Rolling Big Power has gone through some major changes over the past few months. As a longtime purveyor of diesel products, the company has enough experience and know-how to make decisions that better serve diesel fans.
One of their more recent developments has been the launch of lift kits, supplementing their sales of wheels, tires, and accessories. We were excited to see how one of these kits could be put to use on a brand-new 2017 Ford Super Duty, and reached out to RBP to discuss the possibility.
Every truck has to start somewhere. This 2017 Super Duty started at bone stock.
We received not just the lift kit (PN RBP-LK3092-40), but also a set of 20-inch Assassin wheels and 37-inch Repulsor M/T tires. The latter will be the focus of an upcoming tire review; for now, we’re going to talk about the lift kit and how it brings the whole package of attitude and capability to a truck.
Our vehicle for this installation was a 2017 F-250 FX4, owned by SoCal resident Tim Wayne. He purchased not too long ago, and kept it stock, but he was ready to make the jump to a lift kit and larger tires to stand out.
Looking on the RBP website, we found we could go with either a four- or six-inch lift kit. Seeing as the new Super Duties sit relatively high already, the owner felt that four inches was all he would need. Therefore, that’s what we went with.
“Our four-inch kits offer the ability to put on larger tires without cutting or other permanent modifications,” explained RBP’s general manager, Kelleigh Ash. “They’re meant to make for manageable installations. Also, all of the parts come with a warranty to show our commitment to their durability.”
With radius arms, springs, shocks, mounts, brackets, and more, the kit came with everything we needed.
One thing we noticed while on the website was that we had to figure out if the truck had a two-leaf or three-leaf spring pack. “In some cases, the 2017 Super Duties come with a three-leaf spring pack, but most are a two-leaf,” said Ash. “If it’s a two-leaf, we include a component box that levels out the rear.”
Once we had the parts in hand, we couldn’t help but admire the craftsmanship on them. Ash commented on this, saying, “Our radius arms are fully certified, U.S.-milled steel. We wanted them to be able to withstand anything without buckling. The coil springs, meanwhile, are full-length, and that adds to the ride quality. The lift blocks out back have an integrated bump stop wing, eliminating the need to stack blocks.”
“On the whole, we wanted the kits to replicate the stock geometry and maintain ride quality,” Ash continued. “That includes steering feel and input.”
RBP's testing procedure included FMVSS certification, making sure the truck could maintain its ride quality and comfort once outfitted with a lift kit. On top of this, all steel components of the kit were tested for metallurgical properties to make sure they could stand up to abuse. "We also did the installation ourselves before debuting the kits," said Ash. "This was to ensure that installing the kits was not only possible, but easy."
We used a pair of floor jacks to raise and lower the rear axle as needed. This made the rear part of the installation proceed smoothly.
Installing the kit was an involved process, but it went much faster thanks to our Bendpak lift. We loosened the rear lugnuts and got the truck off of the ground, and then we removed the wheels. We placed jacks under the axle and rear driveshaft, which would allow us to move the axle up and down. This helped us move things around as needed as we went along.
The shock bolts were removed on the bottom, leaving them hanging from the top. The lower spring plates on the lift blocks were taken away, and the U-bolts went up and over the leaf springs for removal. The factory lift blocks could then be extracted.
The old lift blocks were removed by undoing four nuts on the bottom spring plate.
We then undid the top bolt on the shocks and swapped them for the new RBP shocks. Since they had a gas charge, we had to compress them, place them in the truck, and then let them extend until they lined up with the lower mount. The top bolt was inserted shortly after.
The new lift blocks went into their home on the axle housing. However, the supplied U-bolts were far too long; they must have been intended for a six-inch kit, but somehow wound up in our four-inch kit. We had to run to a local off-road shop and purchase the right size U-bolts, which fit perfectly. This wrapped up the rear installation.
The shocks went in without a problem. The U-bolts however, were a different story. At 19 inches in length, they were too long for the four-inch lift blocks. Instead, we used 16-inch U-bolts from a local off-road shop.
Up front, things were substantially harder in terms of complexity, but we knew we could do it. We started by moving the brake line hold-down bracket to allow for vertical travel. Next, we unbolted the Panhard bar on the left side.
