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Old 06-15-2017, 12:26 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
Redo - E450 Suspension Lift

So I did this post once already, then rearranged my photobucket acct and all the pictures got negated. But I think it's good info, and it seems to be working out OK long term...so I'll redo the post so it makes sense. Onward...

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" LEVELING LIFT KIT- FB2 HC



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 06-15-2017, 12:30 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
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"









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Old 06-15-2017, 12:32 AM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
Before & After



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Old 06-15-2017, 12:38 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
Re: post-lift alignment:

This lift causes positive camber and loss of caster. The camber was corrected with adjustable bushings, and the caster ended up right at the limit. It drives OK, but needs more caster to make it drive better, as it feels a bit twitchy at times and sometimes likes to wander. I need to fabricate some drop brackets for the aft end of the radius arms to restore the proper amount of caster. This will make the truck track better. I have the steel and its on the list...
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Old 06-15-2017, 12:52 AM   #5
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Great writeup !

Thanks for sharing the details of your lift. Rig looks much more respectable now.

I have an older e450 ambulance that is registered as a motorhome and this might be what it needs....
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:33 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 9,551
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
wow love the new stance!! amazing what 2 inches will do to the look.
-Christopher
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:57 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: E450 Ferd
Engine: 6.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 20 window lickin Jeffies
Hmm. Well, that was before the tires. I meant to include a pic or two of the truck with the tires. 32", 265/75-16





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