Rough Ride | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Rough Ride

Other Stephen

New Member
May 25, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Dallas, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
Hello all--

I have a 1994 XLT with about 104K on the clock. About a year ago I went to an off-road shop here in Dallas because the ride had become rough over the past few weeks. They set me up with a new set of Rancho's (can't remember which model) and added new Rancho bushings, repacked my front bearings and said all else was OK.

Well, the heck of it is - it still rides very rough. I feel every pebble in the road.

Any ideas???


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

What type of tires and how much air pressure do you have in them? Sometimes aftermarket shocks such as rancho, edelbreak and some of the others aren't the best for ride quality. My 92 has BFG AT KOs and edelbrock IAS shocks and with 35 psi in the tires it rides rough. Half of the problem is the tire and the air pressure, the BFGs have a very stiff sidewall that doesnt flex very much with that much air in them, it's kind of like having forklift tires on my truck. On the other hand my 93 has michlen (or however you spell it, typing in a hurry here) X's with some sort of monroe $20 specials and it rides very nice with 35psi in the tires, not quite as nice as a car but still very comfortable. Anyway there are a couple of things you can look at.


Thanks for the reply Tim.

My wife is out and about in my Explorer so I don't have it here to check. I do know that the tires and the air pressure are the same as they were when it was riding great. All of a sudden, the ride went to pot and that's when I replaced the shocks.

One thing does come to mind... when my bride and I moved to Dallas from Phoenix - we drove the Explorer semi-loaded (but not with a trailer or anything) across and noticed the rough ride after the trip. I don't think we overloaded it.

Now - if we have a car full of people or if we have heavy stuff either in the back seat or the 'way back', the ride seems smoother.

Maybe something more suspension related? More subtle?

I have heard of a few people who had the RS9000 shocks complain about a "stiff" ride, and a few who have taken them off in favor of something that rides a little better. I know that with my setup when I put a boat on the back of it that it smoothes out the ride, for all its worth since all the roads suck out here. It's been a long time since I have been to dallas but what are the roads like back there? Since you noticed the rougher ride after the trip is it posible that the roads in dallas might not be in the same state of repair as the roads in phoenix? For instance I say that my 93 ex rides like a car, then again all the roads out here with the exception of the toll roads basically suck, so nothing really rides very good.

check how full your tires are. those will give you the roughest ride if you overinflate them. you will feel every bump. you also have to remember this is a TRUCK and the ride will normally be rougher than a car

Originally posted by jas84
check how full your tires are. those will give you the roughest ride if you overinflate them. you will feel every bump. you also have to remember this is a TRUCK and the ride will normally be rougher than a car

I realize that it's a truck - I think you missed the point. I had the truck for a few years BEFORE the ride went bad. I know how my X rode before. This is rough by any and all truck standards.

The tires are as they are supposed to be. The ride before I swapped shocks was just fine. My X had a great ride actually... then after the move to Dallas the ride went to heII.

Maybe I'll switch over to a more 'stock' shock...

Stephen, you didn't bother to find out which Rancho's you have? The RS9000's are adjustable. If the offroad shop put those on all you will have to do is turn the adjustment knob on them to smooth them out. Easy fix.

I had the 9000 series on my Suburban (I think that was the kind you could adjust from inside the vehicle). My X has the Rancho 5000 series shocks.

The ride seems worse since installing the shocks TTYTT... although I shouldn't biotch too much as it has been over a year now...

Oooops, I meant the RS 5000s, since I don't own them I lose track of the part numbers.

Related to this, I don't know for sure, but I am convinced that Ford put in different rate front coil springs in Sports than they did in XLT's, at least on 91-94 models.

I know for a fact that 91-94 Sports are jacked up higher stock than are the XLTs. Put them side-by-side with the same size wheels and tires and you'll see what I mean. Ford must have tinkered with the leafs/shackles in back and the coils in front. I don't know what the exact height difference is but I'd say just by eyeballing it it's about .5" to 1".

Coil springs seem to have an impact on the ride. I know a guy with aftermarket "cargo" springs in his Explorer Sport and it rides better than mine. If some of you experience a better ride when towing it's probably because when towing you are pulling weight off the bumpy stock front springs and putting more on the leafs which are better at bearing weight. The twin-I beam design of Ford Bronc's thru Explorers from 68 to 94 is more rugged than the control arm design they use now, but it's drawback is that it rides rougher.