VIDEO: Testing Three Types of Shocks
Which Shocks are Best for an Entry Level Lift?
Entry level or “Budget Boost” suspension kits usually offer about a 1.5” lift and consist of spacers for the springs and extensions for the stock Jeep shocks. The extensions increase the length of the shock body, but do very little in terms of providing more shock travel. The real purpose of a shock extension is to provide the necessary clearance for the additional height given to the springs.
The best solution for an entry level kit is to upgrade to a shock designed for 0 – 2” of additional lift. These shocks offer more extension and compression length in order to accommodate the added height given to the spring. They will also provide additional travel and better articulation while on the trail.
Shock Options Available for an Entry Level Lift Include:
- Stock Shocks (on road use only)
- Stock Shocks and Extensions (on/off road use)
- Aftermarket 0 – 2” Shocks replacement (on/off road use)
TJ with 1-3in Lift Shocks
Which Shocks are Best for Mid to High Level Lifts?
As you progress in lift height, there’s a greater demand on the shocks and a greater demand for a better alternative to stock or entry level shocks.
A mid-level suspension system commonly begins with a 2.5” lift, which often requires a shock designed to work with 2” – 4” lifts. These shocks have a longer shaft and better travel and compression in order to accommodate the longer springs. The reason you should go with a shock that has a range of 2”-4” is because 2.5” suspension lifts are designed to be used on a fully loaded Jeep, taking into account the weight of front and rear bumpers along with a winch and skid plates. Without the added weight, a 2.5” lift will actually produce close to 4” of lift on an otherwise stock Jeep. Ensuring your shocks can accommodate such a large range is extremely important to maintain an optimal functioning system.
TJ Being Fitted with 3-4in Lift Shocks
Among the choices within the 2” – 4” shock range are reservoir shocks. These shocks are designed to be used under heavy trail use. They also have an additional cylinder full with hydraulic fluid and continuously cycle the fluid within the shock body while dispersing any heat buildup. This in turn reduces the possibility of overheating and foaming which otherwise would result in fading performance. These shocks are typically more expensive than a more traditional mono tube shock, but might be worth the investment if you’re in a hot climate and under extensive trail use.
Shock Options Available for a Mid-Level Lift Include:
- Aftermarket Mono tube 2” – 4” (on/off road use)
- Reservoir Shocks 2” – 4” (on/off road use)
Reservoir Shocks for 1.5-3.5in Lifted JKs
Which Shocks are Best for High Level Lifts?
When installing 5” – 8” lifts, all of the factory components should be upgraded and the shocks play an even more valuable role. As with previous lift explanations, the shock length is critical to ensure it can accommodate the taller springs. Using a shock designed for lifts of 5” – 8” is a great starting point to ensure the correct lengths.
Another shock option when installing larger, more expensive lifts, is a coilover. A coilover is a self-contained unit that consists of the shock body and spring. It eliminates the need for an additional spring and provides a higher level of tuning, but more importantly better control and longer suspension travel. These systems increase the Jeep’s ability to articulate while on the trail and maintains a great level of reliability. Some coilover units come with adapters that can bolt up directly to the Jeep’s mounting points, but others require modification to the spring mounts. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the highest level of shock, the coilover would be your choice.
Shocks Options Available for a High Level Lift Include:
- Aftermarket Mono tube 5” – 8” (on/off road use)
- Reservoir Shocks 5” – 8” (on/off road use)
- Coilover suspension (on/off road use)
TJ with 6-8in. of Lift
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