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Best shocks that give a comfortable ride for lowered Rangers?

outatime88

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My '97 Ranger is lowered with the DJM 3/4 kit (dream beams). I'm running their Calmax shocks all around and the ride is too stiff and bouncy.

What are good shock alternatives for a comfortable ride similar to stock? I drive the truck daily so firmness/performance isn't important.

I also realized the front shock length doesn't change for dream beams so I was thinking maybe Motorcraft front shocks & Belltech Nitro Drop 2's rear shocks? Or would Belltech Street Performance be better (although I read they are stiffer than the Nitros)?
 
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RonD

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Remove one end of all 4 shocks
Then bounce each corner
That's the softest ride you can get with the springs currently on the vehicle, shocks can't compensate for stiff springs

Shocks slow spring compression and slow rebound, bouncing
You don't want body "roll" which can happen if springs AND shocks are too soft, i.e. body dips to outside when cornering
 

outatime88

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Remove one end of all 4 shocks
Then bounce each corner
That's the softest ride you can get with the springs currently on the vehicle, shocks can't compensate for stiff springs

Shocks slow spring compression and slow rebound, bouncing
You don't want body "roll" which can happen if springs AND shocks are too soft, i.e. body dips to outside when cornering
Thanks for the test tip Ron. To be honest I don't mind a bit more body roll as a trade off for slower rebound/softer ride, but of course I don't want to bottom out either. I just drive the truck to work and around town.

From what I've read the Belltech Nitro Drop 2's are the in-between but I was hoping to see what other the fellas here use.
 
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2Krngr

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Thanks for the test tip Ron. To be honest I don't mind a bit more body roll as a trade off for slower rebound/softer ride, but of course I don't want to bottom out either. I just drive the truck to work and around town.

From what I've read the Belltech Nitro Drop 2's are the in-between but I was hoping to see what other the fellas here use.
I've had alot of different shocks on various rangers with various drops both static and bagged. The Beltech NitroDrops are a great all around good choice, I've had quite a few pairs in the past 27 years of having many lowered rangers.

If you have a flip kit or shackle flip, your truck shouldn't be bouncy in the rear as it's still stock suspension? Unless you don't have a bolt-in c-notch and are tapping the bumpstops/frame? I've had calmax/djm/toxic/Doetsch and they all ride relatively fine.

The Beltech NitroActive I found were very stiff for the rear of the truck, I put them on all 4 corners of a 96 i-beam splash truck years ago, and after a few months I switched the rear back to nitro drop and the truck so much better with an empty bed. The stepside are waayyy lighter beds than the fleetside, and with empty beds stiff shocks is a bit rough. Splashes came with rear sway bars though, as most ranger do not have rear sways. So on a splash with a sway bar, no bed load, no spare tire, and roll pan instead of bumper the rear body roll is really non-existant once its lowered with just pretty much any twintube shock.

The belltech nitrodrops are about 12" when collapsed, so you can put them on some pretty low trucks. I have found that on a fleetside bed Bilstein 4600 yellows ride terrific, and prefer to use them, I have them on a lowered static ranger currently.

I had Bilstein fronts and Nitrodrop rears on this 06 truck. I switched the rears to Bilstein and although they are monotubes the ride is not bouncy by any means.

The Bilstein part number is 24-026758 (the application they are listed for is 97 Tacoma 2wd) and they are 12.11" collapsed and 18.8" extended. Which is comparable to the Lengths of a Belltech Ranger application and is a perfect length for any combination of rear lowering techniques on a ranger from a 2" drop to a 7", for any year ranger both i-beam or sla.

Of course Bilstein's are more expensive than most all other shock options, but they are a high quality brand and have lifetime warranties.

If anyone is interested I suggest to purchase them from Autozone.com (they don't carry them in-store), as they are about the lowest price online, have FREE 1-2 day shipping, and if you don't like them you can return them to any store, and still be $0 dollars out of pocket.

 

2Krngr

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Shocks slow spring compression and slow rebound, bouncing
You don't want body "roll" which can happen if springs AND shocks are too soft, i.e. body dips to outside when cornering
^^^ exactly, and just to correlate this concept to my above posting, the Bilstein's rebound twice as fast when compressed manually on the bench side-by-side with the Nitrodrops. I can verify that first hand.
 

