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Shock Boots: Functional or Just Pretty?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 502Burban, Dec 9, 2001.

  1. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

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    Well, I'm finally installing my 4" BDS suspension lift with Rancho RS9000 shocks, and I'm having a hard time deciding whether to use the shock boots or not.

    What do you all think about them? Are they actually functional, or are they just pretty?

    I thought I remembered seeing an article or post somewhere that claimed the shock boots actually are bad for the shocks. As I recall, the reasoning was that they tend to pack up with mud/dirt and will cause the shaft seal to wear sooner due to the grit piled up around the shaft.

    I know they look nice, but I'm just wondering if they are functional. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Robb
    '73 GMC Suburban - 502DFI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/robbrj>community.webshots.com/user/robbrj</a>
     
  2. 55Willy

    55Willy 3/4 ton status

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    They are designed to keep the piston rod clear of debris. problem is once the mud, grit, or what have you gets in the boot, the boot keeps it in so it wears out the seal and ruins the shock.
    I had them on my 79 Jimmy, but the Willy's shocks won't.

    <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. Pugsley

    Pugsley 1/2 ton status

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    Boots are great for street only, or dry desert/fire roads - but otherwise, they suck royally. Save yourself some grief and use the boots for other purposes, like stylin' gearshift covers[​IMG]

    ......And knowing is half the battle
    <a target="_blank" href=http://pugsley.alloffroad.com>pugsley.alloffroad.com</a>
     
  4. 77Blazer

    77Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    dont do it they love to collect water

    350, sm465, NP205, 14ff w/detroit, yucky ten bolt 4" springs,38.5x14.5 swampers
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.planettribes.com/theden/gontw/nsig.jpg>http://www.planettribes.com/theden/gontw/nsig.jpg</a>
     
  5. taterblazer

    taterblazer 1/2 ton status

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    I've heard the purpose of them is to prevent rock chips on the rods. What I've done with mine is attached them up top then left the bottoms loose. When I think of it I'm going to trim the bottom off some so its a little loose. I honestly don't think that dirt affects the shocks one way or another. With or without boots they will have dirt around them.
     
  6. KrebsATM02

    KrebsATM02 1/2 ton status

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    Wow, not to downplay what you have heard, but i would think the probabilty of getting a rock chip in the metal rod would be far to none compared to the constant scraping against dirty, or mud. I would think that the size of a rock that would actually hit that would be having to go an incredible speed to nick it. I think the sandpaper action is where it is at. - Doug

    Doug Krebs
     
  7. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the comments, everyone! It would seem to be almost unanimous against the boots. Just what I expected, but it's always nice to confirm your ideas with others.

    Not meaning to offend anyone who likes them, but I've never liked the look of the boots, myself. But, if they were functional, I'd run 'em.

    Thanks again,

    Robb
    '73 GMC Suburban - 502DFI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/robbrj>community.webshots.com/user/robbrj</a>
     
  8. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

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    Another vote against them. Use them in your garage to hold pens/nylon cable ties (just cut them in half and mount them to a piece of wood, nice! [​IMG]). Used to have them till I took them off one day to check...........all kinds of dried salt/road debris/water came out of them and had the top of the shock rusted. The road salt issue is not going to affect you in Cal but the boys back east should pay heed.

    <font color=blue>'79 ONE TON TPI K5 - See it at---&gt;<a target="_blank" href=http://www.blazzinor.rockcrawler.com>www.blazzinor.rockcrawler.com</a>
     
  9. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks, Blazzin.[​IMG] Like the idea of using them for pen holders.[​IMG] What's this wood stuff you're talking about though? All I can find in my garage is metal.[​IMG]

    Take care,

    Robb
    '73 GMC Suburban - 502DFI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/robbrj>community.webshots.com/user/robbrj</a>
     
  10. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    depends if you want to kill your shocks.

    if you want them to die an early death run WITHOUT boots

    if you want them to last run boots that are sealed on the top

    open wide on the bottom
     
  11. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

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    77chev, as I respect your opinion, now I'm doubting my decision. What is it that will cause the shocks to die without boots? Is it rock damage on the shaft or something else I haven't thought of?

    Please don't take this wrong; I'm not challenging your position. Just curious.[​IMG]

    Thanks,

    Robb
    '73 GMC Suburban - 502DFI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/robbrj>community.webshots.com/user/robbrj</a>
     
  12. TorkDSR

    TorkDSR 1/2 ton status

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    [qoute]if you want them to last run boots that are sealed on the top

    open wide on the bottom

    <hr></blockquote>



    i bought my truck with the shock boots sealed tight at the top, and wide open at the bottom, and i had enough sh!t in those boots to seal up any size opening at the bottom. PA mud is a little harder to get out of shock boots than water is. i had to cut them off with aviation snippers, cause a knife wasn't going to cut it(pun intended)

    just another opinion.....

