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Long travel shocks for 4

Discussion in 'OffRoad Design' started by 87GMCJimmy, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. 87GMCJimmy

    87GMCJimmy 1/2 ton status

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    I'm currently putting on a ORD 4" lift and am looking into doing the long travel shock install at the same time. I read the tech article on it an it looks fairly straight forward. There is even a shop that has a bolt in rear upper shock mount if I don't want to make one myself. I just wondering what shocks to use. The tech article k5 used rancho 9012's, ORD's truck used bilstein's before the coil over. I just wondered what people thought of these shocks or other shocks that could be used.

    Thanks
     
  2. 55Willy

    55Willy 3/4 ton status

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    Pick up a copy of the January 4W&OR. they do a shock test between 8 different brands.

    <font color=red>Life is like a mud hole:</font color=red><font color=blue>
    When the S#!T gets deep, you have to keep moving and friends can always pull you out</font color=blue>
    55 Willy's
     
  3. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Fellow CK5-er Esteban uses a set of long-travel ProComp 3000s...from what I understand they have 1/2" or an inch more travel than the R9000s. No doubt the R9000 is a good shock...but its also pretty spendy, by comparison. Personally, I'd rather put that $ somewhere else.

    J


    See the on-going build up of my '85 Jimmy! http://community.webshots.com/user/jekbrown
     
  4. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Shock quality is just about proportional to the $ spent. The shock test in the mag is some good info, but one thing to keep in mind there is a lot of those shocks are kind of a "one size fits all" valving, so just because they felt too soft on the huge ford doesn't translate directly to too soft on your K5.
    if you're up for spending the cash, i think you'd be happy with a set of bilsteins or fox's, etc. They're very durable, you can get them in 14" travel, and valving options are just about unlimited (for our use anyway.) I'd consider them especially if you drive long distance on rough roads since they'll be more fade resistant and give more consistant ride. We go on some camping trips that are just rough dirt and gravel roads and after about 10 miles the higher quality shocks are definitely welcome.
    But...the high pressure gas shocks are longer so you're mounts must be farther apart than an equivalent 14" travel shock from rancho or pro-comp, a 12" bilstein interchanges somewhat close with a 14" travel rancho.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     
  5. 87GMCJimmy

    87GMCJimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Just read a bunch of info. about the bilstein's and they sound like a good shock. Many 4 wheel trips that I go on are a long drive on a dirt road with a little 4-wheeling in the middle. I don't mind spending the money to get the truck setup really nicely but the more I spend now the longer I have to wait for the next upgrade. The bilsteins have a 5100,6100,7100,and 9100 off road shock at about 70,120,180, and way to much money each respectively. For a dailey driver/weekend warrior truck, would I notice the difference between 51,61,71 series shocks. The 51's description was for off-road and the 61's and 71's seemed to be more race minded.
     
  6. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    I'm not that familiar with the bilstein line, i know I used the 12" non-res takeaparts, don't know the number or remember the valving, but I know the rebound was stiff. A little too stiff for the 12 bolt, worked better with the 14 bolt rear. With the lighter axle the shocks were holding the tires up instead of letting them drop into holes.
    The base model shocks are probably the 5100's and are still a monotube shock just like the rest. i think this is what come on the Z-71 option trucks. They would probably do the trick for what you're after. Once again, you get what you pay for but you probably don't need reservoirs. Or rather you will know for sure when you do. With the lower price shocks, you might get something that will use the factory mounts, or a factory type mount, with the others you get spherical rod ends that can require slightly modified mounts. I think the bushing ends would be more durable for a lot of on-road use also. The spherical ends tend to corrode in nasty conditions and work loose, then they rattle and annoy you.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     
  7. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I've been doing some research on "long travel" shocks so I'll chime in with what I've learned recently.

    The Rancho 9012 has a maximum extension of 32.25" and a maximum compression of 19.0". To the best of my understanding....the proper way to set up the shock position is to mount it so that while your truck is level (not flexing!) the shock is exactly 1/2 way between those two values. That way, you will get an equal amount of compression and extension. In the case of the 9012....you need to get the mounting points 25.625" apart.

    Because the 9012 is such a LONG shock...most guys have to resort to installing it a fairly extreme angles to get it to fit. Shocks lose effectiveness as they become angled. A shock mounted at a 30 degree angle is only 86% effective...and if you mount it at 45 degrees it's effectiveness drops to only 70%. Most of the installations I've seen look like they're approaching that 45 degree angle, so they are losing about 30% of the damping that would be there if the shock was mounted completely upright.

    Another thing that happens is that most folks put the lower mounting point for the shock on the "inside" of the spring pad mounts. In most cases, this is something like 12" away from the wheel (the heavy stuff you're trying to dampen) which I believe is also "costing you" some shock effectiveness.

    Here's what I am planning to do:

    Buy a <font color=red>Rancho 9008</font color=red> shock instead. Extension: 27.75" Compressed: 13.625"

    This shock actually has MORE travel than the 9012 (14.125" vs. 13.25") and the overall length is a lot shorter so it's easier to fit under the K5....and with LESS mounting angle! The "mounting point length" (on a level surface) is 20.688" which is a LOT easier to mount almost straight up &amp; down.

    I would really appreciate hearing from Mr. Watson on whether this logic makes sense....I have drawn out the entire rear suspension on graph paper, and simulated the "arc of travel" for the axle and diagrammed the shocks' positions to check everything out. It does SEEM to be a better solution....with a more effective use of the shock in an upright position.

