Installing John Rods Drop Beams on a 1974 F-100

Having Fun with Custom Panels

Words and Photos by Devan Ence

We all strive to build a truck with its own attitude. A fast way to make that adjustment is by installing a set of John Rods Drop Beams. John put a lot of thought into modifying the original beams that came with these trucks to get the perfect 4 1/2-inch drop up front.

Now, you might be thinking this could be a really challenging install. However, it can be done in a few hours in a shop with all the proper tools or in your driveway over a long weekend with some friends.

The steps below take you through the process of installing a set of the John Rods Drop Beams on a 1974 F-100. When doing the install on trucks from different years, you may come across a few differences, but all-in-all, these steps will make your install go smoothly.

Here is our truck’s starting ride height.
Pull the tire and remove as much of the years of build up using engine degreaser.
Remove castle nut and knock tie rod loose.
Remove nut from kingpin centering pin and knock it out of the I-beam.
Remove grease caps for kingpin from spindle.
Remove top nut from inside the springs.
Remove brake caliper and rotor, and knock out the kingpin with a punch and a hammer.
Remove spindle from I-beam.
Now your I-beam should be ready to be removed.
Break the nut loose on the nut and bolt that hold the radius arm to the I-beam.
The I-beam has been removed from the truck.
Both I-beams are removed from the truck.
Laying out the new John Rods Drop Beams.
Make sure you have the correct kingpin set for the new beams (it should include new sleeves, kingpins, grease caps, and grease certs).
Remove the old sleeves from your spindle.
Drill your spindle out to ¾ inch. (I used a step bit to get the hole close to ¾ inch and then took a true ¾-inch drill bit and ran it through to make sure the fit was going to be right.)
: Install the new kingpin and sleeves through the spindle and the new beams.
Install the new centering pin into the I-beam.
Install the new grease caps and grease certs to spindle.
Install your beams on the truck and run the radius arm bolt through the beam.
Re-install everything you removed to get the old beams off and install the C-shaped drop bracket from the spindle to the tie rod. This is included with the new Drop Beams.
Double check that everything is tight and grease your kingpins.
Final ride height after drop beams are installed with a 6-inch axle flip in the rear.


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