Timberline Ford 4 Link Kit
The Timberline 4-link kit is a high-performance bolt-in solution to connect your Superduty axle (2005-2023) to your Econoline van (1975-2023). There are more than 400 vans on the road with versions of this kit and it's been a trusty solution for us since nearly the beginning.
We have a handful of options for this kit, each optimized for wheel travel and baseline caster. If you use our 4-link with the appropriate lift listed, the axle will sit just 3/4"-1" forward of the original van wheelbase which frees up tire clearance at the back of the fender but doesn't stress the coil springs.
We prefer to use the original van coil springs with our perch system, but we do have some options for 5" and 6" solo-coil spring options if you prefer. If you're feeling ambitious or building a big-lift rig, we have geometry to support 7-9" of lift with fixed arm lengths, no adjustable joints (fail point) are required!
Our 4 link is compatible with Gen 3 and Gen 4 vans alike, and the standard or Super 60 axle used in F-450 and F-550 applications. We now have an HD kit available for vehicles with over 11k GVW, 1/4" plate, and schedule 80 tubing, HEAVY!
Our designs typically put the caster between 4 and 5 degrees which are optimal for keeping it straight without suffering bump steer. You'll notice our brackets are taller than the other guys who build a 4-link. This contributes to reduced caster delta through the suspension travel, particularly with the higher lifts we offer. There is no reduction in usable ground clearance.
Standard Configuration: Our most popular design works best with our 4" spring perch, allowing you to bolt up any 2005+ F250/350 Superduty axle with your factory original coil springs and will achieve 5" of overall lift. This combination is suitable for a 33-35 inch tire, recommended 0 offset for the latter. This design also works fine with our 5" perch, good for a 6" suspension lift which will fit a 35" tire or a 37" with a good bit of trimming and a low-offset wheel.
HD Configuration: Our HD setup is good for vehicles that have a GVW in excess of 11,000 lbs or are regularly pushed beyond that weight. In most cases, the front axle weight on a van is going to be 1900-2200lb per corner, regardless of how much the overall weight is. That said, we do sell a lot of these HD kits and if it were my 13,000lb RV with my family in it, I'd spend a tiny bit more to get the heavy stuff. All plate thickness is increased from 3/16" to 1/4" and tubing is changed from schedule 40 to schedule 80. We have had several people build RV's with the Super 60 axle and this kit.
Big Lift Configuration: We have a special bracket kit used in our 8+" lift vans. This drops the pivot points an additional 1+" and has slightly longer lower arms to correct the caster. This design is only offered with the HD materials and it has additional gusseting. This design is not recommended for vans with less than 7 or 8 inches of lift.
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+ 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 6,000 lbs, and a fully built diesel high top can often weigh closer to 10,000 lbs loaded. Bolting up a Superduty axle in place of your existing front end only adds about 200 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 - There is no additional programming required, RSC, ESP, TCS, 2WH ABS, 4WH ABS, or whatever flavor you have, there will be no complications in the operation of your brake 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. 2007 and older vans get one sensor, 2009+ vans get another, and 2008 is a split year we can help you with, that simple.
Lift & Tire Size Consideration
4" lift + 31.5" tires - Lowest lift recommended for solid axle E-series vans
4" lift + 33" tires - Daily driver grade ride height, very much a 4x4, typical Quigley stature
5" lift + 33" tire - Typical Timberline van, excellent balance of clearance/suspension travel
5/6" lift + 35" tires - "Boy howdy, that's a big van"
7-8" lift + 37/38" tires - Consistently photographed more than your neighbor's Lambo
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+ F-250/F-350 either single-rear-wheel or dual-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) 2005-2010 axles are the most affordable and easiest to ratio-match with.
For upgraded brakes, different gear ratio options, and a factory rear locker available, look at 2013-2016 axles. 2017+ axles fit perfectly with our 4-link, the track bar setup is just slightly modified.
Fitment Designed For:
Van Side: Fits 1975-1991 Ford E-250/E-350, 1992-2023 Ford E-150/E-250/E-350/E-450, Cab and chassis/cutaway variants included
Truck Side: Fits 2005+ Superduty Axles, F-250,350,450 and 550. F-350 Dually axles are the same as the 250, the thread pitch on the hub studs is different, but this is inconsequential.
Standard hand tools, pneumatic tools recommended, torque wrench, thread locker, drill bit. All 4-links are now bolt-in, but can still be welded in.
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. Kits sold stand-alone are typically shipped with a 9/16" drill bit.
Plates made from CNC cut 3/16" or 1/4" A36 steel, arms are 1.5" schedule 40 pipe 3/16" cold-bent and MIG welded or schedule 80 .2 wall. Included all new grade 8 and 10 zinc-coated hardware and pre-installed heavy truck Dayton bushings.
Tips / Skill Level:
1-10 (10 being the 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 & packaged and shipped via 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 a 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 installation. Fabricated components are generally hand-built here in Colorado by seasoned professionals. Replacement or aftermarket parts are only offered in high-grade options.
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 within 30 days of receipt. If you decide to return any components that didn't apply to your build or you changed your mind about, a shipping +15 % restocking fee will be deducted from the refund.