Photo 2/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 001 | The kit came to us ready to rock with all the needed components and mounting hardware. Notice the beefy one-piece front and rear 1/4-inch laser-cut crossmembers coupled with precision-machined ductile cast-iron steering knuckles. The robust steering knuckles are designed to work within the factory traction control constraints and provide stock-like handling characteristics.
Photo 3/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 002 | Beards seem to be all the rage nowadays, and Outlaw Offroad requires all of its assembly techs to have one. “Hillbilly” Kris here is starting the teardown process of our ’13 F-150.
Photo 4/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 003 | With the wheels now removed, Kris set to work removing the tie rod and continued breaking down the steering knuckle assembly, as that would be swapped with the one in the kit.
Photo 5/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 004 | Next in the disassembly process were the brake calipers. Kris was very meticulous in his work, moving from driver to passenger side and doing the same level of work as it progressed. So the driver-side caliper was unbolted, then immediately he moved to the passenger side.
Photo 6/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 005 | We were now ready to remove the brake rotor and dust shield. Obviously, the brakes and their hardware were going to be reused, but so would the dust shield. The engineers at BDS thought of everything!
Photo 7/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 006 | The sway bar would also need to be removed, but it will be reinstalled. This cameraman was called in to assist in taking out the sway bar, so here it is after the endlinks were unbolted, the sway bar mounts were removed, and the bar itself was removed.
Photo 8/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 007 | A little extra effort with the impact gun was required on the upper and lower ball joint nuts. We hit them with the impact for a little while, but they relented and were removed. We then went ahead and removed the knuckle itself.
Photo 9/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 008 | We had to strip off the hub of the stocker and transfer it over to the new BDS spindle. And as can be easily seen, the new spindle is significantly larger, definitely heavier due to its increased mass, and just plain cooler looking than the stock knuckle.
Photo 10/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 009 | Now that both the driver and passenger side were free of their accoutrements, the lower control arm needed to be removed and relocated with the new crossmember from the kit. So Kris unbolted the lower stock strut bolts from the control arm and then removed the arm itself.
Photo 11/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 010 | The stock strut was left hanging after the lower mounting bolts were removed, and we had to remove the uppers as well to remove it. We were going to install the slick Fox 2.5 reserve coilovers at a later step.
Photo 12/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 011 | To prep the rear crossmember to receive the new dropdown crossmember from BDS, we had to make a small triangular cut in both sides of the rear control arm pockets. It would allow the much larger crossmember to be installed. We left the stock crossmember in for extra rigidity and because that is what BDS recommends.
Photo 13/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 012 | Taking out our trusty angle grinder with cutoff wheel attached, we had to cut a triangle out of each side of the crossmember. We made quick work of the cut. This can also be achieved with a sawzall, or your standard handsaw if you are so inclined.
Photo 14/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 013 | We made our cuts (as you can see, they were only needed on the side facing the engine) and testfit the new BDS crossmember. Then we went back, smoothed it out with the flat edge of our cutting wheel, and sprayed the exposed metal black.
Photo 15/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 014 | Before the front crossmember could be mounted, we had to remove the skidplate. With our air impact at the ready, it came out no problem.
Photo 16/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 015 | The front crossmember went in with no cuts needed. This picture was taken before we realized we had to remove the skidplate, as stated in the previous step. Don’t be like us—remove the plate first.
Photo 17/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 016 | Now that the front and rear crossmembers were loosely bolted in, we were ready to reinstall the lower control arms with their new adjustment cams (seen here). The main body of the cam will be “up” when installed in the cam slot, to be adjusted later.
Photo 18/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 017 | With the lower control arms reinstalled, the crossmember supports could now be used to brace the front and rear crossmembers and provide extra rigidity. As with most parts of a lift kit, we left the mounting hardware loose to be tightened later.
Photo 19/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 018 | These sway bar drop brackets were certainly beefy. In order to buzz on the nuts, we had to attach the socket to the nut, then run the extension through the hole. It was a little cumbersome when this bolt was run in (pictured), as the upper bolt had to be tightened by hand, at a rate of 1/6 of a turn at a time. Soon, we reattached the sway bar.
Photo 20/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 019 | Fox knows what it’s doing with these 2.5 remote-reservoir coilovers. With a quick turn of the dial, you can customize your settings to either be appropriate for the dirt or for the street. The reservoir itself will be mounted to the top of the coilover using a mounting plate.
Photo 21/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 020 | The upper coilover mounts get a spacer before the whole assembly is installed, but the lower strut mount fits right back into the mounting point on the lower control arm.
Photo 22/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 021 | With the coilovers on both sides all buttoned up, it was time to reassemble the rest of the front suspension. The new BDS knuckle with its transferred factory hub was installed to the lower ball joints, and only tightened loosely.
Photo 23/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 022 | Our front suspension lift and coilover upgrade was near completion; all we had to do was reinstall the disc and the calipers. With that, we were ready to move to the rear.
Photo 24/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 023 | Usually, the rear is an easy swap, so we set to work removing the rear shocks on both the driver and passenger side. With this truck having so little use on it, the undercarriage had little-to-no dirt on it, making this install a joy.
Photo 25/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 024 | We moved onto removing the rear U-bolts in order to separate the leafs from their mounting point on the axle.
Photo 26/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 025 | With the leafs free from their confines, we were able to add the rear block. It fit right in place under each leaf, and we installed the new U-bolts to lock it all down.
Photo 27/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 026 | The new Fox 2.0 rear shocks had to have a rubber barrel-shaped bushing and a sleeve installed, so out came the rubber mallet to make short work of both of those operations.
Photo 28/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 027 | Installing the rear shocks was just as easy as removing them, and they were quickly buzzed into place. Here is the upper shock mount.
Photo 29/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 028 | Since the rear of the truck would be lifted, included in the kit was this brake line relocation bracket. All we had to do was disassemble the factory brake lines (located on the driver side), reinstall them in the new bracket, and buzz them back into the factory location.
Photo 30/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 029 | Next on the list was to adjust the angle of the carrier bearing by using the supplied drop bracket from the kit. So we had to unbolt the carrier bearing assembly from the factory location and let it hang for the time being.
Photo 31/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 030 | The drop bracket itself is actually a series of plates of different thicknesses based on the height of your particular lift. BDS lets you adjust the carrier bearing drop and recommends that you add ¼ inch of drop per 1 inch of lift. We adjusted correctly and made sure the driveshaft was in line with the carrier bearing and tightened it back in.
Photo 32/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 031 | We went around to check our handiwork front and rear, tightened up all the hardware based on final adjustments, and we were good to go! All that was needed was to mount up our set of 18x9 Fuel Maverick wheels with 35x12.5R18 Toyo Open Country R/T tires, and we were on our way! To the alignment shop, of course. Any and all suspension changes need a trip to the alignment shop.
Photo 33/33 | 2013 F150 BDS Lift Kit 032 | Not bad for a day’s work! Our final product had all the lift we could need to have fun out on the local trails here in SoCal—and definitely enough to skip up the curb that separated the shop from the street to get this amazing final shot!