This took significantly more effort than we first realized. We eventually had to get our breaker bar and add a “cheater bar” to get more leverage (the bolt was originally held in at 450 ft-lbs; whew!!). However, we got the bolt off eventually.
To tackle the front end of the truck, a lot of parts had to be removed or displaced. We used a breaker and "cheater" bar to undo the bolt on the Panhard bar (left), took the sway bar mounts off (middle), and removed the shock absorbers (right).
A vacuum line on the axle was removed using a trim removal tool. Next, a brake line bracket on the frame rail had to be cut through to get the brake line out. Using a grinder wheel (and a healthy dose of caution), we extracted the brake line.
The Panhard bracket was removed to make way for the RBP one.
Next, we tackled the Panhard location bracket. We got it out, and then moved onto the sway bar mounts. With that done, we let the sway bar droop down and moved onto the shocks.
The lower bolt was removed first, and the upper bolt second. The axle was still connected on the passenger side in order to keep the axle from being completely loose and keep it under control. Using a pry bar, we pushed the axle down on the driver’s side, hoping it would allow enough slack to remove the spring. It wasn’t, so we had to use a second pry bar on the spring itself to get it to come up and out.
Top: the stock spring is removed. Bottom: the stock radius arm is removed.
Now it was time for the radius arms. The top front bolt was removed, then the rear bolt, and finally the lower front bolt. This was to keep the arm from swinging or falling out.
We took the new arm to a table and started applying white lithium grease to the bushing. This would prevent squeaking and chafing on the bushing. Using a vise, we pressed the bushings into the radius arms, and went back to install the arm.
Bushings received grease, and were then pressed into the RBP radius arm. Each one comes with a zerk fitting to grease up the bushings. Considering you have to do this every six months or so, it really cuts down on the difficulty factor of maintaining the lift kit.
The new spring and shock are installed.
The arm had a slot in the lower bolt, where we had to insert a locating tab. This would get the bolt hole to line up properly and prevent excessive caster. Next, the front driveshaft was undone from the axle side. This allowed us to tilt the axle and make way for the spring.
The axle was dropped some more, and the new spring went in. We installed the new shock at this point as well, having already greased the new bushings.
After again employing a cheater bar to get the stock pitman arm out, we installed the new pitman arm.
Our following step involved the pitman arm. Torqued to 350 ft-lbs, we again had to use a cheater bar to remove the nut. We also used a pitman arm puller to remove it from the splines. The sway bar drop mounts were put in afterwards, and the sway bar was connected to these new mounts.
The drag link was loosened and rotated 180 degrees. It was then inserted into the new pitman arm, which differed from the stock in that it went in upside down versus the stock pitman arm.
A two-jaw claw was used to press out the old stabilizer. After the new one was installed, we measured the shaft from the body to mount. It had to be at 4.75 inches to allow for sufficient play.
Afterwards, we went after the stock steering stabilizer. We used a two-jaw puller to remove the factory steering stabilizer bar from the drag link. With it gone, the new Panhard relocation bracket was installed. We could now install the new steering stabilizer.
Now, we went after the bump stops. They were removed by hand. The retaining cups were held in by bolts, which we undid. The new bolts received thread locker to help keep them in place for the long haul. The old bump stops were reused.
The stock bump stops were reused. All that changed was an added spacer, provided by RBP.
And that wrapped up the lift kit. Just as final step, we went around double-checked and torqued all of the bolts to ensure their security.
The total changeover, from stock to RBP'd out. We were impressed with the results!
With the way the truck looked now, we couldn’t be more pleased with how everything wound up. Sitting higher and rocking a new set of RBP tires and wheels, it has the appearance of a vehicle that’s ready to take on anything.
From towing to off-roading, we imagine the owner will be getting a lot more use out of his Super Duty with these new products from Rolling Big Power. We spoke with him recently to get his take on how the kit has made a change for the better.
“There’s a big difference in the way the truck rides now,” commented Tim. “Before, I could notice a stiffness. Now, it’s much smoother. The kit absorbs whatever bumps I come across on the road.”
The lift provides much more clearance on the front, middle, and rear. The tires that grip in mud, well, they can grip just about anywhere else, too.
This is one more F-250 out there that’s strutting its stuff and taking on new challenges. If you’re ready to make the leap to a lifted lifestyle, check out more from RBP on its website and Facebook page.