The primary intent of the Buckstop Kit is to improve off-road traction and handling for trucks destined to work often as Fire Brush Trucks, Work Trucks, or Overland Campers. Buckstop trucks will be loaded in the 14,000lb to 19,500lb GVW range and used both on and off highway. At the core of the kit are four 41" traction tires that replace the original six dual rear wheel style tires.
The problem is that OE dual rear tires lack traction, are stiff, cannot be aired down, are not available with a substantial off-road traction tread design, are more difficult to navigate through technical obstacles and narrow paths, and are prone to debris becoming lodged between the rear tires. In addition, stock trucks offer limited ground clearance.
The engineering design parameters are limited by available tire sizes for the weight capacity and OE front and rear axle widths. The kit is designed on those foundational elements with a desire for minimal additional changes. Buckstop has found the optimal suspension lift to be 3-1/2″ at full weight load, full articulation, and full turning. Body Extra wide Front Fender Flares are a necessary component to cover the entire tire similar to OE fender designs. All in all, it’s the best balance.
The Kit is engineered with each component integrated to with the next to achieve optimal performance as possible while converting from dual rear wheels to four single tires. Clearance for the big tires is achieved with a minimal suspension lift and large cut-out fender flares that keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Track width is roughly 92" at the outside and consistent front to rear. Fender Flares are an integral part of the kit providing complete tire coverage from road spray and also replacing and covering parts of the body that are cut away for tire clearance.
41" tires and maximum payload are the fundamental design elements of the Single Wheel Conversion Kit. At Buckstop, the chassis is fully loaded and subjected to extreme articulation and turning conditions to determine suspension and body modifications required for tire clearance.
Suspension upgrades are necessary for two reasons – the first to gain tire clearance and the second to improve flexibility. Buckstop has found the ideal suspension height tobe 3-1/2” allowing ideal up and down travel of the suspension and room for the tire to turn under the body. There are several methods of achieving the suspension lift and Buckstop has considered everything necessary to achieve lift AND improve performance. The steel spring system is a comprehensive kit that replaces essentially every OE component in the front of the Ford. The Hydraulic system is an amazing kit that utilizes 4 struts controlled by a microprocessor. Details of the suspension systems are discussed in the “Stages” and “Hydraulic Suspension” tabs. More Details
In order to neatly fit the monster 41" tires under the body, the internal frame, fender, and body require cutting and trimming. Buckstop’s uniquely designed 8” wide fender flares are a special part of the puzzle that cover the cut-out portions of the body and also completely cover the tire from road spray. Buckstop has recently invested a great deal of time and effort to design a beautiful fender complimenting OE styling ques. It looks like it came straight from the Ford factory. Attachment is hidden through existing holes for OE Fender Flares. Flares are shipped in un-finished fiberglass. Final coating/paint is required.
Behind the headlight, a significant piece of the inner frame structure must be removed for tire clearance. Buckstop provides a replacement structure that bolts into place allowing room for the tire – no welding required.
Tires: With a 19,500lb GVW, rear axle capacities approach 14,000lbs requiring a tire capacity up to 7,000lbs each. The 335/80R20 is the perfect choice - a "military" style radial tire with excellent handling characteristics under load. It has an off-road tread pattern and can be aired down to match different loads. Tire noise is acceptable at a level equivalent to a standard truck mud tire. More Details
Wheels: The military tire has a higher shoulder than light-truck street tire. A typical street, light-truck wheel will not fit the tire properly and carry the weight. Buckstop manufactures wheels that are designed for the load and the military tire. They track in-line front to rear compensating for the difference in front and rear axle widths of dually trucks. The wheel is single piece construction without extra bolt flanges, spacers, and bolts. Tires can easily be rotated front to rear for even wear without dismounting the tire from the rim. More Details
Topping off the truck is an extra-wide bumper compensating the increase in front track width. The bumper extends past the fender flares to fend off fence posts, trees, and other obstacles jumping out along the way. At the heart of the bumper are the same features found on standard Buckstop bumpers including winch mount, tow hooks or mount points, trailer receiver, latching winch access door, built-in light mounts, and several options for built-in sirens, speakers, and monitor.
