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Regular Shocks or Load Leveling Shocks?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by BamakoJon, December 6, 2018.

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    1. BamakoJon

      BamakoJon New Member

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      I'm getting to the point where I'm thinking about replacing my shocks and I'm wondering about the advantages of load leveling shocks versus regular shocks. I've looked at Monroe load leveling shocks and they seem to be a lot more expensive (it looks like I can buy 4 regular for the price of 1 Monroe in some places).

      I'm also confused about which ones are load leveling and which ones aren't, as many of their names seem to imply some form of leveling. Do their basic Sensa Trac shocks do this, or only the ones that have the built-in coil spring?

      I probably won't be doing this work for a while yet anyway since I've got to change a tie rod and lower ball joints first, but I'd like to figure it out so I can look for deals to save some money if possible. Thanks!
       
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    3. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The first thing I'd ask is what you're using the Explorer for, if your usong ot for daily driving and light to average loads then the load leveling shocks would be an expensive overkill. If you plan to do heavy hauling or towing, the load leveling shocks can be beneficial.
      I personally have load leveling shocks, but I regularly pull a 3800lb camper trailer (Could be 4000 if I have to carry water).
      My point is make a decision based on use. By the way, if it weren't for the trailer I'd install something more suited to trail use.
       
    4. Hacra

      Hacra Member

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      Hey, i am using gabriel(?) load leveling shocks which aren't as "good/strong" as the monroe ones, but they are also good and in all honesty couple of those aren't really that expensive, what you get though is a lot firmer ride, plus if you carry lot of crap in your trunk (like i do), they really keep the rear end up.

      Gabriel: The constant-rate front coil springs can help improve stability and restore or maintain ride height, while the variable-rate rear coil springs provide 500 lbs. per pair of load capacity.

      Monroe: They include a heavy gauge calibrated spring for extra control and comfort and assist in maintaining ride height when loaded with additional weight up to 1,100 lbs (as vehicle allows).

      gabriels seem to go for 70$ pair and monroes 85$ pair, with the benefit you get that's really a bargain imho.
       
    5. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I've never had an Expl with the ARC system (which was not a plus in my opinion) but I've wondered what the deal was with the rear leaf springs on this system. Was there a difference from the non-ARC springs? Are the ARC shock mountings different from the regular shock mounts?
       
    6. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      You can replace the ARC shocks with standard equipment. It was a great idea, but had poor execution.
       
    7. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I recall the mid 90's Lincoln Town Cars had a self-leveling rear air shock system that often failed, but when it did the rear of the car would drag on the ground. There were replacement shocks that could be substituted which must have had coil springs, but I've never actually seen what that looked like and as I recall they were expensive.
       
    8. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I had air ride on the back of my last Mounty, and it was great. It wasn’t factory, but I hauled around 1,000 pounds of tongue wieght and without it, it wasn’t really possible.
       
    9. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Air shocks are great until they fail, which they eventually all do.
       
      Last edited: December 6, 2018
    10. Hacra

      Hacra Member

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      I had air shocks which lasted good 100k miles, when they go bad the compressor whines constantly and it's really annoying, plus the air shocks are VERY expensive, as stated above after market option would probably be better, not sure how the OEM compressor handles that though, but that would solve few ride level issues rather efficiently.
       
    11. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      Besides the ARC shocks w/compressor, ONLY the coil-over load adjust shocks from Monroe or Gabriel offer any suspension boost. Regular Sensa-tracs and all the others do not.

      If you are hauling a load or trailer, definitely get them. If you have significant rear end sag, get them or get new leaf springs, unless you don't care as much about the sag as having a smoother ride.

      The load adjust shocks sacrifice ride smoothness for more control. If you have sagging that will bring the control back closer to factory (ignoring any other suspension wear detracting from control).

      You wrote that you can get 4 regular shocks for the price of one, but did you realize they are sold in pairs? Their price is for both rear shocks. As far as deals on them, you probably won't get a lower price than from RockAuto (w/5% off coupon floating around).
       
      Last edited: December 6, 2018
    12. BamakoJon

      BamakoJon New Member

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      Okay, that answers my questions quite well! I have seen a lot of places online selling them, but it was hard to tell from the descriptions whether they were single shocks or the pair. I do have some rear end sag, but it's not terrible. I'm just figuring that when it comes time to get new shocks (which will probably be relatively soon) I could kill two birds with one stone and get the load adjusting shocks to replace the old ones and fix the sag.

      Another question I had was about lift. I've been thinking about doing a 1.5-2" suspension lift (shackles in the back and adjust the torsion bar in the front). I've read that if that's all you're doing, you don't need to get new shock absorbers in the front because the overall suspension travel has not changed, just its resting position. What about the back? I imagine I would need some kind of shock extenders or just longer shocks to do it. Again, just thinking about doing it when I actually need new shocks and stuff. Thanks!
       

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