Nissan Xterra tech:
Strut length/travel reference:
Being unsatisfied with the down travel of my truck with the quicklift shocks, I decided to do some research on what shock really has the longest stroke in order to extract the most wheel down travel while maintaining a low ride height.
I noticed that there is no thread specifying the lengths of the different brands and models available for the 2nd generation xterra.
In order to simplify this process for myself, and others who might want to make a decision on which strut to purchase in the future in order to get their ride height and wheel travel tuned closed to perfection, I have compiled a list.
• Race Runner SAW coilover
• TJM extended length coilover
• Drop bracket length coil over.
*- can be purchased pre-assembled for $110 more.
**- can be purchased un-assembled for a lower cost.
***- based on stock xterra width arms, which creates a 1:1.5 shock to wheel travel ratio.
I am only collecting info on the length and travel of the shocks available. I know nothing about valving or suspension tuning, nor is it what I researched.
Also, this research does not consider the ride “quality” of each product as I consider that more of a subjective thing.
Coil length used was not research either.
I am not an engineer or fabricator nor do I play one on TV, I just have OCD.
The point of collecting this data is to determine which shock will allow the most travel, and which one uses the shortest coil.
Most people online will praise the radflos, without having experience with any other strut. I currently run Rancho quicklifts and they ride GREAT, but again I have nothing to compare them to.
The Rancho quicklift is exactly what its name implies, a quicklift. It lowers the bottom coil seat (excuse my ignorance of the technical term) and provides the same amount of travel as OEM at a higher ride height (about 1.5” taller, from my own experience.) The adjustability of the dampening is pretty neat, and the thickness of the shock and piston are pleasing.
The Old Man Emu strut is surprisingly long, and most of the users of this kit have claimed they feel an increased wheel travel EVEN at the increased ride height. This makes sense because BOTH the coil and strut in the OME kit are significantly longer than stock.
I think enough has been said about the radflo on this forum. They have a very positive reputation thanks to PRG, who valves them in a way specific to the Xterra. This along with the precise adjustability of ride height makes this coilover extremely popular. The most common issues seen on the forum is limited down travel when adjusted over 3” taller and I remember one thread where a few people mentioned their radflo randomly fell apart, YMMV. The limited down travel can be fixed with a strut spacer.
The stroke length is not top dog, coming in second to the OME strut (pending SAW and TJM length.) Personally I would sacrifice some “dampening” for more travel since the kind of wheeling I do is not high speed at all, as well as a nice chunk of change in my pocket.
The majority of the users who run the adjustable Bilsteins complain about topping/bottoming out when cranked up, which can happen with ANY adjustable shock (even a radflo) when increasing ride height by increasing coil preload. Its interesting to see that this shock has just slightly less travel than the very expensive radflo. Of course as preload is increasing by moving the snap ring up, down travel is decreased.
From what I have observed, and if the assumption that only strut stroke determines suspension travel is true, then the optimal combo for my personal situation would be to run the bilsteins at stock height with a stock length coil, a 1.5-2” strut spacer and aftermarket control arms. This way, I can have all of the down travel the strut provides, at the height that I want (1.5-2” over stock) without risk of bottoming out or having to lift the vehicle too much.
I COULD use a radflo, and pay almost four times as much for about 5/8 more of wheel travel, but I am not going to lose any sleep over it.
I COULD also use the OME strut and coil, but this would yield about 2.5” of lift, which is 0.5-1” more than I want. It is also about twice as expensive than the bilsteins.
• Did not consider any relation of coil length to suspension travel.
• Did not consider the limitation of the control arms/sway bar/CVs on the wheel travel.
• Assumed the ratio of 1:1.5 inches of shock to wheel travel, based on the OEM wheel travel/OEM stroke length. (6/4=1.5)
• I cannot calculate what amount of travel is up travel and what amount is down travel, but if I had to take I would disconnect the sway bar and jack my truck up until the wheels JUST came off the ground and found the ratio of down travel to total travel and then to shock travel.
If anyone notices my math, or any of my arguments are off, please feel free to correct me. Thanks!
Stay tuned for my rear shock cross comparison!
1. OME: http://www.sleeoffroad.com/installat...hock_specs.pdf
2. Bilstein: http://www.my4by.com/bilstein-24-187...ck-p-4511.html
3. Radflo: http://www.radflo.com/oe_app.htm
4. Rancho: http://www.my4by.com/rancho-quicklif...pecs-a-11.html
5. OEM: my garage and a measuring tape.