The truck ends up 7-1/2" higher than stock considering suspension lift and larger tire diameter. This makes accessing the cab a challenge! Buckstop has designed a custom set of Running Board Steps for Conversion trucks that bring the rig back down to earth. The steps are both broader and lower than standard steps. After climbing in and out of the truck a few dozen times, drivers will appreciate the extra boost they get from lower steps. Steps are NFPA compliant using "Fire Tread Plate." More Details
Undercarriage protection is available with Radiator, Transfer Case, and Transmission Skid Pans designed to keep branches and debris from damaging the underside of the vehicle. These pieces are heavy-duty construction and fit tightly to the underside with minimal loss of ground clearance. More Details
The Buckstop Single Wheel Conversion Kit provides every component needed to fully convert from dually to single wheel – no need to shop for additional parts. Each component of the kit is functionally integrated with the next to provide optimal performance in one package. The engineering design parameters are limited by available tire sizes for the weight capacity and OE front and rear axle widths. Buckstop has found the optimal suspension lift to be 3-1/2″ at full weight load, full articulation, and full turning. Front fender flares are roughly 8″ wide to provide coverage over the entire tire similar to OE fender designs. Each Kit includes a 3-1/2” suspension kit, extra wide fender flares are body trim kit, five wheels, five tires mounted and balanced, speedometer calibration module, and an HD winch bumper tying it all together.
Fender Flares and bumper are discussed here
Wheels are discussed here
Stage 1 through 5 Suspension: The difference in packages 1 through 5 is the suspension kit. Each variation is 3-1/2”, but they are progressively more sophisticated and give a better ride.
The Stage 1 kit includes everything necessary lift the truck 3-1/2”. It is a great quality kit including replacement coil springs, radius arms, HD Track Bar Mount, Bump Stop Drops, rear leaf spring blocks, and Premium 35mm shaft, Nitrogen Gas, 10 stage Valve shock absorbers.
The Stage 2 kit is a Premium Kit that replaces essentially every suspension component in the front of the truck. It includes all of the same items as stage one with added components to ensure perfect performance.
- Adjustable Track Bar – this allows the front axle to be adjusted side to side under the truck to be perfectly centered. From the factory, the axle is not centered. Front payload weight also effects this alignment.
- HD Sway Bar – Buckstop exclusive product, the HD sway bar allows full turning radius without any tire rub. It is also heavier duty than stock and provides a more stable ride under sway from wind or hard cornering.
- 2-Stage Soft Stop Springs – Buckstop engineered product, the 2-Stage spring kit adds a second set of springs to the front of the truck as a certain compression level is attained. At extreme levels of compression under typical driving situations, the dual spring pack will halt upward movement of the suspension completely. This does the job of a bump stop, but without the harsh engagement given by the OE rubber stop.
The Stage 3 kit is the same as Stage 2 with the added performance of F550 Tuned Remote Reservoir 2.5" Shaft Performance Shock Absorbers. Under sustained rough terrain or extreme loads, standard shocks can overheat, aerate, and exhibit shock fade and stop working properly. Remote reservoir shocks have an external reservoir that increases fluid capacity and helps lower fluid temperature. Stage 3 includes front and rear reservoir shock absorbers.
Stage 4 includes a revolutionary new Hydraulic Computer Controlled 4-Link rear suspension system. The kit, engineered and built by Liquid Spring, gives a silky-smooth ride and any load condition – full or empty. The Computer communicates with the truck’s control module to adjust the suspension hundreds of times a second for speed, steering, braking, and height (sway, cornering, load, etc.). This system is used in 95% of ambulances across the US and Canada.
At the heart of the system is compressible liquid routed through independent struts and reservoirs. The system adjusts for extra weight, controls sway, and pitching fore and aft. The driver interface allows three ride modes and height control.
Imagine a Brushtruck that could be driven thousands of miles to a location with the comfort of an F150, then be loaded and deliver hundreds of gallons of water to the remotest locations.
