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  #1  
Old 05-05-2015, 08:59 PM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Suspension travel 101

Ok so up until now i have been convinced that i need new shocks. I have a stock suspension 2000 ranger 2wd with 31x10.5 BFGs. When i travel down really harsh pitted roads the front end jumps alot. This was especially noticeable when i took the truck down a dirt trail. The truck has just recently been aligned so an alignment is not the problem. Since i have nothing better to do i decided to remove the shock to see how it has faired for the past year. Ive been looking into getting some bilsteins but ill make another thread for that later. While i had the shock removed i compressed it and to me it felt too soft. I did have to put a little pressure but i expected much more force to be exerted when compressing it. On the rebound stroke the shock takes what seems like forever to extend back to its maximum.

Heres a short vid of me compressing it so you can get an idea...
(Gabriel Proguard cross reference #751075, Part#61626)

The reason i said up until now is because i decided to take some measurements while i was underneath the truck. I was doing some research to determine shock length for some new shocks.

All the measurements below were taken with the shock removed. The measurements were from the chassis mounting point to the LCA mounting point.

Mind the oil stains those were from my ******* spilling ATF not from the shock!

At static height (wheel on floor) Total distance was 14"

At extended height (wheel off floor) Total distance was 15 1/4"

At static height (wheel on floor) distance from LCA bumpstop to frame was 1 1/4"


This is where i started to worry... 1 inch seems like an awful little to me and i started thinking about wether the jumpy suspension on shitty pitted roads were due to a combination of the shock not dampening enough and the chassis hitting the bumpstop. I know that on the dirt roads it got so jumpy to the point were it would veer me off in a different direction going 15mph

How much suspension travel is safe before hitting the bumpstop? Whats standard?
Do you guys think im hitting the bumpstop?
Do you guys think the shocks are crap? I do..
Will new shocks dampen the blows enough to keep me from bottoming the suspension out?
Are the oversized tires making suspension travel worse? They dont rub any suspension components and i have about 4.5 inches before i start rubbing the fenderwell.


The shock itself has about 4 inches of travel (manufacturer says 4.28)



If i only have 1.25 inches of free travel + another half inch for the bump stop crushing then is there 2.5 inches of travel being unused?
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'00 Ranger, supercab, flareside, 2wd, 3.0, auto, 3.73 open, Bilstein 4600s, 31x10.5x15 BFGs, 15x8 procomp 152s

Last edited by mms1361; 05-05-2015 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:07 PM
stephen stephen is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

It might also be time for some new springs.
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:48 PM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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Nope that's perfectly normal. Surprisingly enough the LCA hitting the bump stop is very soft, and the heavy resistance so they don't make contact is in the coil, not the shock. Since you don't have a lifted suspension in your signature I can assume it's at stock height, and those big ass BFG's are hitting the fender liner when you hit a big dip...right?
That hard rough feeling is not the shocks or suspension at all, it's the psi of your tires. For such a little baby truck having LT tires rated for 2270 lbs a piece, they're rock solid. Try airing them down to about 26-28 psi and see if that fixes it. I would hate for you to get really self conscious taking all the measurements when.. Yeah.. It only has 2.5 inches of travel. But I would most definitely invest in the Bilstein 5100 series, they're for lifted applications, but they work fine at stock height. And there's no difference in stiffness between the 4600 and 5100.
I, have coil spacers, and I also took off my bump stops so I do have probably another 3" of up-travel. It's okay if you have a 2" front lift and taking off the bump stops - I haven't bottomed out since.

Good luck with your findings, I've taken this suspension 100% apart and put it back together, ask as many questions as you want!

----------

I'll post some pics of mine in the morning so you can compare.

In the meantime, these are what you are looking for.
http://m.ebay.com/itm/121041851776?nav=SEARCH
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:37 AM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyman46 View Post
Nope that's perfectly normal. Surprisingly enough the LCA hitting the bump stop is very soft, and the heavy resistance so they don't make contact is in the coil, not the shock. Since you don't have a lifted suspension in your signature I can assume it's at stock height, and those big ass BFG's are hitting the fender liner when you hit a big dip...right?
That hard rough feeling is not the shocks or suspension at all, it's the psi of your tires. For such a little baby truck having LT tires rated for 2270 lbs a piece, they're rock solid. Try airing them down to about 26-28 psi and see if that fixes it. I would hate for you to get really self conscious taking all the measurements when.. Yeah.. It only has 2.5 inches of travel. But I would most definitely invest in the Bilstein 5100 series, they're for lifted applications, but they work fine at stock height. And there's no difference in stiffness between the 4600 and 5100.
I, have coil spacers, and I also took off my bump stops so I do have probably another 3" of up-travel. It's okay if you have a 2" front lift and taking off the bump stops - I haven't bottomed out since.

