Ford Econoline to Superduty Axle 4 Link 4x4 Kit E-150 E-250 E-350 E450 Gen 3 and Gen 4 Vans
The Timberline 4-link front end kit is the easiest and cleanest way to pair an F-Series Superduty axle years 2005-2016 to your Ford Econoline van. This bolt-up solution works on Ford E-series vans over a large swath of years and options, covering both Generation 3 and 4 vans, years 1975-2021.
This tried and tested kit is available with or without adjustable heavy-duty forged poly bushings giving you extensive adjustability or just bolt up and go.
Our standard arm configuration works in conjunction with our track bar setups and 4" spring perch, allowing you to bolt up any 05-16 250/350 Superduty axle with your factory original coil springs and will achieve 5" of overall lift and should be easy for your alignment shop to run 4-5 degrees of caster without aggressive cam bushings. Years of building these vans have helped us arrive at that magic number.
Why the 4 link? After working on Superduty trucks for years prior to working on vans, it was no secret to us that they were stiff, unforgiving, and purpose-built for work only. That's all fine unless you're trying to drive the vehicle daily with a variety of payloads, uses, and periodic ventures into the dirt. It is a popular opinion that having the additional point of pivot and the ability to dial in the placement of the axle and geometry of the suspension lends 4 links to just ride and drive better than a standard radius arm.
The difficulty lies in dialing in that geometry, which we've done over years of testing. Our standard system is plug-and-play and works every time with the rest of the parts we've compiled. The parallel 4 link design is simple and extremely durable, rarely requiring service. Utilizing extremely durable leaf spring bushings, all grade 10 hardware, and ease of bolt-up design are all important features.
Coil springs vs leaf springs
There's the big question, isn't it? We've met many people who were very happy with their leaf spring vans and we've had people ask us to build leaf spring kits, so there's got to be something good about them, but we chose to lean into the coil spring design. Our opinion on this isn't gospel, it's just an opinion, so here's why we do what we do:
1) Availability- the 2005-2016 Superduty axle is one of the most widely available axles in the country. Ford built scores of these trucks over a long period, and they're everywhere. You won't find Ford telling you parts are obsolete, every corner parts store carries parts for them, and they are very easy to work on.
2) Ride quality - Coil springs, your van came with them, that's how Ford designed it, and they've already picked out a coil spring rate for you in the front of your van that matches the basic weight and usage of your van. Can this be done with leaf springs? possibly, but we haven't driven one that felt right. This becomes a particular issue on lighter-weight vans. A dead empty gas 4x4 E-series cargo can weigh as little as 6,000lbs, and a fully built diesel high top can often weigh closer to 10,000lbs loaded. Bolting up a Superduty axle in place of your existing front end only adds about 200lbs per front corner, basically like adding an extra passenger, so keep your springs, and keep your ride quality.
3) Turning radius - Is this a big deal? Probably not for everyone. In the shortest answer, we've driven (and built) leaf spring vans and coil spring vans and there is a noticeable difference in the last bit of the steering that feels like the later model axle has the capacity to allow the vehicle to turn tighter. Ford vans have a 135" wheelbase which is not super long, so either choice is fine, but you can roll up to a standard American intersection and make a u-turn easily across 2 lanes and that's what makes our design feel like it works.
4) Compatibility - It takes exactly 3 different abs sensors to cover the entire program of E-series vans that all interface equally with the 05-16 Superduty axles. There is no additional programming required, RSC, ESP, TCS, 2WH ABS, 4WH ABS, whatever flavor you have, there will be no complications in the operation of your system. It just works. You won't need a drop pitman arm, we have steering solutions up to 8" of lift that require no drop-pitman arm so even in RSC vans, it just works.
Where do I get an axle?
We've found the site car-part.com to be the easiest solution to finding an axle across the country. You can use anything 2005-2012 F-250/F-350 either single-rear-wheel or dually design, and they're both the same. (Front dually axles have wheel hub spacers and the hub-studs have a different pitch, but they are otherwise identical)
For upgraded brakes, different gear ratio options, and a factory rear locker available, look at 2013-2016 axles. Yes, we'll be running down the 17+ axles soon here for testing and will report with results.
If you don't want to deal with your axle, we can build you one, we can also ship you a core if you'd like to build it yourself. Axle cores start at $500 and typically built axle runs about $5k completely gone through. As a sample: replacing everything on the axle new except rebuilding the guts (which very rarely needs to be done), should cost about $2500 in parts if done properly with good quality steering components (eg Moog), Motorcraft ball joints, and Timken or similar hub assemblies which are expensive, yes, including all-new braking components. If you're budget conscious this can be done for less.
Fitment Designed For:
Van Side: Fits 1975-1991 Ford E-250/E-350, 1992-2021 Ford E-150/E-250/E-350/E-450, Cab and chassis/cutaway variants included
Truck Side: Fits 2005-2012 Ford F-250/F-350 SRW or DRW axles, 2013-2016 Ford F-250/F-350 axles (For largest brakes)
Standard hand tools, pneumatic tools recommended, torque wrench, threadlocker, weld-in frame brackets optional but recommended.
Included: 2x frame brackets, 4x 4 link arms (with bushings pressed in), new Ford axle side bolts + nuts, 4 link hardware, and radius arm bolt nuts/washers. Adjustable arms include bushing and jam nut.
Plates made from CNC cut 3/16" A36 steel, arms are 1.5" schedule 40 pipe 3/16" cold-bent and MIG welded. Included all new grade 8 and 10 zinc coated hardware and pre-installed heavy truck Dayton bushings. Adjustable joints have 1.25" stud, 1.75" of overall recommended adjustability, and grease zircs. Fabricated components are acid-washed and powder-coated for durability. The brackets are pre-cleaned in recommended weld-spots.
Tips / Skill Level:
1-10 (10 being most difficult) Level 3-4
A Ford truck axle is fairly heavy. Installation can be done on the floor in a garage, with jack stands, a pry bar, ratchet straps, and a good floor jack. Installation is most easily completed on an automotive lift with an axle stand, however, it is not necessary. Please exercise patience when working with heavy equipment and parts and always have a buddy to help. This install will be easier to do with 2 people.
Shipping, Fulfillment, Taxes, Quality, and Returns
- Shipping: Our components are carefully wrapped and packaged and ship UPS, USPS, or FedEx, depending on what is available. If you require a particular carrier, please contact us ahead of your purchase. Customers in Colorado may arrange for in-person pickup within 1-2 business days of purchase.
- Shipping/Fulfillment time for components: We typically ship within 1-2 business days of your order and we carefully monitor our inventory. In the event that we are unable to meet that timeframe, we will contact you and arrange either a full refund or a timeframe for fulfillment agreeable to the customer.
- Taxes: Colorado residents must pay sales tax of 7.5%, no sales tax is collected on out-of-state shipments currently.
- Quality and Returns: We are consistently complimented on the quality of our products and the ease of install. Components are hand-built here almost exclusively in Colorado by seasoned professionals who are fanatics about design and execution. If you are in any way disappointed in the components we will issue a full refund less the cost of shipping when the product is returned. If you decide to return any components that didn't apply to your build or you changed your mind about, shipping and a 15% restocking fee will be deducted from the purchase refund.