Or imagine having a King Ranch F550 flatbed truck that could be used as a daily driver in comfort then loaded with 9,000lbs of camper and gear for off grid adventure!
Stage 5 adds the amazing ride quality provided by the rear Liquid Spring kit to the front of the truck. Computer controlled, hydraulic compressible liquid struts on all four corners.
The ultimate ride technology engineered for your F450 or F550 truck.
Compressible Liquid Adaptive Suspension System
Buckstop is very proud to have been chosen by LiquidSpring to co-design the application of its technology to Single Wheel Conversion Ford and Ram trucks. LiquidSpring modeled their kit on foundation elements engineered in the Buckstop design. The resulting Hydraulic kit is completely built by LiquidSpring and comes as a turn-key suspension kit backed by hours of painstaking engineering and Finite Element Analysis. The frame of the truck is greatly enhanced to support the different way that weight is carried from OE leaf springs to the new Strut system.
The LiquidSpring Compressible Liquid Adaptive Suspension System is a smart suspension system for ambulances, commercial, and school buses, RVs, mining equipment, and now Single Wheel Conversion Off-road trucks. Liquid-based struts and an on-board microprocessor provide better handling and control when you need it, and a smoother, softer ride when you want it.
LiquidSpring automatically and instantaneously changes the spring stiffness and damping at each individual wheel in response to road and driving conditions. When the road’s rough, the ride is soft and smooth. When the vehicle makes sharp turns, corners, or emergency evasive maneuvers, the suspension stiffens to provide superior stability and eliminates roll. The onboard microprocessor makes adjustments without driver intervention for a fluid, seamless experience.
- Provides optimized, soft ride at varying weight conditions – water on board or not, camper on deck or not
- Automatically load levels chassis compensating for imbalance and variations in vehicle payload distribution
- Kneeling and capability to lower stance at stop
- Seamlessly, without driver intervention, automatically, and instantaneously provides a very soft spring or a very stiff spring with associated damping as needed for road and driving conditions
- Pump only operational while load and chassis leveling thereby consuming minimal power
- User-friendly driver interface with graphic display for drive and diagnostic modes to integrate system control and chassis leveling while providing means for troubleshooting system
LiquidSpring uses an optimized 5-link suspension configuration, struts with a compressible fluid as the spring/damping medium, and a sophisticated on‐board microprocessor to monitor driving conditions. This microprocessor acts as the suspension systems’ brain and allows for automatic and instantaneous change of spring stiffness and damping at each individual wheel. This provides the ability to reduce ride harshness while increasing roll and pitch control.
LiquidSpring monitors and processes various vehicle signals and motion at each wheel via its ECU and instructs each corner strut to change its stiffness and damping characteristics as required to minimize power transmitted from the suspension to the chassis while maintaining body control. The strut stiffness and damping characteristics are dependent upon its effective fluid volume.
LiquidSpring incorporates a rate valve between the strut and the secondary volume. The rate valve controls the interaction of fluid between the strut and secondary volume, thereby managing the effective fluid volume. As shown above, when the valve is completely open, the strut exhibits its lowest stiffness. When the valve is completely closed, the strut exhibits its highest stiffness. The valve is proportionally closed to cause the strut to exhibit transitional stiffness and damping.
The front axle on a Dual Rear Wheel truck is roughly 12” wider than the rear axle. A proper Single Wheel Conversion requires that the tires track front to rear, therefore, the wheels or wheel mounts must compensate for the different axle widths.
There are two methods of making up the axle width difference: first, with wheel spacers, and second, with specialty wheels. Wheel spacers are large machined parts that bolt to the wheel studs and extend the width of the axle. The outside face of the spacer has a second set of studs and creates a new wheel mounting surface at a width equal to the front axle. The problem is not only the expense of the spacer, but adding more components and more bolts adds more potential to be out of balance and for failure. The second method of making the front and rear tires track is to use a wheel designed with offsets such that the front can me mounted dished inwards and the same wheel can be mounted on the rear dished outwards. All Buckstop wheel applications are of the second style and do not require wheel spacers.
