Shocks - Part 3

What you've learned from this series is that there is a proper shock that goes at each corner of the race vehicle.  With the new racing shocks out on the market now, you can have almost any damping rate you want, providing you have access to a shock dyno.  A shock dyno is a machine that measures the damping rate of a shock.  Matching the shock rate to the spring rate is the best way to get your shocks matched to your vehicle.  Try to keep your shocks within 10% of the spring rate if possible.  If the shocks are too stiff all the way around, then the vehicle will under react.  The driver will have a hard time trying to determine what the vehicle is trying to do.  The same thing goes for a vehicle that has too soft shocks.  The vehicle will over react and the driver will get some spooky indications of what the vehicle is trying to do.  If the shocks are too soft, then when the vehicle goes into the turn the vehicle will nose dive.  The springs will react too fast and the rear of the vehicle will be loose.  Then when the driver picks up the throttle, the vehicle will fall back on the rear tires causing the vehicle to push on exit.  Shocks do not completely control wheel travel, but they can be used as a gauge to wheel travel.

When installing your shocks on a race vehicle, be careful about leaning the shocks at massive angles.  The more of an angle your shocks are, the less damping they have because of the angle.  If the shock is leaned in 10 degrees, then you lose 3 percent of your damping rate.  In other words, a 200 lb. damping would actually become 194 lb. damping.  Even up to 20 degrees is not bad because you lose 12%, your 200 lb. damping becomes 176 lb. damping.  But too much past 20 degrees is not good.  At 45 degrees, your shock loses 50 percent of its damping.  Your 200 lb. shock is now 100 lbs.  Quite a difference.

These are the shock basics.  Keep them in mind when you're changing shocks.  In very competitive racing divisions, a shock change could put you in front or a wrong change could put you out.

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