Should I make adjustable shocks softer or harder when towing my van?

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 14:22
ThreadID: 141553 Views:970 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
I've just fitted some adjustable shocks, but I'm not clear how to adjust them when towing my van.
Any advice gratefully received.
Gary

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Reply By: Dusta - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 15:06

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 15:06
Google has plenty of information :)
AnswerID: 636070

Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 16:12

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 16:12
Gary
It depends on a few factors. The idea is to match load and suddenness of vehicle/van dynamic movement. Depending on the vehicle you have and it's load and towball weight. The adjustment isn't really hard or soft, just called that. It is resistance to sudden movement, done slowly not much is felt, worked fast it presents as hard, or in other words more sudden resistance. What vehicle do you have? because hard sudden movement may cause shock mounting damage or splitting of rubber bushes. It is the ability of the shocks to absorb energy and not their ability to simply create "hardness" which is important. If you feel sudden violent harshness with suspension action it indicates too much sudden resistance. The idea is to have it all move and absorbed not simply blocked by instant hydraulic force.
AnswerID: 636073

Reply By: Hoyks - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 18:21

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 18:21
Good shock adsorbers will have negligible resistance to compression, even though they fill really hard when you try and push them in.
The valving is optimised for resisting them extending again.

The idea being that you hit a bump and the wheel is pushed up and the spring compresses, the shock adsorber resists the spring extending again just as quickly and making the vehicle bounce down the road.

What setting? I'd probably go with a firmer setting as you will have a fair bit of load moving around down the back, but it all depends on your springs and the load.

You can sometimes over do it and set some damper too stiff though. The spring doesn't get a chance to extend to its neutral position again before the next bump and the suspension can get rather harsh as the springs are kept partially compressed for each hit. Its generally only an issue on corrugations though.
AnswerID: 636076

Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 20:37

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 20:37
The reason they may feel hard when hand compressing is because most are gas filled and it is the speed of compression which makes the valving work. A shock absorber is designed to absorb or dampen the COMPRESSION and rebound of the springs and suspension.
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FollowupID: 913933

Reply By: Gbc.. - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 19:20

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 19:20
It’s very subjective. If you have a prado with standard springs and a big van you’ll be cranking them up.
If you have an empty twin cab Ute with a gvm upgrade and towing a light 16 footer you’d be backing them off.
I only had one set of adjustable tough dogs and they were on a competition Ute. We ran them hard inroad mainly to make up for the lack of sway bars and to limit bump steer. Off road, turning them back gave a plush ride.
AnswerID: 636079

Follow Up By: Member - Gary P (VIC) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 20:26

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 20:26
Thanks folks. Your comments are a great help. Really appreciate it.
Gary

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Reply By: Batt's - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 20:27

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 20:27
Depends on what sort of ride your after and how the vehicle reacts on road when supporting extra weight when cornering lane changing braking etc.

I had adjustable shocks on my 4wd but had heavy duty springs to suit so it could support heavy loads when needed. I ran the shocks on a comfy level most of the time but not soft enough so the vehicle wanted to follow ruts, dips etc in our great less than average QLD roads. When carrying a load you can feel the vehicle react quite differently generally making it less responsive and wallow a bit it just doesn't feel right so hook the van up, take it for a reasonable drive before you go away to help select what might suit then you can tweak it later on when traveling if needed is my advice. It's amazing the difference it makes and the vehicle will feel much better when you get it right that's if you have the correct springs to suit as well.
AnswerID: 636108

Follow Up By: Member - Gary P (VIC) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 21:21

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 21:21
Thanks for your reply. I've fitted heavier springs to my new BT-50, and the adjustable shockers were fitted at the same time. I've been 4 wheel driving and towing a camper trailer for years, but haven't had the chance to use the new van much (thanks to COVID and Chairman Dan!)
I've never had adjustable shockers before, hence my question.
Your plan sounds like a good one. Thank you.
Gary

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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 06:08

Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 06:08
I’ve got the new bt50 also. Which suspension did you go for?
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Follow Up By: Member - Gary P (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 06:56

Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 06:56
I went for Tough Dog suspension from Opposite Lock. It has mixed reviews, but hopefully it will do the job (fingers crossed!) Didn't have much choice at the time - the problem with buying a new model vehicle is that there is not much after-market stuff available yet. I needed it by May and was grateful to get anything. ARB told me that none of their products (long-range tank, OME suspension, canopy) would be available until June. If you're not in a hurry it would be worth waiting a few more months and seeing what's out there.
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 07:10

Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 07:10
Yes ARB just asked if I wanted to go on a wait list for a bullbar. No thanks.
I really like the ride and the way it tows on the factory suspension (XT with the harder springs), I just need to combat a bit of sag so might even go airbags this time round.
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FollowupID: 913964

Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 14:19

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 14:19
The new BT50 has parobolic rear leaf springs, parobolic springs are suppose to be as about as good as it gets for comfort, load carrying if they are the correct size to suit the job.
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FollowupID: 914046

Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 14:42

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 14:42
That would explain it. They are the the most comfortable leaves I have ever towed with. Just need to combat a bit of sag and I’ll be away. The local blacksmith reckons he can sort that without having to bin them so we shall see what the outcome is. I was in 2 minds about going aftermarket.
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FollowupID: 914047

Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 at 08:23

Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 at 08:23
They are tapered springs, if you look at the bottom leaf it has a big taper in it the upper springs may rest on it when loaded for extra support but still give a more comfy ride than regular leafs and offer more flex.

I inquired about getting some for my 2007 BT50 a few months ago they're 350kg constant load from W.A. springs. I asked them if the new BT50 has parobolic because I noticed the neighbors only has 3 leafs each side they said yes.
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FollowupID: 914054

Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Apr 30, 2021 at 10:47

Friday, Apr 30, 2021 at 10:47
Before you visit a blacksmith check the towball weight isn't too high moving a few items in the van might help.
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FollowupID: 914068

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