Michael Hayes explains why Superior Engineering have game changing shocks for anyone looking for extra performance and handling!
With the growing demand for shock absorbers with increased performance and customisable ride qualities, remote reservoir shocks specifically designed for modern vehicles are now becoming common throughout Australia. Once the domain for race cars or the wealthy, this type of shock is quickly becoming commonplace for those wanting extra performance and handling. Once upon a time it was only brands such as Fox, Kings and Bilstein that could provide a premium shock with the correct mountings for Aussie OE vehicles, but sadly their offerings were usually designed for low lift heights and were valved very soft which was not acceptable in this market. Superior Engineering changed the game by introducing a comprehensive line of shocks specifically designed, built and tested to suit Australian vehicles and all the lift heights. Brands such Amada Extreme and Profender are now commonplace in many performance based suspension kits sold.
Okay, so we have all read the advertising blurbs on why we should buy better shocks, but what are the bits inside that we are paying the dollars for?
Main Shock Components
PISTON ROD - With rod sizes that range from 16mm diameter up to 22mm, shafts are designed for maximum strength and durability in lifted and performance applications far beyond the OE standards. The rod material is usually induction hardened, ground alloy steel bar, which has a deep hard outer skin and a tough resilient core, reducing bending in even the toughest conditions. Final treatment on the rod is a hard chrome process which provides a smooth, hard, wear resistant outer casing to reduce friction and seal wear for maximum operating life.
NECKBUSH OR ROD GUIDE - The end of the shock houses the rod guide. This rod guide utilises a teflon coated bronze bush for reducing friction between the piston rod and the guide. The teflon bush has excellent endurance properties for limiting friction temperatures and preventing scratching the contact surfaces when the shock is working at high speeds. High quality hydraulic seals are used to provide long life, maintenance free use. The outer seal or scraper seal helps protect against buildup of mud, dust and sand on the rod. The main seal provides a high pressure boundary for the oil, allowing the valving to control all shock forces. A buffer O-ring is also sometimes used in performance applications for added protection.
MAIN TUBE - The main shock body tube is commonly made from cold drawn high tensile tubing, to provide a smooth precise main section for the shock. This tube is then honed or ground for a smooth internal finish.
PISTON - The main piston can be machined or cast from either alloy or steel depending on application, and has a series of ports or passages in both faces. These ports play an important part in the ride characteristics of the shock with their flow potential adding to the shim valving to create resistance at certain shock speeds. Typical types of pistons available include; linear, digressive and progressive as well as combinations of these in both compression and rebound.
SHIM STACK - On both faces of the piston are a series of round thin valve shims or discs. These shims can range from 0.1mm to 0.6mm and are often arranged in a pyramid type stack in decreasing diameter. The larger shims closest to the piston face are associated with low velocity, the smaller shims at the outsides are used to control the high speed. Large machined washers are also used to control maximum flow rates. The piston can also have small holes or orifices 1-2mm diameter which control flow at very low speeds, known as 'bleeds'.
The piston will also have a wide teflon wear band to reduce the friction between the main tube. The reduction in friction reduces heat buildup and provides consistent damping forces. Another main purpose of the wide wear band is to inhibit metal to metal contact of the piston and main tube under offset loading at full shock extension.
A remote reservoir canister allows for an increased oil volume and greater cooling capacity. This provides more stable temperatures during operation in extreme conditions and ensuring long service life. The remote reservoir incorporates a floating piston, which performs as a wall to separate the hydraulic oil and nitrogen eliminating 'foaming' or mixing of the oil and gas. Foaming leads to premature 'shock fade' and dramatically reduced performance. The separating piston also allows shock increased pressure, allowing stable performance of the shock valving in all conditions. The remote canister piston incorporates a teflon wear band to reduce operating friction and a high temperature, long life O-ring seal to maintain fade resistance once the remote reservoir is filled to the correct operating pressure. High pressure nitrogen between 100-200psi is used to allow correct dampening forces and reduced fade at high shaft speeds and prolonged usage.
The remote reservoir is connected to the main shock body with a high quality hydraulic hose, suitable for high temperature and high pressure installations. Pressure spikes can be upward of 2500psi and a double internal braided hose is often considered the minimum spec.
Something that should always determine the choice when it comes to any shock is the ability to get spare parts and servicing for your new suspension. The ability to buy a high-end shock is usually only part of the way to achieving the perfect ride, with fine tuning and adjustment available to suit every taste. Superior Engineering offer a full range of spare parts and items for upgrades as well as shock dyno tuning and servicing, which is great for those preparing for long trips or getting ready for the next big adventure.
Contact Superior EngineeringPhone: (07) 5433 1411
1/116 Lipscombe Road
Deception Bay Queensland 4508
ASK THE EXPERTS: 4X4 Accessories and Suspension Tech Talk With Superior Engineering