Good luck with your findings, I've taken this suspension 100% apart and put it back together, ask as many questions as you want!


----------

I'll post some pics of mine in the morning so you can compare.



In the meantime, these are what you are looking for.
http://m.ebay.com/itm/121041851776?nav=SEARCH

Ok so that 1.25 of bumpstop travel is normal. Do the coil spacers you run force the LCA down? If it does then that would give me "more up travel" between the bumpstops right? One thing i didnt measure was the gap in the bumpstops with the suspension drooped. Atleast the spacers will level me out if anything.

The truck is running stock height right now. In regards to the BFGs, I havent noticed them hit the liner. I was reading that they might rub in reverse and at full lock. Ive locked the steering wheel several times on a jack and on the road but i have yet to see/hear/feel it rub anything. I might cut back the bump stops but i dont want to remove them completely. If the stretch of road is long and shitty enough i know it will force me to lose control and veer me off. Its not a soft cushiony happy bounce its a rapid violent bounce... hard to explain. Ill try airing down the tires.

As for the shocks i still think the gabriels are junk, i still want something better. Havent decided yet on the 4600s and the 5100s. Thats why i was measuring the travel today. As far as the stiffness between them being the same, im doubting that. Im going to make a thread on that but im waiting on some data from Bilstein. I already have that whole thread drafted

----------

Ok so i feel like a *******, I just went out and checked air pressure on FR, RR. Guess what i found. Theyre all pumped to 35 psi... The invoice from Discount said they aired them 30F 35R... they lied to me....I trusted them... Ill lower the fronts up to 30 in the morning and test drive it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyman46 View Post
It only has 2.5 inches of travel.
Its 1.25 of free travel(distance between bump stop and frame) + .50 for the bump stop crushing(bumpstop being crushed after bottoming out)

So total compression travel from static is about 1.75" . If i removed the bumpstop (1.75" high) completely then id have a total of 3 inches of compression from static. But last thing i want to do is rub frame on frame.

Im really hoping its just the tire pressure now though... i dun goofed
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Last edited by mms1361; 05-06-2015 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:56 AM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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Yeah dude you're right on point with the whole thing. As for your tires, I run mine at 30 psi and they're still rock solid. And I know exactly the "violent veer off" thing your talking about. It's like driving over rocks with no suspension. And your tires probably don't hit the fender liner because your bump stops prevent that, mine don't. So maybe try them at 25-28 psi. For reals though... If I drive on dirt then there's like 1-1.5" of the sides of the tires that aren't making road contact. Only the center section of tire would have dirt on it. So 30 psi is still a bit too high, fyi

For the spacers, everyone claims they're the worst possible thing for your suspension but they're really not. At least from my experience. I've had mine on since like mid-February of this year and I'm not having a single problem. The coils creak and pop every now and then, I think they just dont allow the coils to seat correctly. But it shouldn't make your truck catastrophically destruct because of them. Probably just bad for the springs since it'll weaken them. They give you those extra 2" of up-travel, but also remember you aren't "adding" any travel. Your suspension tops out when the upper arm hits the coil bucket and bottoms out when the bump stop hits the frame. That section of motion is not changing, you're just utilizing more up-travel for everyday use.

And yes, the spacers basically make the upper mounting seat for the coils about a half inch lower, which makes the LCA push down further. I got roughly around 2" after the suspension settled and I re-torqued all the bolts. Also remember that they stiffen the ride a bit. (Think) you're making the section that the coil belongs in, 2" smaller. So that extra strain makes a stiffer ride.

As for the shocks, the Bilstein 5100 are fine for either stock or lifted applications. I have that exact setup.. Bilstein 5100, BFG A/T, etc.

Imagine this: the Bilstein 5100 tops out about 1/2" after the upper arm hits the bucket, so there's not a possible chance of damaging the shock in that aspect. And I've bottomed out without the bump stop.
It's not pretty. At all. I know for sure it was the LCA hitting the frame. So the shocks up-travel is fine as far as I know. Remember: we aren't changing the total inches of travel, the arms still move the same distance.

