New shocks transformed my truck

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1,204
Location
Missouri
My 2003 Silverado has 36K miles on it. I towed 2 28' racing sailboats stacked on a trailer over 2000 miles last week. The boats weigh 1000 lbs each, the aluminum trailer 500-600. All up with other gear likely about 3000 lbs total. Not heavy but decent wind drag. Over $100K in the boats, so you got to be careful. Never really noticed a poor ride with the original shocks, just noticed with the trailer in some rough construction zones with lane shifts, I would have liked more control and better damping. Most cars I've ever had don't need suspension replaced that early, but have wanted some better shocks for a while. Thought about some KYB, but wanted Bilsteins. Didn't want to be penny wise and pound foolish, I installed Bilstein Heavy Dutys the other day. They are great and would have made my truck more enjoyable had I replaced the cheapy OEM shocks a long time ago. My truck doesn't have the Z71 package, which comes with some type of Bilsteins, maybe with different valving than the aftermarket shocks. I've concluded the OEM shocks were junk the day they were installed.
 
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4,021
Location
New England
The HD Bilsteins I had on my truck went for over 200k miles and still felt better than the "comfort" Bilsteins I replaced them with. The HD units are very nice and worth the slightly more money, in my opinion.
 
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13,256
Location
North Carolina
I've trying to decide what shocks to put on the avalanche. It's a Z-71 so it has bilsteins from the factory.I have heard good things about the gabriel ultra. As my truck is pretty heavy at 5800lbs, i can't imagine the ultras being too stiff as they might on a lighter vehicle. The ultras are buy 4 get a rebate for one back. But then again i know that bilsteins are good.
 

ledslinger

Thread starter
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1,204
Location
Missouri
Originally Posted By: spasm3
I've trying to decide what shocks to put on the avalanche. It's a Z-71 so it has bilsteins from the factory.I have heard good things about the gabriel ultra. As my truck is pretty heavy at 5800lbs, i can't imagine the ultras being too stiff as they might on a lighter vehicle. The ultras are buy 4 get a rebate for one back. But then again i know that bilsteins are good.
Buddy of mine has a 2001 Z71 and decided to replace the shocks when he put new tires and wheels on. Got some Gabriel or Monroe and immediately hated them. Got Bilsteins immediately and they've gone over 100K now.
 

JDW

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665
Location
South
Bilsteins expensive but the best IMO Have them on the back of the bird helps much with traction .
 
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24,207
Location
CA
Bilsteins are great shocks, be beware of the "new shocks effect" that wears off after a few thousand miles. It's just like new shoes - they feel ridiculously comfy for the first week or so, and then the newness wears off. Same goes for shocks and struts.
 
Originally Posted By: spasm3
I've trying to decide what shocks to put on the avalanche. It's a Z-71 so it has bilsteins from the factory.I have heard good things about the gabriel ultra. As my truck is pretty heavy at 5800lbs, i can't imagine the ultras being too stiff as they might on a lighter vehicle. The ultras are buy 4 get a rebate for one back. But then again i know that bilsteins are good.
+1 for Gabriel Ultras, almost unbeatable for the price. I got 2 front struts and 2 rear shocks for $155 brand new, and fitted them myself so yeah thats all it cost me all up. They lifted the car about half inch but it was noticable and I haven't bottomed it out since, which used to happen on a daily basis! Also the handling is spot on, way better than the OEM Monroe (isn't Gabriel part of Monroe?) ones Ford used, but they were around 100,000 miles old. From what I read about them they are very durable too
 
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19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
Bilsteins are great but costly. OEM on my car and probably as good as it gets. But we use Gabriel Ultra now exclusively on our fleet trucks. Fabulous price, great ride, super guarantee....
 
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2,217
Location
socal
I would have gone bilsteins for my s10 but could not beat the price for Gabriels. My s10 is used for mostly commuting, no regular towing or hauling.
 