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I've had alot of different shocks on various rangers with various drops both static and bagged. The Beltech NitroDrops are a great all around good choice, I've had quite a few pairs in the past 27 years of having many lowered rangers.

If you have a flip kit or shackle flip, your truck shouldn't be bouncy in the rear as it's still stock suspension? Unless you don't have a bolt-in c-notch and are tapping the bumpstops/frame? I've had calmax/djm/toxic/Doetsch and they all ride relatively fine.

The Beltech NitroActive I found were very stiff for the rear of the truck, I put them on all 4 corners of a 96 i-beam splash truck years ago, and after a few months I switched the rear back to nitro drop and the truck so much better with an empty bed. The stepside are waayyy lighter beds than the fleetside, and with empty beds stiff shocks is a bit rough. Splashes came with rear sway bars though, as most ranger do not have rear sways. So on a splash with a sway bar, no bed load, no spare tire, and roll pan instead of bumper the rear body roll is really non-existant once its lowered with just pretty much any twintube shock.

The belltech nitrodrops are about 12" when collapsed, so you can put them on some pretty low trucks. I have found that on a fleetside bed Bilstein 4600 yellows ride terrific, and prefer to use them, I have them on a lowered static ranger currently.

I had Bilstein fronts and Nitrodrop rears on this 06 truck. I switched the rears to Bilstein and although they are monotubes the ride is not bouncy by any means.

The Bilstein part number is 24-026758 (the application they are listed for is 97 Tacoma 2wd) and they are 12.11" collapsed and 18.8" extended. Which is comparable to the Lengths of a Belltech Ranger application and is a perfect length for any combination of rear lowering techniques on a ranger from a 2" drop to a 7", for any year ranger both i-beam or sla.

Of course Bilstein's are more expensive than most all other shock options, but they are a high quality brand and have lifetime warranties.

If anyone is interested I suggest to purchase them from Autozone.com (they don't carry them in-store), as they are about the lowest price online, have FREE 1-2 day shipping, and if you don't like them you can return them to any store, and still be $0 dollars out of pocket.

Appreciate the detailed response. I was about to get the Belltechs but I realized that using only drop I-beams don't change the front shock length. I ended up installing Motorcraft ASHV1000 as OEM front replacements. I had also read that some people use Nissan D21 hardbody shocks in the rear on 3/4" lowered rangers for a stock ride so I installed Monroe 37078 OEspectrum shocks.

Everything fit great and it rides sooo much better now. No more annoying bouncing on a flat road and bumps/potholes don't break my neck. I was also having an issue since I first dropped the truck where taking off from a stop at moderate to fast acceleration would make the rear chatter. The issue is gone! The ride is soft of course and has more body roll but I don't really care atm as it's a daily driver. I haven't bottomed out yet so far as I could tell.

When I removed the DJM front shocks and compressed them by hand they never expanded without me helping it, even after sitting for an hour. Check out this video I took below. This can't be normal for nitro charged shocks?

https://youtube.com/shorts/4IwGCY6HPUs?feature=share
 

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I put new Gabriel shocks on my Ranger to replace the old factory front shocks and coil over shocks in the rear. The ride went from smooth to harsh. I wish I would have kept the old factory front shocks. I'm thinking of changing the front shocks to Motorcraft to see if that helps.
 

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I put new Gabriel shocks on my Ranger to replace the old factory front shocks and coil over shocks in the rear. The ride went from smooth to harsh. I wish I would have kept the old factory front shocks. I'm thinking of changing the front shocks to Motorcraft to see if that helps.
Adding Coilover assisted shocks onto a leaf sprung lightweight truck like these is gonna give a pretty harsh ride if your not carrying heavy loads. In general Ranger leafs are plenty adequate the haul the loads the truck is rated for.

What was your reason to add coils to the rear? Do you haul, because if the truck stays empty or lightly loaded they can be a detriment to ride quality.
 

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In a lowered vehicle I have used
• Tokico Illuminati 5 way adjustable on all 4 corners
• A-1 adjustable damping and recoil front with air bags in the rear, both were excellent.
 

