Installing New Leaf Springs, Hangers and Shackles On a 1997 F-350
Let’s face it, with a mortgage, a minivan payment and all the other bills that come with middle-class life, a lot of us simply can’t afford today’s $70,000 trucks. At the same time we desperately need a reliable vehicle to tote our precious cargo to the jobsite, the track, the lake or the trail head. Faced with this predicament, thousands of truck owners turn to the aftermarket to transform their aging workhorses into formidable tow rigs—and we’re no different here at Diesel World. This month, we’re embarking on a journey with a 200,000-mile ’97 F-350. The mission? Make the old body style, crew cab, longbed Ford capable of towing 12,000 pounds with ease, and ensure that it can do it safely and reliably.
During the course of the project we’ll throw the equivalent of $5,000 in parts at the old workhorse in order to bring it up to modern towing standards. In the long run—and even with the purchase price of the truck included—we’ll end up approximately $40,000 ahead of someone who opts for a comparable ’18 F-350 Crew Cab 4×4 XLT. Throughout the build, an air spring system, Class V hitch, heavy-duty transmission cooler, 5-inch exhaust and electric fuel supply system will be added. However, before we get too carried away with those add-ons, we’re kicking things off by replacing the truck’s factory suspension. After 21 years in the Midwest there was more than just a little surface rust on the leaf springs, hangers and shackles, and every bushing had seen better days. After a quick call to SD Truck Springs we had brand-new replacement parts waiting on our doorstep by the end of the week, and we spent that Saturday getting everything installed at Flynn’s Shop in Alexander, Illinois.
“WHILE YOU’LL NEVER GET A 7.3L POWER STROKE TO ENJOY MOVING THE KIND OF WEIGHT A MODERN DAY 6.7L POWER STROKE CAN, WE BELIEVE THE 7.3L IS STILL A VIABLE CANDIDATE TO HOOK TO A TRAILER.”
SD Truck Springs