Ford F-150: Shock Absorber Reviews

If the shock absorbers on your truck are worn out, or if you plan to level, raise, or race it, you need to consider which shocks will do the best job for the money. This review of popular aftermarket shocks will help get you started.

By Jim Dillon - September 3, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

The shocks on your truck play a huge role in determining how your truck's ride quality fairs. Since trucks take on a lot of different roles, there're are just as many options when it comes to choosing a shock absorber. Luckily, the F-150 community has taken a lot of the guess work out of the shock absorber market. These are some of our favorite shock absorber brands that have a good reputation with the community and with experts.

It's important to know what you're getting when you decide to buy a upgrade. Aftermarket shock absorbers can be adjustable in both terms of how they feel (firm or stiff) and how much lift they'll add to your truck. Generally, aftermarket coilover suspensions will give you the option to choose both the height and stiffness of your suspension. Some shock absorbers, like the Bilstein 5100's, give you the ability to change the height of the front suspension. Others will allow you to adjust the level of "stiffness," or dampening, to your liking.

Shock Absorber Comparison

Bilstein
ProComp
Rancho
King
Monroe
Fox
Price per pair $160 $90-$100 $200 $700-$1600 $90-$100

$860 for fronts,
$260 for rears

Type Street Street Street/Off-Road Street/Off-Road Street Street/Off-Road
Adjustability Height Adjustable Non-Adjustable Height, Dampening
Adjustable
Height, Dampening
Adjustable
Non-Adjustable Height, Dampening
Adjustable
Feel Factory Firm Soft to Firm Soft to Firm Soft Soft to Hard
Warranty Lifetime Warranty Lifetime Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty 90 Days Limited Lifetime Warranty 1 Year

Best Value Overall: Bilsteins

Best Quality Shocks: King

If you can, spend the extra money to get the Bilsteins. If you plan to do some serious off-roading, you'd do well with a set of Kings.

Bilstein

Bilstein 5100

Price: $160 per pair
Type: Street
Feel: Similar to factory
Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Judging by forum responses, you really can’t go wrong by choosing a set of Bilstein shocks. Bilstein says its 4600 series gas-charged shocks and struts are designed specifically to help your stock-height truck ride comfortably and perform better. The 5100 series ride-height adjustable shocks are designed for front coilover-style pickup suspensions. These 5100s have multiple snap-ring grooves in the shock body to allow for different spring seat positions, providing up to 2.5 inches of front-end lift. The 4600 and 5100 Series are gas-charged monotube shocks and come with limited lifetime warranty. The 4600s costs about $95 retail each, while the 5100s costs about $105 apiece.

Recommended if: You don’t mind paying more for a great shock.

Related Discussions

Pro Comp

ProComp ES9000 Shock Absorbers

Price: $90-$100 per pair
Type: Street
Feel: Firmer than stock
Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Forum members also like Pro Comp shocks, particularly the ES9000 series, even though some say they can be a bit stiff. The ES9000 is a gas-charged, twin-tube shock that Pro Comp says delivers a smooth, comfortable highway ride, but also enhances off-road handling and performance. The ES9000 comes with double-welded shock mounts to help it withstand heavy loads and hard driving conditions. The ES9000 comes with a limited lifetime warranty and sells for about $45 each.

Recommend if: You want a good shock for a great price.

Related Discussions

Rancho

Rancho RS9000 Shock Absorber

Price: $200 per pair
Type: Street/Off-Road
Feel: Ranges from stock to stiff
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

Some forum members love their Ranchos, especially the RS5000 and RS9000XL models. Others say Ranchos don’t offer quite the same performance as other shocks they’ve installed. The RS5000 uses a twin-tube design and feature double-welded mounts, natural rubber bushings, and a protective shaft boot. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty and sells for about $45 apiece. The RS9000XL is a nine-position adjustable monotube shock that comes with urethane bushings and a protective boot. A dial at the bottom of the shock lets you raise or lower the shock’s firmness. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty and sells for about $85 each.

Recommended if: You appreciate a wide selection from a single manufacturer.

Related Discussions

Monroe

Monroe Shock Absorbers
Left: Monroe Reflex, Right: Monroe Sensatrac

Price: $100 for Monroe Reflex per pair, $90 for Monroe Sensa-Trac per pair
Type: Street
Feel: Stiff and soft, respectively
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

Forum members say you should focus on the Monroe's Reflex and Sensa-Trac models. The Reflex is a gas-charged monotube design that has special valves that sense acceleration and bumps in the road so it can automatically adjust the truck's handling and ride, according to the company. Some forum members, however, said the Reflex gave their trucks too rough of a ride. The Sensa-Trac is a gas-charged monotube shock that also automatically adjusts to changing conditions. These shocks comes with limited lifetime warranty. The Reflex sells for about $50 a piece, while the Sensa-Trac costs about $45 each.

Recommended if: You want good shocks that offer good value.

Related Discussions

King Suspension

King Shocks Shock Absorbers

Price: $700 - $1600 per pair
Type: Off-Road
Feel: Firm, but designed for off-road use
Warranty: 90 Days

A few forum members have installed King premium custom-made and rebuildable shocks on their lifted trucks, and they rave about them. King’s product line includes their Coilover, Bypass, and Smoothie shocks. Customers can either repair the shocks at home with parts ordered from King or send them to the factory for service as King offers complete tuning and rebuilding services. King off-road shocks sell for $700 to $1,600 per pair depending on the make and model of truck and whether they go on the front or back of the vehicle. King shocks carry a 90-day warranty.

Recommended if: You plan to do some serious off-roading and money is no object.

Related Discussions

Fox

Fox Suspension Coilovers with Reservoirs

Price: $860 for front pair, $260 for rear pair
Type: Off-Road
Feel: Adjustable, but designed for off-road use
Warranty: 1 Year

Forum members say Fox adjustable shocks play in the same high-end league as King shocks, and like King, Fox shocks sells original equipment replacements as well. For example, the Fox 2.0 Performance Series coilover IFP front shock for the 2004-2008 F-150 2WD truck “provides a comfortable on-road ride and predictable off-road handling in even the toughest conditions,” the company says. That Fox front shock sells for about $430 a piece. The corresponding rear shock sells for about $130 apiece. Fox truck shocks carry a one-year warranty.

Recommended if: You want a premium adjustable shock designed for on-and-off-road use.

Related Discussions

http://www.f150forum.com/f34/king-shocks-coilovers-2-0-2-5-3-0-a-163355/