Gen2 Live Valve Full Stiffness Cause?

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TravisHTX

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I am a little stumped... I am hoping some of yall that have more knowledge on the subject than I, have some info that might help me troubleshoot this. From what I gather from searching for this issue, there are others that have had similar issues. But I don't recall seeing a definitive answer on the root cause. If we can figure this one out, hopefully it will help others when/if they have this issue. I will try to be as descriptive as possible for any future people who may read this trying to solve a similar problem (sorry if its a bit long winded)!

My 2019 with 36,000 miles (maybe 300 off road miles mostly beaches), it seems like the shocks are stuck at full stiffness, and got slowly worse over time. Since it's no longer in warranty, I am trying see if I can determine the problem versus just dropping it off at the dealer and letting them run up the bill.

I remember the ride being incredibly smooth when the truck was new, and aiming for potholes just to grin at how good the suspension was. When the truck had about 6k miles, I put Eibachs and +3HD Deavers on, the suspension was notably more stiff, but I don't recall it riding like a dump truck. Almost 30k miles later, getting tired of the harshness during on road use, I put the stock/OEM front springs back on, and replaced the leaf springs with +2SD Deavers. While the suspension softened up a little, it is pretty apparent its no where as smooth as it was when new. Small pot holes and speed bumps that I would have barely noticed when new, now jar the hell out of the truck.

In hindsight, I guess its a little like putting a frog in boiling water vs slowly heating it up. Its obvious to me now that a majority of the harshness of the ride I was getting annoyed with may not have been related to the Eibachs and HD Deavers.

From what I understand, the common areas for the system to fail and cause full stiffness would be the VDM module, wiring harness, solenoids, or the shocks themselves.

1) With Forscan, I checked for any DTCs, none.
2) Ran the ride height recalibration, no difference (tried several times).
3) Reset the VDM with the factory as built config values, no difference.
4) Re-ran the ride height recalibration after resetting the config values, no difference.
5) No matter the mode I put the truck in, sport, normal, baja, the suspension feels the same. I recall there being a pretty noticeable change when the truck was new.

After the ride height recalibration, front ride height sensors read 0mm +- 1mm, rear values read 0mm (no sensors on rear).

I am not sure if this is expected, when monitoring the live data from the VDM with forscan while on flat level pavement, I notice that no matter the mode I put the truck in, values always stay about the same. About 1.6 +- 0.05 amps, and 50% +- 5% duty cycle.

I don't think its the wiring harness, the resistance that the VDM is measuring according to Forscan is 5 ohms to each shock. Ran the self test in forscan for the VDM. No DTCs. If I unplug a shock, it will throw an error.

I don't hear any noticeable humming/noises coming from the solenoids. But I don't know how to rule these out as the cause.

I understand that at 36k miles I am kind of close to the specification for rebuilding the shocks, but then you have people on this forum reporting like 75k miles and barely noticing a difference, and if they do, its a softer ride, not a more harsh ride...

I am kind of at a loss to further narrow down the cause of the harsh ride.
 
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Kyle@Apollo-Optics

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From the way you are describing everything the factory shocks needs to be rebuilt. If you swapped out to new springs and the truck still rides ruff it’s the shocks.

The problem with people posting about “my shocks have 75K miles on them and are fine” Is if you put a brand new rebuilt shock in there they would be amazed how much the shock they thought was fine is really not. It’s hard to feel a shock get worn over time. It gradually degrades and you get used to it day in and out. A shock rebuild should be about $200 a shock.

I know I’m quite a bit harder on my truck than most, I rebuild my shocks every year.
 
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TravisHTX

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Thanks for the reply Kyle. I would agree since it appears the issue has been gradual over time, that it may be shock wear related. I guess I was just expecting the damping capability to be less, not more. I guess I will go ahead and bite the bullet on new/rebuild shocks.

Darn, I was hoping I would be in a good spot to drop the 7k on the fancy Fox shocks when it came time. But after paying for a new bulkhead, about to pay for floors for the entire house, and a 2 year old that my wife blows a ton of money on, that’s going to have to wait.

I would like to learn to rebuild the shocks, but I don’t have the time right now to do that. Know of any good places to rebuild them around Houston?
 

fordfreek

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I was having the same complaint with my 2020. Just didn't seem to ride near as smooth. Had 50k on my truck. Replaced the front shocks with no noticeable difference. My truck was 100% stock and was 98% highway miles. Small sharp bumps would hit hard and send shudders through the truck.
I guess I noticed it more after driving my wife's gen3. Ended up trading it in in January on a gen3, so I never resolved the issue.
 
