Ford F-150: Lowering Kits

Want to lower your truck and get rid of all that wheel well space? We've got a full walk through on what you'll need and how to get it done, the costs involved, and the pros and cons of lowering your F-150.

By Brett Foote - October 31, 2014

Lowering trucks has been a popular modification for decades, mainly because they just look great. In addition to simply looking good, lowered F-150s handle corners better, have better aerodynamics, and present less rollover risk. There are some trade-offs, of course. Lowering a truck can potentially void the warranty, lead to bottoming out, or reduce towing and hauling capacity.

If the benefits of lowering a truck make sense for your situation, there are several different methods an F-150 owner can use to accomplish the task. Which method you use will depend greatly on how much of a drop you want, how much money you want to spend, and the level of mechanical skill you possess. If you have the tools and ability to do the job yourself, the cost of lowering a truck will be considerably less. Make sure to factor this in to your decision. If professional installation is required, find more than one reputable shop to obtain quotes from.

Leveling your F-150 - 2" to 3"

If you are ready to take the plunge, by far the easiest way to improve the look of your F-150 is by installing a leveling kit. Stock trucks are generally at least 2" higher in the rear than the front, which makes the vehicle look "raked" with lots of space between the rear tire and wheel well. Leveling kits can consist of shackles or lowering springs that drop the rear of a truck by 2" to 3". Both are inexpensive. Shackles cost around $50 and leaf springs generally less than $200.

Lowering Springs

DIY Cost – $440 for a front and rear springs
Professional Cost – $600 for parts and labor
Skill Level – Easy to Moderate. There will be several tools required, and you will have to lift the truck. Installation is not complicated, but it is time consuming.

Lowering springs can easily drop the front and rear of your truck by 2" to 3". Opting for rear leaf springs by themselves will level the truck and lower it at the same time while maintaining the same hardware everywhere else. Though, if you just want to lower the rear of your truck, lowering shackles are a less expensive option that will work just as well. If you intend on lowering your truck further than 2-3" inches, however, then a full lowering spring kit, Like the one pictures above is a worthwhile investment.

Lowering Shackles

DIY Cost – $50
Professional Cost – $100-200 including labor
Skill Level – Easy, requires a jack stand, wrenches and a free afternoon.

Shackles and springs can be installed in less than an hour with no special tools or skills. The cost of installation at a professional shop can quickly exceed $100 or more, but the simplicity of installation means that anyone with a basic socket and wrench set can do it themselves with ease. A simple leveling is ideal for most people that are looking for an inexpensive, easy, and quick way to improve the look of their truck without lowering the front.

Lowering Your F-150 3" - 5" Drop

Lowering kits

Figure 235. Max Trax F150 3"/5" Lowering Kit

DIY Cost – $275 for lowering kit
Professional Cost – $400-500 including labor
Skill Level – Moderate. There will be several tools required, and you will have to lift the truck. Installation is not complicated, but it is time consuming. Several steps.

If a 2-3" drop in the back isn't enough, or you want to lower the front as well, you will need to do a bit more work. Control arms, lowering struts and leafs, and a flip kit will be necessary to accomplish a 2-3" front and 3-4.5" rear drop. Replacing these components requires more skill and specialized tools, as well as a buddy to help. A complete kit for this level drop can cost between $400 and $500. Because the job can take 8-10 hours, professional installation can add at least another $400-500 to that cost. This type of drop looks great when completed, however, and doesn't sacrifice too much in terms of driveability.

Lowering Control Arms

DIY Cost – $350
Professional Cost – $460 including installation
Skill Level – Easy-Moderate, straightforward procedure with several steps. Easy with prior automotive experience.

DJM Lowered Control Arms - These are necessary to keep your suspension angles correct at a lowered height. Otherwise, your ball joints will wear out more quickly than they should and your suspension will behave poorly.

DJM Flip Kit

DIY Cost – An alignment ($60-100) and a few hours
Professional Cost – $200-350 including everything needed
Skill Level – Moderate, time consuming, but not complicated.

A flip kit will mount your leaf springs underneath the axle instead of on top of it. This will lower the rear of your truck by several inches. Flip kits can be combined with lower lowering hardware (like shackles and leaf springs) for an even lower truck.

Big Drops - 4"+ to 6"+

For those looking to get their truck as low as possible and who are more concerned with looks than hauling stuff, options are available for a 4-6" front and 5-9" rear drop. To accomplish this ground scraping look, spindles are a necessity, as are a combination of shackles and a flip kit or a combo kit. Complete kits are available, and can run anywhere from $500-$900 or more depending on the model and total drop desired.

Figure 7. Belltech drop spindles are important if you want to go lower than 4" in the front.

Installation can take 12 hours or more and requires specialized tools and even possibly some welding. A professional shop is recommended for this type of installation, and labor can quickly double the cost. It is not out of the question, however, for seasoned shadetree mechanics to do this at home. For those who want to put their truck (literally) on the ground, an advanced drop is the only way to go.

Below is a gallery with some example of trucks dropped to different heights. Hopefully, this way you can get a better idea of what you want your truck to look like before taking the plunge on a lowering kit.

  • Ford F-150 2"/4"
  • Ford F-150 3"/5"
  • Ford F-150 Tremor 2"/4"
  • Ford F-150 6"/8"

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