Picking The Right Shock For Your Project
There are quite a few options for shocks. Some have a very specific purpose, and some, not so much. The old “buy once, cry once” adage sometimes is unnecessary, depending entirely on your plans for the vehicle. We decided to put together a basic guide on how to pick the right shock for your project, so here goes!
The traditional monotube shock, like the Speedway Gas-Filled Shock, is sometimes referred to as a gas shock. These are by and large some of the more commonly seen shocks in the automotive marketplace today. Providing the comfortable ride and support of most OEM vehicles, the monotube shock is the first option for those looking to simply replace their worn, weak shocks. These are best suited for a vehicle that will be driven daily, with little to no “spirited” driving. Think along the lines of a Sunday Cruiser. Traditionally made of steel, these are now also available in aluminum for weight savings.
Once you decide that you want to be able to adjust your vehicle’s handling capability, the logical step would be adjustable shocks, such as this unit from AFCO. If you intend to road-race or auto-cross the vehicle, adjustability is a big benefit. By turning a knob or a locknut, you can adjust the valving of the shock to react under load the way you want. The single-adjustable shocks allow you to drive your car to the track, dial in the settings for that track, and have at it. Once you’re done, simply dial back to your street settings, and drive her home, or on to the next track if that’s your poison. Any adjustment made here will affect both the compression and rebound of the shock.
Double adjustable shocks operate on the same principle that single adjustable do, with one added benefit. Yeah, you guessed it; there is another axis of adjustability. It does take a bit longer to adjust these, but the benefit of the double adjustable shocks is the ability to perfectly tune the suspension for that particular track. These shocks allow for adjustment of the compression and rebound independent of each other.
Coilovers are essentially a shock mated to a coil spring. The benefit to coilovers is you can order them in almost any configuration you desire. Montube, single adjustable or even double adjustable, you name it and a company makes it. Carerra, QA1, and AFCO all manufacture these and the other quality products mentioned in this article, and all are available here at Speedway Motors.
A helpful little tip from us to you is to keep a book with the settings you use for each track. Speedway Motors has put together a handy Spiral bound Track Set-Up Book for exactly that, plus spots for logging lap times, tire temperatures, and notes. That way, if you do drive to and from the track, you won’t have to rack your brain trying to remember the settings you used the next time. Instead, you can just use the book!