Buckstop manufactures a single piece steel wheel that requires no extra bolt flanges, no wheel spacers, and no additional bolts. It is a simple, effective option for the Single Wheel Conversion. The wheels can be installed dished in or dished out and “flip” from front to rear. Tires can easily be rotated front to rear for even wear without dismounting the tire from the rim.
ZERO FAILURES – Not all wheels are built the same – Buckstop steel wheels have been in the field over 20 years with ZERO failures. Steel is the most common material for wheel construction and is standard issue on your Ford or Ram truck. Buckstop wheels are built on a custom rim hoop that is derived from an earthmover wheel rated at 14,000lb weight capacity. Proper construction design, weld technique, and material selection ensure wheel strength and longevity.
D.O.T. CERTIFIED BEADLOCK – Buckstop is proud to offer the WORLD’S BEST two piece, beadlock aluminum wheel. Hutchinson brand - new, top quality and designed for military and armored vehicle applications around the globe. The internal bead-lock is an integral component of the wheel and tire safety ensuring that the tire will not dismount in the event of a puncture. The wheel is stamped with 7830lb weight rating and DOT compliance markings.
This is a top-notch Beadlock wheel – none better.
The preferred tire for Single Wheel Conversions is the 335/80R20 with 6,000 to 8,000 pound weight capacity. It has good off-road tread and can be aired down for extreme terrain. There are only a few 335/80r20 tires available on the market. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Supply is somewhat irregular because these are used by the military and their orders take precedence. Buckstop’s tire supply is brand new direct to the factory – not military surplus.
Dimensions: OD 40.63" Tread Width 10.75"
Weight Capacity: 6780lbs at 94psi
Max Speed: 68 mph
Tread life: Reports of 15,000 to 20,000 miles
Dimensions: OD 41.4" Tread Width 12.0"
Weight Capacity: 6395lbs at 80psi
Max Speed: 81 mph
Tread life: Reports in excess of 50,000 miles
Dimensions: OD 40.9" Tread Width 11.6"
Weight Capacity: 7390lbs at 94psi
Max Speed: 68 mph
Tread life: Reports in excess of 40,000 miles
Running Board Steps
The Single Wheel Conversion raises the truck a total of 7-1/2” including the tires and suspension. This makes accessing the cab a challenge! Buckstop has designed a custom set of Running Board Steps for Conversion trucks that bring the rig back down to earth. The steps are both broader and lower than standard steps. After climbing in and out of the truck a few dozen times, drivers will appreciate the extra boost they get from lower steps. Steps are NFPA compliant using "Fire Tread Plate."
- Off-road, loop style steps can be bought anywhere and have the "look", but they aren't user friendly
- Fatigue reduction: Climbing in and out of the truck, especially when wearing gear or for shorter people is a challenge. The door sill is roughly 35" off the ground without a step.
- Safety: Assuming a step is necessary as noted above, a broad step is safer than a small tube step or loop step. It is also challenging to catch a toe in a loop step while wearing big boots and gear.
Tubing: 2-1/2" diameter
Height from Ground: 25" Approximately
Tread width: 10"
Length: Full Cab Length – Standard Cab, Extended Cab, or Crew Cab
Undercarriage protection is available for Radiator, Transfer Case, and Transmission. Skid Pans are designed to keep branches and debris from damaging the underside of the vehicle. They are heavy-duty construction and fit tightly to the underside with minimal loss of ground clearance. While these trucks will not be rock crawling and high-centering on boulders, there are many vulnerable components underneath.
- Protection from piercing the radiator with small branches
- Protection from rocks cracking aluminum bodied transmission and transfer case components
- Protection from small braches tearing out wiring surrounding chassis components
Covers the space between the back of the bumper and front axle. Its purpose is to keep branches from getting between the back of the bumper and the radiator.
The two pieces work together and cover the entire bottom of the transmission and span across the frame rails in the aft location to protect the transfer case and extremely vulnerable catalytic converter. The Skid Pans are mounted to the frame and have access holes for draining oil.
Gas and Diesel trucks require different Transmission Skid Pans to compensate for exhaust routing. Both are available.