skyjacker. The suspension system requires a new leveling and adjustable trailing link (PN: SDL250, $206.54). Removing the factory trailing link allowed the axle to drop low enough to accommodate the new higher arch spring in place.
The final step for the front of the Redferd is to install the Skyjacker’s included front Black Max shocks and optional (though highly recommended by us) front brake hoses.
All of the above was done to revamp Redferd’s suspension, but also to provide more clearance for larger tires, namely a set of General Tires Grabber X3s ($357.00 each) in size 37×12.50R17. These tires have a slightly retro look that suits Redferd to a T. We also had the chance to test some bead-lock wheels from relatively new company Battle Born Wheels, in Gatekeeper form with an 8-by-6.5 in 17×9. -inch bolt model ($224.95 each). Battle Born is veteran owned and operated and has a new line of simulated beadlock wheels as well as aluminum beadlock wheels for those who don’t need a beadlock and prefer a traditional wheel.
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And while some settling has occurred, Redferd certainly stands tall. In fact, it might just be a high-height/low-height thing, as we currently estimate Redferd is about 5 inches taller.
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with eTorque: Off-Road Pros and Cons During Four Wheeler’s SUV of the Year But Ford didn’t carry out a major overhaul of its 1978 and 1979 lineups until the seventh-generation F-Series, introduced in 1980. model years were quite different. Therefore, they are easy to spot in the sixth generation crowd.
Of course, it helps if a truck like this has a distinctive look. Or at least a big lift kit and some beefy 42-inch off-road wheels mean it’s ready for just about any adventure. By the way, if the owner of this 1979 F-350 4×4 had had more detailed knowledge of the Blue Oval’s limited editions nearly two decades ago, he could have boasted of owning both.
Apparently dark blue, with lots of shiny chrome, polished 17-inch wheels and chunky wheels, the truck was originally part of the Ford Free Wheeling lineup. Because the blue F-350 abandoned its signature “rainbow” pinstripe look years ago, a missed opportunity to own a very rare example of the type can be found in the video below.
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But, as the owner told his gracious host Solomon Lunger, we shouldn’t be too upset that we missed so many of the special elements.
He announced on his YouTube channel that he plans to restore the F-350 to its full Free Wheeling glory very soon. Before that happens, this Ford truck remains a hoot to look at and drive, as it turns out the owner didn’t keep it as a flashy/garage queen.
Instead, it takes full advantage of both the 460ci modified V8 engine (the big mill was only available for 2WD trucks) and the undercarriage setup for enjoying off-road adventures. Dana 60s are generally worry-free thanks to modifications like 17-inch bead-lock wheels
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