“Shock absorbers, commonly referred to as shocks, are devices that come installed standard on your vehicle that helps to provide a smooth ride. They also serve to help keep the vehicle under control by helping the tires stay in contact with the road by allowing the body of the vehicle to move freely. When your shocks are in good repair you’ll experience a smoother, more comfortable ride in a vehicle that’s easier to control and safer to drive.”
Unfortunately by the time you notice there’s a problem its almost always long past time to replace these parts, so regular checkups are essential. Every model of Ford Ranger has different needs when it comes to their shocks, and I’ve included shocks from some of the most popular years below.
List & Comparison of Replacement Shocks For Ford Ranger:
|Photo||Product||Shock position||Drivetrain||Ride Height||Details|
|Belltech 8000||Front Left|
|Gabriel 43167||Front Left|
4 X 2
|Skyjacker B8560||Rear Left|
|Belltech 10103I||Front Right|
|Superlift 85150||Rear Left|
|Bilstein 24-188258||Rear Left|
Since the invention of the shock drivers everywhere has been able to enjoy a smoother and more relaxed ride. Shocks help to absorb the impact that is experienced when your car hits a pothole or a bump in the road and provide your suspension springs with the support that helps to dampen their movement and reduce bouncing.
If you’ve been noticing that your vehicle isn’t traveling as smoothly as it used to or that you’re experiencing greater difficulty controlling it while it’s on the road the source of the problem may lay in your shocks or struts.
Review of the Best Replacement Shocks For Ford Ranger:
Belltech 8000 — 2000 Ford Ranger Shocks
Made by Belltech, a subsidiary of KW automotive, these shocks come from a line of great products by one of the world leaders in automotive parts. This model has a valve train that is cavitation free and ensures that air won’t reduce the effectiveness of your shock absorbers.
The dust boot ensures that the shock won’t be affected by dirt or grime getting in and gumming it up. Designed to fit the 2000 Ford Ranger these shocks are built to last with oversized external and internal construction.
My experience with these revealed that they provide a smooth ride, especially when the vehicle was under a lighter load. The construction was sound and it stood out as an example of the quality you can expect from Belltech.
- Valve Train Free From Cavitation
- Long Lasting Durability
- Included Rubber Mounts Are OEM Quality
- Cleaner environment thanks to dust boot
- Designed for the Ford Ranger 2000
- Made by a leader in shock absorber technology
Gabriel 43167 — 2004 Ford Ranger Shocks
These shocks come with advanced support technology utilizing both spring and shock resistance to provide a smooth ride even under heavy loads. The design ensures that your ride height is maintained while improving stability without breaking the bank.
Each pair of rear springs provides 500lb of load support, though you should never go over the GVWR of your vehicle. These shocks operated exactly as they indicated on the tin, and the stiffer ride I described above was present while the truck was riding empty.
Loading a few hundred pounds of gravel in the back had a substantial impact on the smoothness of the ride, actually improving it as we added weight until it got into a sweet spot. Great experience with a great product, I’d recommend them for those who need a little extra support for their 2003 Ford Ranger.
- Dual system support for a smooth ride
- Additional load capacity with rear shocks
- Durable and long-lasting
- Effective and reliable
Skyjacker B8560 — 1992 Ford Ranger Shocks
These shocks are built with an advanced design including foam-cell technology and are specifically designed to meet the needs of individual vehicles. The multi-stage valving provides an incredibly smooth and comfortable ride while the greater fluid capacity ensures it can easily dissipate heat.
The high strength mounts are both arc welded and have directional mounting in 180 degrees. The shaft is constructed with a twin-tube design that sports a shaft that’s chrome plated.
- Multi-stage valving that is specific to each vehicle
- Top of the line foam-cell technology
- Chrome shaft with twin tube construction
- Additional heat dissipation
- 180 degree directional mounting
Belltech 10103I — 2001 Ford Ranger Shocks
Another offering from Bellshock designed for the 2001 Ford Ranger these shocks is perfect for a truck that sticks to the roads. They feature advanced damping control due to their oversized construction that makes them one of the best performing shocks from the Bellshock line.
They’re guaranteed to fit your vehicle and are perfect for trucks sporting tire and wheel packages that are on the larger side whether they’re aftermarket or OE. My experience with these shocks involved an over-the-road trip to my relatives in Washington from my home in North Carolina, and I couldn’t have been happier with their performance.
The ride was smooth and painless, and I easily faded off to sleep in the passenger seat even when we were traveling over less maintained roads. An excellent choice for those who stick to town and city driving.