Bilstein 5100 are highly highly highly recommended. Best shock in the whole world.
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2015, 10:04 AM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

So i went ahead and lowered the pressure from 35-36 to 29. Driving feels smoother. The blows feel more cushioned but the front feels like it still jumps alot. Not necessiraly bouncing off the floor but it feels to me like theres not enough of the blows being dissipated. I didnt find any extremely rough patches of pavement to really test the suspension travel and bumpstops. I think ima attach a camera down there to see how far i come from the bumpstops.

Even before i changed the tires to the bfgs the front seemed like it was too soft and didnt provide enough dampening.

EDIT: dropped the fronts another 2psi
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'00 Ranger, supercab, flareside, 2wd, 3.0, auto, 3.73 open, Bilstein 4600s, 31x10.5x15 BFGs, 15x8 procomp 152s

Last edited by mms1361; 05-06-2015 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:14 AM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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Yeah mine are at 30 right now. I like them a little hard cause it helps my mileage. I bought them used so I really dont care about my uneven wear. How do they feel at 27 pounds?
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2015, 11:55 AM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

I havent rode them yet at 27, only at 29. The same reason you just mentioned was why i was concerned about dropping the tire pressure. I dont want to decrease my mileage + wear out my new bfgs quicker. I guess i cant have the best of both worlds.

I was going to make a seperate thread for the Bilsteins but ill just paste it here.

Bilstein 4600 vs 5100

Ive been looking through several forums regarding the two series. One thing that ive found is that people who ran both seem to notice there is an obvious difference in dampening between the two. Most of the people mentioning the 5100 is the softer of the two. Almost every website/retailer i visited seemed to contradict that statement. Alot of the websites said they are the same shock, same valving, just under a different length and shock body color. The 4600 seems to be recommended for stock height applications whilst the 5100 is recommended for lifted applications-hence the added length. Some sites also recommend the 5100 for offroad use.

Note: Part #'s are for 2000 Ford Ranger 2WD 3.0L Flex Fuel

Part#24-196260
The 4600 Series
Collapsed Length (IN): 9.80
Extended Length (IN): 14.02
Travel Length (IN): 4.22
Internal Design: Monotube
Body Design: 46mm ID
Shaft Diameter: 14mm

Part #24-187107
The 5100 Series
Collapsed Length (IN): 10.15
Extended Length (IN): 15.43
Travel Length (IN): 5.28
Internal Design: Monotube
Body Design: 46mm ID
Shaft Diameter: 14mm

Heres what i found out directly from Bilstein. Not from a retailer. First and foremost they are not the exact same shock internally. These are specific to my part #s.
The 4600s valving is 210/66
The 5100s valving is 196/74
Numbers correlate to rebound/compression. The higher the number the firmer the dampening force.


Bilstein said i need not be concerned about valving. They recommended I go with the 4600 for a stock application. He said not to get the 5100 for a stock application. He said if i have a lift to go with the 5100. But the determining factor would be on the type of lift i do. If i went with a plain spindle lift it wouldnt alter the length of shock travel, It just lowers the knuckle. So if i went that route the 4600 would still be applicable. Im a bit confused.

To my understanding:
Stock=same geometry =4600 length
Body lift=same geometry=4600 length
Spindle lift=same geometry=4600 length
Torsion bar lift=different geometry=5100 length
Coil spacer lift=different geometry=5100 length
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Last edited by mms1361; 05-06-2015 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:15 PM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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That's a really good write up! You should honestly make a sticky with all that information. It really clears up all the skepticism between the two models.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:55 PM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyman46 View Post
That's a really good write up! You should honestly make a sticky with all that information. It really clears up all the skepticism between the two models.
Yeah i was going to make a seperate thread for this but if someone searches theyll get to it eventually. Anyway i tried attaching a camera to the underbody of the car to see how much of the free range on my bumpstop travel i use. I stuck a camera between the mud flap but unfortunatley the bumpstop travel is just out of the shot. It doesnt appear that the suspension travels more than 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch under normal driving. The most the suspension moved was under my driveway entrance and going over speed bumps. I did notice that under the residential speedbumps i could see the bumpstop being squeezed. I took them at around 15mph. What seems like normal speed to me. They are the longer flatter residential speedbumps as opposed to the yellow ones you find in parking lots

