I know, I shouldn't even ask - it IS a truck after all! But my wife HATES riding on CA freeways since they are sooo bad. I bought this thing to tow our trailer which means long trips and the ride (especially empty) is awful. I've had to replace 2 fillings already!
Would shocks help much (what kind)? New tires? Smaller and/or softer tires? You guys seem to know your stuff and I'm sure I'm asking in the right place!
Oh, and for the forum police, I have done several searches and looked at literally hundreds of posts for this topic and didn't find what I was looking for.
Your options are probably fairly limited, you might check out RV mags since they typically advertise products that are supposed to smooth out the ride of tow vehicles. I assume your truck's lifted, which may limit your options further. One product I'm aware of, but have never used or know anyone who's used it, is the MOR/ryde suspension system. You can do a web search if you're interested in checking it out, it's supposed to help the ride loaded or unloaded. I doubt new shocks would make much improvement much unless your current ones are worn.
Deeta, you have almost exactly the same truck I have. Mine is a 97 F350 Crew Cab 4X4, 460, E4OD, 315 75R16 35" Nitto Terra Grappler Tires, 157,000 miles. The only major difference I see between our trucks is that yours is a year older. My truck is bone stock on the suspension, but does have the factory "Off-Road" package. It would help considerably if I knew if your truck had any type of lift kit on it. Mine certainly doesn't need any lift at all to run 35's.
I live in western Oklahoma and would venture a guess that your roads in California are most likely better than what I drive on. First and foremost, your truck is not going to ride like a car - ever. Ford engineers most likely included shock absorbers only because they had to. I replaced the original factory shocks when I bought the truck at 140,000 miles and for the life of me could not tell any difference whatsoever in the ride.
When I bought my truck it had 35" tires on it - 10 ply load range E running at 80 psi. It rode like an Army "Duece-and-a-half". (I spent 10 years on Active Duty in the Army...I know) I needed to replace the tires and bought the same size Nitto Terra Grapplers. I could have bought the load range E 10 ply's, but opted instead for the 8 ply load range D's. I tow a 6500 lb RV, not a 12,000 lb backhoe, so I really didn't need the extra load range. The truck rides SUBSTANTIALLY better now, even with 55 psi in the tires. I typically run 40 psi unloaded, which improves the ride a little more. I hear BFG Tires are good for improving ride quality as well, but I bought the set of 4 Nitto's for $600, the BFG All Terrain's would have cost me $1,050. A lot of the oil field service guys in this part of the country run the Nitto's and they told me they are consistently getting 40,000 hard service miles out of them.
If you are running load range E 10 ply's, and keep them over 60 psi, nothing you do to the suspension is going to keep your fillings in your head.
Since we have almost the same truck, let me know if you have any other questions...
My truck is not lifted and the 35's fit well except rub a bit at full lock in front. The front bumper is extended a bit is all. The tires are generic "High Traction" load range D radials with 50psi and I would guess 30k miles. Would smaller tires help (I am planning on 33's anyway) and can I get "softer" tires that will handle my 7500lb trailer? 89k miles on truck.
I doubt OK roads are much worse. CA has spent next to nothing maintaining roads in 20 years.
I know the new tires helped substantially on my truck, not sure if 33's would be any better or not. It certainly wouldn't hurt in the MPG department. Load range D's should be more than sufficient for your trailer weight.
I used to have a 79' F350 Supercab 4X4 that would beat you to death running empty. At the time, gas was cheap and I did a lot of longer trips on the road. I installed a 150 gallon "L" shaped fuel tank in the bed under the tool box and plumbed it into a 3-way switch. The truck rode great when that tank was full (About 900-1000 lbs); but I could tell by the way the truck was riding when the tank was close to empty. Outside of dropping 1000 lbs or so into the bed of the truck for some permanent weight, I'm not sure what else you could do.
Thanks again rains. You know everyone mentions the large tires hurt MPG and in the same breath say that they raise the axle ratio. Is it the mass that hurts the MPG since a higher ratio usually helps at highway speeds or is it that the engine is struggling to push such a heavy vehicle with the tall gears? My truck has 4.10's and some have said that the tires make it about 3.55's.
I have a '96 std cab f-350 4x4 and Michelin LTX 295 75 16 tires....at about 40-45 pounds///// they ride a lot better than the stock load range E tires....I dont use the truck for carrying heavy loads ...just driver and towing with load equalizing hitch
We have the same truck, I installed a shackle reverse kit in the front, and velvet ride shackles in the rear. Helped some, but it IS a truck. I am in So. Cal. also, and the freeways suck. Bounce and be happy!!!!!
With the shackles in front of the springs, as your vehicle hits a bump, the spring compresses, the shackle moves forward forcing the axle and tires into the obstacle, by reversing the shackles, the axle, tires and shackles move rearward resulting in a less harsh of a ride. Keep in mind it is a truck and will never ride like a Caddy. Even if you do not go this route, you should take a good look at your bushings (frame, spring eyes).
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