looking for a better ride quality - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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  #1  
Old 01-02-2014, 10:17 AM
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looking for a better ride quality

Let me start by saying I know that a 250 is not going to ride like a caddy.. however in the past few months I've ridden in several other 250 and 350's to get a feel for their ride quality and my ride is very harsh and stiff by comparison. The suspension is completely stock (FX4 package) and I have 135k miles on the truck. I dont want to lift it.

I spoke with a friend who is an auto mechanic but he does not have much knowledge with heavy duty trucks / diesels. He thinks the problem is in the shocks.. I don't know if they are original to the truck, but they are stock (the "Rancho" stickered ones) type. He said that some times the rubber in the valving can become hard and instead of a bouncy feel as is typical with worn out shocks the ride can actually become very stiff.

Can simply installing new shocks fix the problem? If so, what would you recommend? I see a few posts with the Bilsteen 5100 series or the Rancho 900 series, but would like some first hand opinions and other suggestions as well. I also visited the cali suspension web site and see that they offer custom tuned 5100's. Are they any good?


Any help is appreciated!!
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2014, 10:54 AM
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How much can you afford?? I'd make a real decision about staying stock height or getting some lift in there.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:13 AM
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Ok the first place to start is going to be the shocks. I myself have the Rancho 9000 because they are adjustable and you can manipulate the ride with them. I am really happy with them the big plus is when I'm hauling heavy loads I can stiffen them up as necessary. then put them back to a softer setting when back to daily driving. Only way to go from my point of view.

Next thing is how much pressure is in the tires? Lowering the pressure can improve the ride quite a bit. If you are at max tire inflation it will beat you when trucks empty.
Here is where tire pressure can be improved: Replace the air with nitrogen. Nitrogen does not expand with heat like air does. So when you put in say 50 psi it will stay around 50 psi even after a 8 hour drive. Air will expand from the heat of the tire and go from 50 psi up as much as 10 psi, trust me I have done lots of testing myself it made a huge difference in my truck. Tires do not get harder the longer you drive.

Oil the leaf springs between the leafs. There are Teflon slides on the ends of the leafs to help slip back and forth , lubricate there too. Doesn't make a huge difference but it does help smooth out spring pack. I even put oil at the base of my coils where they seat onto the front axle. To my understanding the coils do move there or twist with compressions which is why they are not fixed to axle.

That is the basics for sure without going and changing up springs etc.
I have done some mods myself to the rear spring pack at overload leaf as well as added 400lbs of concrete to spare tire to soften up rear suspension.
I also have installed progressive front coils to aid in the ride.
I have also added cross bracing to my chassis for stiffening the frame so there are things that can be done to these trucks to improve the handling. Its a matter of how far do you want to go.

Good Luck with it, I would start with the first basics and see how you like it.
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2014, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyAssault View Post
How much can you afford?? I'd make a real decision about staying stock height or getting some lift in there.
I don't have any need to lift it. It looks good as is. Right now I'm saving for a house so lifting the truck isn't an option in the foreseeable future. Once these tires are shot I may go up one size but even that is not a must have.

I need ride quality right now more than anything.


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  #5  
Old 01-02-2014, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mhatlen View Post
Ok the first place to start is going to be the shocks. I myself have the Rancho 9000 because they are adjustable and you can manipulate the ride with them. I am really happy with them the big plus is when I'm hauling heavy loads I can stiffen them up as necessary. then put them back to a softer setting when back to daily driving. Only way to go from my point of view.

Next thing is how much pressure is in the tires? Lowering the pressure can improve the ride quite a bit. If you are at max tire inflation it will beat you when trucks empty.
Here is where tire pressure can be improved: Replace the air with nitrogen. Nitrogen does not expand with heat like air does. So when you put in say 50 psi it will stay around 50 psi even after a 8 hour drive. Air will expand from the heat of the tire and go from 50 psi up as much as 10 psi, trust me I have done lots of testing myself it made a huge difference in my truck. Tires do not get harder the longer you drive.

Oil the leaf springs between the leafs. There are Teflon slides on the ends of the leafs to help slip back and forth , lubricate there too. Doesn't make a huge difference but it does help smooth out spring pack. I even put oil at the base of my coils where they seat onto the front axle. To my understanding the coils do move there or twist with compressions which is why they are not fixed to axle.

That is the basics for sure without going and changing up springs etc.
I have done some mods myself to the rear spring pack at overload leaf as well as added 400lbs of concrete to spare tire to soften up rear suspension.
I also have installed progressive front coils to aid in the ride.
I have also added cross bracing to my chassis for stiffening the frame so there are things that can be done to these trucks to improve the handling. Its a matter of how far do you want to go.

Good Luck with it, I would start with the first basics and see how you like it.
Thanks for the tips. I'll try the oiling. I've been running as low as 50 psi but mpg has suffered so I bumped the fronts back up to 60 psi with the backs still at 50 to try and compromise.

With the Ranchos, did you go with the in can adjustment console or do you do each one manually?


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  #6  
Old 01-02-2014, 01:44 PM
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I do it manually, I rarely change them up after trying all different settings at first. Shocks make a big difference, when I go with the higher settings it gets very harsh for sure. These shocks can be set down to a soggy soft setting too.
They are slick for sure.
If you have anyway to get nitrogen it does help. Test your pressure cold and after a while on the road hot. That pressure climbs for sure and ride gets stiffer because of it.

But I would love the in cab setup. Maybe I should look into the price of hooking it up.
I had the adjustable a on my old truck too. They are awesome really are you can have your cake and eat it too. One size fits all empty heavy whatever.

Last edited by mhatlen; 01-02-2014 at 03:31 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-02-2014, 01:48 PM
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Considering your reply it sounds like new shocks are in order.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:19 PM
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I just ordered 5100's for my truck this afternoon. Will probably be a couple of weeks before they are actually on but I will try to remember to update you on the performance. I just got the off the shelf 5100's not the ones from Carli. I do not think they have custom valved shocks for stock trucks. I don't see them on their website anyway.
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  #9  
Old 01-02-2014, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluwaterbrew84 View Post
I just ordered 5100's for my truck this afternoon. Will probably be a couple of weeks before they are actually on but I will try to remember to update you on the performance. I just got the off the shelf 5100's not the ones from Carli. I do not think they have custom valved shocks for stock trucks. I don't see them on their website anyway.
Thanks that would be awesome.


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  #10  
Old 01-02-2014, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyAssault View Post
Considering your reply it sounds like new shocks are in order.
Not me

These shocks go from super soft to stiff as hell and anywhere between.
I really don't know why anyone would go with a fixed valved shock when you can get adjustable.
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