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SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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TRAIL READY Installing A BDS Suspension System To A 2020 Ford Ranger By Dan Sanchez Photos by Larry Saavedra, Dan Sanchez Upgrading your truck’s suspension is a must for any SCORE fan, but the upgrade must also be realistic, fit into your budget, and match with what you plan to do with your truck long term. Although we would have loved to install a long-travel suspension kit to our project 2020 Ford Ranger, the truth is that this truck needs to haul cargo and be driven daily. We also didn’t want to have to replace the factory fenders with a wide-body kit that emulates the Ford Ranger Raptor model sold overseas. At least not yet… Although the 4x4 suspension on this truck was adequate, it’s not up to par for any real SCORE and off-road enthusiasts. To take the truck to the next level, we decided on BDS’ 3.5-inch coil-over suspension system (PN 013350) that includes new Upper Control Arms built from 1.5-inch DOM steel tubing. The arms reposition a new HD upper ball joint for more wheel travel without binding. The system also includes new front differential brackets that correct the CV joint angles for proper operation. Fox 2.0 shocks with coil springs are also included in the kit and are tuned to give the Ford Ranger additional off-road performance at greater ranges of articulation, speed, and provide greater control while driving off-road. At the rear, the BDS kit uses the factory leaf spring with a rear shackle kit that levels out the stance and works in conjunction with the rear Fox 2.0 shocks. The 2019+ Ford Rangers have factory Intrusion Bars– thick steel bars designed to minimize crash damage into the cab in an accident. The problem is that they get in the way of larger diameter wheels and tires. BDS has an optional set of Intrusion Bars for this kit, that replaces the factory units but are offset to create more tire clearance.   Off To BaJa HQ We asked the experts at Baja HQ in San Clemente, California to help with the installation of the BDS kit. The system took about six hours to install and an alignment was done afterward. See the video overview of the installation process here: Wheels & Tires To complement the truck’s improved suspension system, we needed a wheel and tire combination that would not only make our truck look great, but also provide the off-road performance we needed. Raceline Wheels, the official wheel of SCORE International, provided a set of their new 949-B seven-spoke wheel that features a simulated beadlock. Our set measured 17x8.5 with a zero offset and includes a durable matte black finish. The wheels were mounted to a set of 285/70R/17 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3 tires that will enhance the new suspension’s capabilities with improved traction over rocks and slick surfaces. BFGoodrich Tires is the official tire of SCORE International, and because the KM3’s have the same technology used in SCORE race tires, the truck will also have increased stability at higher speeds in off-road conditions, and have much greater puncture resistance. A Ride To Remember Before taking out the Ranger with its new suspension, wheels, and tires, it was necessary to re-calibrate our Ranger’s ECU with the Ford Performance ProCal tuner. The system allows you to easily change the tire diameter settings by inputting the new Revs/Mi on the tuner. We got this information on the BFGoodrich website. Recalibrating the ECU will keep the factory ABS, speedometer, and other systems working properly. Once on the highway, the truck drove much more smoothly. The road noise from the mud-terrain tires wasn’t anything any off-road enthusiast isn't used to, but this combination made a noticeable difference over bumps causing high-speed vibrations to go away. Off-road, the truck handled predictably at higher speeds over packed dirt. Turning was tight and accurate, and the truck also easily traversed through deep silt and crawled over rocks and ravines with ease in both 4-high and 4-low situations. Although we didn’t intend to make this truck a pre-runner, we’re confident this combination will handle almost every trail, long trip, and the towing jobs we have planned for it. SOURCES: BFGoodrich Tires BDS Suspension Raceline Wheels Baja HQ

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