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1995 Ford F-350 Suspension Upgrade - Shock Therapy

Giving Your Truck This Little Suspension Upgrade Could Gain It A Much Smoother Ride

KJ Jones
Apr 16, 2015
Photographers: KJ Jones
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed (well, honestly, it’s almost impossible to not notice) and have come to really appreciate about most heavy-duty pickups, it has to be the great strides manufacturers have made in improving the driveability and overall ride quality of their ¾- and 1-ton rigs.
Through shock absorbers with vehicle-specific valving and springs (leaf or coil) with similarly determined tension ratings (by a truck’s weight, estimated payload, and such), many of today’s heavy-duty units are able to ride like luxury sedans without compromising their ability to tow or tote serious loads.
This evolution of truck suspensions confirms for us that there definitely was a time when such compliance was either given a lot less concern by manufacturers, or reviewers were being more than charitable when larger pickup trucks were said to offer a “comfortable” ride. Be it because of their springs and/or shock absorbers or other rigid chassis components, diesel rigs of the early ’90s truly did “ride like trucks,” with stiffness that nearly forced a need for wearing kidney belts as protection from the inevitable jostling that came with long trips.
Photo 2/36   |   Saul “The Surgeon” Gutierrez of Gear Driven Automotive cinches down a bolt on a Sulastic Rubber Spring leaf-spring shackle, installed along with a full set of Rancho Performance Suspensions’ adjustable shock absorbers, as part of an affordable ride-improvement makeover on our 1-ton ’95 Ford F-350.
This tech effort, highlighted by Sulastic Rubber Springs’ leaf-spring shackles and a quartet of application-specific, adjustable shocks from Rancho Performance Suspension, shines light on a simple and relatively inexpensive way to enhance an older, leaf-spring rig’s ride quality, and also improve its ability to perform as a reliable workhorse.
The recipient of this upgrade is once again Editor KJ Jones’ ’95 F-350 (a dualie Staff Editor Trevor Reed desperately wants to officially name “Project Big White” at this point): a 7.3L-powered tow and driven-just-because vehicle that could be the poster rig for the “rides-like-a-truck” notion.
Photo 3/36   |   Yes, these pieces really are leaf-spring shackles. Sulastic’s unique pieces (PN SA-06HD; $380) are available through
The following photos and captions explain why this is so, and they also detail the features of the new suspension components and the steps Saul “The Surgeon” Gutierrez of Gear Driven Automotive in Northridge, California, is taking to properly install them.
While it’s important to acknowledge up front that we know the results of upgrades like this—impressions of ride improvement or a lack thereof—are largely subjective, we truly feel our test truck has benefited immensely from the suspension makeover.
This upgrade can be applied to any brand of ¾- or 1-ton pickup with rear leaf springs. Installing quality shocks and having the ability to dial in ride softness or firmness will help eliminate a “trucklike/stiff” ride for an older heavy-duty rig and also improve its handling at local cruising and/or freeway speeds.

Sources

Rancho Suspension
Monroe, MI 48161
734-384-7804
www.gorancho.com
Toyo Tires
800-442-8696
www.toyotires.com
Sulastic Rubber Springs
San Antonio, TX 78258
210-492-4469
www.sulastic.com
Weld Wheels
Kansas City, MO 64101
800-788-9353
www.weldracing.com
Norcal Truck
www.norcaltruck.com
Gear Driven Automotive
818-678-6500
www.geardrivenautomotive.com

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