F250 Shock Absorbers & Air Bags

Submitted: Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 21:45
ThreadID: 122954 Views:4678 Replies:10 FollowUps:13
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I have recently noticed that the handling of our F250 has deteriorated and on checking the left front shock absorber have found that it has a lot of oil on it and is probably the cause of the poorer handling.
The Ford still has the original shockies fitted and they have done over 160,000km.

My question to other F250 owners is, Have you changed your shockies and if so should I replace with genuine Ford ones or are there better brands.

The springs also appear to be a bit softer than they were when new and I am considering putting some Air Bags in to assist them.

What have others done, and if air bags are fitted what brands are recommended?
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 23:28

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 23:28
When you are in the neighborhood, you are welcome to see the Rangers Effie. While I have seen about 100 done now, 40 on the BOG, mine has about the best works of the overall majority I have seen...

Brian, if you go airbags, it is best to go for the guages inside and paddle wheels to adjust on the fly... AND DOUBLE INDICATOR GAUGE for the rear with paddle lever on each side, SO YOU CAN SIDE TO SIDE LEVEL THE LOAD... Mine was starting to drop on the drivers side an inch, me alone in there, long range tank full more often than not, and fridge on that side..... So now I run 10 psi more on the Drivers side.

Springs sag a bit in the front, and that is a good reason to put the airbags in the front as well. When you get a bit of miles on, it is that or you have to replace the original Ford Springs all together, with an aftermarket sort of 5-6 leave set here in OZ as the original Factory ones are exxy. The originals in the front do not take a re-set or re-temper well. If you replace them you have to go an original say 6 leaf set of conventional springs...

For the rest of the Boggers: Air bags in the front as well, is a bit unnecessary at first. Nice to play with but not a high priority item. The big 4500 kg hitch yes, bullbar yes, WDH kit yes, a dozen things would have precedence.

Horses for courses with the Ranger doing it out there full time....
AnswerID: 569428

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 23:39

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 23:39
Thanks for the information Steve, but I am in Melbourne's southern suburbs for the next 3 weeks and I need to get something done about the shockies down here as it became down right dangerous driving down the Princes Hwy in the Orbost area with a van on. Each time we hit a bit of a bump things started bouncing and it was even more worrying if in a bend. I fixed it a bit by pushing more weight on the front with WDH but that is not the answer.

Don't want to travel home with it in this condition.

Have you got any comments about replacing the shockies?

Also with the air bags, what brand and type etc are on your vehicle?

As you know we have a steel bull bar with 15000lb winch so there is a bit of extra weight up front that wouldn't help the spings or shockies.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:15

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:15
No comments on Shocks, but don't go for cheap, go proper gas shocks, A major Brand something like ARB Nitrochargers, or similar, but ones heavy duty enough specifically for the big Ford. I have a steel BB and 15,000 lb Warn, and more, but at 78,000 km, my original shocks are still OK.

Now on the Air Bags, I can DEFINITELY help you. I have run air bags longer than just about anyone with a Bushtracker.. See who does air bags in Melbourne, and here is what the gear should look like. These three pictures show the best overall system I have seen. It is running on an ARB air compressor that also does diff locks. These pictures should help. The air bags available in Oz are Firestone or Dunlop. I have had both, the first in Australia just about on a Ford my old F-350 set up high like this one with about a 2" lift. I have been experimenting with air -bags in two Fords, and a Medium Ridgid truck, for seven years now. Firestone or Dunlop, no worries...

Here are the piccies..... Alternate cheapy air bag mounts have not worked well, and in fact other Owners have had to replace them with this system. This should be a help:

FollowupID: 846381

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:19

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:19
All right Brian,
There you go..........

First picture, my old F-350 29' gooseneck rig for horses,
Front air bags on my new F-250 (2003)
Rear air bags on my new F.....
Left angle on dash controls
Right angle on dash controls
And my new Effie and how it sits with the 2" lift and air bags...

