The Ford F-350 Super Duty is a BIG truck, but its capabilities aren’t just defined by its size alone. But as you’ve probably seen with your friends, the right upgrades can add so much more to the F-350. A new suspension, for instance, can let it tackle more difficult situations, tackle tricky terrain, and even win off-road competitions.
As you most probably know, there are three types of shocks that you can buy for your vehicle, and I present them at the end of this guide. Just a quick note though on this, if you want absolute comfort, just add a telescopic strut to your vehicle and retain the OEM suspension.
If, however, you are looking for a real upgrade in performance then add the strut type, which will improve suspension a bit, and finally, if you want a lighter performance for racing, buy a full upgraded spring seat type.
Let’s take a look at the best shocks for F350 Super Duty.
- The 5 Best Shocks for Ford F-350 Super Duty:
- Best Shocks for F350 Super Duty Reviews:
- REVIEWS YOU CAN TRUST
- Basic Upgrade: Bilstein 5100 Monotube Gas Shocks – the best shock for F350 Super Duty
- Time-tested: Rancho RS5000
- Adjustability beckons: Rancho RS9000XL
- Inexpensive replacements: Monroe Gas-Magnum Truck Shock Absorber
- Stock Replacements: Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorbers
- For Early Models: Gabriel Ultra Truck Shock
- Final thoughts on the best shocks for F350 Super Duty
- Shock Absorber 101
- Best Shocks for F350 Super Duty by Year – 2000, 2004 & 2008
- How to Change Shocks on F-350 Super Duty
The 5 Best Shocks for Ford F-350 Super Duty:
- Bilstein 5100 Monotube Gas Shocks – the best shock for Ford F350 Super Duty
- Rancho RS5000
- Rancho RS9000XL
- Monroe Gas-Magnum Truck Shock Absorber
- Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorbers
Best Shocks for F350 Super Duty Reviews:
REVIEWS YOU CAN TRUST
We strive to always give you genuine, accurate information. To do this, all of mechanicguides.com reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience. This knowledge comes from a team of automotive journalists and an independent mechanic, Steve “Whip” Whipple who has 11 years of experience in the auto industry. For more information, see here.
Basic Upgrade: Bilstein 5100 Monotube Gas Shocks – the best shock for F350 Super Duty
- Set of 4 Shocks - compatible with 4WD Vehicles w/2" front Lift , 0-1" rear lift
- Shock boots included with all shocks except in cases of special fitment.
- Monotube gas charged for longevity, durability, and performance.
- All necessary washers, bushings, and nuts included. Factory shock mounting bolts are reused for installation.
- Bilstein's Limited Lifetime manufacturer's Warranty protects against defects and premature failure.
Compatible with 2005-2016 Ford F-350 trucks, the Bilstein 5100 set offers replacement shocks for both the front and rear. These are made to accommodate anything between the standard factory height to a lift of up to 2 inches (at both the front and rear).
Limited lifetime warranty
Backed by a limited lifetime warranty (against manufacturing defects and premature failures), the Bilstein 5100 comes with a monotube design that is promised to offer fade-free performance. In addition to that, the largely tarmac-focused set has a velocity-sensitive piston, which ensures that the shock absorbers react quickly to the changing road surface, minimally changing the ride quality and handling.
All the necessary hardware is included in the set, and the best part is that factory shock mounting bolts can be used for the Bilstein shock installation. The user reviews are generally positive and in favor of the Bilstein’s good ride quality and an installation that’s not too difficult. We need to point out that most street users had no issues but when using them off-road, the 5100 set isn’t the strongest.
What do we think of it?
Given that it operates close to the factory-spec (in terms of ride height), the Bilstein 5100 makes for a good replacement to the standard shocks. But if you’re looking for something more serious, this one’s not for you.
- Direct fit
- Not for the serious off-roaders
Time-tested: Rancho RS5000
- Set of 4 Rancho RS5000 Shocks
- compatible with 2005-2014 F250 F350 Super Duty With 4WD
- Ten Stage Velocity Sensitive Valving.
- Protective Boot Included.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Like the Bilstein above, the Rancho RS5000 is a set of four shock absorbers, available for both stock and lifted trucks. The front and rear units come as a package, compatible with 2005 – 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD trucks.
First introduced in 1985, the Rancho RS5000 has been a popular choice among truck owners who wanted to get an edge over the stock suspension setup of their Ford trucks. The RS5000 comes with a ten-stage velocity sensitive valving, a protective boot to ensure the shock absorber components (rod and seal) don’t get affected when exposed to the environment, and a limited lifetime warranty for further peace of mind.
Specially tuned for the F-350
Rancho maintains the shock absorber kit is made for on-road and off-road applications, offering a comfortable highway drive and being responsive during the latter. Also the Rancho shocks for F-350 Super Duty are tuned specifically for the vehicle, which means your truck is bound to perform well with these.
