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Old 10-17-2010, 05:07 PM   #1
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Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

I just brought my 1997 Ford E250 Cargo Van back to life after letting it sit with a dead engine for almost three years. When it died it had about 145,000 miles on it. I was the second owner at approximately 80,000 miles. I don't know if the shocks and struts have ever been replaced.

The ride is not terrible for a van but softer would be nice for the 6000 mile road trip I am about to embark on.

Any suggestions for replacement shocks for a mostly stock E250? I'll be on paved roads 95% of the time.

As far as weight in the van fully loaded I doubt I'll have more than 350lb in human weight, 250lbs in toys and another 200lbs in furnishings and electronic gadgets. I'm guessing that makes me a lot lighter than many of the decked out Sportsmobiles.

Shock brands I'm seeing advertised on the internet include:

Monroe
KYB
Bilstein

Any big differences between any of these models?


Currently I'm only 4x2 but I'm working on the conversion to 4x4. When the time comes I know I will have to change out shocks again so I don't want to go crazy with anything outrageously expensive just yet.
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

Bilstein HD Standard Front: F4-BE5-E073-H0 Rear: F4-BE5-E074-H0

I Have 5150's on mine but it is a 4x4 already. The Bilstein's will do well on your van in just the standard HD shock.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:49 AM   #3
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

I like the Rancho9000s. They might be a little lightweight for the van but I can crank them up or down as the situation merits (empty, trailer, offroad)... only wish I'd gotten the adjustment system and didn't have to crawl under the van.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:00 AM   #4
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

Bilstein HD's...great valving and longevity...and because they are widely reviewed to be such a long lasting shock, you should be able to sell them used for a few bucks vs just throwing them away.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:07 AM   #5
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

I don't know whether shocks will make a huge difference in the way your 3/4-ton van rides on the highway. The thing was designed as a work truck with a suspension expecting some weight to be carried around in it. With your intended loading, a 1/2-ton van (E-150) would likely ride much better. A junkyard swap of lighter duty rear leaf springs and front coil springs would probably make a bigger difference than shocks. Throw 500 lbs in the back of your van and see if the ride quality improves.

We have a E-350 diesel 4x4 van and a E-150 passenger van and the ride quality difference is very noticeable. The E-150 has much more of a car-like ride.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:35 PM   #6
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

Switchfoot makes a valid point....and if a guy needs a softer spring to be happy, then I'd agree that just putting a good shock on may not satisfy.

So I'll add...the reason a quality and properly matched shock will improve ride quality is because it handles the spring energy properly. It won't feel as "jarring"(is that a word?...lol)
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:13 AM   #7
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

I have springs made for a solid axle 4x4 and custom valved shocks . I don't know why all you guys are having such a hard time getting a smooth ride. If I knew that guys would really buy a up grade kit I would put something together.
I did not like how mine would bounce me out of my set when I would hit a bump so I fixed it it rides like they should ride.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:10 PM   #8
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Re: Best shock for a comfortable ride? 1997 Stock E250

Mine was SMB4x4 with flat springs and the jarring was, I thought, from it bottoming out on the bump stops since there is 2" or less of uptravel. I thought it rode great as long as it didn't bottom out (which didn't take much).
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