Improving Front Suspension Performance on '98 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Improving Front Suspension Performance on '98


February 24, 2000
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Help me oh wise ones.....

I'm looking for input on resolving the underwhelming front suspension performance on my 1998 4WD. After a weekend trip (Plaster City for you So Cal/AZ people)with tons of whoop-dee-doos, I've decided that the front end is just too soft on compression and too fast on rebound.

I can easily bottom the front just hitting a set of whoops slightly too fast, (e.g. at 10 miles per hour instead of 5!). At 10 MPH, it's a bummer having to always monitor every foot of terrain to make sure a whoop doesn't sneak up and bottom the front end right out.

Right now I have the torsion twist at a modest 1-1/4", Edelbrock shocks and 31's. I've had the Edelbrocks on for at least 1 year and thus can't remember whether the stock front shocks might actually have been better at resisting bottoming.

I have a theory that Edelbrocks' IAS system might actually be working against me. For instance, when I did the torsion twist, I noticed immediately that the cranked up torsion bars easily overwhelm any rebound control offered by the shocks - any kind of road dip snaps the front end back up very quickly after compression. I haven't heard other torsion twistees voice a similar complaint. I think about Edelbrock's "before and after" ad copy that shows a truck going over a speed bump, where having softer suspension reacting quicker would keep the truck more level. Perhaps they've valved these babies for a better street ride and are really just marketing the off-road angle for competitive reasons (versus a Bilstein type product that's already more traditionally associated with OR driving.)

I'm a realist and know we have heavy vehicles, but I'm holding out hope that there are other shocks available that have a more progressive compression/rebound curve. As it is I feel like I have almost none right now in most OR situations, hurting an otherwise decent off-road performer.

Thanks for your input!

You might want to try the Olde Man Emu Nitro charger shocks.
They work alot better on washboard roads than the Edelbrocks did when I did the beta testing for them last year. I actually did a comparrision between the 2 shocks, and my conclusion was that the OME's were much better for this kind of wheeling.

If you don't have them, upgrading to "B" rated torsion bars will also stiffen up the front to resist the impacts better. Check your vehicle tag on your driver's door jamb under "SPR" and see what the first letter is. If it is D or some other letter than B you can get the stiffer B torsions.