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Almost every week someone asks us about the “upside-down” mounting of Bilstein shocks on Ford vehicles. And yes, it’s true, they mount boot-side-down. Bilstein engineers added small holes to drain condensation from the boot side; in most cases they will only mount one way anyway, but if it looks weird to you, you are not alone. You’ll notice that mounting them this way leaves the Bilstein logo right-side up! Bilstein’s tech people recommend that the logo should always appear right-side-up when you have finished installation, so that helps a lot.

The Bilstein SDs for Ford are some of our top sellers–we sell a few thousand of them every year.

Proper location with Bilstein logo right-side-up

Proper location with Bilstein logo right-side-up

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When You Unpack Your Shocks

Sometimes, one shock may be more extended than the other. This is normal. See our August 18 blog post Koni STR.T is Fine for more information.

The strap, if included, is purely for shipping purposes and has no function during shock installation.

Some new shocks may show a small amount of oil in the seal area. This is a normal occurrence following manufacturing and does not indicate a leak or problem with your new shocks.

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In the first place, a lot depends on what you want. Shock absorbers or struts can cost anywhere from $40-$400 EACH, depending on the make and model of your vehicle and what you are looking for in terms of performance. If you need this question answered because you are facing your first replacement on a current vehicle, you can use the Make-Model-Year calculator at Shockwarehouse to determine what products are available for your vehicle.

The good news is that in many cases, if you are just looking to replace original manufacturer equipment and maintain the ride your car came with, you will be spending on the lower end of that spectrum, probably around $250 or less for equipment to replace all four shocks/struts. Then figure on labor costs by a professional mechanic to run between $80-$120 per hour depending on your area.

Bear in mind, if you are driving a luxury vehicle, a vehicle that has a difficult access to struts, or even a lot of rust which can add to the time it takes to remove the old equipment.

You may also need a wheel alignment after the replacement, usually between $70 and $200, again depending on your vehicle.

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A 2001 Ford Taurus SES sedan owner wrote to us:

“I would like your opinion on the quality vs. ride performance between the Monroe and KYB struts your company sells. Which is the best strut for my Taurus? I don’t want to order a wimpy replacement, but I would like to restore the ‘Factory’ ride.”

Here’s our mechanic’s answer:

“Both the KYB and Monroe are the same as the OE units, a twin tube low pressure design. The Monroes have a groove inside that allows extra oil bypass; the KYB has no such gimmick, and will be a straight normal twin tube (like a Ford OE unit). While neither is a ‘performance’ unit, the KYB might be slightly better from a technical stand point.”

Enter your make, model and year to search for what we have available in our online catalog.

http://www.shockwarehouse.com/index.cfm?mode=make&type=C

More about “ride” on our website:

http://www.shockwarehouse.com/site/shock_absorber_myths.cfm

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Be sure to visit our home page and sign up for our monthly promotions newsletter in the box on the left side rail. We will have specials throughout the holidays.

Happy Holidays from Shockwarehouse!

 

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Shockwarehouse carries a wide variety of shocks for motorhome applications. The motorhome/RV suspension market is different from the suspension market for cars and trucks. In most cases your motorhome’s body will come from one manufacturer, the chassis it rides on from another, and the engine that runs it from a third. Your owner’s manual may not even tell you who made what. Instead of your chassis being made by an RV manufacturer like Winnebago, Fleetwood or Four Winds, RV chassis are actually made by companies like Ford, Dodge and GM. Ford has really dominated the Class A motorhome chassis market with the F-53 chassis, though Workhouse re-entered the market in 2015 and has gained some traction. Here at Shockwarehouse the Bilstein Steering Stabilizer and Bilstein Heavy Duty shocks for the F-53 are among our best sellers.

Peter Scalf’s article for RV View magazine was written in 1999 but has some good information about motorhome suspensions.

To get started you need to know your chassis type to make the right decision about what shocks to buy. The chassis is identified by the VIN number on the chassis. If you can’t find it, call Shockwarehouse at 1-800-245-7469 and our specialists will help you find it.

