Ford F-150/F-250: Why is My Truck Bouncing?

Your Ford truck's struts maintain vehicle safety and improve overall truck performance. By buffering road collisions and providing necessary stability, they are a crucial part of your truck. In this diagnostic, we will look at solutions for a bouncing truck.

By Carrie Franklin - October 1, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and the F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

Your Ford truck’s reliable performance depends on the health of your shock absorbers and struts. While these parts don’t seem to be so important, they actually keep your vehicle stable, maximize tire life, affect handling, and even enhance engine output! Shock absorbers and struts “dampen” the effects of driving conditions. Even if you are not using your Ford Truck for off road use, plain old everyday driving creates truck wear and tear.

What do you need to do if your vehicle is bouncing around more than usual? Below are the necessary steps to follow for a quick and easy solution. A vehicle’s shock absorbers effectively isolate the truck from the road and they keep riders comfortable by removing noise and minimizing road vibrations.

Step 1 – Simple test for worn out shock absorbers

A simple test is to push down on the corner of your truck as hard as you can. If the shocks are worn out, the truck will oscillate. The worse your shocks are, the more bouncing you'll get. If the shocks are still good, the truck will move slightly and then center itself. Some other indicators are “cupped” tires, uneven tire wear, a noticeable difference in stopping distance, and the vehicle doing a “nose-dip” when making a quick stop. Once you have determined that the shock and struts are worn, you can begin a fix.

  • Figure 1. OEM F-150 strut on the left, and an aftermarket strut on the right.
  • Figure 2. In the F-250 and other Super Duties, the shock absorber and the spring are separate units.

Why is this happening?

Over time your trucks shocks will get worn out from normal wear and tear. The reason your vehicle bounces is because the shocks have lost hydraulic fluid. The pressure inside the shock drops with less fluid, resulting in less dampening and more bouncing from your springs..

Step 2 - Visually examine shocks

You can also check the your shocks absorbers visually for damage. A shock absorber that has been leaking will have hyrdraulic fluid down the sides of the shock body. It will look pretty dirty. Also be sure to visually inspect any seals you see on the shock body. These can be disturbed after hard driving resulting in leaks and ruined shocks.

Broken a broken coil spring could also cause excessive bounce in your truck. A shorter spring is softer and more easily flexible. This is why its inadvisable to cut your springs to lower your car or truck. Yes, it will be lower, but your front end will bounce about considerably more.

  • Figure 3. These rear shocks are leaking due to a blown seal. The dirt caked up against the shock is sticking to the leaked hydraulic fluid.
  • Figure 4. This coil spring is broken at the bottom. You can see the bottom coil wraps around the strut in a weird way.

    Step 3 – Replace worn shocks and struts

    Shock absorbers and struts must be replaced in pairs. All F-150's built after 2004 have an independent front suspension with struts. A strut is basically a shock absorber that also bears the weight of the truck with a coil spring that wraps around the "shock absorber". It's a pretty typical setup on double-wishbone configurations like the F-150 because it saves space and weight.

    Each should be replaced between 50,000 to 150,000 miles. The fix entails a few jack stands and some tools, but can be done relatively quickly. Specialty struts are often an option for Ford truck users to increase their payload.

    (Related Article: How to Replace a Shock Absorber -

    Pro Tip

    The Rancho Shocks on the FX4 F-250 Super Duty are notoriously bad. There are multiple instances of forum users having them fall apart after 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Some even sooner than that. Frequently users exchange them for the the well regarded Bilstein 5100's.

    (Related: FX4 Rancho Shocks: Good or Bad? -

    Featured Video - How to Check Your Shock Absorbers

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