What do we think of it?
This particular model of Rancho RS5000 is compatible with trucks with a 0-inch (stock) to 1.5-inch lift. Even as a set of four, the price is comparable to other popular choices, and that makes the RS5000 worth a second look. The ride is said to be comfortable on these.
- Comfortable ride
- Not too different from the stock setup
Adjustability beckons: Rancho RS9000XL
- Rancho RS9000XL Adj Shock Set Compatible with 2005-2016 F250 F350 Super Duty 4WD
- For 0" vehicles only.
- Rancho Performance Suspension RS999042(2)+RS999254(2)
The two choices that we’ve mentioned above are good for those looking at replacing the stock setup but what if you were looking for something more? Adjustable damping for instance. Especially if you drive over a variety of terrain, it can be useful to have some flexibility in the way the truck absorbs the bumps on bad roads. And that’s what the Rancho RS9000XL does with its nine levels of manually adjustable ride control.
Nine damping levels
By counteracting the unsprung mass, the Rancho shock absorber allows for manually adjustable damping control. There are nine levels to choose from, which can be selected by a knob, and thus enable minute changes in the damping control. The shock absorber set is strictly for vehicles with no lift kit and is compatible with Ford F-350 Super Duty trucks made with the model year 2005 – 2016.
Apart from the additional control, the Rancho shock absorber for Ford F-350 also promises improved longevity, a limited lifetime warranty, and also a 90-day free-ride offer. It boasts a protective boot to keep the dirt out, a low-friction seal, double-welded loops, and a liquid metallic finish. There’s also a rebound bumper, which controls the rebound in harsher driving conditions.
This model also comes with a Large, heavy-duty 18mm Nitro-Carb rod that is engineered to increase scuffing resistance and protect against corrosion.
The 9-position tuning technology comes with a 9-Position adjustment knob that gives you absolute control over the application performance you desire. The construct uses gas pressurization of shock which reduces the air-to-oil mixture lowering heat. The Graphite-filled, Fluon banded piston design delivers smoother piston travel and increases the responsiveness.
With its 1 ¼” diameter Sintered Iron piston you get a much more powerful structural integrity and the rebound Bumper aids in controlling rebound motion in extreme conditions. It comes with double-welded loops for extra strength and durability.
This model integrates a low-friction, self-lubricating seal that is engineered to add protection against the accumulation of debris and dirt, and the protective boot completes this protection for the shock rod and oil seal.
What do we think of it?
Apart from the better build in comparison to more basic systems, the Rancho RS9000XL offers nine-step adjustability. And that’s its major selling point because, with this, you can basically determine how your truck rides but some users aren’t happy with its build quality.
- Build quality can be improved
Inexpensive replacements: Monroe Gas-Magnum Truck Shock Absorber
- 1-3/8 inch Bore: Lower operating pressure than standard 1 inch bore units
- 2 inch Reserve Tube: More fluid for more consistent performance
- 5/8 inch Piston Rod: Heavy-duty nitro carburized rod for long service life. On non-dust shield units only
- Made in China
Apart from its low cost, Monroe’s Gas-Magnum shock absorber for the Ford F-350 Super Duty also banks on its fluid capacity, better valving, reduced aeration of the wheel, and its self-lubricating fluid seal for protection against the elements.
Firm control without a harsh ride
Since these are sold as generic units (single piece, too), it’s highly recommended that you get in touch with the seller for compatibility (Monroe mentions that the 1999 – 2016 Ford F-350 Super Duty trucks are covered) and other questions like if this would work on a lifted truck and about the warranty. Monroe says that the product is made for mid to full-size applications and that it offers firm control of the truck without resorting to a harsh ride.
Other notable features include the aforementioned fluid capacity (2-inch reserve tube), lower operating pressure, an all-weather fluid that reduces friction, and a stronger iron piston for longer life, among other things. Its extended length is 31 inches, which is more than all three models mentioned above. That implies it should be a good fit in lifted trucks.
What do we think of it?
As an inexpensive replacement to the stock units, the Monroe Gas-Magnum truck shock absorber seems like a good choice.
