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Old 09-03-2016, 08:35 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
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Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
DIY Short Bus Suspension Lift

Recently bought a 2004 6-window E-450 based Collins. This thing sat really low, especially in the front... apparently to allow easy entrance for passengers and such. My mission is to turn this bus into a back-road capable expedition/camping rig, so I need to get it up out of the dirt. I plan to install 32" A/T tires, so a small suspension lift is in order.

I went looking for components to make this happen, and found almost nothing available specifically for E-450. So I bought what I thought I could adapt and made the rest.

On the front I started with a leveling kit made for 2WD F350: Ford F250 F350 Super Duty 2WD 2" 2 0" Leveling Lift Kit FB2 | eBay



To adapt this kit to the bus required purchase of a pair of 20mm x 200mm grade 8 bolts (course thread),4 washers, and a pair of 18mm locking nuts. I Also needed a 20mm x 2.5 tap...which I just happened to have laying around.

This big 20mm bolt replaces the factory bolt that fastens the longitudinal radius arm to the I-beam axle. It goes in from the bottom and the factory 20mm nut goes on top. The stud extenders screw down on top of that nut, then the aluminum spacers sit down over the stud extenders. A washer & 18mm nut on top of the stud extenders fasten the spacers down. Stud extender thread is 18mm, so I had to run a 20mm tap down the internal threads to hog it out to 20mm. Thread pitch is the same for 18 & 20, so it worked just fine.

This leveling kit is advertised as 2" lift, but I gained at least 3". Wheel alignment will now be necessary to correct camber. Factory shocks seem long enough to accommodate this lift.





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Old 09-03-2016, 09:00 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Year: 2004
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Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
For the rear I wanted about 2". I found a fabricated lift block that cost $150 + shipping. So for about $20 I made my own. It came out to about 2.25".

I bought a pair 1.5" slices of 3"x 6" x .250 wall box tubing from a local welding shop, and a pair of 5/8 x 3" bolts. Two pieces of 3/8 x 3" flat bar cut at 6", and another two cut at 9.5".

Bored 5/8" holes in the centers of all four flat pieces, then slid the 5/8 bolts into the 6" pieces and welded the bolt heads down. These bolts will get sliced off so they only stick out about 1/2" on the bottom side of the block, and form the pin to locate the bottom of the block on the axle housing. Next I set the box section on top of this bottom plate and welded around the inside perimeter. Then I flipped this assembly over on top of the 9.5" top plate, centered it up so the holes were aligned, and welded the perimeter.

Completed block (upside down). Note the locating pin: in this pic the pin is too long; I had to cut it down to about 1/2"


I had a local spring shop (Rite-Way Spring in Tacoma) make me some U-bolts; they bend them while you wait ($67 w/ nuts & washers) These are 5/8" x 13" for a 4" axle tube.







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Old 09-03-2016, 09:19 AM   #3
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Chassis: E450 Ferd
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Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
Before:



After:

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Old 09-03-2016, 10:05 AM   #4
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Lookin' good!
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Old 09-03-2016, 11:42 AM   #5
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Where did your sway bar go?
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:24 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Engine: 6.0L Diesel
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Originally Posted by sdwarf36 View Post
Where did your sway bar go?
Back on the bus this morning, after I repaired the frame mounts. Both mounts were bent forward as far as they could go. Some idiot apparently thought they looked like jacking points. OR...maybe the suspension was at full droop and the bar ends slipped out of their bushings and then the bar stabbed into the I-beam arm and bent both the mounts forward.

This sway bar setup is cheezy. Need a bar with proper end links. Maybe Hellwig.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:26 PM   #7
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20160521_112507_zpsmm4h3zez.jpg Photo by Mudbuscamper | Photobucket

Here is my lifted shorty. Not sure the details because i got it this way from a buddy, but lifted busses are awesome!
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:34 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 136
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudbuscamper View Post
20160521_112507_zpsmm4h3zez.jpg Photo by Mudbuscamper | Photobucket

Here is my lifted shorty. Not sure the details because i got it this way from a buddy, but lifted busses are awesome!

That is AWESOME! Tell me about your tires. I'll be in the market soon; my intention is to get 235/85-16 Duratracs.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatherder View Post
Back on the bus this morning, after I repaired the frame mounts. Both mounts were bent forward as far as they could go. Some idiot apparently thought they looked like jacking points. OR...maybe the suspension was at full droop and the bar ends slipped out of their bushings and then the bar stabbed into the I-beam arm and bent both the mounts forward.

This sway bar setup is cheezy. Need a bar with proper end links. Maybe Hellwig.
I dunno if you want too tight of a sway bar if you are going to be doing any off roading.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Goatherder View Post
That is AWESOME! Tell me about your tires. I'll be in the market soon; my intention is to get 235/85-16 Duratracs.
Mine are 235/85-16 firestone destination mt. Thats the biggest i could get due to the bud spacing of the duals. I might do rear spacers and go up a couple sizes but these tires are brand new so it might be a while.
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