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Old 09-29-2008, 04:52 AM   #1
SkinnyG
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Default Short Shocks for Hardbodies

I wrote this using Monroe numbers only, since that is what I have numbers for. Comparable shocks from different manufacturers ~should~ be the same, but no guarantee.


Scroll to the bottom of THIS SINGLE POST to skip the information and experimentation and just go to the Coles Notes version.

****************************** FRONTS ******************************

STOCK: D21 2WD OEM
  • Monroe Monro-Matic: #32113 - 8.875" compressed (tested: OEM valving)
  • Monroe Sensa-Trac: #37077 - 8.875" compressed
  • Monroe Reflex Truck: #911077 - 8.750" compressed


2WD front

SHORTER OPTION 1: D21 4WD OEM
  • Monroe Monro-Matic: #32206 - 8.375" compressed
  • Monroe Sensa-Trac: #37047 - 8.125" compressed (tested: nice tight valving)
  • Monroe Reflex Truck: #911047 - 8.125" compressed


4WD front

The 4WD shock has a free length that fits really well in the 2wd.

SHORTER OPTION 2: 71-80 Ford Pinto OEM
  • Monroe Monro-Matic: #32118 - 8.375" compressed. (tested: soft and floaty valving)
  • Gabriel Guardian: #82128 - 8.19" compressed


Pinto front

The Pinto shock requires swapping eye bushings or cutting/re-drilling the Pinto eye. It is a common shock people use, and comes with its own built-in bump stop. You should remove the Nissan bumpstop when using these shocks.

The 4WD shock is about the same compressed length as the Pinto shock, but would require correct sizing of a replacement bumpstop to work correctly. Theoretically a rubber stud-mount shock bushing could be slipped over the shaft and used as a bump stop, but the shock mounts on the Hardbody are not designed for this.

STICKY: Pinto (short shock) how to - For Static Drops (Thanks, Slo Krt)

SHORTEST: 70-80's Chrysler Cordoba, Imperial, etc....
  • Monroe Monro-Matic: #31176 - 7.125" compressed. Requires modification to control arm to fit. (tested: fairly soft valving)
  • Gabriel Ultra: #69704 - 7.06" compressed


Chrysler Cordoba front

****************************** REARS ******************************

STOCK: D21 2WD OEM
  • Monroe Monroe-Matic: #31000 - 12.000" compressed (tested: OEM valving)
  • Monroe Sensa-Trac: #37078 - 12.675" compressed


2WD rear

My truck is 3" blocks in the back, 2-1/2" re-drill, with a 2" mini notch. I ran Monroe MA812 air shocks in the back for a while (12-3/4" compressed), but they were super mushy soft, didn't hold ANYTHING when fully pumped and the truck was loaded, and they felt like ~they~ are bottoming out, not the frame.

SHORTER: 2000 Nissan Quest
  • Monroe Monro-matic: #32207 - 11.25" compressed (tested: OEM valving)
  • Monroe Sensa-Trac: #37098 - 11.75" compressed (tested: nice tight valving)


Nissan Quest rear

The Monroe #37098 is a "truck" shock (5/8" shaft) from a 2000 Nissan Quest, and is 11-3/4" compressed. This should allow roughly 1-1/2" to 2-1/2" drop (leafs, not blocks, depending on what your stock shock length was), guesstimating based on shock mounting angle (I have not done the trig). The Quest appears to have a wishbone rear suspension, but the shocks are fairly close to the hub and should provide a decent ride. I am running them - Excellent shock!

The cheaper Monroe shock for the Quest is #32207 (1/2" shaft) which is 11-1/4" compressed. This should allow roughly 2-1/2" to 3-1/2" drop (leafs, not blocks). Probably softer than the shock above, and might be a good shot. Anyone want to try one? Edit: SlamdTaco tried them - glowing report!

There may be other shocks that can be modified to fit, but I don't know them. The ones listed here share the same ends as the Nissan Hardbody, and bolt right up.

****************************** EXPERIMENTATION ******************************

Static dropped my '94HB - 3" blocks in the rear, and torsioned 3" in the front.

