Suspension modifications

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
I now have 1000 miles on the new F250 and I am trying to improve the ride when the truck is virtually empty. I am running the tires at 50 PSI and ignoring the low pressure light. This has helped a little but not much. Reading reviews and watching videos 2 products claim to improve the ride quality of an unloaded truck.
The first one I am thinking about is the Sulastic shackles. I am trying to minimize the hard jolts I feel while driving on some of the rougher county roads.
Another product that has been recommended is the Bilstein shocks.
The shackles seem to me like they would do a better job for what I am looking for but not sure. My truck will only carry about 1200 pounds in the bed and a travel trailer with 600 pounds of tongue weight. No plans to haul a cab over or transport anything anywhere near max capacity.
The shackles have had a few failures on some older installs or lifted trucks. I also read where on some heavy delivery trucks the shackles have had a few issues.
For now I have gone back to driving my F150 as my daily driver and I may decide to continue doing that. The only time I really need the F250 is hauling the quad or towing the travel trailer. I am not too concerned about the ride quality with the truck loaded. Keeping 2 trucks is not ideal but it might be my best solution for now.
Investing in air ride seats is another option but the cost is lot more than a couple of suspension modifications.

Anyone have experience with the Sulastic shackles or the Bilstein shocks?
 

OPAH

Well-known member
Hey John I know the air bags are not too expensive but it will be will worth it on your back, I don't see how Shackles could change anything but the height of the truck, and a non-adjustable shock that would be soft enough to improve your Ride would be horrid for the trailer.
Not sure if air shocks are still available or if the would work with a 3/4 ton, but that may be a less expensive option
 
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quaildeath

Well-known member
I agree with the above. Shackles will not soften the ride of the truck unloaded at all .......unless......you get some kind of super duper poly bushing inserts which would kill some road chatter.

I have experience with adjustable shocks. I had a flexible spring suspension on my daily driver hunting fishing Jeep Cherokee for wheelin’.
The adjustable Rancho 9000s are a little dated these days as I’m sure there are better. No load daily driving I would have them set at 2 in front and 1 in back. With a load, maybe 4 and 3. 100% the ride quality was changed per each application. I would recommend doing some research on 3/4 ton adjustables since your leafs will be a fixed stiffness.

.....Or get nice soft leafs as well as adjustable shocks. BTW, they can be set up to be adjustable from the cab.

Unless you spend the coin on really good stuff, I foresee airbags being finicky.
 

Planetcat

Well-known member
I agree with the above. Shackles will not soften the ride of the truck unloaded at all .......unless......you get some kind of super duper poly bushing inserts which would kill some road chatter.

I have experience with adjustable shocks. I had a flexible spring suspension on my daily driver hunting fishing Jeep Cherokee for wheelin’.
The adjustable Rancho 9000s are a little dated these days as I’m sure there are better. No load daily driving I would have them set at 2 in front and 1 in back. With a load, maybe 4 and 3. 100% the ride quality was changed per each application. I would recommend doing some research on 3/4 ton adjustables since your leafs will be a fixed stiffness.

.....Or get nice soft leafs as well as adjustable shocks. BTW, they can be set up to be adjustable from the cab.

Unless you spend the coin on really good stuff, I foresee airbags being finicky.
I've had Rancho RS9000's too on several jeeps, most recently my Grand Cherokee. They are still pretty darn good shocks and last a really long time. Whatever you do, don't buy the ProComp adjustable shocks. They are garbage. It looks like Summit Racing has the F-250 Rancho 9000 shocks. They seem to be popular with the ford forum guys.

You could also drive a round a bit with a really heavy load in the bed to accelerate breaking them in. Although, after 14 years, my original OEM Dodge Ram 2500 shocks are still stiff, despite lots of heavy loads and towing.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
As far as the shackles go on some forums they are called Sulastic Springs. They have been around for a long time and they replace your existing shackle with a rubber filled torsion type system. They seem to hold up well except under extremely heavy usage. Lots of videos on happy customers on YouTube. I don't necessarily believe everything I read so I was just curios if any one had any first hand experience.
The Bilstein shocks come highly recommended by old guys like me who are trying to improve the ride.
I know I am never going to match the ride of a half ton truck with a 3/4 ton truck, I am just trying to improve things a little.

