Crown Vic Suspension Swap vs QA1
If you have an old F-100, you know that the front Twin I-Beam suspension is less than desirable. Upgrading the entire front suspension is a popular decision, and for good reason.
One method is to swap in a Crown Vic front clip that has all the suspension and a rack and pinion steering system. QA1 also offers a complete tubular coil-over suspension system for the F-100 trucks, and we want to go over the pros and cons of each route.
The goal here isn’t just to talk about the QA1 F-100 suspension system; we want to compare the Crown Vic unit too and let you know some of the challenges that can arise when swapping in that front end so you can make a better-informed decision.
No matter which route you go, either the Crown Vic or the QA1 suspension, you’ll have to remove the big bulky cross member from the frame. Other things that will have to be modified and fixed are the steering column, brake lines and exhaust for either suspension. Lastly, you’ll need to get new wheels and tires with either system.
Your first step is going to be sourcing a Crown Vic front end. These are pretty plentiful in junkyards or you can even find the whole car in an auction. Once you have that front end, the next step is to get it mounted up under your F-100.
Unfortunately, this front end doesn’t bolt in. The Crown Vic suspension will require measuring to make sure that the front clip is perfectly square on the frame rails or the truck will “dog walk” down the highway.
There is fabrication that’s required as well. The frame rails on the F-100 will need to be boxed in to provide enough strength for the Crown Vic clip and how it mounts. Additionally, there’s a lower control arm mount you’ll have to fabricate and weld into place.
Lastly, there are no provisions for motor mounts. If you’re going this route, you will have to fabricate your own mounts for whatever motor you’re using.
A final note for this is to make sure yourself or the shop you’re working with has the right skills and equipment to perform the fabrication. If they don’t, the front end could shift during cruising and cause some serious issues or even crashing.
Moving onto the QA1 F-100 front end swap: sourcing is easier, as you can give us a call and in a few days everything shows up on your doorstep.
As far as actual installation, the QA1 kit is 100% bolt-in with zero welding. If you can put nuts and bolts together, you can swap in this kit. There are a few additional bolt holes that will have to be drilled, but no welding.
The kit bolts into factory holes on the frame which ensures that everything is perfectly square as well, making installation even easier for the do-it-yourselfer or garage.
Lastly, we offer a multitude of different motor mounts for FE engines, Windsor, Coyotes or even LS swaps. Simply bolt them in, set your engine in place, and you’re done.
The first thing you’ll notice with the Crown Vic swap is that the track width is significantly wider than the F100's factory track width. The swap still works, but you’ll have to go with a much more modern wheel with a large offset. If you want a more classic wheel with some dish on it, that more than likely won’t be possible.
While the Crown Vic front end does ride nicely, it was never designed to be under the front end of an F-100 truck. Yes, it works, but it’s definitely not optimal suspension geometry for a lowered truck.
The QA1 F-100 kit is designed for this exact truck. That means that the suspension geometry and ride quality is designed for this truck. As far as track width, it’s over 3” narrower than the Crown Vic front end as well.
Being much narrower opens up way more options for wheels and tires, especially if you want something with a lower offset and a dish look to it.
With the Crown Vic’s being mass produced and widley used, there are tons of replacement parts available for them.
If you’re sourcing one of these front ends, you’ll want to inspect and replace parts right away, as these front ends were used in police cars and taxis and have seen hundreds of thousands of miles. There’s a good chance some of the components are already worn out.
Naturally, with the QA1 system, everything is 100% new, clean and ready to bolt in - no replacements needed. Another point is that the QA1 system has a factory warranty, while that used Crown Vic setup most likely doesn’t.
As far as replacement parts for the QA1 F100 system, the rack and pinion steering or brake components will be available at your local auto parts store should they ever need to be replaced.
For the other pieces, we make those in-house in Minnesota and we are only a phone call or click away.
At first glance, the Crown Vic setup will be a lower initial price. But, if you’re not a fabricator, you’ll have costs associated with getting this unit under your truck. Once you’ve inspected the unit you might have to replace a leaky rack, blown-out bushing, or rusty rotors.
Lastly, if you want to get more performance out of it or gain an adjustable ride height, you’ll have to replace the struts with something else that will be an additional cost.
The QA1 system is more cost up front, but then that’s it. This system is designed for your F-100 and bolts right in with all-new components. There’s no fabrication, replacing parts, or upgrading to coil-overs, as it already has adjustable coil-overs.
Whichever suspension you decide, we are here to help and happy to see another F-100 hit the road!
If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a ring at (952) 985-5675 or shoot us an email.