Shock upgrade for old BT50

#1
Hi,
First time poster here look for some advice on upgrading the shocks on my 2008 BT50.
I've had it for about 8 months now and is used probably 45% Hwy, 45% country roads and 10% offroad. Generally its pretty good on the hwy but not so great on the country roads. It seems that on continually rough surfaces it starts become a bit unsettled on corners and doesn't inspire confidence on these roads. Oddly enough it seems fine offroad and on dirt roads.

Current suspension is stock and the vehicle usually has minimal load - 2 adults, 1 child, 1 dog and sometimes some lightweight camping gear.

Main thing I am after is a bit more comfort and control on country roads.

So I've been doing some research and was thinking of keeping the stock springs and upgrading the shocks. Can anyone recommend some shocks that will likely improve comfort and control? I'm thinking EFS elites but not sure if these will be too firm.

Thanks,
BK
 

Ashbine

Active Member
#3
I run EFS elite shocks on my 2010 PK Ranger and very happy with the ride so would recommend them. These will solve the comfort and control issues you have.
 

Neddysmith

Active Member
#5
If your shocks on your current ride are shot, nearly anything will be an improvement, I had RidePro on an LN106 hilux and found them to be great, on my current PX Ranger i have Bilstein all round and these have been fantastic as well.
 

Ashbine

Active Member
#6
Just the sort of info I was after. How is the ride without any load?
Unloaded the ride is quite firm but I have heavy duty leaf springs as well. If you retain your current springs, as you indicated, I reckon you'll be fine. This is my second set of EFS Elites and springs. First set lasted close to 100,000 kms.
 
#7
Ok, I think I'll get the EFS shocks.
Would love Bilsteins but can't afford them right now and probably overkill for my use.
Cheers for the feedback everyone.
 
#9
#11
So, time for an update. I fitted them on Sunday and have only had a few short drives on them so far. The original shocks were not completely stuffed. The rears appeared to be fine. The fronts not too bad, but didn't rebound fully after being compressed, so had obviously lost a bit of pressure over time.

On to the new shocks
The good:
- Definitely more responsive under steering and braking
- More control on rough roads.

The bad:
- Noticeably stiffer and rougher riding. Definitely less comfortable than stock.

Overall, they seem to be a reasonable compromise between handling and comfort, but I'd probably prefer a bit more comfort.

I think I will give it a 1000km to see how things bed in, they seem to be softening up a little with use so part of the rougher ride could be tight seals and bushings which will hopefully loosen over time. Either that, or I'm getting used to it.

If the ride is still really firm after 1000km, I think I'll look into something closer to stock like KYB.
 
#13
Try running less pressure in your tyres..
Thanks, I'll give that a go as well. I am running 32psi and just checked and the recommended is 30 so that might help a bit too.

Part of the problem is probably that the last owner put on 18in rims so the tyres are a bit low profile (265r18-60). I already plan on changing these to 16's as the offset on the 18s is too much and they rub sometimes at full lock.
 
#14
have you tried to have the leaf springs reset?
if they are flat without load then they're sad and sorry.
I flipped the very short bottom leaf upside down when I used the vehicle to travel as a daily commuter it made a huge difference and softer ride,
We bought a caravan and I had extra leaves added to the stock set, unfortunately ride suffered.
Leaf springs can be progressive if they are setup correctly, long leaves are softer due to the spread from eye to shackle.
so when you see a set of leaf springs with gaps between each layer it will offer a softer ride.
as the load increases the layers contact the next for added support.
A compressed set is stiff from the get-go.
 
#15
Yeah they are fairly flat but I think this is pretty normal for this model (https://ssa.com.au/solutions/improved-suspension-mazda-bt50/ ). The spring doesn't need to compress much before the short bottom leaf comes into contact. You are right, it is probably contributing to the issue. I will have to have a look and see if it looks like its worth turning around the bottom leaf.

Anyway, I am getting used to the ride with the new shocks. It's still a bit too firm, but it has softened up a bit since first fitted. Its definitely safer with the improvement in steering and braking response, so a win overall.
 
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