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TravisHTX

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I was having the same complaint with my 2020. Just didn't seem to ride near as smooth. Had 50k on my truck. Replaced the front shocks with no noticeable difference. My truck was 100% stock and was 98% highway miles. Small sharp bumps would hit hard and send shudders through the truck.
I guess I noticed it more after driving my wife's gen3. Ended up trading it in in January on a gen3, so I never resolved the issue.


Yea, your story seems to be the most common I have read when searching through the forum for a similar issue. In most stories the dealer just throws parts at it. Or maybe there was a resolution, but the OP might not have gotten around to updating their thread with the answer.

I guess that is option 4. Buy a new truck! The wife would be pleased! Obviously that's a better choice than new floors.

Since the truck is out of warranty, I don't want to just keep throwing parts at it, hoping its the fix. I would rather drop the money on new shocks and E-Click, than the dealers bill me for swapping everything out one at a time. It seems like there is not many people who really understand well enough to properly diagnose this live valve system.

I am the kind of guy that likes to know why. Maybe one of the many much more experienced/knowledgeable people on here can teach me something. Why would these live valve shocks gets more stiff with wear? Is it specific to these live valve shocks, and the valve gets stuck? Is it general thing with all of these performance shocks, and the oil breaking down providing less lubrication? Or?

Another thing that I do not understand, which may be normal, when switching the drive modes on the truck, and monitoring the live data on Forscan, why does the duty cycle % not change? After changing the drive mode, I pull the truck forward like 20 feet or so (which seems to be enough for the VDM to wake up after startup), but it never changes. This question leads me to believe that this may be a VDM/control issue. Is my test not sufficient?
 

Rick at FMS

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My GEN2 has 38k miles on it but to be honest, I was never really that impressed with the Live Shocks when running off-road. I first changed them out to the FRS 3.0's and it was better but not like I was expecting. Then I shipped my FRS to e-clik and had them revalved (the FRS have a different spring rate so it's recommended) and then I finally noticed a difference and I really like how the truck performs now. On yours it does sound like something is going on with the VDM and wondering if you could find a buddy with a GEN2 and just swap the module to see if it makes a difference.

But if you decide to try FRS with E-click we have a very attractive priced package deal that we offer FRF members. You can read about it here:
 
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TravisHTX

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My GEN2 has 38k miles on it but to be honest, I was never really that impressed with the Live Shocks when running off-road. I first changed them out to the FRS 3.0's and it was better but not like I was expecting. Then I shipped my FRS to e-clik and had them revalved (the FRS have a different spring rate so it's recommended) and then I finally noticed a difference and I really like how the truck performs now. On yours it does sound like something is going on with the VDM and wondering if you could find a buddy with a GEN2 and just swap the module to see if it makes a difference.

But if you decide to try FRS with E-click we have a very attractive priced package deal that we offer FRF members. You can read about it here:

I would certainly be interested in the cost for your option 1 (FRS and e-click), and option 2 (OEM and e-click). Those would be very tempting options to consider.

With option 2, does the price change if I provided new OEM shocks for the re-valve vs shocks needing a rebuild?


Short of finding a buddy to swap VDMs with, anybody with a 19 or 20 Gen2 willing to take the time to hook up to Forscan and monitor the VDM live data to see if the duty cycle values change between drive modes?
 

BigTaco

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It’s the shocks needing to be rebuilt. Stiff ride is the first thing you notice after about 40k or so. Spent a good amount of time talking to Fox about this. As the seals wear and the oil breaks down ( Fox told me the oil emulsifies as wear occurs). This can also cause the solenoids to buzz as well. Anything with the VDM will throw a wrench light on your dash.

New OEM live valves are about $2K for a set. I’m looking at my options for my 2020 with 45K miles.
 
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TravisHTX

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It’s the shocks needing to be rebuilt. Stiff ride is the first thing you notice after about 40k or so. Spent a good amount of time talking to Fox about this. As the seals wear and the oil breaks down ( Fox told me the oil emulsifies as wear occurs). This can also cause the solenoids to buzz as well. Anything with the VDM will throw a wrench light on your dash.

New OEM live valves are about $2K for a set. I’m looking at my options for my 2020 with 45K miles.

Ah, oil emulsifying would explain it. Good info!

Now here is another question I don't think I have seen an answer to. Anyone know the expected rebuild interval on the FRS compared to the OEM shocks?
 
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