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Who knew buying shocks could be so confusing!

My trooper is in need of new shocks, and I have a couple questions that hopefully someone can answer and clear up my situation and possibly make a recommendation:

I’m looking for something other than just a basic replacement set of shocks. My trooper is no rock crawler, but I live in CO and will definitely be exposing the car to some light to moderate off-road conditions.

I know absolutely nothing about the different types of shocks, but from personal preference, I think I prefer a stiffer shock rather than one that will make me feel like I’m driving a boat!

I don’t want to purchase a piece of crap, but I’m also on a budget and certainly don’t want to break the bank (afterall, its a '94 but can go a little higher since I’m doing all the installation work myself) so what is a good/moderate brand of shocks?

And last, I was wondering if aftermarket shocks provide any kind of lift or added clearence whatsoever? I’m not looking to get several inches out of my new shocks, but is it possible to gain any added clearence with new shocks and little to no body modification?

thanks and any recommendations of brands or products that you’ve had success with would be greatly appreciated!

You need adjustable air shocks. Monroe offers a good crop, and I suggest you check out their products. If nothing suits you, Google adjustable air shocks to find something that suits your needs.

You are expecting more out of your shocks than you really should.

The only purpose of a shock absorber is to control the ossilations of the suspension system.

They don’t change the ride height.
That is done with spring length, and mounting brackets.

They technically don’t change the harshness of the ride, unless their compression and rebound damping rates are considerably different than your OEM shocks were, or unless you buy shocks that allow you to adjust the rebound and compression settings ($$$$).

They will restore a bit of ride height if the old shock was completely dead, and partially collapsed. not really a ride height change as it is a ride height restoration.

Lift is added either via springs or brackets, or via larger body to frame mounts.
The latter doesn’t change the softness/harshness of the ride in any way, shape or form, but can increase sway while cornering, since you have raised the center of gravity, which means that you have also made the truck easier to flip over. Good luck with that.

What you should do, is talk to a professional truck shop.
Lots and lots of them here in the Denver area, where I live, also.

Chances are there’s a good kit for your truck that will give you exactly what you are looking for.


On my '89 Toyota pickup I switched from the standard shock to a heavy duty; Monroe I think. Ride was stiffer but gave better control when pulling my boat. Air shocks weren’t available because the Toyota truck has a sensor that changes the braking ratio between front and rear when the vehicle is loaded down. It moves more braking power to the rear wheels when the cargo bed is weighted down. Air shocks would defeat this safety feature.

I used Gabriel High Jackers (air shock) on the rear of my '77 Cutlass many years ago. Air valve in the trunk allowed me to raise and lower the rear. Never had any problems with either the Monroe or Gabriel. I think they lasted about 5 years before I replaced them.

I installed all of the shocks myself. My cars now have struts and cross over type shocks. I’ll let the repair shop replace those if needed.

I think you are hoping to get more out of this vehicle than you can just by upgrading the shock absorbers. In order to get your desired effect, you would need several costly suspension upgrades or a new vehicle. Personally, I think you should just replace the shocks with ones that meet OEM requirements and drive on. Considering the age of your vehicle, I recommend you buy the cheapest replacement shock absorbers you can find that meet OEM specs. Check Sunday’s newspaper ads for specials.

Agreed. If you want a firmer shock for street use, that will have negative effects for off road use. And a softer shock for offroad will make your car feel like you’re driving that boat. For what you want, you need shocks that can do both. Open up yer wallet :wink:

I agree with a good set of Monroes to OEM spec.

The trick to successfully navigating moderate offroad conditions is to slow down. Success isn’t in special shocks, it’s in technique.