Front Suspension Alternatives for 1948 – 1960 Ford Trucks, Part Seven

Dakota IFS

Overview

Only Industrial Chassis offer a cross-member kit (at this time) to adapt the1986 – 1996 Dodge Dakota truck IFS to 1948 through 1966 Ford trucks. The basic cross-member kit is available for $675. It requires you to provide the donor components- A-arms, steering box, spindles, rotors and calipers, etc. Alternately, it can be purchased as a hub to hub assembly for approximately $2750.

Characteristics

  • Donor vehicle is actually a truck of similar weight capacity.
  • Dropped spindles available for approximately $170.
  • Improved handling with an increase in ride stability and ease of steering
  • Braking is significantly better, stopping distance versus stock reduced by 50-60%.

Important considerations

  • Bolt pattern differs from stock pattern but 1986 – 90 matches the 5 on 4.5 Ford/Mopar pattern.
  • ’91-’96 rotors are 6 lug, 4 1/2" bolt circle, but the older rotors are a direct replacement.
  • Installing a fairly common Ford 302 requires new mini-starter and block hugger headers to fit.
  • Requires significant welding to attach cross-member to frame. This requires good welding skills and precision measurements.
  • Donors may be difficult and expensive to find.
  • Total cost to install including rebuilding the donor components can run from $1200 to a high of $2000 based upon difficulty of finding a donor and whether it’s components are shot. If you spend 2K then you must have replaced every single moving component from the donor with brand new pieces.
  • This is not a Ford suspension. (In case you’re a purist who prefers everything be FORD)
  • Requires a dual sump oil pan and appropriate oil pump.
  • Not to make this an ad for I.C., but the fit & finish, & welding quality of the kit, was excellent. The directions were about a 8.5- 9 out of 10.

Installation overview

12 to 20 hours of actual work time depending upon your mechanical and welding skills. This includes installing the donor components. Installation is very similar to a MII set up.

Level of Difficulty – 3

Ride Height – Expect 2" drop from stock without the use of dropped spindles (good for another 2")

Additional notes:

’95-’96 racks are reportedly more sensitive. ’95-’96 lower A-arms need to have a hole tapped and a bump stop installed- very easy. Earlier A-arms already have the stop.

Some Dakotas had factory sway bars. According to I.C. the Addco & Quickor aftermarket bars will work.

Per I.C., both Ford & Chevy P.S. pumps will work without mods. V6 & V8 Dakota hoses should work on Chevy pumps; Ford pumps will require custom hoses. One source for these is a farm implement dealer, if no auto repair facility is available. BB Ford engines require that an oil port on the rack & pinion be rotated for clearance. I.C. will do it or supply instructions – no big thing…..

In reference to the oil pan issue, I.C. does state that Ford engines do require a rear sump pan. There’s more options here than is commonly thought. Moroso & Milodon carry various pans, some for racing, a couple for 4×4 swaps. If you want Ford, Ford Motorsport…er, Ford Racing lists a couple. Going down the price list, there are rear sump pans for 429/460s in the salvage yards, but they are hard to find. Try 3/4 or 1 ton mid to late-’70s vans. For 302, or 351w engines, they are pretty easy to find- try a late ’70s-’early ’80s LTD/Crown Vic., or 1/2 ton vans (302 only). There are other vehicles, for sure. There was also a FE rear sump pan. I have no idea as to 351C/351M/400 engines.

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