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Shockwarehouse has developed a handy Shock Guide to help you make a decision when you need to buy shocks or struts. Driving conditions, age of your car, tires, tire pressure, performance needs and many other variables will affect your decision. In our opinion, monotube high pressure gas units offer the best dampening power, performance, and handling, but your particular driving profile may not demand that level of performance. For average driving, a twin tube low pressure unit is a good choice.

We carry a wide variety of shocks and struts for all applications. If you need more guidance, call Shockwarehouse at 1-800-245-7469 and our specialists will help you.

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Premier manufacturer of performance shocks Bilstein will unveil a new off-road shock absorber series at the 2016 SEMA show at the end of October.

Bilstein is moving into the performance off-road aftermarket segment with their patented ZoneControl™ system. This vehicle specific bolt-in module combines remote reservoirs, anodized aluminum componentry, position sensitive features, exclusive fittings, adjustable bypass tubes, and more. All of these features are packaged into a kit that will elevate your driving experience, both on and off road.

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To celebrate the introduction of this new series, the BILSTEIN team will drive their 2016 SEMA booth vehicle completely off-road from their US headquarters near San Diego to the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The 400+mile trip includes some of the roughest terrain in the U.S.

The adventure starts with the team leaving Poway, CA early on Friday, October 28 and ends at the legendary 104-year-old Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada, on Sunday. The official presentation of the new shock series will immediately follow.

Keep up with the adventure by viewing daily footage on Bilstein’s Facebook page.

 

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What does a leveling kit do for a truck?

A leveling kit raises the front end.

A lot of people get leveling kits to get rid of the “rake”, the slightly lower front height that your truck has standard from the factory. Why do they come like that from the factory, with the lower rake? Because typically your vehicle is going to be loaded with passengers and gear, which will push your rear end down an inch or two, so the truck levels itself when loaded. Essentially your truck levels at what your manufacturer has decided is a “typical” load.

Leveling kits can add 1 to 3 inches of ride height to most trucks that have a coil spring suspension. Most trucks are taller in the rear, so raising the front suspension makes the truck sit level. Leveling kits just raise the front of your truck instead of lowering the rear–your hauling capacity remains unchanged.

What does a lift kit do for a truck?

A lift kit raises the whole truck.

Using a lift kit will give you more ground clearance room and more suspension articulation. Some drivers do it just for appearance, but it will definitely make your truck better as an off-road vehicle. Obviously it also gives you room for larger tires. Here’s a good article from a couple years ago on Pickuptrucks.com about ways to level your truck.

Making a change to lift will change your steering and suspension. Think carefully about what you need before making a decision. A higher center of gravity is a given–something your driving needs to take into account. And if you do lift it, adjust your headlights!

 

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We heard from a customer who had relatively new Bilstein shocks: “Left shock mounting rubber at the top of the shock has broken.” That’s not covered by warranty because what the customer needs now is new upper mounting hardware. “It most likely broke because it was over torqued on installation,” our Bilstein representative told us. “He only needs to use 34 ft lbs of torque. He/his shop probably used OE torque specs which are much too high, sometimes almost double.” We thought this was worth passing along to you. This phenomenon is actually confirmed by KYB’s technical tips pages as well.

Aftermarket bushings are made from polyurethane that’s different from the material used on factory bushings, and they don’t require as much torque. If you use too much torque at installation, your mounting rubbers will be stressed. If a mounting rubber breaks, your shock is probably still fine but you will definitely need a new mounting kit. When they break you will know it because you will hear a lot of rattle and pop on the road.

Strut mounts, in front, are designed differently but they do basically the same thing as strut mounts: reduce vibration and noise. They are made of the same stuff. Strut mounts are a normal wear and tear item, so you should of course replace your mounts when you change struts. The labor costs just for changing the mounts can be high depending on the location of a worn-out mount. Check out the Shockwarehouse knowledge base article on Strut Mounts.

If you have installed shock mounts before, you know that you need a special tool to hold the interior of the shock stationary while you tighten the nut. Our chief mechanic here at Shockwarehouse advises: “If you don’t know how to tighten it, you don’t know what you’re doing, so stop.”

Good old Popular Mechanics has a decent article on replacing shocks.

uppermounts

Strut mounts

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When you pull your tires, be sure to check your brake pads as well.
Go to www.BrakePadWarehouse.com for all your needs.