We’re installing Bilstein 4600 Shocks on our one-ton dually. We were looking for a much improved ride in our F-350 Ford Truck. Let’s face it – these large one-ton trucks, regardless or make or model, are designed as work trucks and made to haul thousands of pounds. As a result, these things ride like a tank and on rough highways can feel like you’re towing through a war zone. For the past several years, we have been on the look out for products and methods to improve the ride quality of our F-350 dually, both when towing our 5th wheel and when we’re uncoupled touring about. Installing these Bilstein 4600 shocks made a substantial improvement in ride quality.
Our Efforts To Improve Ride Quality
It can be very subjective when it comes to what we are willing to tolerate and the comfort experienced when riding in a vehicle. If one is use to riding in an expensive luxury vehicle and then transitions to a large ton truck pulling a heavy trailer or 5th wheel, well it going to be quite a shock. Conversely, for those who ride in heavy duty trucks and spend a considerable amount of time on rough roads, then the ride felt during a towing experience isn’t that great of a change.
Over the past several years we have tried a number of solutions to make the ride better and minimize road hazard shock that can cause excessive wear and tear or worse damage to our truck and 5th wheel. Some have worked, others were total failures.
Our first effort was the purchase of a Hensley Trailer Saver Hitch, Model TS3. The TS3 has two air bags located below the hitch head, damper shocks and a large 4-way pivot head. This hitch has done a great job softening the rear shock experience from rough roads and prevents translating that shock in to the bed of the truck and into the 5th wheel.
Our second effort was installing air bags on the rear of our F-350 along with a dash controlled on-board air compressor. This too has been a good addition allowing us to add or take away stiffness on the truck’s rear axle based on road conditions. Unfortunately, while both of these additions helped the rear of the truck and protecting of the 5th wheel, it did little to take away the shock experienced in the front of the truck. Uneven bridges, large pot holes, road construction, and the dreaded miles of uneven concrete found on interstate highways created shears and jarring in the truck front end and translated to the passenger seats.
But, there was something we hadn’t tried – replacing the shocks, front and back with Bilstein 4600s.
Installing The Bilstein 4600 Shocks
We ordered the Bilstein 4600 Shocks from an online retailer that specializes in suspension products. The shocks for the front and back with free shipping cost $315.00. Using basic hand tools we found the installation to be simple and was performed without the need to jack up the truck or remove the wheels.
The installation took a couple hours. Removing the shocks took little effort. The area that can be a little strenuous was pushing the new shocks into place. Depending on your installation, you may need to jack up the front or rear of the truck frame a few inches if you’re not able to compress the shock in place. We show each step removing the original and the installing the new Bilstein 4600 shocks.
The Results Were A Much Improved Ride
The results were much better than expected. The ride without load is much softer. We still feel the bumps in the road, but they are softer and the shearing jolts previously experienced are gone. The same holds true when towing the 5th wheel, but too a larger degree. In the video below, we turned off the camera stabilization to show how we experienced the ride on rough roads while towing. On the interstate highway shown in the video, we experienced a long section of uneven concrete slabs, road construction and bridge access. The results were a much improved ride and worth the cost and effort installing the Bilstein 4600 shocks.
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