- Longest when extended
Stock Replacements: Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorbers
- Brand New Set of Bilstein Monotube Shock Absorbers, 2 Fronts and 2 Rear
- Includes: | * 2 - Bilstein #24-186674 Front Shocks, 46mm | * 2 - Bilstein #24-185981 Rear Shocks, 46mm
- Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorbers and Struts are designed specifically to help your truck, van or SUV reach its pinnacle in ride performance and handling, while still providing the comfortable ride that has come to be expected from Bilstein
- A 4600 Series equipped vehicle offers superior control compared to conventional alternatives, allowing you to keep cargo secure, from your kids to work equipment, mile after mile | * Utilizing our patented design, the dampers allow the vehicle to glide over every type of road surface you may encounter while maintaining complete command at all times | * These dampers are the least expensive and most effective upgrade to extend the service life of any vehicle out on the road today
- Fits: | * Ford: | * 2005-2013 F-250 Super Duty, **4 Wheel Drive Only**, including FX4, XL, XLT, King Ranch, Lariat, Harley Davidson, Cabela's, and Platinum | * 2005-2013 F-350 Super Duty, **4 Wheel Drive Only**, including FX4, XL, XLT, King Ranch, Lariat, Harley Davidson, Cabela's, and Platinum | * 2008-2013 F-450 Super Duty, 2 & 4 Wheel Drive, including XL, XLT, King Ranch, Lariat, Harley Davidson, and Platinum
The Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorber set for the Ford F-350 Super Duty includes shock absorbers for both the front and the rear. Finished in yellow, these are also backed by a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects and premature wear. The 4600 Series is compatible with the four-wheel-drive versions of the Ford F-350 made in the model years 2005 – 2013.
The Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorbers are road-focused but designed to be a direct-fit upgrade to the original factory-spec suspension. Bilstein also mentions that the 4600 Series is only for trucks with stock ride height, which means if you’ve got a lift kit, this won’t work. An improvement in the ride quality and handling is promised with this set, and with the use of monotube design, one can also expect fade-free performance.
What do we think of it?
Its price won’t put you off but at the same time, it’s not the most feature-rich shock absorber, either. As a stock replacement, it works well, as it does not just improve the ride quality and handling (in comparison to the factory shocks), it also brings additional improvements to the table like fade-free performance, quick reaction to changing road surface, etc.
Since this is a set of front and rear shocks, you’ll need to pay attention to the compatibility. The front shocks can be used with the Ford F-350 Super Duty with the model years 2005 – 2016 whereas the rear shocks are compatible with trucks with the model years 1999 – 2016. You can send a message to the seller to know more.
- Good features for the price
- Not for lifted trucks
For Early Models: Gabriel Ultra Truck Shock
- Orifice Disk with variable nine-stage valving provides consistent oil flow
- G-Force technology for quicker response, improved product life, and consistent, reliable ride and control
- Stable Steer valving provides response from all four corners for a stable, safe ride
- G-Force piston is bonded iron construction for durability and longer life, along with the heavy duty compression head valve that withstands extreme impact
- This item is not for sale in Catalina Island
Made for the early model Ford F-350 Super Duty (essentially for the trucks made with model years 1999-2004), the Gabriel Ultra Truck Shock is said to improve the truck’s stability and handling response. Like the Monroe Gas-Magnum, the Gabriel Ultra Truck Shock for Ford F-350 Super Duty is available as individual units.
Better dynamic performance
It comes with a factory-design seal, G-Force technology that aids driving fun, and chromed piston rods for long life, among other things. All of these lend your Ford F-350 an improved tire contact, giving better control and dynamic performance from your truck. The total extended length of the shock is 31.6 inches, highest in this group of best shocks for Ford F350. And at 3.63 kg per unit, the Gabriel shock isn’t the heaviest.
What do we think of it?
For a little more money than the Monroe (which is the least expensive here), Gabriel offers a decent list of features. It’s made to upgrade the driving dynamics of your truck and users have also mentioned the improvement in the ride quality, in comparison to stock units. Please get in touch with the seller regarding the warranty.
- Improved driving dynamics
Final thoughts on the best shocks for F350 Super Duty
We’ve included a wide selection of products to make sure that you’ll find a product that will fit your needs. But if you’re looking for a specialized activity like off-road racing, you’ll need to look even further. These setups don’t require any modification to the truck. That means while you’ll get an improved suspension setup, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel while doing so.
The Bilstein 5100 Monotube Gas Shocks are great for someone looking at upgrading from the stock setup. It’s a step forward from the factory/factory-replacement shocks, but it also offers improved on-road performance. The Rancho RS5000 is like the Bilstein 5100 Monotube Gas Shocks but with slightly limited compatibility. It’s a very popular model and can handle some off-road use. Some users haven’t been too satisfied with the Bilstein 5100’s handling in off-road situations and the Rancho’s prone to rust as well. So unless that’s a one-off incident, you need to keep that in mind, especially if you live where rust is a big problem. Having said that, both are backed by a solid warranty, and we encourage you getting in touch with the seller for specific applications as well before making a purchase.
The Rancho RS9000XL, on the other hand, not only promises to be a long-lasting product, but it’s also the only adjustable one here. With a total of nine different damping levels to choose from, you can choose the exact damping profile for the job. And it’s not a whole lot more expensive than most other choices here. While the other two can be fitted on lifted trucks, this one is strictly for stock height.
