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cool rod

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For the benefit of anyone who wants to put Bilsteins on their unlifted truck, here's what it cost me for my Powerboost.

Front shocks: American Trucks $258.94
Rears: Summit Racing $171.20 (I should have bought them all here)
Dealer installation : $521.00
Dealer Alignment: $129.00
Total: $1080.14

As for the dealer, I thought the best chance of getting it done right was to go to a dealer. I wrote on the boxes to put the blue end down. I also wrote with magic marker on a sheet of paper to put the blue end down, not up, and taped it to the boxes. They put them on blue end up.

 

Snakebitten

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That's the problem with dealerships.

There's a veil between the customer and the actual garage and staff. The "service writer" is the firewall.

Almost ANYWHERE else but a dealership you would simply tell someone what you wanted and they'd say to Frank the mechanic "Hey Frank, customer marked the box and wants the......."

The disconnect between the customer and the person who has the keys to his truck at the dealership is AMAZING. And it's mostly unnecessary.
 
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IconicXLTsport

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@IconicXLTsport
Interested to hear your thoughts with the fronts installed now that you’ve had them a while.
I wanted to wait a bit and get some miles on everything. Right now I have over 4,000 miles on the rear and 1,200 miles on the front including a ~500 mile trip last week.

overall I am happy. With the improvements. Personally I would be fine ifthe shocks were even a bit more firm but they are a massive improvement over stock. Everything I said previously still holds. Over small cracks and bumps, they feel like stock. Larger bumps are soaked up well. Large body movements are much improved and are better controlled. On my recent trip there was one or two bridges that had some badly spaced bumps that made the truck bounce but as soon as I got past the bridge, everything smoothed out.

as a testament to the improved ride, my toddler has never slept as long during a road trip As he did last week. We timed our driving with his nap and he slept nearly 2 hours of the ~3.5hr drive.

Secondly, my wife often has motion sickness issues in my truck, even on short drives. With the new shocks, she sat in the back seats with my son (makes her sickness worse not seeing out the front ) and whether she was talking with my son or doing something else while he was napping, she didn’t complain of any motion sickness for the 3.5 hr drive. She only noticed bouncing across the bridges I mentioned earlier.

overall, if you’re unhappy with the ride of your truck and do not want to change your ride height, Bilstein 4600s are a massive improvement for stock height trucks.
 

Tobstertx3

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I wanted to wait a bit and get some miles on everything. Right now I have over 4,000 miles on the rear and 1,200 miles on the front including a ~500 mile trip last week.

overall I am happy. With the improvements. Personally I would be fine ifthe shocks were even a bit more firm but they are a massive improvement over stock. Everything I said previously still holds. Over small cracks and bumps, they feel like stock. Larger bumps are soaked up well. Large body movements are much improved and are better controlled. On my recent trip there was one or two bridges that had some badly spaced bumps that made the truck bounce but as soon as I got past the bridge, everything smoothed out.

as a testament to the improved ride, my toddler has never slept as long during a road trip As he did last week. We timed our driving with his nap and he slept nearly 2 hours of the ~3.5hr drive.

Secondly, my wife often has motion sickness issues in my truck, even on short drives. With the new shocks, she sat in the back seats with my son (makes her sickness worse not seeing out the front ) and whether she was talking with my son or doing something else while he was napping, she didn’t complain of any motion sickness for the 3.5 hr drive. She only noticed bouncing across the bridges I mentioned earlier.

overall, if you’re unhappy with the ride of your truck and do not want to change your ride height, Bilstein 4600s are a massive improvement for stock height trucks.
Thanks for the detailed feedback, much appreciated. I have them on the rears at the minute and a drastic improvement and considering adding the fronts. Do you think you gained any height at all when installing the fronts? (Something I do not want). Thanks again.
 


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IconicXLTsport

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I meant to reply to this long ago but kept forgetting. Sorry about that.

I wanted to take measurements before and after the install but I forgot initially. I did take measurements on the stock side after I had installed the bilstein on the other side. Now after I am sure they are broken in, the shocks have settled within about 1/4” of the original height. I cannot tell with the naked eye that there is any change. You have to measure it to tell the difference.
 

OnceAnEagle

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Bilstein recommends the shock boot be down and the logo up on their rear shocks. Mine were installed boot up, logo down. Maybe it does not matter but the installer is flipping them around. Has to do with boot drain holes and their piston action vs stock, according to rep I spoke with at Bilstein's customer service.
 

thudnblunder

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Did you guys reuse the mounting bolts? I have my 5100s but the Ford factory manual says to discard the nuts and bolts and use new ones.

