In January of 2020, days after I purchased my 2019 Ford Ranger FX-4, I installed a lift kit provided by Icon Vehicle Dynamics. The stage 3 or 4 kit included upper control arms, reservoir shocks for the front, reservoir shocks for the rear, and some other components. The kit did not, however, include rear leaf springs. This is because Icon had not finished the R&D on the springs and had not released them to the market. So, I left the factory mono-leaf installed on the rear of my rig and rolled with it.
The truck has been sitting this way for about 1.5 years and I have been extremely happy with it. Despite the factory rear leafs being left in place, the truck, with the Icon suspension, has handled everything I have thrown at it on the weekends and still gets me back to work on Monday.
Recently, while making a trip up to Oxnard for work (about a 2.5 hour drive), I pulled into a parking lot and heard a horrendous noise coming from the back of the truck. I pulled over to investigate but it took me a while to figure it out. I checked the shock mounts, thinking I lost a bolt. I checked the trailer hitch, thinking I dragged it. I even checked the spare tire, thinking it came loose. I never thought to look at the leaf spring….until I did. What I found was the factory mono-leaf snapped about 2 inches in front of the axle. The front half of the spring was pressed up against the frame rail and the helper leaf was holding it in place. Eff me.
Mind you, I am over 2 hours away from home IF I was driving 85mph. I babied the truck to a Ford dealer and sat in the early morning service line for a long time. While I was waiting, I called another Ford dealer to see if they had a replacement. The guy said it was a special order, it would take 7-10 business days to get, and nobody in SoCal had one. I guess I don’t need to sit in the dealer service line any longer then.
I made the “less than cautious” decision to baby the truck home. I got in the slow lane and cruised at about 60 miles per hour for the next 3 hours, pulling over to check it twice. While on the road, I was bale to connect with the guys over at Icon Vehicle Dynamics and they told me that they had a set of rear leafs for my Ranger in stock. “Awesome! If I can make it home without dying, I’ll pick them up tomorrow!”
I picked up the leaf packs and hardware on Friday and hit the driveway for the install early on Saturday morning. I started by measuring the ride height of the truck. It was 36” from the ground to the top of the wheel well on the broken side and 38” on the good side. I removed the broken components from the driver side of the vehicle and attempted to install the new parts. I was lazy and left the tire on the axle on the good side and didn’t remove the lower shock mount while I tried to fit the new leaf pack under the truck. This was dumb. It forced me to try and rotate the leaf pack into place and the front eyelet got wedged into the bracket. I was literally trying to pry it out with a pry-bar. Once I removed the tire from the other side of the truck and disconnected the shock, the axle had enough droop in it to give me the room I needed to get the work done. I was able to get the driver side pack in and then moved over to the passenger side. What was a 2 hour job on the first side was completed in 45 minutes on the passenger side. It just goes to show that being lazy to “save time” usually costs you more time in the long run.
Once the tires were back on and the truck was sitting on the ground, I measured the ground to wheel well height again. The truck was now sitting at 41” inches on both sides. This system comes with an extra leaf that I didn’t use and I still got 3 inches of lift over my previous ride height. Amazing!
I’ve been driving the truck with the new rear suspension for the last several days and I am so freaking happy about it. The truck sits better than it did before, the ride is smoother, I don’t have the squishy body roll in turns I was experiencing, and the truck takes bumps like a champ. I am really impressed with the way this came out. I shouldn’t be shocked at this point. Every single component we have tested (or used daily) from Icon Vehicle Dynamics has far exceeded our expectations. This stuff is built well and is made to perform.
The next step is getting the truck out on the dirt to see how much of a difference the rear suspension will make. Because of my crazy schedule, I have no idea when that will be. But when it does happen, I am certain I will be grinning from ear-to-ear while I am bombing through the desert. Thank you Icon for coming through on this and taking my truck to a whole nother level.