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Old 11-07-2014, 09:08 PM   #1
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What Suspension Upgrades do I REALLY Need?

I have a stock 2005 Ford Excursion 4x4 and I would like to make it an excellent tow machine. I am not afraid to put some money into it.

It has the dreaded 6.0 Powerstroke, I have that work figured out, don't want to discuss that here, it's the suspension I need help on. I know that many folks have beefed up the springs, added air bags, rear sway bars, etc. Not sure where the line is between what is really necessary and what is not. I would like to find what really works well - even if it's minimal.

According to the Manual:

WARNING
Springs that are too stiff can hinder the action of the weight equalizing hitch and prevent the transfer of weight to the front of the vehicle.

NOTE
Only use springs heavy enough to support your loaded vehicle (not including trailer). Having a too harsh spring rate on your tow vehicle will only shorten the life of the tow vehicle and trailer, and will cause your trips to be less enjoyable.

So after reading this, I'm not sure upgrades are really necessary. However, if there is anyway to improve the tow, I'm all over it. I'm trying to be practical and open minded here and appreciate any insight. The hitch will be a Propride.

Thank you.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:17 AM   #2
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Best to set up hitch on a scale. Weight distribution that is well done and separate readings for each wheel position will give you a numerical basis from which to work.

IOW there may no reason to make changes. That said I would install poly bushings on antiroll bars and have BILSTEIN shocks or equivalent.

Steering gear slop and brake performance would be of greater concern.


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Old 11-08-2014, 05:47 AM   #3
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To what degree it the truck already equipped (for towing duty)? How used is the vehicle?

As it sits, as an 8600/9000/9900 GVWR vehicle, by default it is quite capable. Ford equipped these things in a similar fashion as the F-250; see what axle ratio, limited slip, GAWR's, etc., it has already. The shocks are marginal from the factory; the springs, u-bolts, hangers, hardware, should be fine unless it's rotten from corrosion. On the whole, everything back there is robust as-is unless noted above.
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:58 AM   #4
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From what I've read, and that has been on Forums, the Excursion is basically a F250 with a bit softer springs to give it a better ride as it is a SUV. I have heard some folks say they are at capacity very quickly on CAT scales and others say they tow 35' travel trailers with no mods.

I'm thinking beefing up springs and/ or air bags is unneccesary. I'd just like to explore that.

I'm thinking like slowmover said, shock upgrades, steering improvements, but maybe RAS ( Roadmaster Active Suspension), I don't know, I've been around trucks all my life, just not towing Airstreams...
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:01 AM   #5
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Western, the truck is in very good shape, super clean from Florida. It has the full tow package from the factory.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:22 AM   #6
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Don't own a Ford, but I'll jump in here. On suspension it's as much miles on the clock as the overall condition of the truck. I'd concentrate on the wear items such as shocks, bushings, and rod ends. Also the steering gearbox at a minimum needs a tightening up if the truck has more than a few miles on it.

With a factory tow package, and a ProPride hitch, I seriously doubt you need any spring work done. I do remember reading on this forum, however, about how the Expeditions were not very stable because of soft rear suspensions compared to the F250's. I remember there being a thread about how to improve the stability, and seems it involved traction bars to stabilize the rear end.

Suggest you do a search on the tow vehicle forum about expedition suspension.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:29 AM   #7
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Steve, do you have a good forum to look at? I have been on a few and many folks are seriously modding their trucks, saying new springs are mandatory, they are chipping the motors, etc. I was hoping to get some more 'tame' advice and applicable to the Airstream.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:58 AM   #8
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Sorry Ted, I do not. The thread that I remember was on this forum, but it's been a while, and maybe as much as a few years ago.

I think you are doing the right thing by researching this problem with the Excursion because we had a couple in our unit that had a roll-over accident towing a 31' with an Excursion after being hit by a gust of wind in West Texas. Sadly, the gentleman was killed.

If you have not, you might try this forum: F-Series & SuperDuty Diesel Forums
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:23 AM   #9
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Does the Excursion have coil springs or leaf springs? If they are coil, then the rear suspension is not at all similar to an F-250 which all have leaf springs.
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:30 AM   #10
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The rear springs are leaf, I'll check the front. It is my understanding the Excursion is built on a F250, and weighs 1000 lbs more, but with softened springs for a better ride as it is a SUV.

I think the biggest question is spring upgrade. Would that actually be and upgrade? Plenty on the Ford forums say so, I'm not so sure. Going strictly by the Airstream Manual in my first post, I would say no.

The Ford forums have guys swapping out the stock springs for F250 springs, that would stiffen the suspension.

Shocks, sway bars, rods, bushings, I think that stuff may be the way to go.

