Product Spotlight: Icon’s 2.5-Inch Lift and Front 4-Link for ’05-’10 Super Dutys
The term “bigger is better” is more than just a saying. In the year 2018 it’s a way of life. Case in point, 35-inch diameter tires are essentially the starting point for modified ¾-ton trucks these days. Long gone are the days of slapping a set of 33x12.50s on a stock height truck and calling it good. But, for most trucks, there is a cost associated with running a 35-inch tread. In order to gain adequate clearance and thereby retain the truck’s full functionality, the front end has to be lifted one way or another.
To solve the problem, there are lift kits—and there are also well-engineered, highly-refined lift kits. A good system doesn’t sacrifice anything in the way of ride quality or articulation. A great system improves your truck in both of those areas, and it does so without hindering its payload or towing capacities. Some companies offer high-quality steering stabilizer kits and even 4-link systems to further complement their lifts. One such outfit offering all of the above for late-model Ford Super Dutys is Icon Vehicle Dynamics of Riverside, California.
We recently came across the owner of a 6.4L-powered ’08 F-250 looking to add 35x12.50R20 Nitto Ridge Grapplers mounted on 20x10-inch wheels to his pride and joy, and he’d decided to install Icon’s Stage 4 2.5-inch lift. In addition, Icon’s 4-link system and dual steering stabilizer kit also made the cut. Not only did the full gamut of Icon parts achieve the owner’s primary objective of clearing the 35-inch Ridge Grapplers, but the truck now drives and rides better than it ever has. Below, we’ll spell out the parts and pieces that make Icon’s suspension and steering components a cut above the rest.
Icon Vehicle Dynamics’ 2.5-inch performance suspension system was designed for ’05-newer Ford Super Dutys and requires zero cutting, drilling or welding in order to install it. Its intended purpose is to increase wheel travel without impacting the truck’s towing capacity, and it’s well-suited for truck owners that tow regularly, engage in mild off-roading and want to maintain smooth driving characteristics on the highway. The Stage 4 version of Icon’s 2.5-inch suspension system includes dual rate coil springs, 2.0 aluminum series remote reservoir shocks, dual steering stabilizers, an adjustable track bar and can be had with the optional 4-inch rear lift blocks and corresponding U-bolts shown here.
Dual Rate Coil Springs
Approximately 2.5 inches taller than the factory coil springs, this is where the added height of Icon’s system comes from. Combined with the supplied match-tuned performance shocks (more on those below), its dual rate coil springs offer exemplary ride quality and they all but rule out body roll. As with any lift kit that comes with dual rate coil springs (vs. progressive rate and certainly linear rate), these components require extensive engineering and a much more involved manufacturing process—which is reflected in the system’s $3,795 overall price tag. But make no mistake about it, these springs are worth every penny. According to Icon, its dual rate springs will never fatigue (i.e. sag), and the company backs it up with a lifetime guarantee.
Match-Tuned Performance Shocks
Adding to the superb ride quality the Icon 2.5-inch suspension system provides are the company’s V.S. (for vehicle specific) 2.0 aluminum series remote reservoir shocks. Tailored for each specific application, the nitrogen-filled shock absorbers feature 6061 aluminum rod ends, top caps and internals for optimum durability and strength. A 6063 anodized aluminum body and reservoir tubing is also employed for effective heat dissipation and corrosion resistance. For noise-free operation, a Nitrite rubber top out bumper is also utilized.
While Icon offers traditional hose clamps as standard equipment for securing the remote reservoirs of its shocks, its optional 2.0 aluminum shock reservoir clamps shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re a good upgrade for both securing the reservoirs and enhancing the overall appearance of the shocks. Machined from 6061 billet-aluminum and then polished and anodized for optimum corrosion resistance, the clamps feature a laser-etched Icon logo and also come with stainless steel installation hardware.
Fabricated Four-Inch Lift Blocks
To level the truck’s finished ride height, the owner elected to replace his F-250’s factory two-inch rear lift blocks with Icon’s fabricated four-inch units. Flat like the OEM blocks they replace, they also feature built-in bump stops. We’ll note that this option exists solely for F-250 owners. On ’05-up F-350 models, four-inch blocks came standard from the factory.
To accommodate the taller four-inch rear lift blocks, Icon supplies longer U-bolts (i.e. one of its rear U-bolt kits for ’05-’10 Super Dutys). The new U-bolts feature the same 5/8-inch rod diameter as the factory units, but measure 15 inches in overall length. At the conclusion of our install, roughly 1.5 inches of thread was showing after the U-bolt nuts had all been snugged up. For a clean overall look, we cut them down, close to flush with the nuts.
Adjustable Track Bar
Icon’s beefy track bar features a spherical bearing rod end with machined rod end spacers to eliminate the sloppiness of the factory track bar bushing setup. Thanks to Icon’s innovative, patent pending pinch bolt housing design, full adjustability can be performed, which makes centering the front axle possible with the track bar installed on the truck.
Robust 4-Link System
For vastly improved articulation over what the factory radius arms offer, Icon’s 4-link system delivers, along with quelling front axle wrap and wheel hop in four-wheel drive. High-quality spherical bearings present in each link replace the sloppy radius arm bushings. These spherical bearings help minimize deflection, which in turn enhances the truck’s handling characteristics. Opposite of the bearing end, each two-inch diameter tube attaches to the axle via a ¼-inch thick, welded-on mount.
In the photo above, you can see the spherical bearing end of the bottom link installed in Icon’s supplied ¼-inch thick frame mount. Like the adjustable track bar mentioned earlier, Icon also incorporated its pinch bolt housing design into its 4-link system. Just like the track bar, this technology allows you to fine-tune the truck’s alignment without removing anything. Once you’ve determined the correct length of the lower link, you simply tighten the 12-point (3/8-inch) bolts to lock them in place.
Dual Steering Stabilizer Kit
The icing on the cake in Icon’s Stage 4 2.5-inch suspension system is its inclusion of a dual steering stabilizer. The kit entails two nitrogen charged (150 psi) 2.0 aluminum series shocks, a ¼-inch thick center mounting bracket that installs via two bolts in the factory differential cover (and a supplied U-bolt around the axle tube) and all necessary mounting hardware. The system is designed to minimize bump steer feedback and enhance the truck’s overall steering performance—and boy does it work. While driving the finished product over to the alignment shop, the steering feel was night-and-day different from stock and the truck’s overall handling and smooth ride almost makes you forget you’re driving an 8,000-pound solid axle ¾-ton.