What Is Bumpsteer?
First of all I love the mag. I can't wait for it to show up every month and then I read it cover to cover that day and then glance through it again almost every day until I get my new one.
I have a suspension question concerning my beloved '02 Ford F-150 Supercrew. I already have a Pro Comp 4-inch lift, 33-inch BFG ATs, 16x10 MB Motoring wheels, a Flowmaster exhaust, and a K&N filter. As of now my whole front end is new: hub bearings, inner and outer tie rods, and idler arm. But still I have a little wheel shimmy when going over certain sized bumps! Is this what is referred to as "bumpsteer" and would a steering stabilizer help? Also, does anyone make tubular upper control arms for my truck? I would like to upgrade and not just replace my suspension parts when they start to wear out. I have looked around a little, but I figured I could just save some time and ask you guys. Any help would be much appreciated. Included is a picture of my truck. Other than the lift, wheels and tires, it is all stock. My future mods are: gears, lockers, 35s, and Dixon Bros Racing long-travel suspension kit (as soon as I can save up the money). Thanks for the great mag.
Dustin, first of all, thanks for reading! Secondly, I think we can help you out with your questions. Bumpsteer is a phenomenon that occurs while the suspension is oscillating and you can feel the steering pulling or diving to one or both sides. Many modified vehicles display some sort of bumpsteer (either minor or severe). What your truck is exhibiting doesn't sound exactly like bumpsteer, but it's a definite problem, nonetheless. I believe a high-quality steering stabilizer would help your vehicle, definitely. Steering stabilizers are sort of "steering band-aids" that are good for masking the little shimmies and shakes that come from imperfect steering systems (and most trucks don't have completely perfect steering systems).
As for an upper control arm, I'm not aware of anyone who has a bolt-on upper control arm for your era 4WD F-150 (I am assuming you have a 4WD because you mentioned "lockers," plural), but there is that cool long-travel kit you mentioned.... For other readers with your same model truck, they should check out the Dixon Bros kit (www.dixonbrosracing.com) made for '97-to-'03 F-150 4x4s. I know a couple guys who have it and really like it.
I've owned my '89 F-150 since new. It now has 80,000 miles on the odometer and it needs attention. It's got a 351ci engine with a C6 tranny and 3.08:1 gears in the axle. I've always kept it garaged and frequently serviced. I know this truck has 20-year-old fuel injection on it (CA model), but can anything be done to help its weak power and lousy (7 to 11 mpg) fuel economy? If the fuel injection can be upgraded, please fill me in!
Ron, unfortunately you're working with an engine came out of an era famous for bad fuel economy and low power numbers in search of cleaner emissions.
And no, you can't really upgrade your fuel injection system without voiding your smog legality. But there are a number of ways you can increase your vehicle's fuel economy. One sure way to increase the fuel economy on your engine is to add a Fitch fuel catalyst inline on your fuel line. This works by improving the fuel that goes into your engine.
You can also try increasing engine efficiency by adding an exhaust, a high-flow air intake, and better ignition parts (spark plugs, ignition boxes, wires). A third way to increase fuel economy would be to add an overdrive unit in back of your transmission. And if you wanted to get really drastic, you could swap in a new Ford 5.4L engine and transmission.
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