1661455395223.png
 
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IconicXLTsport

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The fronts came with new bolts cause the Bilstein is different than the stock shock. I reused the bolts for the rear.
 

Porpoise Hork

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I couldn’t stand how badly the truck handled with the stock shocks anymore so I gave up on waiting for Bilstein to release the fronts for the 2021s and ordered the rear shocks for my truck. I did not want a lift or level. I want a stock height truck that just rides and handles better.

I was worried the rear would be too firm and the front would still be bouncing around everywhere and the truck would still handle poorly. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

I have installed Bilsteins on several vehicles so I know they may still break in up to ~300 miles but the ride and handling improvement from the first day was much better than the stock shocks, and much better than I imagined.

On the stock shocks, it feels like the rear is just completely uncontrolled at times and each end of the truck was doing something different. With the bilsteins, the rear is actually well controlled and this allows the stock front shocks to actually work at controlling the front. The ride is still just as soft as the stock shocks but when hitting larger bumps or potholes, the bilsteins actually control the rear axle.

Side to side motions like pulling into the driveway or a low spot in a gravel parking lot used to cause the entire truck to rock side to side uncontrollably. Now, even with just the rear shocks, the truck will roll up into the driveway without drama.

I still want the fronts cause the truck still floats and bounces more than I want in the front but if you are thinking about just doing rears or you’re like me and are Waiting on Bilstein to produce the fronts, it’s 100% worth just getting the rears on the truck ASAP, wish I had done it sooner.

installation: 15mm bolt and 18mm nut at each end of shock. I left the truck on the ground to install at normal ride height. I put the top bolt in first to hang the shock and then either use a Jack to lift the rear (by the hitch or frame) or it is possible to compress the shock a couple inches by pushing up on the shock body. In either case, put the truck back to normal height before tightening either mounting bolt. Torque spec I found online was 66 ft lbs. Removal of stock shocks and install of new shocks took less than 1 hr but I was trying to get done quickly and I have done this job on other vehicles.
CDF05805-52F2-4E7B-B28F-B8BF8110E1D5.jpeg

As of late Ford's shocks leave a lot to be desired. The 5G Rangers (like my last truck) ride quality have the same problem with being very boat-ish. The issue is the rebound dampening is WAY too soft and allows the suspension to over extend and creates that rolling bounce. Both the FX and non FX dampers have this issue. Replacing the rears with more aggressive rebound dampening like the Bilstiens makes all the difference in the world. I did that on my 2020 Ranger and the difference was amazing. My wife gets motion sick very easy and anything more than a 20 min ride and she would be 🤢. After replacing them she didn't have anymore car sick issues, so I never bothered swapping out the fronts. I'll likely be doing the same thing on the F150 as well if the ride bothers her like the Ranger did.
 


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IconicXLTsport

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I just wanted to post an update on this thread because I feel the Bilsteins have really hit a stride. I have about 6k miles on the fronts and 9k miles on the rears and I think how the truck is now is about as comfortable as it gets without spending a lot more money. If I had the option of adjustable shocks, I might go a bit stiffer on the rears actually. But the truck rides as well as I think it can. Soaks up bumps and broken pavement really well.

I was debating with myself over getting the rear sway bar but at this point I am not going forward with that. The rear is nice and soft and comfortable and I don’t want to upset that. If I hit a pothole or something with one wheel, sometimes I don’t even feel it. I currently don’t see a reason to spend the $500.

I may reevaluate this after I move to an area with much tighter and twistier roads. if I feel the truck won’t keep up with traffic in those areas, I might be more interested in the rear bar. But for now, I like how well the truck soaks up all the bumps, cracks and potholes on my all highway commute
 

Chili

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Good info Iconic. I have a set of rear 4600s that just arrived for mine. I liked them on my last truck and will probably wait until summer to do the fronts.

I assume you have 20" wheels? I bet the 5100s would be a smidge stiffer in the rear as they're designed for slightly larger tires.
 
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IconicXLTsport

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I have 18” wheels and I’m glad. My previous f150 had 20” and I could feel the weight of those wheels and it was obviously impacting ride quality. The MPG on my ‘21 is also about 1-2mpg better even though the drivetrain is identical to my previous truck, down to the rear diff ratio (2.7T, 10 speed, 2wd, 3.55s). The smaller, lighter wheels are better in every way.

Bilstein also doesn’t list any 5100s for my 2wd truck. I had always thought the valving was the same but I have heard from one or two places the 5100s are stiffer for heavier wheels/tires.
 
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Chili

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I also really like the 18s. Especially since they're now 8.5" wide for the Sports. Ford doing 7.5 wide always confused me. It probably made the 18s a tad squishier for comfort but could not have been good for handling.

 

 
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