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Adjustable Shocks
By Wayne Scraba/autoMedia.com
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Moderate
Estimated Time180 minutes
180 minutes
On a typical single adjustable shock, once you go past a certain point (for example, 6 clicks clockwise on our Strange Engineering sample shocks), the adjuster works primarily on extension (rebound). Moving all the way to the right (clockwise) will make the shock stiff. Moving all the way to the left makes it loose (the old 90/10 scenario). As you can see, even a single adjustable shock allows for a very large range of adjustment.
 
Adjustment Starting Point
According to the folks at Strange Engineering, the starting point for adjustment on a single adjustable front shock is as follows:
 

Street: Turn to position 4 or 5 (position “1” is full counterclockwise); for firmer ride, rotate clockwise.

Road Race: Turn to position 7 or 8 (position “1” is full counterclockwise; for firmer ride, rotate clockwise.

Drag Race: Turn to position 2 or 3 (position “1” is full counterclockwise); to increase weight transfer (front-end travel) rotate counterclockwise).


Here’s Strange Engineering’s starting point advice for rear single adjustable shock setup:

Street: Turn to position 4 or 5 (position “1” is full counterclockwise); for firmer ride, rotate clockwise.

Road Race: Turn to position 7 or 8 (position “1” is full counterclockwise); for firmer ride, rotate clockwise.

Drag Race: Turn to position 5 (position “1” is full counterclockwise). To plant the tires harder, rotate counterclockwise; to decrease wheel hop, rotate clockwise.


Double Adjustable Shocks
What about the more exotic double adjustable shock absorber? A double adjustable shock allows individual adjustment of the compression valving and rebound valving (typically while the shock is still mounted on the car). That means there is a separate knob devoted to compression and another for rebound. Given the increased sophistication of the internal valving, double adjustable shocks often cost much more than their single adjustable counterparts. They’re also far more complex, particularly when it comes to adjustment.
 
When it comes to double adjustable shocks, such as the Strange Engineering examples, the compression is adjusted by adjusting the marked knob from 1 (full counterclockwise) to 12 (full clockwise). Due to the precision of the adjuster, only a click change is necessary to make a noticeable change in the valving. The rebound adjuster is also extremely sensitive to change. Even one or two clicks will make a significant change in tuning the chassis. And there are plenty of available adjustments too. For example, the Strange Engineering shock shown in the accompanying photos has 12 rebound settings to choose from. That means you have approximately 24 settings per shock (and when both are combined, myriad combinations). Some manufacturers have fewer or more adjustments, but the operation is the same.
 
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