Im going to try a different mounting point so i can get a clear view
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'00 Ranger, supercab, flareside, 2wd, 3.0, auto, 3.73 open, Bilstein 4600s, 31x10.5x15 BFGs, 15x8 procomp 152s

Last edited by mms1361; 05-06-2015 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:13 PM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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You can try right next to the spindle on the LCA.
That is - if you're wanting to see the bump stop in action.
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:19 PM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

I used an old cracked cell phone to capture the movement. I tried remounting it but finished cracking the LCD making the camera unusable. I wont be able to get any additional footage unless i go buy a gopro or something. From what i saw, i dont think that the violent bouncing at higher speeds when going over rough roads is due to to the bumpstops hitting and causing it to bounce back down. The bumpstops only compressed when hitting large dips or speedbumps at moderate speeds. I dont think i encounter anything that concave or convex at higher speeds. Ill have to decide wether i want a lift and what type. Once i do that ill order my bilsteins and maybe cut back about half the bumpstop just to be safe.
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Last edited by mms1361; 05-06-2015 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:29 PM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mms1361 View Post
I used an old cracked cell phone to capture the movement. I tried remounting it but finished cracking the LCD making the camera unusable. I wont be able to get any additional footage unless i go buy a gopro or something. From what i saw, i dont think that the violent bouncing at higher speeds when going over rough roads is due to to the bumpstops hitting and causing it to bounce back down. Ill have to decide wether i want a lift and what type. Once i do that ill order my bilsteins and maybe cut back about half the bumpstop.
You know what - I have a go pro hero that I haven't used. Maybe I'll open the box and try and get some good footage in the morning. You could always do coil spacers. Firsthand they aren't causing any suspension damage. Just beware that they are quite a PITA to install. Spindles would be most logical but since you don't want the height, you want the extra up-travel that also give you height...lift coils.

What do you think you'll go with?

Spindles - $330 +/-
Lift coils - $165
Spacers - $40
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:27 PM
mms1361 mms1361 is offline
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Default Re: Suspension travel 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyman46 View Post
You know what - I have a go pro hero that I haven't used. Maybe I'll open the box and try and get some good footage in the morning. You could always do coil spacers. Firsthand they aren't causing any suspension damage. Just beware that they are quite a PITA to install. Spindles would be most logical but since you don't want the height, you want the extra up-travel that also give you height...lift coils.

What do you think you'll go with?

Spindles - $330 +/-
Lift coils - $165
Spacers - $40

I dont know if i necessarily need the extra uptravel though. I cant verify if its bottoming out when it causes me to lose control. The bumpstops did compress under the dips and speedbumps but thats a pretty drastic difference on the road. But when im on the freeway for example, I hit a long patch of crappyness and the suspension up front bounces too much too quickly that it doesnt know where to go. Thats what leads me to believe its just the shocks.

A lift on the otherhand would also level me out though. I sit about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch lower in the front than in the rear. The height is not symmetrical because of the ol' ranger lean. I dont think id want anything higher than what it is now with 31s though. I originally wanted a 3 inch lift but that just doesnt look right with 31s. I dont wana repurchase tires...


Heres another quirk i didnt think about: If i go with any type of lift that will push down the LCA, such as lift coils, coil spacers, or torsion keys, its also going to affect camber/toe alignment. Glad i went with Firestone for their Lifetime alignment, no one else offers lifetime. Didnt even think about alignment...


I think i should be okay with just ordering the 4600s and trimming back the bumpstops if i need a tad more travel.
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'00 Ranger, supercab, flareside, 2wd, 3.0, auto, 3.73 open, Bilstein 4600s, 31x10.5x15 BFGs, 15x8 procomp 152s

Last edited by mms1361; 05-06-2015 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:38 PM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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Torsion keys aren't a lift option for coil Rangers, I'm sure you knew that though. Only way to lift the stock front end (push LCA down) is spacers or coils. Spacers are cheap but it takes the same amount of time to install lift coils, so why not spend the extra $130..?

But good luck with those shocks, looks like you've done your research on them, and have busted some myths in the process.

I mean, in the next week or two I'll be buying some lift spindles on top of the spacers, and then eventually swap the spacers for a 2" coil. (Probably at the same time) I even was so much a loser that I used my floor jack to lift it up an extra 4" to see how it looks, and it looks pretty good with a 6" total front lift with the 31's. If you're still contemplating by then and haven't made any mods, I should have mine on so you can have a visual of the look.
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