- Oversized Construction
- Vehicle specific fittings
- Enhanced damping control for a smoother ride
Superlift 85150 — 1993 Ford Ranger Shocks
These shocks are a great choice if you’re opting to lift your truck, and were my first choice for wrapping up that suspension upgrade I had planned. Optimized for ensuring that the shocks have the right travel length, they provide an unbelievable ride even in a vehicle with high suspension.
The control they exert over the ride is in part thanks to the 10-stage valving system that’s velocity-sensitive, which results in a ride that is smooth and comfortable on the road or off it. They’re specifically intended for trucks that have no more than 12” of lift, so keep that in mind when you pick up your set.
- 10-stage valving system with velocity sensitive feature
- Optimized for up to 12” of lift
- Smooth ride on lifted trucks
- Optimized for off or on road travel
Bilstein 24-188258 — 2008 Ford Ranger Shocks
When I picked these up, I was looking to test shocks that were cost-effective and suitable for the truck I was working on. Overall they offer a great ride through some may find the bounce in the rear a bit more than they counted on.
They were incredibly easy to mount on the truck and did provide an acceptable ride, especially considering my requirements. My experience with them revealed them to be a quality piece of equipment that was more than suited to the task at hand.
After thousands of miles of travel, they continued to function well and I would buy another set of them in the future.
- Sturdy design
- Respected designer
- Smooth ride
- Cost effective
How To Change The Rear Shocks For 2003 Ford Ranger
If you’re an experienced mechanic then you won’t find changing out your shock to be too difficult. The overall process is pretty straightforward. You simply have to release the shock from the axle and frame by unbolting it and attach the new shock by bolting it to the top and bottom mount (in that order).
The bolts for the bottom mount are a different size than the top mount, a fact that often throws those new to this project. If you experience issues getting the old shock to come out lubricating the bushings with a product like WD-50 often helps.
One critical step along the way, do not cut the plastic strap holding the shock closed until you already have the top of the shock bolted into place and are ready to get it aligned with the bottom mounts. This plastic strap keeps the shock compressed and it can be extremely difficult to get it re-compressed.
These steps should make the process relatively simple if you have the right equipment. You can also find lots of videos online to help you learn how to properly install a new set of shocks.
How To Pick Ford Ranger Shocks
When you set out to pick a new set of shocks for your truck you’re going to quickly discover that there’s a lot of different kinds out there at different prices. As you go through them you’ll hear about Heavy Duty Shocks, Gas Shocks, Standard Shocks, overload shocks, air shocks, even Automatic level-control shocks.
With all these choices how do you know which one is going to be right for your needs?
- Gas Shocks: These are the shocks that usually come standard with any vehicle. They’re oil-sealed and filled with nitrogen gas and are especially good for smaller cars that bounce a lot.
- Standard Shocks: If you didn’t get gas shocks with your vehicle you’re likely to get these instead. They’re a very basic form of shock that will likely not last beyond 100,000 miles.
- Heavy Duty Shocks: A common option on larger trucks, SUVs, and vans these are specifically configured for vehicles that will be carrying a larger load. They tend to provide a stiffer ride, but as the load on them increases they’ll even out to a smoother experience.
- Automatic Level-Control Shocks: These are a versatile form of shock that has a built-in air pump that works to ensure that the weight distribution on your vehicle is even. They are commonly only found on luxury vehicles but provide an incredible ride.
- Air Shocks: These are essentially a set of manually adjustable shocks that otherwise function like the automatic ones above.
- Overload Shocks: These shocks are intended for vehicles that spend a lot of time in rough terrain and are equipped with additional support from a spring around the shock itself.
If you don’t know what kind of shock your truck has you should either speak to the person who sold you the truck or gets under there and looks for information on the shock itself. If you’re replacing your shocks then your primary concern will be on which of these are the right one for your needs, and that starts by making sure they fit your make and model of truck.
This list is hardly comprehensive; there are hundreds of models of shocks out there that are suited to fit just about any vehicle you care to name. Each of them will come with their benefits and drawbacks, but these are the ones I found that provided the best value and ride experience in the conditions I tested the truck in.
If you’re looking for shocks, just make sure that you look into manuals and take the time to identify which features you need to suit the uses you have for your vehicle. Shocks also serve as a great project for the newer mechanic with access to the appropriate tools. They’re not hard to install so long as you follow the steps and take your time to get it right.
The right pair of shocks can provide for an incredible ride, and make sure you don’t waste valuable time in the garage when you could be out pursuing life.