I need to put new shocks and struts on my '97 "X" XLT 2-wheel drive. I drive only on the street and never take it off-roading. What are the best not-to-expensive suspension that I should buy to replace the stock stuff? I would like better handling with a softer ride (if it's possible). Are Monroe sensa-trac good? I keep hearing about Koni and Edelbrock and Bilstein, but those are all too expensive for my pocket.
Also, not being to truck savvy, on the '97 which does it have, shocks or struts? And which are on the front and which are on the back?
Any help and advice is very much appreciated...in advance.
I'm not an expert on suspension, but I thought you needed both shocks and struts? Maybe i'm completely off, but I do know the Explorers up until 2002 in which they got independent rear suspension had a solid rear-axle and leaf springs for suspension in the back. I think they have regular old spring shock aboserbers in the front.
Trucks don't use struts, they use shocks. Heavy leaf springs in the rear and heavy coil springs up front mean that the shocks don't have to carry the load like struts do. Shocks are only there to dampen the spring action so you truck doesn't keep bouncing down the road. Front-wheel drive cars use struts due to the high forces placed on the front end by the drive of the wheels and the weight of the engine and transmission being placed all in the front. Your truck has shocks on all 4 wheels and you should get the best ones you can afford for the type of driving you do. I hear the Sensa-Tracks are pretty good, but I have never used them. I have had good luck going with a middle of the road shock from Autozone vice their low-end model. You get what you pay for, usually...
From what I've read on the net, Monroe seems to be favored by the economical crowd. If you get them at the Sears Auto Center next to the Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth, TX, you'll get to check out the cutie behind the counter. She has some really pretty eyes. Anyway, I just put a set of Monroe shocks on my 96 Ranger.
After all is said and done, the best shocks are always the new ones that replaced the old ones you had. As we used to say in the military, the worst base is the one you are going to, and the best base is the one you just left.
Before putting the new sway bars, Bilsteins, and lowering, I used the lifetime shocks from Sears. Very reasonable on price, and they also come with the lifettime warranty. Ever need new ones again, just take them off and go get new ones (if you do it yourself)...
I know you said the Edelbrocks and Bilsteins were a bit pricey for you, but just info - those are preferred by those of us that modify the suspension. They are tuned for giving the X a better handling for the mods done to he ride. The Monroe at Sears are good average shocks for an X that hasn't or isn't going to be changed from stock features...
Cobra specifically...Do the Edelbrocks and Bilsteins give a ROUGHER ride due to the performance enhanced handling nature of the shock? I'm looking for something that will soften the ride BUT also firm up the body sway associated with the rear solid axle and leaf springs. Do you get what I mean? Any help is great! Thank in advanced..
The Edelbrocks and Bilsteins do not make it a rougher ride. As with any vehicle, the more you lower it, the worse the ride gets. I have only lowered mine 2 inches. You really have to have it side by side with another X to notice a big difference.
Mine rides just as good as a stock X on the factory tires. Using the Michellins help out on the ride quality alot. I have done alot of performance mods to my X, so I wanted a suspension that could handle what I am doing better.
Granted, a BMW or Porsche can still out corner me, but we are talking about a SUV also.
If you want your X to handle better, lose the 'roll' feel to it when taking curves at higher than average speeds, then you need to lower it so that your center of gravity is lower, change the sway bars, and change shocks. The Edelbrocks and Bilsteins were designed for that purpose - to handle the load better without giving up ride quality.
Monroe and other brands are designed for the average Explorer - the 'parent' drivers, soccer moms, and everyday driver. That way it gives a good ride for the average SUV.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything...
Check out this site for a little info on what you can do. There prices are a little high (you can get the same products for half the price at other places), but it will give you some info to start with...
On my 99 Sport I lowdered her 1 5/8" both front and rear. I also have the Edelbrock lowered shock setup. I did it all myself. I read the ad for the lowering kit from X something or another.
I was wondering if Cobra X has had any problems with bumpsteer? Oh, the other thing is that I'm using 275/50 17 tires and 1.5" spacers in front and 2" spacers in the rear. The truck looks bitchin with the wider track!! And no the tires dont stick out past the flare only right up to it!!! HE HE. The shock are cool just didnt get the bang for the buck I thought I would get. I'll tell you one thing, I've out cornered a couple of Lexus' and several other "performance" cars. Just as long as the street is flat hehe.
I've been debating and finally went for it. I got the Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks for my X today. Maybe I was lead falsely, but the overall quality of the ride doesn't seems to be really that different. It does seem to handle better but I really don't notice the ride being much, if any smoother than OEM shocks. Don't get me wrong, I know it's a truck and don't expect miracles. Maybe I was just expecting too much. Anyways, I'm interested to try it out around 70mph on the NYS Thruway.
Is it possible they need to be "broken in"?
I bet though after driving mine for awhile, then driving my father's 00, I'm more apt to notice a difference. I just curious of others who have tried these shocks.
sorry i couldnt throw my 2 cents in sooner guy...theres all kinds of posts on this subject in here, 2 are dated 9/6..it doesnt matter now, cause you bought sensatracs, which have been around since dirt...you wanted monroe reflex shocks...they will give you the ride you want....correction, would have any way....and no, yo dont break in shocks, they just wear our after a time, the valving goes, sometimes they lose fluid...it usually happens so gradually you dont notice until you put new oes on...sorry...read the other posts..