1999 Ford F-150 Lightning - Project Stealth Fighter Part 3

Ready To Ride: We Finish the Rear Suspension in Preparation for Asphalt Warfare

Harley Camilleri
Apr 10, 2014
Photographers: Patrick McCarthy
Last month we got started revamping the suspension under our re-imagined 1999 Ford F-150 Lightning truck, dubbed Project Stealth Fighter. In the article we addressed the needs of the front suspension and braking with products from Hotchkis, Belltech, QA1, and Baer. We also found that our newly lowered suspension was detrimental to the longevity of the Nitto tires since the inner wheelwell was making loads of contact with the tire under spirited driving situations. Choppin’ Block built wheeltubs for the frontend and remedied that issue, giving the front wheels and tires the needed travel. This month we delve into the rear suspension to see what lay beneath.
Since the Ford Lightning was built with a thicker frame material than a standard Ford F-150 truck, it responds extremely well to additional handling modifications. The two systems work hand in hand to prevent torsional twist across the chassis while the truck is being aggressively driven. To match our front suspension modifications, we mated 2-inch Hotchkis lowering leafs (3-inch on a standard Ford F-150) with a Hotchkis sway bar, sourced as part of the Hotchkis Total Vehicle System (TVS) line we showed you last issue. Belltech supplied a lowering front hanger to bring the truck closer to terra firma without affecting the action of the performance leaf springs. As before, adjustable QA1 Street Stocker shocks rounded out the performance package. If you’re ready to take your Ford F-150 or Ford Lightning to Mustang-level handling, read along and get ready to push your truck to the limits.
Photo 5/24   |   4. Lowering hangers were part of the plan, which necessitated removing the riveted-in-position factory pieces to make way. We cut a slice in the rivet heads with a cutoff wheel (as shown) before using an air hammer with a chisel bit to knock the heads off. Ear plugs were mandatory.
Photo 9/24   |   8. Adding the Belltech drop hangers without a drop shackle moves the pinion angle in the wrong direction. Belltech smartly adds pinion shims into its kits for installs such as ours.
Photo 13/24   |   12. After finalizing the cut area and ensuring the notch fit square and flush to the frame, the mounting holes were drilled, and the hardware was installed.
Photo 17/24   |   16. QA1 Street Stocker shocks came with compression dampening that fit our street versus track balance, with the added benefit of 18-way rebound adjustment. Should extreme changes need to be made, QA1 will revalve them to suit.
Photo 24/24   |   23. Our Lightning now had a new, muscle car stance, and with the 22-inch HRE TR-45 wheels and 285/35R22 Nitto NT-555 tires, the Ford looked the part of an all-out track machine. The overall drop added up to 3½ inches up front and 6 inches out back. Keep in mind those measurements are on a Lightning, and with these mods, would equate to a 5-inch front drop and 7-inch rear drop on a regular F-150.

2015 Ford F-150 Specifications

VIEW ALL
Fair Market Price $25,309
MSRP $25,800
Editors' Overall Rating
Mileage 18 City / 25 Highway
Engine 3.5L V6
Horse Power 283 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 255 ft lb of torque @ 4,000 rpm
See all Specifications

Sources

Hotchkis Performance
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
877-735-6425
www.hotchkis.net
Nitto Tire
Cypress, CA 90630
877-565-8448
www.nittotire.com
HRE Wheels
Vista, CA 92081
760-598-1960
http://www.hrewheels.com
QA1
Lakeville, MN 55044
800-721-7761
http://www.qa1.net
The Choppin' Block Kustom Fab
Fresno, CA 93722
www.Choppin-Block.com
Belltech Suspension
800-445-3767
http.//www.belltech.com

MOST POPULAR

Truck Trend Network

TRUCK RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

Ford F 150

Fair Market Price
$25,309
Editors' Overall Rating
Basic Specifications
MSRP: $25,800
Mileage: 18 / 25
Engine: 3.5L V6
get a free quote

Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truckin
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBE TO A MAGAZINE
TO TOP