when are longer shocks needed with a suspension lift? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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when are longer shocks needed with a suspension lift?


Explorer Addict
November 30, 2000
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 LTD, 96 XLT, & 98 XLT
I have James Duff 70/30 standard height shocks on my 92 4x4 ranger. I have since installed the f150 coil perch so I gained about an inch lift.

I am thinking of either installing a trailmaster or skyjacker 2" suspension lift and keeping the f150 coil perch.. so I would be a total of 3 inches.... 2 more inches over what I am now. Will my shocks be ok? or will I need to get longer shocks.

On the other hand I am thinking of installing a 3" James Duff lift. This lift comes with new shocks (for lifted trucks)..... are the longer shocks really needed or can I get away with my stock height shocks?

thanks all

You are probably okay for now, however to get the most from your lift you need to actually measure the suspension travel up and down before fitting shocks.

You would think that Duff had already done this for you, right? Wrong. My Duff 3" lift kit had shocks that were too short in the rear, meaning my axle could still droop (down) more than the shock would allow.

The hardest part is finding a shock for the front of your truck, because of the stud style upper mount only a few sizes are available, not alot of inbetween.

You do not want your shocks to limit travel.
You want the spring, or limiting straps to limit the droop, and bump stops to limit the stuff (up), not brakelines, or shocks.

For example, when we built the suspension for my truck, basically extended radius arms and cut and turned TTB beams. You go find an RTI ramp or forkilft (something that will allow full droop and full stuff).
With the shocks and sway bars disconnected you want to measure the full down travel and full up travel of both front and rear axles. From upper to lower shock mount.

This will give you the numbers for your shocks.
You dont want the shocks to bottom out before you hit eh bump stops, and you dont want them to bottom out before you reach full droop.

Also this is the same time to fit the truck for limiting straps if needed. Limiting straps are set up to stop axles slip yokes and driveshaft slip yokes from pulling apart. they are setup to keep coil spring seated, and from having brakelines get stratched.
My truck doesnt need limiting straps, instead I installed J hooks on my front coils and I rely on the rear leaf sroings to limit the rear travel.

Any good 4x4 shop can help you with all this.

Rule of thumb is you can get away with 2" of lift before you need new shocks, however be aware your shocks may be limiting your droop. Only way to find out is to get into a full droop stance, unbolt the shock and see if you still have some down travel available.

It may be necessary to re-locate stock shock mount locations to get the most from your new suspension.

The key to going off road is keeping all 4 tires on the ground. Zthe key to accomplish this is to get as much articulation from your suspension as possible, and to keep it balanced front to rear......

SOunds complicated but its really not.......just hard to explain, easier to show you on a truck with a rti ramp.....

thanks for all the info.

Do you think I would run into any trouble if I used a set of Bilstein 5100 shocks designed for a 4-5" lift with a 3" james duff lift? If I use my front coil spacer it would be a four inch lift

thanks again