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Old 10-01-2018, 12:06 PM   #1
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F150 Bilstein Shock Upgrade

I have a 2013 F150 3.5 Ecoboost Platinum that we bought after buying our 2013 23D. It pulled the 23D quite easily. When we moved up to our new-to-us 2009 27FB we noticed the ride quality got impacted and we noticed a fair amount of porpoising over undulating roads. I assumed this to be in part due to the increased weight and momentum of the trailer and the extra weight on the hitch. However, we were still quite happy with the F150. This year we decided to jump up to a 28 RBQ Serenity which is definitely pushing the payload limit of the F150.

While we will be upgrading to an F250/F350 at some point, its just not in the cards yet. Iíve already upgraded the brakes to Power Stop pads and rotors which has improved stopping power and smoothness of the brakes. Last week I upgraded the shocks to Bilstein and this weekend got to pull the 28 for the first time. All handling issues and concerns I had before are completely solved. The Bilsteins have damped out the porpoising while improving the overall ride of the truck day to day! Pavement dips that would make me hang on to the steering wheel before are handled quite well with no drama.

I had been considering airbags to help with the load but for me the shocks have greatly increased my comfort level in towing our trailer and I no longer think these necessary. I understand that the addition of shocks or airbags, etc. do not increase the payload of my truck and donít want this to become another bigger is better thread, but for those looking at improving their ride comfort I can recommend this upgrade which ran a little over $800.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wconley View Post
I have a 2013 F150 3.5 Ecoboost Platinum that we bought after buying our 2013 23D. It pulled the 23D quite easily. When we moved up to our new-to-us 2009 27FB we noticed the ride quality got impacted and we noticed a fair amount of porpoising over undulating roads. I assumed this to be in part due to the increased weight and momentum of the trailer and the extra weight on the hitch. However, we were still quite happy with the F150. This year we decided to jump up to a 28 RBQ Serenity which is definitely pushing the payload limit of the F150.

While we will be upgrading to an F250/F350 at some point, its just not in the cards yet. Iíve already upgraded the brakes to Power Stop pads and rotors which has improved stopping power and smoothness of the brakes. Last week I upgraded the shocks to Bilstein and this weekend got to pull the 28 for the first time. All handling issues and concerns I had before are completely solved. The Bilsteins have damped out the porpoising while improving the overall ride of the truck day to day! Pavement dips that would make me hang on to the steering wheel before are handled quite well with no drama.

I had been considering airbags to help with the load but for me the shocks have greatly increased my comfort level in towing our trailer and I no longer think these necessary. I understand that the addition of shocks or airbags, etc. do not increase the payload of my truck and donít want this to become another bigger is better thread, but for those looking at improving their ride comfort I can recommend this upgrade which ran a little over $800.

Walt, what is the part number of the shocks you installed?
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RFP View Post
Walt, what is the part number of the shocks you installed?
Bilstein 4100 was the part number for my truck. My understanding is the 5100 is for a truck with a lift.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:55 PM   #4
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I put bilsteins on my '09 Silverado (crew cab, shortbed, 4x4) and the immediate impression was my daily drive quite improved. Towing? Not so much. Somewhat better, maybe, but I still think I need a 2500 for my 27. Maybe this spring, a F250 gasser might follow me home.

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Old 10-01-2018, 01:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wconley View Post
Bilstein 4100 was the part number for my truck. My understanding is the 5100 is for a truck with a lift.
Excellent to hear ! Was contemplating these very Bilstein/model shocks for our newer series GMC 1500 4 x 4. Stock shocks seem to be getting mushy after 30k miles especially hitched/towing the 5300/6300 wet 25ft Intl SS.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:21 PM   #6
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I am towing an 28' International Serenity with 2017 F150 XLT and my towing experience has been great. I do run with a Propride so that might make some difference. It could also be that mine is a 2017 and the suspension is a bit better on the newer models since their towing capacity is more than older models.

It is good to know about the shocks making an improvement. That's one of the things I've considered. But as of now I think I'm only going to drive this F150 to for another few years. Then when I retire and I don't use my truck as a daily driver much I'll go with the Dodge RAM 2500 diesel. Not that I need that size of a truck, but I'd really like the idea of the engine brakes for mountain traveling which is something I want to do.

