Due to what I perceived to be a degradation in handling characteristics, I decided to change out all four shock absorbers. All joints/bearings/springs seemed good and needed no extra attention. After considering KYB, Rancho, Bilstein, Motorcraft (about 1/2 the cost of others), and a couple I had never heard of, I opted for the Bilstein 4600HDs. I bought them off Ebay for about $7 bucks less than from the same vendor's Amazon site with only 1 day longer delivery time. Ordered Sunday, they arrived Thursday PM. I pulled the OEMs that morning, and confirmed that a change was due: When I collapsed the shocks, only the right rear seemed interested in recovering. Any new shock would have been an improvement. UPS dropped the new ones off about 4pm and I had them on before supper. A short test run this morning confirmed that good handling had returned. I did not check the measurements but I believe the truck actually rides an inch or so higher now; it seems I sit higher.
Notes: For the original Motorcraft shocks removal. Front--21mm wrench for the top nut, 20mm for the lower nut, and 18mm for the bottom mount. Rear--18mm for both ends. I needed a short extension to get at the top of the right rear (I have a Milwaukee 18v impact wrench), and an adjustable wrench for the head of the bottom bolts. I recommend dismounting the front tires. Removal of the fender liner is not needed. There is adequate room for the wrenches at the top of the front shocks.
Unlike some of the YouTube trucks, mine is virtually rust free, and the bolts were almost as clean as when they were first installed. 15 minutes soak with PB Blaster, and everything came apart easily.
Installation: Rear--Attached top first, then lined the shock up with the bottom mount and braced it with a large screwdriver. Then cut the strap and guided the mount in and inserted the bolt. Tightened the nuts and done.
Front--Again, attached the top first. Not as easy, but not bad. Bilsteins require a 1/4" hex key in the top of the rod and a 3/4" wrench for the nylon lock nut. I have a ratcheting wrench that works well for this. I tightened until the rubber bushings just bulged past the washers. You do have to make sure the bottom bushing goes into the frame hole. The fronts are not banded and will hang below the bottom mount. I'm old but not yet a total weakling, but I could not compress this shock; I also don't weigh 9000 lbs. A small jack and 6" piece of 2x4 worked to get the lower end matched up. Screwdriver moved it around to insert the bolt.
Time to put the included stickers on.
Bilstein is a German company, the importer is Thyssen-Krupp of America, and they are assembled in Mexico.