However, I think now I am going to keep it stock, set up for tow with the Propride, get it across the scales, then look at upgrades.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted S. View Post
The rear springs are leaf, I'll check the front. It is my understanding the Excursion is built on a F250, and weighs 1000 lbs more, but with softened springs for a better ride as it is a SUV.

I think the biggest question is spring upgrade. Would that actually be and upgrade? Plenty on the Ford forums say so, I'm not so sure. Going strictly by the Airstream Manual in my first post, I would say no.

The Ford forums have guys swapping out the stock springs for F250 springs, that would stiffen the suspension.

Shocks, sway bars, rods, bushings, I think that stuff may be the way to go.

However, I think now I am going to keep it stock, set up for tow with the Propride, get it across the scales, then look at upgrades.
I think that starting out with stock and seeing if/where any upgrades are warranted based on your actual experience is wise. You've already indicated that you inspected the suspension components and they appear sound. The only area where you might have a weakness with the Excursion vs. a 250 is the total payload capacity of the tow vehicle, between the softer suspension and the weight from the SUV part I'm sure that the payload is much less than on a 250. The tongue weight of the trailer needs to be subtracted from the Excursion's payload capacity to see how much you have left. I'm not saying that this will be the situaiton in your case, but I've seen situations where the tow vehicle didn't even have sufficient payload remaining for the spouse! You can imagine the ensuing discussion!
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Old 11-08-2014, 02:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted S. View Post
According to the Manual:

WARNING
Springs that are too stiff can hinder the action of the weight equalizing hitch and prevent the transfer of weight to the front of the vehicle.
Did you find this in the Excursion Owners Manual?
I looked in the online version and did not find such a warning.

I am not aware of any basis for stating that increasing spring stiffness will hinder the action of a load distributing hitch.

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Old 11-08-2014, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Gratz View Post
Did you find this in the Excursion Owners Manual?
I looked in the online version and did not find such a warning.

I am not aware of any basis for stating that increasing spring stiffness will hinder the action of a load distributing hitch.

Ron
It came right out of my Flying Cloud Owners Manual.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:05 PM   #14
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May be leave it alone and try it , it might be just fine with a good hitch.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:34 PM   #15
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I have owned a 2000 diesel excursion since 2003, bought with 30k miles now has 125k.
This has been primarily a tow vehicle, towing 20 ft work trailers, our 1970 31' airstream and a 35' cigarette boat (12,000lbs). As others have said, general maintenace items have been replaced with premium parts as they wore out, (shocks, ball joints, steering stabilizer, tie rods ect). These are great trucks but have been notorious for excessive front end wear.

OK, real world experience. This truck has the nickname "white knuckle express" for what really happens at 65 when passing or being passed by the big rigs. I think I have finally tamed the beast this year.

Most notable improvements:
E rated tires=stiffer side walls
Tightening the stearing box, it can be done rather easily, if you overdo it you will know.
Replacing the front sway bar with a hellwig and installing a rear heavy duty sway bar, name unknown the moment. This has made the largest noticeable difference when towing. The rear bounce when hitting a bump (like going over rr tracks) has been drastically eliminated, which I feel keeps the front end solid on the ground where it belongs.

I have had to fix, repair and upgrade within my means over the years. These excursions are awesome and capable towing beasts. It seems they have become quite popular as of late, I continually am asked if it for sale.

hope this has helped,
cale
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:57 AM   #16
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I'm going with try it first. You may find you don't have to do anything.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:07 AM   #17
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Lower it and get rid of redneck mud tires. Sway bars and better shocks should help some. Mine is stock 2WD and I have done none of this. I would like it to stay in the road better. I expect it being higher is going to make the wandering issues greater. Mine is actually more stable towing that driving empty. I would not add springs but make sure you have a good load distributing hitch. Some bounce will save your trailer from being shaken apart by stiff springs. We love our 2000 2WD V10 Excursion. It loves gas but maintenance is minimal.

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Old 11-10-2014, 07:08 AM   #18
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I would start with what cale said.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:53 PM   #19
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This thread triggered a memory, so I went looking. Google "Landyot radius rods". The Hellwig rear sway bar is a popular modification also.

The Excursions are big, but they do seem to require some fine tuning to tow well.
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:35 PM   #20
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So this is how I'm sitting, couple inches lower then I'd like, just got the camper today so I have not made much adjustments, hitch is a Propride. The front end had a little float in it, I just had the steering box replaced.

Thoughts?

[IMG]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wkTCqYwKytU/VIz0EkL0Z_I/AAAAAAAAADc/UwZKNdSWFD8/s144/image.jpg
[/IMG]

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