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Ordered the shocks quite a while ago, but due to manufacturing delays, they didn't come till recently. I just installed the rears today, and the fronts are going in tomorrow at the dealer.
Bilstein's, next to the stock FX4 shocks. Note that the Bilstein is held in partial compression with the shipping strap, and the OEM shock is fully extended.
Old FX4 Shock:
Tools needed for the install:
18mm wrench for nuts
15mm socket for bolts. I used a 1/2 drive with a long extension, but you could easily get by without the extensions.
Torque wrench, if you want to torque the shock bolts to spec.
I didn't need to jack up the truck, or remove the rear wheel. I also have the plastic fender liners, and they did not interfere at all with the job.
Note: I have images of both the left and right side mixed in... Hope that doesn't make it too confusing!
Doesn't really matter if you remove the top or bottom bolt first. Remove both, the shock drops right out. Here is the top.
Reinstalling, it's best to start with the top. At least put the bolt through the shock eye, but don't tighten yet.
Then install the bottom. DON"T CUT THE STRAP BEFORE INSTALLING. Well, actually, it isn't that big of a deal if you do, just a bit more of a PITA.
To install the bottom, you will need to compress the gas shock a bit with your hand, then slide the bolt in.
Torque the upper and lower bolts. Bilstein has a torque chart in the instructions. They list 45 Newton-Meters for the M12 bolts that our truck uses. The Ford Service manual, however, lists the shock bolt torque spec at 90 NM, double the Bilstein spec! I went with the Ford torque spec.
Ignore the torque reading on the wrench... It was a prelim torque before the final torque.
Don't forget to cut/remove the retaining strap after the install is completed!
After you collect the tools, lay out a blanket, wiggle under the truck, etc., it is a very easy job. I could do it a second time in about 15 minutes a side. If you take your time and go super slowly and carefully, an hour will be plenty.
I'm having the local Ford dealership do the front's. About $170, without an alignment which I will have done elsewhere.
Fronts are significantly more work, and require a strut press to do properly. People have done it with four screw-type spring compressors, but it can be a bit dicey trying to compress springs as strong as ours with this type of tool. Plus, I wanted to reduce my warranty exposure if I have any problems down the road with my Electric Power Steering (EPS).
New front shocks:
Original front shock mounting:
The big bolt on the bottom is the lower shock eye.
The wavy thing under the spring is the perch that needs to be knocked off the OEM shock and re-used.
Top mount location:
Parts of the front suspension need to be separated to do the job. Also note the very beefy front coil spring!
Last edited by pfbz; 01-30-2012 at 11:27 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to pfbz For This Useful Post:
Bilstein provides four grooves and a c-clip on the front shock that allows you to adjust the spring pre-load. You can only set this with the spring off the shock, so you ain't going to be changing it once installed unless you want to do the entire job again!
Pre-load is exactly that: How much the spring is pre-compressed before the weight of the vehicle is on it. More pre-load means less spring 'sag' once the weight is on the spring, and hence a higher ride height.
Picture of the grooves. The shock comes with the clip in the lowest position.
Bilstein's chart on ride height:
My current ride height, ground to fender flare. 39" rear, 37-1/4" front, so currently 1-3/4" rake. I have about #250 pounds of bed weight and slightly oversize 285/75R17 tires, about 0.6" taller than my original 18" tires.
I'm probably going to go for the second-from-bottom groove, a minor .75" taller than stock. This will still give me some rake to the truck and hopefully not go nose-high if I put more cargo in the bed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Next Day.... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
OK, the fronts are now on. I opted for the position one up from stock. Bilstein instructions say that the average lift in this position is .75" higher than stock. I got slightly more than that, about 1", but things might settle in a bit.
The front went from 37.25" to 38.25". Rear stayed at 39". So with about 250# of weight in the bed, 3/4" rake. Perfect for my needs...
Last edited by pfbz; 01-31-2012 at 09:25 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to pfbz For This Useful Post:
Sorry I didn't read the whole description. Initially when I posted the Front pictures were not showing, now they are. Let us know how it rides to the dealership with the rear on only compared to the stock Fx4 shocks.
I will probably install these on the rear like you did and then let the dealer do the fronts. Keep me posted! Thanks.
Sorry I didn't read the whole description. Initially when I posted the Front pictures were not showing, now they are.
I can only type so fast!
Let us know how it rides to the dealership with the rear on only compared to the stock Fx4 shocks. I will probably install these on the rear like you did and then let the dealer do the fronts. Keep me posted! Thanks.
When I get the truck back, I'll remeasure and post the ride height change. I to lots of twisty mountain driving, and I'm sure I'll see a positive change with the Bilsteins. I'm not sure how much you'll notice in day-to-day city and straight road driving.
I also used the Bilstein's on my '99 F350 Super Duty, they helped out quite a bit!
oh, and you installed the backs upside down, not that it matters. writing will be upside down but the very flimsy boot will be up and out of harms way. just sayin...
Well, not really. I realize they can go either way, and I chose this orientation. I think the top will actually get more of a beating with the tire throwing up mud and other debris. The bottoms are protected from tire throw by the brake shield, disk brake, etc., and protected on the bottom by the shock mount bracket. And if I'm driving over anything that is even remotely large enough to reach up and snag those boots, I'm going to have more issues than a torn shock boot.
Let's take pictures of our boots after 10K miles and we can see who was right!