Three vs. Four vs. Five Link vs. IRS


PetroleumJunkie412

2.9 Mafia
Supporting Member
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
2,732
Reaction score
1,942
Points
113
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Ok, this may be the most uneducated post I've ever put up. I have no idea what to do and looking for some of the suspension experts to weigh in.



Now that new frame is here and I'm starting the teardown of the donors, I'm at a decision point for suspension.

I have a ton of options on the table that I know very little about - 3, 4, and 5 link suspension on a 8.8 rear, and Dana 28, 35, IFS, and SFA are all in play.

I'm not sure what to pick for a setup.

The goal in mind is a daily driver that handles like a rally car, and does not lose stability when sliding around on dirt roads. Aka, rally truck. Ride comfort is the least of my concerns (however, I would like to keep my kidneys), and stability and ruggedness is top priority.



Yes, I know this is an old Ranger. It's also my sleeper truck, hence the supercharger, etc. Looking to build something against the grain, as always.

Cost is a smaller concern - I don't want to have 10k wrapped up in suspension components. Keep in mind as well as long as I have rough drawings, I can fabricate links for suspension should that be the way I go.


I may or may not keep my current tire size (31x10.50.5xR15). Depends on the center of gravity I wind up with.

My choices rigjt now are to go to a Thunderbird/Mustang IRS and Explorer/Ranger IFS

OR

TTB front axle and however many link and style rear 8.8

OR

SFA and however many link(s) front and rear axles.

Any experts care to chime in? I may or may not have included enough info - I'm flat on my back with the flu, so forgive a few errors in sentence structure and grammar.
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 173A8B749AB83C Expires: January 1, 2020

ericbphoto

Old Redneck just wingin' it.
Supporting Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
3,306
Reaction score
1,136
Points
113
Age
55
Location
Wellford, SC
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
Your girlfriend's name is "flu"?

Isn't that catchy.
 

rusty ol ranger

2.9L Mafia-Don
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,239
Reaction score
1,095
Points
113
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Engine Size
2.9L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
A legend to the old man, a hero to the child...
If it were me....

Id look into adapting the link arm/coil setup (watts linkage) off an 03+ crown victoria to a ranger 8.8, seeing as how the vic also runs an 8.8 it would probably be pretty simple affair for someone with superior fab skills.

It would be durable, ride good, and if you used police interceptor parts, handle very well.

As for the front.....i dont see any reason a well setup TTB couldnt handle the task. Spring rates and sway bars would be key.
 

ericbphoto

Old Redneck just wingin' it.
Supporting Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
3,306
Reaction score
1,136
Points
113
Age
55
Location
Wellford, SC
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
Sorry I didn't have anything useful. I'm no suspension expert. My gut feeling is that I would use a 4 link rear for that application. Tib front should be ok.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

Forum Staff Member
Forum Moderator
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
9,624
Reaction score
747
Points
113
Location
Red Deer, Canada
Vehicle Year
'91, '94, '80
Make / Model
Ford, GMC
Engine Size
4.0,4.0,350
Transmission
Manual
If you want a rally truck "corner carver" I would stay away from the TTB/TIB front suspension. They are terrible in corners, will jack up and raise the center of gravity when going thru "s" corners. They are great for jumping. If I was to do my race truck over I would use SLA type suspension.
If you want to go different look to some of the old style 1/4 elliptic springs. A straight axle with spring both above and below the axle. If you take a normal spring and cut it in half, attach the cut half to the frame, one on top, one on bottom. Then the eye end is attached to the axle, again one spring eye above, one below.
I will see if I can find a link.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

2.9 Mafia
Supporting Member
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
2,732
Reaction score
1,942
Points
113
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Sorry I didn't have anything useful. I'm no suspension expert. My gut feeling is that I would use a 4 link rear for that application. Tib front should be ok.
Haha, probably more of an expert than I am. The trail ride really made me start thinking and researching, especially watching a few key things like Will and Ryans climb boulders, your truck walk along the concrete, and especially seeing how different setups can impact practically everything.

I know where I want to wind up as an end goal, just need to know which setup to pursue, and where to look for the parts out of a few Craigslist junkers.


If it were me....

Id look into adapting the link arm/coil setup (watts linkage) off an 03+ crown victoria to a ranger 8.8, seeing as how the vic also runs an 8.8 it would probably be pretty simple affair for someone with superior fab skills.