Nissan loves to give you not quite enough suspension travel - I installed Energy Suspension ultra-low-profile bump stops #9.9132 - these required re-drilling the mounting hole to 3/8". I used a taper bit and a 1/4" socket on an air ratchet just to get in there as I didn't want to yank the whole suspension just to drill a hole.



These bump stops allowed the OEM shock body to bottom out about 3/4" before the suspension did. You want the control arm to hit the snubbers, NOT have the shocks take the beating. This is bad.

At level (lowered) ride height, I had about 1-1/16" travel between the control arm and the bump stop. This required at least 1.5" more travel at the shock to prevent shock bottoming. The Monroe Reflex 4WD D21 shock is the second shortest shock Monroe makes (8-1/8") - and it's not short enough. Chrysler Cordoba (or equivalent) shocks are the shortest shocks made (7-1/8"). This is good.

To install the Chrysler Cordoba shocks, you need to do the following:
  • Drill the existing hole below the OEM shock mount in the control arm to at least 1/2" (probably 9/16" or 5/8" would be better)
  • Splay the sides of the OEM mount apart to fit the stud-mount bushing and washer (I used a large crescent wrench - I like my modifications reversible) OR remove OEM mount from control arm (angle grinder or cut-off wheel)

The #31176 shock is significantly shorter than stock, and will not let the front wheels droop as much as before. This shouldn't be a problem, since you're sitting lower than before. You will need to raise the lower control arm with a jack to complete the shock installation.



I installed a pair, and drove around a bit to see what it was like. Large violent bumps would still bottom the truck, but it seemed that it bottoms less than with the original bumpstops at original ride height (well, front fender edge 1" lower than rear fender edge as per FSM).

Incidentally, torsioned down this far does not place the lower control arm angle too badly - I've driven far worse (strut cars - eww).

Update 08/10/31:

I found the front bottomed out more than I wanted, so I raised the front up about 3/4". The fender edges are about equal in height, and the truck will still bottom on the most abusive of bumps (you could just slow down for bumps....). And of course, I want it lower.

I can't see running a longer shock than the Cordoba shock - there just isn't enough travel. I did not try Pinto shocks on a torsion-only drop.

Update 09/10/11:

After installing BellTech spindles, stock shocks and bumps, plus 3" blocks and a 2-1/2" re-drill, I had to unwind the torsion bars until the bumps were compressed 1/4" to level the truck. This made the ride very firm on bump, and floaty on rebound. After a summer of this, it became annoying. So I tried the Pinto shocks.

The Pinto shocks are super easy to install. I shortened the shock eye sleeve and re-drilled it 31/64 to fit the stock bolt (one could be hacksawed, the other was hardened and had to be cut off with a grinder). Another alternative is to pull out the sleeve (use a bit of WD40, a vice and some muscle) and press in the shock sleeve from the Nissan shock.

The ride quality is much better than before, however the tires rub the underside of the fender wells and fender edges at bump and body roll (running 215/55R16 on 7" Tundra steelies). Hitting some undulations on the highway at speed had the fenders hit the tires and you could feel it mess with the steering. Bad bad bad.

I had to shorten three fasteners sticking through the passenger fenderwell. as the threads were ripping tread off. A shorter tire would be a good idea.

Update 09/11/08:

One of the Pinto's blew out, and I found rubbing damage on the fender shields and paint worn off on the fenders (I have 4WD fenders).

I installed a set of Monroe Sensa-Trac 4WD Hardbody shocks. I also tried the ES bumpstop #9.9102 as I figured it would be almost the right length, and allow me to shim it up with some fender washers until I'm happy with the tire-to-fender clearance. This didn't work - my freshly-mounted studded winters cut the mother-loving HELL out of the fender-shields AND the steel. Bad bad bad. Factory bumpstops (trimmed 1/4" for now) went back in.

I will be trimming the factory bumpstop bit by bit until I find the happy place of trim vs. travel.

