Reclaiming Our Super Duty's Cargo Bay
Despite frequent use of the phrase "no compromise," we'd like to back up, just for a moment, and shed light on reality. Every truck is a compromise in one way or another. Trophy Truck? Sure, it's the ultimate machine for taming the desert, but owning a TT also means you'll need a tow vehicle, a trailer, and lots of cubic dollars. Stocker? Trucks fresh from the dealer bristle with creature comforts and factory warranties, but they're a long way away from the hard-core off-road performance that enthusiasts crave. Most of our trucks fall somewhere between these two extremes: neither TT nor stone stock.
Our '03 F-350 Super Duty had had its bed space compromised to make room for a burly bed cage, a spare tire, and a quartet of high-quality, 17-inch-stroke, Bilstein 9100s. The cool factor was high. The utility factor? Sub-zero. While many Super Dutys are adept dirt bike and ATV haulers, our SD could barely squeeze a single wet-noodle mountain bike between the maze of 'cage tubing and the 38-inch spare tire. We wanted our bed back, but we didn't want to miss out on the suspension performance that the Bilstein dampers had spoiled us with.
We were in luck. We learned that Bilstein had already addressed the needs of SD owners looking for a long-travel shock capable of bolting to the stock mounts. Since the stock lower shock mounts hang down in harm's way, and since we gravitate toward doing things the hard way, we made our own mounts.
After much measuring, cutting, grinding, welding, and thinking, we've got our bed back, we've got our ground clearance, and we've got a pair of specially valved long-travel Bilsteins controlling it all. In other words, we've found a better compromise.
The Easy Way
We like our custom mounts, but the Bilsteins can be easily bolted in place using the stock shock mounts.
2 each, 1 per side: Bugpack/Prothane PN 19920BL(This bushing replaces the upper spherical bearing)
4 each, 2 per side: Bilstein PN 423437(These reducer spacers fill the gap between the lower spherical bearing and the stock lower shock mount)