    Tork DSR
    "look ma, i can make the dog pee white...."
    aol screen name TorkDSR
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  13. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    challenge away!! LOL

    if the boots are left open anything that does make it in with the shaft will eventually make its way out. what with the pounding suspension and gravity. it has been my experience that the open boots keep the shaft and seal area spotless clean. for many years of abuse. rocks are a danger to shocks but the constant sand blasting of road debris is more likely the danger to the shaft

    my truck has been buried deep in mud many times and have not had anything in the boots. we have tons of salt and rain beyond belief here and mud is the order of the day when you wheel in BC.

    the only place I dont run boots is on the steering stabilizers

    We have all heard both sides of this story many times, open boots work, closed dont. open boots cost you no performance and can only add to the life of the shock, seems like a winner to me with no downside. the only annoyance with them is that I have to work a bit to see the tie wraps i used to watch the shock travel.

    still in shock that someone on this board respects my opinion...
     
  14. Michael

    Michael 1/2 ton status

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    I have yet to see a $800-$1000 King or Sway-a-Way racing shock covered by a boot.....true this is a race application, but I haven't seen a boot on a desert truck in years. They will somtimes run a hard plastic shield of some sort to prevent rock damage, but it's just on the leading side.

    Michael[​IMG]
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.jmartin.net/parker/goose.htm>www.jmartin.net/parker/goose.htm</a>
     
  15. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    they also run with the body of the shock as sprung wieght (prevents debris from sitting on the seals) and consider the shocks a 'consumable'. the fact that they expend the wieght to put a shield supports a boot.
    also they rebuild their stuff more frequently then me and joe average.

    edited some of the sting out of that response for the thin skinned among us
    <P ID="edit"><FONT class="small">Edited by 77chev on 12/10/01 07:53 PM.</FONT></P>
     
  16. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I'm personally AGAINST the use of boots unless you can mount the shock upside down to keep the mud, water, dirt and other debris out. This is the only true way to keep the shock clean, upside down. Not all shock manufacturers recommend this.

    Now on trucks that I've had to run the shocks in their normal position, I put the boots on, BUT, I do NOT tie the cable-tie on the bottom part of the boot. I just leave it hanging on the shock body loosely. Every now and then I go to the car wash and just lift up the bottom of the boot and hose out whatever stuff accumulated in there. Clean and ready to protect/get dirty again. [​IMG]


    I'm not picking my nose...I'm just pointing at my brain!! [​IMG]

    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/thatK30guy>The K30 Collection</a>
     
  17. Slayer

    Slayer 1/2 ton status

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    Yup, one MORE vote against shock covers


    <font color=blue>I don't know everything, I just think that I do.............</font color=blue>[​IMG]
     
  18. muddysub

    muddysub 1 ton suburban status Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    huh, and to think when i got my rancho RS5000s i made such a big deal of having the boots on there tight. maybe i'll go cut the zip-ties off of em.

    people that get good mileage aren't having any fun!
    scott,
    1989 GMC suburban 3/4t 4" lift finally rollin on 36" swampers, tbi350, th350, np241
     
  19. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with wes... leave them open on the bottom and actually clean them once in a while. You'll hvae to clean them regardless anyways. Ireally don't like the look of a shock w/ no boot, but what i have never understood is why the heck dont they have the bog shield like most strret car and truck shock do?

    -Mikey
    1987 Chevy K5 Blazer- 350 TBI
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  20. Pugsley

    Pugsley 1/2 ton status

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    Another area of consideration is the design of each individual shock - some have the wiper seal set in a small groove where crud can accumulate really easy - these are the boot candidates, where others, particularly newer designs are essentially convex up top, negating the need for any kind of external protection. My Doetsch Techs have no provision for boot mounting, so obviously I run naked shocks. I think the best setup I've ever seen for protecting a "body down" shock was on a 4 truck a couple of years ago - they had sections of flex radiator hose large enough to slide over the shock body mounted up top, much like the boot mounting setup you described, but with a little better coverage, and flying rock protection for the bodies. Like everything else, it's a matter of adapting the system to meet individual needs.

    ......And knowing is half the battle
    <a target="_blank" href=http://pugsley.alloffroad.com>pugsley.alloffroad.com</a>
     

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