Rear air vs gas shocks? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 01-12-2014
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Rear air vs gas shocks?

I've tried to do some searching; guess air & gas are way to common words!

SO I just replaced the front shocks, now the body looks tilted, to the rear. And when I put any weight in the rear it sags pretty easily (or so I think, maybe the ranger is just a weak payload?) ie when loaded with about 200#'s at the tailgate end, you can visually see a dip, maybe 2-3" I didn't measure. It's not dragging, or bottoming out/hitting any hard stops, just looks sad.

I don't plan on ever loading a huge payload, or towing alot, in the future I see yard cleanup ie tree branches, trunks, etc. a few hundred pounds, maybe toting my 12' flatbed around the yard to load up with the same. A couple hundred pounds of softener salt, sand for traction, etc. (Any big job I'll use the 5.4 Expy!)

So i'd prefer ride quality first. It looks like gas & air pair for the rear are about the same price. Should I get air to help the loads, and run on the lower side until I need the help. or get gas, and eventually get the $$ for leafs/ leaf helpers?
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Old 01-12-2014
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umm well airbags can help for payload in the rear but a gas shock no matter how soft or stiff will not change ride height at all. Air shocks are a basically a type of coilover with no real benefit

to help clarify any shock you will buy is filled with oil and some are charged with gas to prevent cavitation either way will not efffect ride height or payload in the slightest. you need an add a leaf or airbags if you want it to stay level
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Old 01-12-2014
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I guess I meant air adjustable shocks vs standard shocks.

These Gabriel Hi Jackers/Shock/Strut - Rear (49223) | 1999 Ford Ranger 2WD 6 Cylinders V 3.0L Flex Fuel | AutoZone.com

I could air up to 'lift' the rear, at the sacrifice of ride quality right? Or will it ride about the same regardless of how 'full' you fill those shocks?
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Old 01-13-2014
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i cant speak from experience with those but the more air you put in the firmer it will get, same goes for springs ,the more leafs you add the firmer it will get but if you add more payload it wont ride any harsher.
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Old 01-13-2014
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So they will just help with payload? Not give me a little lift?

Someone installed some air shocks in my '66 'Stang, pumped them up & it lifted a little (to a normal ride height) As those leafs suck and always sag.
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Old 01-13-2014
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I am pretty sure the adjustable air shocks can be used to adjust ride height. As you increase the pressure they lift. Even most high pressure gas shocks will lift a vehicle a little bit. I have seen them lift anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 inch.

I have nitrogen pressure Carrera shocks on my race cars that do not lift but they have a special design to allow this. They also cost considerably more than street shocks.

I don't use air adjustable shocks because I don't think they work as well as a gas shock. I like to use gas shocks like Bilstein and add air bags if I need lift or adjustablilty to eliminate sag. Bags do wear out with age but so do shocks.
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Old 01-13-2014
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no gas shock marketed for a car/truck will lift it.. the piston flows through the charged gas and oil. no way to hold it up
even in a remote resi shock with an internal piston that separates the air/oil
IMO stay with what you have it will ride way better than any air shocks. Unless you were hauling hundreds of pounds all the time and then id suggest typical truck airbags.

Last edited by BLK02; 01-13-2014 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Not trying to be cynical but have you ever installed Bilstein or KYB high pressure mono-tube gas shocks. They are strapped in the compressed position and should be in position before cutting the strap. When the strap is cut they push out with significant force and if you miss the seating position it is very difficult to compress them again to get it in place.

Yes, the nitrogen gas is separated from the oil by a floating piston but the pressure is still applied to the oil to keep it from aerating. This pressure, up to 360 psi, tries to extend the shock and actually supports some of the vehicle weight. This result in the vehicle sitting slightly higher compared to using conventional non-gas shocks. Do some research and you will find I am not spreading BS.
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Old 01-14-2014
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yea my radflo shocks are the same way, no way will they even come close to altering ride height. it barely makes a difference in damping if i run 80psi or 300psi, the gas charge is just to prevent cavitation
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Old 01-14-2014
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Well I'm still torn. $50 for Gabriel (Middle of the price version) or $50 for Monroe Air shocks at Rockauto.

I do plan on putting occasional weight in the bed &/or trailer. Not much & or long distance.

I'm leaning toward an air shock; run on the low side for comfort; but know I can pump up when needed.

But for now; I temp fixed the optical illusion that the front sits higher than the rear (both fenders measured 31" at the top, but it still looked higher in the front)
I put a pair of 16"s on the rear
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Rear air vs gas shocks?-truck16s.jpg  
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Old 01-29-2014
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Well Advance Auto ran a coupon so I got the air shocks.
So far a world of difference; but again the old ones were beyond shot, can move them with almost no force at all.

Makes it ride better; still like a truck; but better than it was. Didn't think the rears would make that much difference in the ride.
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Old 01-31-2014
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OK, I have a part left over, 2 little plastic tubes. They were in individual brown bags at the bottom of the box. No mention of them in the instructions at all, way to weak to be part of the install (bolt spacer?), doesn't fit on the air T... ???
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Old 02-03-2014
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If your having issues with the bed dropping shocks will help but won't change ride height. If you find the bed still drops look at the springs. Air shocks are just a bandade for bad springs.
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