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Suspension Upgrade on Norris

One of the items on Norris that was due for replacement based on both feel and online discussion was suspension.  One recent weekend I decided it was time for the upgrade.  I spent most of the winter months looking at various Rancho and Bilstein.  When it came down to ordering, it was 50/50 on the two brands based on comments.


I ended with going with the Rancho 9000 series for a few reasons:

Rancho 9000 Series

  • Readily available on Amazon.  Why? Because I like being at home, and more-so the retail cost in a local store was quite a bit more.
  • The adjustable settings for allow for a different ride between daily driving and when pulling the Sundowner.
  • They weren’t the rather ugly blue & yellow the Bilsteins had to offer in my needs (non-lifted suspension)
  • Generally positive reviews from various online discussions.


In addition to the 4 shocks, I picked up a 5000 series steering damper as well. All in all, I think I was at 103,000 miles when I swapped these out last month.  While I’m sure I’ve ridden in worse vehicles in the past, this was at the point where a few bumps on my regular commute were just down-right bone-crunching and a pita.  Not to mention, you’re likely to spill your beverage.


The replacement was cake for the most part.  I didn’t have to deal with any rusted parts, and only the two top studs on the front shocks were a pain, mainly due to the location more than anything.  I set the ride level to 3/9 for starters and after my first drive to town and back, I kicked the front shocks up to 5/9, as it just felt a little sloppy.  After a few hundred miles on them, they feel wonderful.  The regular bumps on my commute that would make sure I was awake are far more smooth and the overall ride and feel of Norris is so much better. Again, it’s still not a Town Car, but I believe given what it is, a 1-ton tank, it rides pretty damn well.


We had one short trip last month with both a bumper full trailer full of hay and the Sundowner to bring home our newest big dog, Izzy.  Neither had noted issue with the ride, but I may do some experiments later this summer when the Sundowner is fully loaded for a weekend camping, and fiddle with the valve on the shocks to see if the ride has any notable difference when fully loaded.

Here are the links to the items used:


Vehicle: 2005 F350 DRW with the 6.0 PSD.  It was hard to find the correct shocks due to the lack of complete details to support single or dual rear wheels.  Also, many models only supported lift kits, which I do not have. Do your research and ensure you get the right model for your vehicle.


Happy wrenching!