Take that to the Guys in Melbourne for a comparable set up... Out of 100 Fords I have seen, I think this is the best overall standard that works for most... Ranger

Always there,

Semper Fidelis
FollowupID: 846382

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 06:59

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 06:59
Thanks Steve,
Only complaint, you could have washed the mud off before taking the photos. (just Kidding)

Had more important things to do this afternoon. Catching up on lost time with 4 month old grandson.
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 17:21

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 17:21

Does your truck have one or two shockies on the rear?

I would also be interested from others who have changed how many they have on the rear.

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 18:03

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 18:03
I have been active on a number of American Forums gathering research on the current engineering on the Fords, Chevs, and Dodges. With respect to the four shocks (yes mine has four) their is purpose to the madness. Fords in Australia are made that way to tow big loads over rotten roads, and loaded in some cases overloaded, and the bounding of loaded on the rear shocks will burn most of them out in short order...

This "Bounding" affect, with the large bed, maybe a long tonne on board of canopy and gear, and 300-400 kg of ball weight, in some cases; would build up too much heat in just two shocks and they would fade quickly. Not the case in the US of A, as with 300 million population they run asphalt roads EVERYWHERE... They just do not do much towing on rotten rutted out dirt and gravel for 500 kms at a clip like we do. The ones venturing into Mexico and South America, and Canada, Alaska, on those you might see the four shock set up towing...

Now on shock choices, I am not sure anyone has mentioned another two contenders I have seen, the "Tough Dog" series, and the very highly rated "Rancho"... I have not had the need so have not looked into them or prices on such, but I see them quite often. Keep in mind I see more Fords than most, forty or so on the BOG, maybe another 60 or better more towing, and they all stop in here at one time or another. I would check out those as well. I have not had the opportunity or need to change shocks myself. Interestingly I did put a set of OME (The ARB Old Man Emu) biggest gas shocks on my last Ford F-350 with great success. It has been Posted that ARB do not make them for Fords?? Well about 4-5 years ago I ran some, but nevermind....
You all might look into the Dogs and Ranchos, add them to the list to check out.

Regards, Ranger
FollowupID: 846385

Follow Up By: Andy1 - Wednesday, Oct 11, 2006 at 16:47

Wednesday, Oct 11, 2006 at 16:47

We have the same airbags as yourself et al & found on our last major trip that the bracket holding the front bags, which is actually mounted on the spring, moved under severe vibration no matter how tight the bolts. In the end I had to deflate the front bags & am still to resolve the issue.

Have you experienced this problem? Any suggestions?

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Oct 11, 2006 at 18:03

Wednesday, Oct 11, 2006 at 18:03
Hello Andy,
If you send me pictures I might be able to help. Looking at mine, I cannot see how that is possible. These things have to be torqued down to the proper NM Torque. The bolts stretch a little, and then they have to be re-torqued again, say a week later.

Yours may not have been re-torqued?????? Like all spring set ups and U-Bolts, getting the correct torque is a two stage process, like after a good drive, or a week of time or something, and then the process again. Things stretch a bit, and seat in. It is possible yours just did not get that process. That is my best guess without seeing it, going blind.

But if the right parts have been used, I cannot see how it could "walk" like you are describing... Mine could not. If you look closely at mine you will see that it is actually added onto the back of the original mount. Torqued Spring bolts, and this cannot walk..., It just cannot move... You might be missing something?

Send me pictures to sales@bushtracker.com and I will try and help you. I suspect something done wrong, a bit shortcutted... As I cannot see how what you are describing could happen, if it is all put together correctly and torqued down. I cannot see how you could get any movement at all..

Regards from the Ranger...

FollowupID: 846387

Follow Up By: Andy1 - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 03:30

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 03:30

Issue resolved today. Purchased a new bracket kit, really the only change is that the nuts are now nyloc, when installing we realised that the holding down brackets were fitted upside down. That is with the bottom of the "U" against the spring - limited friction. All should now be OK.

FollowupID: 846388

Reply By: Black Cobra - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:33

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:33

As my BT is not ready until late March early April I cannot assist with towing arrangements. As my F250 has only done 30,000km's the spirings and shockies are still like new.

