how to figure out shock length | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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how to figure out shock length


Moderator-Stock 91-94
Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
February 9, 1999
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City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
We have a 1992 XLT 4 door with a Duff 2.5" lift on it. We also have a set of WP shackles. I just replaced the old 200k+ mile rear springs (with the add a leaf from duff) with a set of OME springs.

I love how it rides now (just need to put a spacer under the front spring to level it out.. its less than 1" differece).

When we were putting in the springs I had the truck suspended by jack stands and when I put on the axle (just set it on the spring) the spring drooped some (as it should). The problem is that the springs were barely seperating meaning I have a lot more droop to go, but the shocks wouldn't reach. Once I lifted the springs up (using a flood jack) to the point where the springs were not seperating at all the shocks would reach. The shocks are stock length (the ones Rancho says to use for their 2.5" lift). These shocks worked great with the old springs but now I need longer ones. How do I go about figuring out what length shocks I need? Do I just drive it up the Dirt hill I have in my back yard to open up the suspension (with the shock disconnected) and then crawl under and measure how far it is from the upper shock mount to the lower shock mount?
Is there a better/safer way to do this? Also, If I get a longer shock will it hurt the up travel (run out of compression room)? It looks as if I need at least 2 more inches of travel (maybe more).


several options...

If you are opting for a performance shock, contact the mfg directly and get specs on shock lengths. They should have data on compressed and extended lengths for all their shocks. I know mfg's like Monroe have application guides that you can find at the local parts store. These books usually contain all the specs for any given p/n shock.
I would suggest that you do determine the full travel potential of your suspension, in the manner that you described, and get a shock that is a bit longer than the full travel. You don't want your shock being the "stop block" for your suspension travel.
Hope this helps...