Update 10/08/02:

I never trimmed the bumpstops more - the more I thought about it, the less sense that made to me.

Instead, I cross-drilled the factory front bumpstops with three (or was it four?) 3/8" holes spaced evenly around (and through) the bumpstop. Removing some of the rubber this way "softens" the bumpstop.



Because the bumpstop is still full-length, you still hit them (or ride on them), but because they are softened, the ride is vastly improved and bottoming is much more progressive and easier to deal with.

I may drill another hole, or increase the drill bit and run them through again. I'm VERY happy with the ride as it is right now.

Update 10/10/08.

I installed the Nissan Quest Sensa-Trac rear shocks and tried them out. The Quest shocks are noticeably shorter, and they fit right in.

The ride is very good. The balance between the front Hardbody 4WD shocks and the rear Quest shocks is very nice.

Here come the answers you are looking for:

****************************** SkinnyG's Best Bets for Static ******************************

BEST: Spindles, cross-drilled (or shortened) bumpstops and 4WD shocks, plus a little torsion can give you about a 4" drop. I'm currently sitting at 25-1/8" from ground to 4WD fender edge just like this, and it honestly rides pretty good. I would not go lower for a daily driver that you actually use.

CHEAPEST: Pinto shocks and removed OEM bumpstops OR Chrysler Cordoba shocks and Energy Suspension ultra-low-profile bump stops would allow the shortest ride height, with the tires just skimming the inner fenders at full bump with stock tire diameter. Lower height = more bottoming.

LOWEST: Anything more than 4" drop will require cutting the inner fender wells, or much shorter tires if you expect it to ride without rubbing the underside of the fenderwells.

BACK: Blocks out back: stock shocks are fine, but if you've re-drilled, pulled a leaf, got BellTech leafs, and/or mini-notched the frame, run either of the Nissan Quest rear shocks above.

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

You just read the answers you were looking for

Last edited by SkinnyG; 10-02-2013 at 04:18 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:59 AM   #2
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Bilstein makes an air ride shock that is 8.25" collapsed center to center, dual eye.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:58 AM   #3
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how are the belltech 2" drop shocks?

when chosing shocks to mound in the stock location ypou want about 7 inch?
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:13 AM   #4
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so wait, youre saying the 4wd sensa trac is the way to go or what?
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:26 AM   #5
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Updated the original post with Gabriel and KYB part numbers, and specs where I had them.
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:08 PM   #6
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hey guys just wondering im going as far as i can go so im lookin about 50mm i got custom arms made an stuff just wondering if i run 70-80's Chrysler Behemoths
do i have mod my mount an with any of the other do i too just a quick question
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:47 AM   #7
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Edited the post for a bit more clarity regarding the Pinto shocks, and added pictures.

Quote:
How are the belltech 2" drop shocks?
When choosing shocks to mount in the stock location you want about 7 inch?
You want a shock short enough that you get enough travel to rarely bottom out, but if you have to - bottom the bump stop, not the shock body. For me, a 7" shock works. For now. Spindles are on order. Never tried the BellTech shocks. If they are short and have some fairly firm valving, they could be awesome.

Quote:
so wait, youre saying the 4wd sensa trac is the way to go or what?
I'm saying short shocks are the way to go. What.

Quote:
hey guys just wondering im going as far as i can go so im lookin about 50mm i got custom arms made an stuff just wondering if i run 70-80's Chrysler Behemoths do i have mod my mount an with any of the other do i too just a quick question
Dude. Punctuation. Spell check. Something. Anything. My eyes....
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Last edited by SkinnyG; 10-11-2008 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:52 AM   #8
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i was told that mid 80's izuzu pickup shocks are the way to go, nice and short and bolt right in.
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:12 PM   #9
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I looked that up for you. Here's what I found:

The 2WD Isuzu pickup uses the same shock as the 4WD Hardbody pickup, and the 4WD Isuzu pickup uses the same shock as the 2WD Hardbody shock. How very interesting....
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:44 AM   #10
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Updated with some thoughts about spindles, ride height and bumpstops.
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