It is interesting that when I asked about the ride of a 3/4 ton truck months ago most guys said the new trucks are great don't worry about it. You will be fine. Now the most common comment I get from those same people is I should have known it was going to be a rougher ride. I knew that but I bought the F250 anyway.
I will play with a few things but if I can't get a decent ride with some suspension changes I will change to air ride seats. For now keeping the F150 for trips when I am not loaded is working fine.

I know one other person who has the same medical issues I have. He once drove his truck 3 states away then had to fly home. He could not ride in his own truck to get home. He had someone else drive it home for him. I warned him but he didn't believe me, he does now.
 

Farallon

Well-known member
A neighbor at the cabin drives an F250 Diesel, his truck is very smooth riding compared to, another cabin neighbor driving, a Chevy Diesel 2500hd. I asked the Ford guy about his suspension, he showed me his air bags, inside of coil springs, on the rear axel. He said when he pulled his 14,000 lb trailer he pumped them up. Based on the Chevy ride, I would not want a 3/4 ton truck, based on the Ford ride, if I needed a tow vehicle; 3/4 ton with the air bags.
 

quaildeath

Well-known member
If you wheel, better know how to tinker with a compressor, valves and actuators.
My two pennies.......not trying to cut anybody’s sails down.
 

P304X4

Moderator
Moderator
Not to sure of the $-factor but have you looked into a hydraulic shock/suspension system?
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I am not one to rush into anything so I am reviewing my options. No real hurry. A fishing website that I participate on has a lot of old retired guys like me and they seem to think the air ride system or the custom seat is the way to go. I called a couple of local 4 wheel drive shops and they have never tried to make a truck ride better. They have only modified suspensions for lifts.

I had the F250 at the dealer yesterday and of course they put 75 pounds of air back in the tires. I released a lot of that city air into the country air after I got home. One of the reasons I was at the dealer was to get my third key made. I had them make a key without the remote buttons. Those buttons on the key were driving me nuts around the house. While I was adding all of the stuff I normally carry to the F250 I kept honking the horn or locking the truck because I had the key in my pocket. The buttons are way too sensitive. I have never carried a key with the buttons for my trucks or my wife's car. The downside to using a key without buttons is I only have 12 seconds to start the truck before the alarm goes crazy if I use the key to open the door. If I use the keyless pad then the alarm is turned off. The third key was negotiated into the price of my truck and I could have taken any type I wanted. I did not want another key just like the ones I already had. I had already removed the battery from the key I was carrying anyway. So I was used to the 12 second deal.
 

quaildeath

Well-known member
The dealer can change those alerts and beeps.
When I bought my SUV, the seatbelt alarm would stay on until you put it on. Had dealer turn that function off as stated in the manual.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
OK now my new truck has been on one hunting trip. The difference in towing a 6000lb trailer with an 800lb quad in the bed is amazing. The ride is great when loaded but rough on mountain roads when empty I have talked to 2 different specialty shops and they both agree that the only way I will be happy with the ride when the truck is empty is to lower the tire pressure to 35 psi or less. I don't want to drive it back home with less than 65 pounds or so in the tires so I purchased an air pump. Since I am not always going to air down I did not go with an onboard system I purchased a portable .
Cost was just under $200 and I have lowered one tire in my driveway and aired it back up. Less than 5 minutes and I can live with that.
I my not be done with changes but one thing at a time.

Smittybuilt 2781 is the compressor I purchased from the local specialty shop.
 

OPAH

Well-known member
Just a Note of Caution John
Make sure what your truck cam with ride and suspension wise, I am Playing hell at the moment do the the shocks being replaced on my Yukon 2500 4X4. the shcoks they installed were passive shocks (Normal shocks) my truck has auto ride and auto leveling, My ride control is all jacked up at the moment.
I found some OEM direct replacements for 250 per shock ! and getting them install here Saturday Morning, I am hoping all is OK with the Autoride system. suspention can be tricky
 


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