Do you need to change the ride height of your vehicle? In that case, you need to shocks.
Are you in a place where you need to measure shocks, but you never have done it before?
If you're not familiar with shocks, it's alright. It's fairly easy to learn how to measure shocks. And we're gonna make it more easy and simple for you. There may be a few vehicle jargons along the way. If you are hearing these terms for the first time, don't worry. You're gonna learn all the practical stuff you may need.
Now, let's find out how to measure shocks.
How To Measure Shocks
We're gonna tell you how to measure shocks in a bit. But before that, we're obliged to ask you to take a few cautionary measures.
Please remove the springs before performing any measurement and make sure the vehicle is safely supported. Consider taking the vehicle to a professional if you do not have the proper equipment to do this safely. Okay, We're gonna jump to the fun stuff. Let's measure shocks.
1. Measure Your Compressed Lengths
Your compression stroke always becomes the limiting factor with performance off-road shocks. As you try to measure your compressed lengths, shift your suspension to the full compression position. Solid axle vehicles do this in the horizontal, right tuck, and left tuck positions.
Your limiting factor could be the tires hitting your fenders, your driveshaft angle, cv-shaft angle, the differential hitting the oil pan, or your suspension binding. In any case, you may need to deduce the minimum distance from your upper to lower shock mounts at any position.
Before placing your upper or lower shock mounts, focus on keeping your upper shock mounts up as high as you can put them. The upper shock mounts will gain more stability with increased height. And the overall fitting ability of shocks will increase.
Always try to go with the largest shock you can fit because you can always limit your down travel with limit straps. And you will have more stability, more oil capacity for better cooling, and more shaft overlap at full extension.
2. Measure Your Extended Lengths
If your vehicle's chassis is already safely supported, hang down the suspension as far as it can go down. Remember, driveshaft angle, CV shaft angle, suspension system, or the extended lengths of your shocks can be your limiting factor.
You can also measure limit straps in this process. All the limit straps stretch by design, and you may need to add the extra stretch length in your measurement. So, remember to ask your dealer or manufacturer about this. Lastly, you should limit your suspension travel to about 1 inch before full extension on 14 inches and smaller shocks and 2 inches for 16 inches and larger shocks.
3. Determine the Appropriate Shock Size
Go for the largest shock when you choose your shock size because your vehicle's suspension can reach full compression with the largest shock. Even if your suspension only cycles 12 inches, if you may be able to use 14 inches or even a 16 inches shock.
In some cases, you may not find available shocks for both the compressed and extended length. Then, decide which dimension you're sacrifice or consider moving your shock mounts. Usually, up-travel(shorter shock) is more suited for a rock crawler, whereas down-travel (larger shock) should be chosen for a mud truck.
Finally, Don't ever bottom out on your shocks (except for ORI Struts) or overextend them. So, remember to leave a bit of margin in your calculations about that. And always run an external bump stop and limiting straps.
Tips On Choosing Shock Size
Let's talk about the most common mistake. People often order new shocks based on measurements taken from their existing shocks. High-performance shocks have much larger internal components than OEM and generic shocks. That's why high-performance shocks will fill up more space inside of the shock body and decrease the travel amount available for its size. And OEM and generic shocks can get more travel out of a smaller shock body.
For example, a King shock is several inches longer than the Bilstein. In contrast, Bilstein is a couple of inches larger than the generic shock). Suppose you choose to order a King shock to replace a generic shock only because of size or travel. In that case, it will considerably limit your suspension's up-travel, down-travel, and/or overall travel.
So, it is very important to buy shocks based on the measurements of your vehicles only.
We hope you've got a working idea of how to measure shocks by now. Remember, take precautionary measures before measuring shocks. Also, know about your limiting factors. Finally, be cautious about buying new shocks. It can get a little bit tricky as you may need to consider a few things about length. Good luck.