One of the most common complaints we see with the 1985-1997 4x4 Ford trucks is the ride quality. I thought I would take the time to give some options to those of you who might have questions about all that is offered on the market.
As most of you probably already know you can definitely run 2005+ superduty axles under these trucks but thats not always an option. This write up is more about keeping the original axles and just upgrading the suspension. This method is considerably less invasive it takes far less effort, mechanical ability, and special equipment to do something like a reverse shackle kit.
I should start by explaining what the reverse shackle kit more commonly known as the "RSK" is. The 85-97 Ford trucks came from the factory with front leaf springs. These springs have a solid mounting location and a pivoting hanger and shackle setup. From the factory the shackle and hanger were on the front of the spring and the solid mount was the rear portion, the flaw in that design was that it did not allow for any flex or bump absorbing reaction from the shackle and hanger, therefore the only absorption you receive is the front leaf spring itself which by nature are pretty stiff. This is what gives the older Ford trucks a bad name for ride quality. The RSK moves the shackle to the rear of the spring and the solid mount to the front hence "reversal". Moving the shackle and hanger to the back when you hit a bump it allows the shackle to add shock absorbing effort to the spring instead of it being solid mounted.
As for RSKs there are several different options you can choose from most of these different options are just variations in ride height of the truck. This is mostly determined by your personal preference of whether you want your truck to stay stock height or if you are looking to lift the truck in the process. The other options are to run different leaf springs as well, such as the 99-04 Ford superduty springs these improve the ride quality even more. I will be listing all of the different RSK options below so you can get an idea of the differences.
The truck pictured above is a 1996 F350 with the Sky Off Road Design 2" SuperDuty Leaf Spring Shackle Reversal Conversion Kit. This kit is a RSK as described above with the solid mount and shackle/hanger mount flipped but it also utilizes 1999-2004 Ford superduty leaf springs a well. These newer model leaf springs are longer and have a softer d-rate adding farther absorption of bumps and shock to the ride.