    FWIW.... [​IMG]



    -Greg72

    '72 K5 Blazer - 427BB/TH350/NP205/6" Lift/35x12.50's
    <font color=blue>See it here: </font color=blue><a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38>http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38</a>
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I'm in the market for 4" lift shocks as well. Someone here or on POR was talking up Deutch-Tech or something like that. Never heard of them, any thoughts?

    Those 9008s sound sweet, thanks for the info!

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Some day: 4" lift, 44" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  9. chvyhs

    chvyhs 1/2 ton status

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    I did the Ford shock mount on my Sub. I ended up getting the ProComp ES3000. It has a fully extended length of 29". After putting the lift springs I took off all of the shocks, the front brake lines, and disconected the swaybar. Then I lifted one front tire until the back tire started comming off the ground. That gave me 29 1/4"s. I never measured the fully compressed distance, I had to leave for a family trip the next day. I haven't had any problems yet.

    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/chvyhs>WebShot Pics</a>
     
  10. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    OK, we basically have 2 modes to take care of here, body roll/articulation and straight up and down travel. Up and down is easy, one single stiff shock in the middle would take care of that, but it's not too practical. Body roll is where it gets tough. As greg said, everyone wants to mount the shocks to the middle of the truck, but you end up with less and less roll damping when you do that. The farther away from the wheel you go and the more you angle them the less effective they are. You can mount more shocks to counter this but that will make the vertical ride stiff.
    The ideal is a shock mounted just inside the tire and running straight up. This is most effective, any variation from this ideal takes away from the ability of the shock to control the load. Worst case is a truck with the shocks really angled, mounted close to the center of the axle and carrying a roofrack or other high mounted weight. It's going to let the body roll really quick so it's not going to be too comfortable.
    Given that we can't have this ideal all the time we do have to vary, but keep it in mind as you're swapping around shocks and mounts.

    On the mounting length, mounting in the center of the travel is OK on a shock that you know will have more travel than the suspension but a more effective way to do it may be to mount your bumpstops first and then build the shockmount so that it leaves just a little shock shaft showing after it's fully bottomed. Then let all the travel go to droop. This way you have enough to run with any suspension height and type within reason. You could go with a stock suspension height and not worry about bottoming or you can usually run up to about a 6" lift and still have enough droop travel.
    ideally you would build the shock mounts to exactly how far you suspension moves, but it's nice to have enough extra to change it around a little and not have to re-mount them.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     
  11. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Steve,

    Thanks for taking the time to write such detailed and thoughtful responses! I know that it takes a lot longer than a simple "one-size-fits-all" answer, but I personally am very grateful to get some "meaty answers" that I can then try to apply to my own truck. Is it just me, or is this technical stuff REALLY fun? [​IMG]


    Here's a puzzler for you: If you do a perfect scale drawing of the rear suspension, and show the arc of travel of the rear axle (using the true axle centerline as the pivot point)....the factory bumpstops do not actually touch the top of the springpacks (as I think they are designed to). The only answer for this I can come up with is that by the time the suspension is THAT crossed-up, there will likely be a significant amount of lateral shifting of the leaf springs and axle, and in the "real world" the bumpstops WILL line up correctly.

    That's my best guess anyway.......

    Thanks again Steve, it is really great to have you here as a technical resource.



    -Greg72

    '72 K5 Blazer - 427BB/TH350/NP205/6" Lift/35x12.50's
    <font color=blue>See it here: </font color=blue><a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38>http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38</a>
     
  12. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Long travel shocks for 4 (!WARNING ABOUT RANCHO 9008!)

    Guys,

    I'm sorry to have to tell you this but the information I posted about the Rancho 9008s is WRONG!!!

    I was talking to a guy over at the local 4WPW and when I told him about my "discovery" he called the Rancho Tech line and asked them directly. Unfortunately, the 9008 does NOT have a longer travel than the 9012, so it is not the "Miracle Solution" that I had hoped for.....

    I wanted to let everyone know as soon as I found out, because I know that a few guys were as excited as me about getting a set of these shocks installed.

    Sorry for the false alarm. What makes it worse, is that the rep at Rancho answered the question SO fast that it's obvious that they get that question ALL the time.....but haven't taken any steps to correct the error on their website or in their printed catalogs. [​IMG]

    Now you know.....



    -Greg72

    '72 K5 Blazer - 427BB/TH350/NP205/6" Lift/35x12.50's
    <font color=blue>See it here: </font color=blue><a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38>http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38</a>
     
  13. 87GMCJimmy

    87GMCJimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Long travel shocks for 4 (!WARNING ABOUT RANCHO 9008!)

    Thanks, you almost made me feel bad about getting the 9012's LOL. That's the great thing a building a truck, there are so many solutions to every problem and someone out there will always have bigger better setup than you....

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  14. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Re: Long travel shocks for 4 (!WARNING ABOUT RANCHO 9008!)

    I don't think the rear bumpstops are built to hit the spring pack, they generally come down on the tube which is a crappy place for a stop to hit. They like big flat places to land on. And having them that far inboard means they don't work well on articulation.
    The factory built them mostly for straight up and down travel. Basically if you throw 2K# in your K5 it'll sit on them and hopefully not kill the springs. That's their line of thought at least.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     

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