Still I have the truck in at ARB at present getting it fitted out with numerous accessories some of which are a steel bullbar with 15,000lb Warn winch, 270 litre tank which will add extra weight than standard and Polyair air bags in the rear only.

I am going to see what it travels like when I go and pick up the BT. Before I started to add all the accessories I measured all four corners and front and rear of the vehicle to a certain point.

In regards to each wheel I measured the distance from the bottom of the wheel arch to the bottom edge of the rim, not the ground to allow for different tyre pressures that might occur.

By doing this I will know how much each corner has sagged once the accessories have been added. Then I will see if front air bags are needed.

I have used Lovells Springs and Koni shockies in the past on other 4WD's and they were exceptional, but you pay for them. ARB said they did not have a suspension kit for the F250 but I have been reading up on the Top Dog big bore, I think 45mm piston, shockies and they seem to have the biggest bore of them all.

Lots of choices, good luck.

AnswerID: 569429

Reply By: F Troop - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 03:42

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 03:42
Hi Brian,
I have just had to have my truck fixed.
On Alf Horns recomendation I went to Carol Springs Brisbane ( I think there is a branch in Melborne).
They removed the front springs and shocks replaced shocks and fited a new 5 leaf pack to the front. removed the rears, reset and added a leaf, shockies OK on the back. cost $1600.00
Best days work I have had done since ordering the BT the ride is great not a brick just right, when they remove the 2 ( strange front springs ) you go back to an under hung spring pack just like the back.
I have air bags front and rear had em for 2 years, we now have them down to 15psi and I think I could remove them.
So if there is a Carols in Mel give them a call the shock brand they sell is EFS
and the front spring pack has the No.Ford 29e printed on them.

AnswerID: 569430

Reply By: Silver and Tinks - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 06:23

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 06:23

I have gone with the Big bore adjustable tough dogs on my 05 F250 with only
10000klm on it ,I also have firestone airbags.

The combination of these two items should i'm told prolong spring life.

The addition of the tough dogs have greatly reduced the rock front to rear that long wheelbase vehicles get.

I also have tough dogs my 100series live axle and have had no troubles in 40000k's
around australia.

OME shocks are OK but not a patch on the tough dogs
AnswerID: 569431

Reply By: Luvntravln - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 18:40

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 18:40

We have the same bags and in cab adjusters as Steve -

We also have the Rancho Shocks that we adjust in the cab -

We have now down 70,000 and all is well.

If you go with the shocks put some type of shield over the adjusters as the gibbers can - and did - small a couple of the valves.

I believe Paul Swift in an old post had pictures of the aluminum protectors he put over his shocks.

I suggest you contact the Firestone people and they will refer you to an installer in your area - same for the Shocks.

Cheers, Jay
AnswerID: 569432

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 02:50

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 02:50
Thankyou everyone for the replies.

I went shopping for Shockies today and the genuine Ford is over $400 each. TJM have one that will be out of stock until about the end of next month, ARB don't do any with their Old Man Emu range, and when the local TJM man rang around all the suppliers they couldn't find anyone with replacements that would fit the standard height suspension, except one.

I am told that the Rolls Royce of shockers, are Bilsteins, and they are available from Sydney for just over $200 each so I have ordered a set of them.

I might wait until I return home before going ahead with air bags.
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Reply By: Downunder - Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 05:48

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 05:48
I am probably too late as I have just seen you post about shockies for an F250.
I recently imported some Bilstein shocks from the US for my F250 and they
worked out a lot cheaper than here.

I fitted them a week or so ago and have to date only driven around town but you
can definately notice the difference. The vehicle has only done 12K so the
origianls were OK but just wanted a better quality unit. Incidentally for those
who may not have done this sort of thing before they are easy to fit

The Aussie F250's are different to their US counterparts as we have 4 shocks
on the back and the following is what my supplier in the US said when I asked
do I need to put 4 back on.

"I can tell you that in the US there are no SuperDuty trucks with 4
shocks on the rear from the factory. Usually that would be done if you
have a truck lifted very high with much oversized tires that were very
heavy. On trucks that run 36" and smaller tires you would almost never
see multiple shocks on the rear. Many people will do 4 front shocks
while installing a lift and larger tires, but even that is reserved for
larger tire sizes".

