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Soft vs Stiff shocks

Discussion in 'Explorer - Ranger Shocks, Suspensions, Lift Kits' started by storlied, February 4, 2008.

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    1. storlied

      storlied Well-Known Member

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      What's really the difference?
      Why would you want stiff shocks?
      Why would you want soft shocks?

      What's best for street use?
      What's best for off-road?
      What about both?
       
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    3. cybergasm

      cybergasm B

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      A lot of it comes from what you want to do with the vehicle. Got too stiff of a shock on the street your gonna feel every little imperfection in the road but off road they gonna work to keep from bottoming out the suspension constantly.

      And vice versa with the soft shock there gonna work great on the street not so well off road.

      and also it comes down to personal preference too

      Like me for example I prefer my shocks to be on the firm side the ones I have now are a little too soft for my taste. And my buddy oh the other hand does everything to adjust his to make em as soft as possible.
       
    4. storlied

      storlied Well-Known Member

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      Any that are soft and then get stiff? Depending on the bumps?
       
    5. cybergasm

      cybergasm B

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      Yeah there some that claim to auto adjusting according to road conditions I ran a set for a while and was'nt that impressed with em. Might be better off running adjustable shocks like the Pro Comp MX6 or similar where you can turn a knob on to make it firmer or softer
       
    6. storlied

      storlied Well-Known Member

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      Sounds expensive, seems the majority of the board uses Ranchos, any specific reason why?
      What about blistein?
       
    7. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I run rs900's (ranchos).. I chose them becuase I can adjust them...

      For street I run them at around 7 (9 being highest)..

      On the trail, in general slow stuff I'll loosen them up..

      If I'm going to run a wash or something I'll run them at 7 or even higher..

      thats my personal preference...

      Oh yea.. If I have a lot of weight in the back of the X on the highway I'll run them at 9 (I have no sway bars and stiffening them helps some).

      ~Mark
       
    8. Joe Dirt

      Joe Dirt Elite Explorer

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      Also the argument of linear vs. progressive springs, and many shocks/struts have similar attributes. Soft for the first part of the travel, and stiffer when getting closer to full stroke to keep things in place...
       
    9. storlied

      storlied Well-Known Member

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      Any shocks like that? Soft at first, stiff at more compression? Completely automatic and affordable?
       
    10. DB_1

      DB_1 Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      That's the idea with a mono tube shock such as Bilstein or Edelbrock shocks but either brand will cost a bit more than a standard shock.
       
    11. Brandon@BTF-fab

      Brandon@BTF-fab Active Member

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      Yes. Revalvable shocks like Radflo, fox, king, swayaway, can be made very progressive. IE: soft at slower shock shaft speeds, then stiffer at higher speeds...slow shaft speed would be crawling, or bodyroll, and high shaft speed would be when you hit a good sized bump at speed.

      some road racing shocks are digressive, meaning they are stiffer at slow shaft speeds, then softer on big hits...stiff for no bodyroll, but then if you doo happen to hit a bump, they allow the suspension to flex over the obstacle (as long as the "obstacle" is small enough)
       
    12. Iceking007

      Iceking007 Active Member

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      In General (and this isn't litteral its very general translation) I don't dissagree with the guys above they are right but if you look at race cars or bikes that Road Race ect they have a "stiffer" suspension gennerally compared to the street counter part... I would assume you would go "softer" for off road like the Dakar Desert racers and such probably have softer suspention to absorbe the bumps ect... the stiffer the suspention (Shocks) the more the wheel will stay on the ground and fight the road bumps (My car is very stiff and with very low profile tires and low to the ground not much give in the suspension almost ridgid... so you feel all the bumps but THE POINT IS.... you always have traction due to the fact that your tires are always on the ground.... Now however with softer your weels bounce and smoother ride (sometimes) your wheels may skip over bumps and loose tracktion so its a balance especially offroad I would presume. I don't know much about offroading (especially racing) I would think its very "Specifically Oriented" so its designed for one type of offroad... probably more complex than any other sort of suspension... Hope I helped?!
       
    13. storlied

      storlied Well-Known Member

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      So stiffer shocks are generally more wanted?

      For off-road and street? I would just have more of a rough ride.. more truck like?
       
    14. Iceking007

      Iceking007 Active Member

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      Well no I would say Street if you want performance you go stiffer, if you want comfort you want softer and/ taller side wall, and off road I would say softer so you have more articulation not just ridgid.

      Think of it like this........ My car for example... take out all of the suspention and weld the hubs to the frame... it would be stiff like a go cart... the chasis would flex little compared to shocks and the wheels/tires would stay mostly flat on the road like a heavy sway bar... this is good for traction on smooth Road surface... the smoother the gripier the road the stiffer and smaller side wall you want on your tires and sus. when racing.... Just like when you have an Off road vehicle:

      You have a lift kit... big tires.... big sway bar so you don't tip your SUV over when turning... then you hit the gravel and dirt and offroad territory...... you... exactly "Un" hook your sway bar... IE quick release links ect... this instantly softens up your suspention/ flexion chasis/ body roll.... then you have full articulation and more twist to get around all the bolders and obstacles instead of fighting your chasis your wheels/tires can move freely "INDEPENDANT" of the chasis and crawl over every thing... the softer generally means more move ment... RIGHT UP UNTIL THE POINT WERE THEY ARE TOO SOFT AND CAN'T CONTROL THE WEIGHT OF THE TRUCK... then you aint goin no where as your fenders rest on your tires... Make sence??
       
    15. BigDave!!!

      BigDave!!! Well-Known Member

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      you definately dont want it softer for off road, you need it stiffer. if your shocks were too soft you would bottom and top out over every bump off road
       
    16. little x

      little x Well-Known Member

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      ^^ Of course you want stiff shocks (look at your avatar). But he might not. Your assuming that he's desert racing or something. If he's doing slow trail crawling then softer shocks will allow the TTB to work better. I think IceKing explained it well.
       
    17. FROADER

      FROADER Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The shock doesn't limit the movement of the suspension, the spring does. For off-road you want stiffer shocks, with softer springs, no matter what kind of terrain...
       
    18. Iceking007

      Iceking007 Active Member

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      Ah this is all interesting and now I am learning something.... All in all its a ballance... Find your self a suspension expert and get him/her to hook up your ride lol!! This is a good forum post's to print off for later date!!
       

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