It would be durable, ride good, and if you used police interceptor parts, handle very well.

As for the front.....i dont see any reason a well setup TTB couldnt handle the task. Spring rates and sway bars would be key.
Never even thought about crown vic. Soooooo many of them hitting the scrap heap right now. Good point. Will research.


If you want a rally truck "corner carver" I would stay away from the TTB/TIB front suspension. They are terrible in corners, will jack up and raise the center of gravity when going thru "s" corners. They are great for jumping. If I was to do my race truck over I would use SLA type suspension.
If you want to go different look to some of the old style 1/4 elliptic springs. A straight axle with spring both above and below the axle. If you take a normal spring and cut it in half, attach the cut half to the frame, one on top, one on bottom. Then the eye end is attached to the axle, again one spring eye above, one below.
I will see if I can find a link.
That was my second biggest concern with the TTB front ends: I knew they were good for impact, but just from bombing around on back roads, already found out they're terrible in turns.

Is there a SLA suspension that's essentially a bolt in?

Also very interested in the quarter elliptical setup. Never heard of one.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

Forum Staff Member
Forum Moderator
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
9,624
Reaction score
747
Points
113
Location
Red Deer, Canada
Vehicle Year
'91, '94, '80
Make / Model
Ford, GMC
Engine Size
4.0,4.0,350
Transmission
Manual
I didn't look thru this forum thread to see if the pics are still there. There will still be some good info and some links in the thread to research.
 

85_Ranger4x4

Forum Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Article Contributor
OTOTM Winner
TRS Banner 2010-2011
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
20,897
Reaction score
1,715
Points
113
Location
SW Iowa
Vehicle Year
1985
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
5.0
Transmission
Manual
02-10 Explorer running gear? Fully boxed frame, fully independent suspension. Install cab then cut down the bed to fit.
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,162
Reaction score
529
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"

02-10 Explorer running gear? Fully boxed frame, fully independent suspension. Install cab then cut down the bed to fit.
The goal in mind is a daily driver that handles like a rally car, and does not lose stability when sliding around on dirt roads. Aka, rally truck. Ride comfort is the least of my concerns (however, I would like to keep my kidneys), and stability and ruggedness is top priority.

4.6 gen 3 explorer chassis with navigator 5.4.


or get ballsy with expy ecoboost.


the only place ttb or tib performs ok is dirt that requires high travel and air time.... a low d 28 on tiny tires in regards to rally work will be tolerable i guess.


but a 4 dr 95-2001 explorer chassis would be much better.....if your willing to live with a solid rear axle.

its already underslung and the sla is workable and VASTLY superior to the ttb for street and rally duty.
 
Last edited:

rusty ol ranger

2.9L Mafia-Don
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,239
Reaction score
1,095
Points
113
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Engine Size
2.9L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
A legend to the old man, a hero to the child...
A 95-01 exploder also has an 8.8 rear which would work with the vic componets should you go that route.

Plus the frame/chassis will be setup for a 4.0 (mounts, etc) and your 2.9 would slide right in.
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,162
Reaction score
529
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
The goal in mind is a daily driver that handles like a rally car, and does not lose stability when sliding around on dirt roads. Aka, rally truck. Ride comfort is the least of my concerns (however, I would like to keep my kidneys), and stability and ruggedness is top priority.
A 95-01 exploder also has an 8.8 rear which would work with the vic componets should you go that route.

Plus the frame/chassis will be setup for a 4.0 (mounts, etc) and your 2.9 would slide right in.

yeah...tod or awd comes in the chassis which is the point.......and modify a panther style watts link to run coils....great call...
 

rusty ol ranger

2.9L Mafia-Don
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,239
Reaction score
1,095
Points
113
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Engine Size
2.9L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
A legend to the old man, a hero to the child...
yeah...tod or awd comes in the chassis which is the point.......and modify a panther style watts link to run coils....great call...
They already run coils.

Just figure itd be a good comprimise of handleing and durabilty without (probably) a whole lotta headache like going IRS...

I mean look what the cops do to them...
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,162
Reaction score
529
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
sploder dont have coils...its underslung. what else good would panther parts do? 28 spline? weaker tubes? watts and coils are all they have to offer.
 


Top