For the record I had a similar response from suppliers here in OZ, only put 2
on the back.

I paid $64 USD per shock x 4 = $256 USD. The shipping was the killer at $165
USD. All up $421 USD or $562 Aussie Dollars delivered to my door.

If anyone is interested this is where I got them from.
Discount Powerparts. sales@discountpowerparts.com
The fellows that are likely to respond are Larry Musgrave or Pat Cerone. Be
patient as they are not the fastest responders to e-mails. Tell them Bill James
from Australia put you onto them.

There are so many places over there you could get them from and with a bit of
shopping around you may even do better than $64. A word of caution though,
watch the rates for shipping as they seem to vary all over the shop and
sometimes it is the same shipping company. Not sure if some of the parts
places are pocketing a bit or it is simply a refelction of where it is coming from in
the US.

Anyway if your looking for shocks I don't think you will do better anywhere else.

Regards, Bill

AnswerID: 569434

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 06:03

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 06:03
On the rear did you put them in front or behind the axel?

Did you leave the standard Ford ones on the side not changed or just have the 2 new ones on the rear?
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Reply By: Downunder - Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 05:02

Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 05:02

I removed all four factory shocks on the rear and put the 2 new Bilsteins on the
outside of the chassis rails.
When I spoke to Bilstein in Sydney told me they just put 2 back on the rear but
they put them on the inside of the chassis rails behind the axle. From what I
can see if you are only going to run 2 it does not matter much where you locate
I personally can't see the sense in changing to a better quality shock to improve
handling, ride and spring control and then leave the other inferior units in
place. It would seem to me they are likely to work against one another rather
than help. If I wanted 4 on the back I would go with 4 Bilsteins as the price is
right and the units are the same.
Steve has probably got a point with running 4 on the back if you have a fully
loaded F250 and a Bushtracker in tow. I don't carry much if anything in the back
tray and I only tow an 18 footer.

Cheers, Bill

AnswerID: 569435

Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 18:10

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 18:10
One more shockie note....

My new F-350 Kings Ranch Crew Cab Dually, is the Top of the Line American Truck built in Kentucky. It has an option for extreme 4x4, called FX4, which you will see as a Decal on the rear mudguards. What that gives you is additional engine and transmission oil pan skid plates, and INTERESTINGLY RANCH SHOCKS... They must be fairly highly regarded to offer that combo as an alternate. I have no idea of cost on Ranchos, but their reputation is very high. If they go on Fords Top Truck, it is worth looking into.

I have never heard a bad report on them, only top gear reports, but I don't know costs.

OH, and the pictures in this Thread are of my F-250 for Sale, specifications are on the thread below "Looking for a Crewcab Style side bed..."

Regards from the Ranger...
AnswerID: 569436

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 20:05

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 20:05
FollowupID: 846390

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 20:16

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 20:16
So where are the pictures of this new machine.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 22:10

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006 at 22:10
Brian, in all fairness, it is above and beyond anything out there. I do not want to skite or brag on it, it is just too nice and has too may appointments. I don't want anyone to feel bad... I will not bring and brag to the BOG.... It is the top of the line with more in it than one would imagine. The Stock Fords we get here are enough, no one needs to go to this extreme. I only did as an experiment, so I can tow a 38' gooseneck horsefloat and it only came top of the range only one available, if successful I will be ordering one in a 550 King Ranch model in the next few years and sell the Mack to reduce to one Super Truck luxury type thing. Ranger.... Cadillac....
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Reply By: SuziTracker - Friday, Oct 27, 2006 at 16:16

Friday, Oct 27, 2006 at 16:16
I have just bought Koni adjustable shocks for my truck (Isuzu 4X4) for just under $200 each. Even on the lowest setting, they are better than the original especially on the rebound. The adjustment has 0 to 2 1/2 turns of the shock absorber and they are fully rebuildable at $100 each (Half price) so you have them for life. I hope this information helps somebody. I have only done 4000km so far and still to play with the adjustment.

Regards Brian (SuziTracker)

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