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The bouncy ride in lowered vehicles usually comes from using heavier springs with OE spec shocks. Factory equivalent shocks don't have enough rebound damping, so the increased spring rate overpowers the shocks damping ability and you get the bounce.

I'd think that you'd be alright running OE shocks in the rear, but adjustables in the front would help a ton.
 

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Some of the lowered Nissan guys run 4wd spec shocks. Don't know if that transfers over to Rangers but I don't see why not.

Here's an excerpt from the InfamousNisssan.com Forum

Front: D21 4WD OEM - Cheap and good: Monroe Sensa-Trac: #37047 - 8.125" (nice tight valving)

The 4WD shock is about the same compressed length as the Pinto shock, but requires correct sizing of a replacement bumpstop to work correctly. I recommend "swizz-cheesing" the bumpstops instead of cutting them - it makes for a more progressive (less abrupt) bottoming.

Rear: 2000 Nissan Quest - Cheap and good: Monroe Sensa-Trac: #37098 - 11.75" (tested: nice tight valving)

The Monroe #37098 is a "truck" shock (5/8" shaft) from a 2000 Nissan Quest (11-3/4"). Allows roughly 1-1/2" to 2-1/2" drop (re-drill or leafs, not blocks, depending on what your stock shock length was).

The cheaper Monroe shock for the Quest is #32207 (1/2" shaft) which is 11-1/4". Allow roughly 2-1/2" to 3-1/2" drop (leafs, not blocks). SlamdTaco tried them - glowing report!

NOTE: If you're just running blocks, you can use stock shocks in the back for sure, no need to change anything.

I don't run any bumpstops in the back at all.


FOR THE CHEAPSKATES OUT THERE

If you can't afford Dropped Spindles, but want super low all-torsion-drop:

70-80's Chrysler Cordoba, Imperial, etc.... - Monroe Monro-Matic: #31176 - 7.125". Requires modification to control arm to fit. (tested: fairly soft valving - yucky) Select a decent bumpstop to keep the tires from hitting the inner fenders.

I no longer recommend the Ford Pinto shocks - the 4WD shocks are shorter, are valved better, and fit right in with no modification. For super low, I recommend an appropriately-sized bumpstop.

All the detail I removed is still at MY WEBSITE
 

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Adding Coilover assisted shocks onto a leaf sprung lightweight truck like these is gonna give a pretty harsh ride if your not carrying heavy loads. In general Ranger leafs are plenty adequate the haul the loads the truck is rated for.

What was your reason to add coils to the rear? Do you haul, because if the truck stays empty or lightly loaded they can be a detriment to ride quality.
My Ranger had coil overs in the rear when I bought it. They made the truck sit too high in the rear. The truck had hitch on it and looks like it had a lumbar rack on it at one time. The shocks were old and looked original in the front. The strange thing is the truck rode better with the old weak shocks and coil overs in the rear, than with the new shocks that I installed. I'm thinking that the front shocks that I installed are too stiff. I plan to try a different brand in the front. The rear seems okay. We have bad roads in CA.
 

outatime88

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Ok so a bit of an update. The Motorcraft ASHV1000 shocks ended up being TOO soft. During a lot of highway driving I was getting a different kind of "bounce". It was an under-dampened bounce after hitting a big bump where the front would bob up and down a few times before settling. It was getting really annoying...

I just changed yesterday to KYB Excel-G's all around. The front are KYB PN 344268 and rear are 344097 (originally for Nissan Hardbody). I thought it was good before (except for the bouncing), but with the KYB's it's even better with no bounce of course. Its a good combo of soft/firm that makes it so much more pleasant for daily driving. I'd say for anyone with a 3/4 drop these are the shocks to go for.

The bouncy ride in lowered vehicles usually comes from using heavier springs with OE spec shocks. Factory equivalent shocks don't have enough rebound damping, so the increased spring rate overpowers the shocks damping ability and you get the bounce.

I'd think that you'd be alright running OE shocks in the rear, but adjustables in the front would help a ton.
The 3/4 drop changes the I-beams, the front factory coil springs are still used.
 

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