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4,116
Location
Central Virginia
From what I've noticed, it's worth the little extra for heavy duty shocks regardless of the brand. I put NAPA HD Gas Grande shocks on my old Dodge 1500 and they took all the bounce and harsh ride out of the truck. Truck went from a horrible ride to the best riding truck I had ever been in.
 
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Messages
184
Location
Indy
Originally Posted By: 19jacobob93
Originally Posted By: spasm3
I've trying to decide what shocks to put on the avalanche. It's a Z-71 so it has bilsteins from the factory.I have heard good things about the gabriel ultra. As my truck is pretty heavy at 5800lbs, i can't imagine the ultras being too stiff as they might on a lighter vehicle. The ultras are buy 4 get a rebate for one back. But then again i know that bilsteins are good.
+1 for Gabriel Ultras, almost unbeatable for the price. I got 2 front struts and 2 rear shocks for $155 brand new, and fitted them myself so yeah thats all it cost me all up. They lifted the car about half inch but it was noticable and I haven't bottomed it out since, which used to happen on a daily basis! Also the handling is spot on, way better than the OEM Monroe (isn't Gabriel part of Monroe?) ones Ford used, but they were around 100,000 miles old. From what I read about them they are very durable too
A shock that lifts the car a half inch? Never seen such a thing.
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
^^^Well, then you must have never replaced shocks on an old tired car or truck. The Gabriel Ultras mentioned above are gas charged, and I had to use a jack to compress mine into position to bolt them down. Very high pressure gas charged shocks do indeed lift some cars...
 
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6,167
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
During the oil change last weekend, I noticed my rear tires were cupped on the Vue. I'd thought about changing the shocks before (rear only, struts front), and just ordered some KYB gas-a-just. Wanted a mono-tube and to avoid Monroe, so I'm taking a chance that these will fit (spec'd for a sister-car Equinox, which uses all the other same shock p/ns, so I don't foresee a problem) Hoping new shocks will solve my tire wear problem and provide a better ride when loaded down with camping gear...
 
Messages
184
Location
Indy
^^^^ I've replaced many shocks/struts. I still don't believe the Gabriel Ultras caused an increased ride height. Maybe until the vehicle is driven. I agree there are shocks that CAN increase RH a very small amount, but I prefer coilovers for that purpose.
 
Originally Posted By: 951Indy
^^^^ I've replaced many shocks/struts. I still don't believe the Gabriel Ultras caused an increased ride height. Maybe until the vehicle is driven. I agree there are shocks that CAN increase RH a very small amount, but I prefer coilovers for that purpose.
I'm guessing you drove this car for years on old tired struts and then again after replacing them right? Nope. The wheels used to be almost under the arch and the car used to bounce like a basketball if you pushed the hood down. I replaced the struts and shocks (and as mentioned they are high pressure gas charged) and yes it noticably lifted the wheels out of the arch back to a more original state. Sitting in the car you were looking more upright that downwards as before, and obviously the car is more taught and not bounce any more. Having covered tens of thousands of miles in this car i instantly feel any slightest change in anything, even the slight ride height when i have a low tire so of course i'm going to feel half an inch To be fair I have no idea how either as i understand their purpose is to dampen the load on the springs
 
Messages
184
Location
Indy
The Gabriel engineers and I are both wrong, then. I only have 500,000KM on the car I drive every day, so I understand the slightest change, also. It is on its 3rd aftermarket shocks/struts, but I've never noticed a difference in ride height. Are you sure the Ultras were the correct shock for this application?
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
Just a minute. let's think about this. The Ultras are gas charged, as are many shocks these days. When you cut their cord they extend and do it powerfully, albeit slowly. How is it so difficult for you to understand that this extremely high pressure charge could lift a smaller lightweight car or truck? I put a set on my Daughter's Mazda/Ranger and it raised her ride height, too. Not a lot, but noticeable...
 
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9,798
Location
Ontario, Canada
Interesting, I just got a set of KYB rear shocks for the tracker, and they might need 30-40lbs of force to compress them. That's about the difference between an empty tank and full one in the tracker, which I can notice when driving, but never really looked at the ride height.
 
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