The Monroe Gas-Magnum truck shock absorber is the least expensive here but offers the longest extended length second only to the Gabriel Ultra Truck Shock. The Gabriel one focuses on driving dynamics, can be fitted on older models, and also offers a good ride quality. If user reviews are to be believed, Bilstein is very close to the top in terms of overall ride and handling.
But there’s also another Bilstein, the 4600 Series. It’s not as feature-rich as the 5100 Series, is made strictly for trucks with no lift kits, and is also road-focused. It’s a direct-fit, factory replacement, so if you want a no-nonsense shock absorber, this might just be it.
Shock Absorber 101
Shock absorbers are designed to help reduce the free flight effect that cars would have when going over irregular surfaces. This means that even if you have a great suspension, your tires will leave the surface of the road when the roll over a rock or branch. The moment your tire leaves the surface of the road, you lose control over everything, including steering, braking, and acceleration. As such, it is highly important for both safety and control that you have the best shock absorbers installed on your vehicle, and for specific applications.
Remember, the suspension is one thing, shocks are another, and you cannot use a standard telescopic shock as a weight supporting suspension device. However, there are solutions to this conundrum for people that seek ways to reduce weight by incorporating hybrid devices. So, let’s take a look at the three types of shocks that vary in the level of support they offer your suspension.
Standard telescopic shock absorbers: these do not offer any replacement or support to your suspension. These are classic gas and oil filled tubes designed to keep your tires on the ground at all times. You can buy OEM replacements and upgrade them in the aftermarket too, all dependent on the performance and conditions you are seeking.
Strut type shock absorbers: these offer a little bit of support to your suspension system, as such, when you use these you actually add more comfort to your ride while maintaining a firm grip on the road. These are perfect for haulage and other heavy duty applications and are found on off-road vehicles due to their additional suspension support.
Spring seat shocks: These are full suspension replacement models, and can reduce the weight of your vehicle while adding exceptional suspension support. These have two applications, racing, where you reduce the weight of your vehicle, as well as for heavy duty off-road applications that require both the original suspension and these added suspension bearing shock absorbers.
When shocks fail, they deviate from serving their main purpose, and that is enabling the vehicle to be on the road at all times. The ride can be bouncy — to the point where you’ll still feel some movement after hitting a bump. The suspension can also emit ‘thud’ noises or even bottom out after hitting a bump.
Driving the vehicle with worn-out shocks will exhibit weird characteristics including an inability to take corners efficiently, moving around a lot when accelerating and braking, and being unable to ride as smoothly as before, among other things.
Best Shocks for F350 Super Duty by Year – 2000, 2004 & 2008
How to Change Shocks on F-350 Super Duty
- Jack + Jack stands
- Lug Wrench
- Relevant socket and wrench
- New shocks
- Penetrating oil
Clean the shock and mounts.
It’s ideal to clean the shock and mounts up first because there’s a good chance that the shock has been on the vehicle for years and thousands of miles. So it probably has a thick shield of residual dirt on it. Cleaning the mounts will make it easier for you to install the new shocks.
Lift the truck and remove the wheels.
Use the jack to lift the truck and then let it rest on the jack stand. Do it for individual wheels, if you don’t have an entire pit crew and a four-post lift helping you with this. This way you’ll be more efficient and will get done with the entire process easier. Remove the wheel to get access to the shocks.
Remove the old shocks.
Keep in mind that if the connecting bolts (that hold the shock in place) are old (which they quite possibly are), you can use the penetrating fluid to remove the rust. You might need to get a hammer to help remove the bolts but do that carefully so you don’t cause a misalignment in the suspension.
Each front shock is secured by two bolts — one at the top and the other at the bottom.
Once the top and bottom bolts are removed, the shock can be taken out from the suspension.
The rear shocks are also held by two bolts each. The top one is mounted on to the frame, and it might take some effort to access that. Remove the bolts and take the shock out
Install the new shocks
Installing new shocks is easy since you don’t have to struggle with worn-out parts — and since most new shocks use factory bolts and mounts. But keep in mind that new shocks will be difficult to compress, so take precautions when compressing them for the first time.
Before you slide the new shock in, you can spray the stud with a relevant silicon spray to make it easier.
Align the shock with the mounting points — this may require pressing the shocks — and screw the nuts back in
Once this is done, tighten the nuts. You can apply a thread locker to ensure the nut stays in place and doesn’t vibrate
Use the owner’s manual to check the torque specs for a secure fit
If the new shock has a rubber boot (some entry-level ones don’t), you’ll need to lock that in as well
And there you have it, new shocks installed without having to clear your entire wallet on labor charges
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