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Adjustable Shocks Discussion


Shocks:  All shocks are at best a compromise to varying off road/on road, and speed conditions.

However shocks are most often treated as the stepchild of suspension systems.  Keyword is "systems".

Shocks can cause Death Wobble, by the same token shocks can cure it [assuming shocks caused it].

Jeeps and Jeepers who go off road put a different demand on shocks than most folks.  Looking at a trip to Table Mesa from Phoenix can illustrate this.  You leave out from you home driving across neighborhood speed bumps and streets in good condition at speeds of 30 mph.  You find you way to major city 3 lane streets where the speed picks up and you begin dodging you way thru traffic, hitting the brakes hard and swiveling thru the lanes like a running back with a bad hip joint.  This places lots of lateral and varying weight transfer forces on the shocks.

Now pulling up on I 17 your speed climbs to 70 mph and the shocks start dancing to road bumps and unevenness trying to smooth out the ride.  You arrive at TM air down and start running the trails with their rocks causing extreme amounts of travel and the shock trying to absorb brutal amounts of rapid compression as the Jeep drops off a waterfall.  All the while the shocks doing their best to absorb the brutality of the impacts and at the same time struggling to provide a decent ride.

As the shock interacts with the ever changing outside forces the reality of Newton's 3rd law of motion sets in...for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In essence its the shocks job to mitigate that equal and opposite reaction.  In absorbing and mitigating the input it changes some input into heat and passes the rest on and into the suspension.

Show me a shock that does all of this well and with out compromise.  Don't bother to look you won't find one.

But wait, not all is lost there is hope and even a mitigating solution:  Adjustable shocks!  And here you can stack shock performance in your and the Jeep favor somewhat.  There are several brands to pick from so you might examine or ask around.  That said I run Rancho RS 9000X 9 way adjustable shocks and am quite pleased with their performance and the ability to tailor the shock parameters to conditions.

If you want to really up the ante then add the Rancho in cab adjustable shock component whereby you can literally dial in any shock adjustment level from 1-9 on the Rancho adjustable shocks.

Here is an example of what an adjustable shock can do:

"On the last day in Pritchett Canyon, I snapped a Currie AntiRoc driver’s side sway bar control arm.  The result was I disconnected the other side and now was driving without an effective sway bar.  Fine for the trail, but how would this affect the 500-mile trip back to Scottsdale.  

  I have driven locally without a sway bar en-route the car wash and I know it is a dodgy ride at best and just plain dangerous on the highway at speed.  The thought was to push the speed until I felt uncomfortable and if need be spend the night making it a two-day trip.  Much to my surprise the highway, handling was very good and by adding several increases in tighter shock valving I was able to drive home at speed safely.  Truly a test of the springs and shocks and one in which they passed with excellence.

Rest of the write up/pics here

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