Anyway thanks for the information on the shocks. Something to consider.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Wconley View Post
Bilstein 4100 was the part number for my truck. My understanding is the 5100 is for a truck with a lift.
Actually, Walt, Bilstein advertises the 5100 shocks from 0" to 2 1/2" lift... so, installation on a non-lifted F150 is just fine. I installed the 5100rear shocks on our 2015 F150 and noticed an immediate improvement in towing. While I never had any 'porpoising,' the 23D/F150 combo occasionally felt a little 'float-ey." THe Bilsteins cured that problem.

I bought them at Rock Auto and installed them myself. Paid less than $100 each and installation took less than an hour.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RFP View Post
Actually, Walt, Bilstein advertises the 5100 shocks from 0" to 2 1/2" lift... so, installation on a non-lifted F150 is just fine. I installed the 5100rear shocks on our 2015 F150 and noticed an immediate improvement in towing. While I never had any 'porpoising,' the 23D/F150 combo occasionally felt a little 'float-ey." THe Bilsteins cured that problem.

I bought them at Rock Auto and installed them myself. Paid less than $100 each and installation took less than an hour.
Good to know on the 5100s. Our 2013 has strut inserts on the front which makes installation more difficult. Iíve traded out inserts on a BMW in the past and decided I just didnít want to deal with pulling the entire front suspension and spring compressors. So I bought from Tire Rack (a little over $300 for all four) and had the fronts installed locally.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wconley View Post
Good to know on the 5100s. Our 2013 has strut inserts on the front which makes installation more difficult. Iíve traded out inserts on a BMW in the past and decided I just didnít want to deal with pulling the entire front suspension and spring compressors. So I bought from Tire Rack (a little over $300 for all four) and had the fronts installed locally.
You did good... really good! Yep, insert replacement into struts is something that I will GLADLY pay someone else to do! I' such a coward
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Old 10-01-2018, 05:20 PM   #10
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I love my Bilsteins, I don't remember paying that much though but I did the install myself
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:08 PM   #11
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F150 Bilstein Shock Upgrade

Not dealing with struts is not Ďchickení itís OWL.
A car dealer friend of mine showed me the hole in their roof from when a spring compressor let go unexpectedly. Iím quite sure the tech had a sudden ďlaundry problemĒ when it launched...
Iíll gladly pay for someone with the right tools and facilities, plus insurance, to do struts for me, thankyouverymuch!
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:16 PM   #12
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I love my Bilsteins, I don't remember paying that much though but I did the install myself
The shocks themselves were only $345. Installing the fronts plus an alignment was $500.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:12 PM   #13
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I know shocks are fun to think about...but the initial question was about controlling porpoising. My experience has been that wheel base of the tow vehicle, plus wheel base of the trailer, combined with distance between the tow on the particular type of road and road construction makes more of a difference. It seems to me after towing in all but 4 of the lower 50 the systems and machinery used to lay the roads makes all the difference in whether I get porpoising with my tow vehicle, trailer, and distance between axles. New shocks can help a bit...but will it really go away.
I mean on some newly laid concrete in Nebraska and Wyoming I can get porpoising in my tow vehicle without a trailer based on what machine and system they use to lay the concrete.
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:31 AM   #14
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I know shocks are fun to think about...but the initial question was about controlling porpoising. My experience has been that wheel base of the tow vehicle, plus wheel base of the trailer, combined with distance between the tow on the particular type of road and road construction makes more of a difference. It seems to me after towing in all but 4 of the lower 50 the systems and machinery used to lay the roads makes all the difference in whether I get porpoising with my tow vehicle, trailer, and distance between axles. New shocks can help a bit...but will it really go away.
I mean on some newly laid concrete in Nebraska and Wyoming I can get porpoising in my tow vehicle without a trailer based on what machine and system they use to lay the concrete.
It's the people operating the machine that make a difference. Concrete roads are the worst surfaces ever devised for ride quality.
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