Strut Length and Travel Comparison - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Strut Length and Travel Comparison

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.
MISSING:
• 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.
Disclaimer:
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.
Observations:

Tallest:*
1. OME
2. Bilstein
3. Rancho
4. OEM
*-missing data.
Most travel:*
1. 1.OME
2. Radflo
3. Bilstein
4. Rancho
5. OEM

Conclusion:
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.
Personal opinion:
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.
Considerations:
• 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.
Closing notes:
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!

References:
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.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 08:53 AM
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Wow great research. Although without after market UCA's the downtravel on any of these struts is the where the coil bucket and UCA whack into eachother.

(I am currently running the OME w/o aftermarket UCA's) no complaints here.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Yeap. regardless of what strut anyone runs they should consider better formed UCAs to squeeze every bit of travel out of the set up.

Upper control arm as well as sway bar and CVs could all the limiting factors. The swaybar being the easiest to fix, just disconnect. The UCA being the second link in the chain towards liberating all the susp travel. And the CV isnt really something that is fixable, but I believe it will be the least limiting factor.

In order for this to be a truly complete list we need the data for the SAWs the TJMs and the drop bracket coilovers!

Eventually I will do the same analysis for rear shocks.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:34 AM
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Very nice research and info. For the saws is that for the remote res or the single standard? Also with my buddy that boke his front shock Saturday granted its not a coilover but bilstein does make a remote res co. Did any of your research talk about remote res vs regular?
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 10:29 PM
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Very helpful sir

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 09:55 AM
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As NoahVT said, all these coilovers will only travel as much a the UCA will let them so on stock UCAs you're extremely limited, actually you can't even fit SAWs or the extended length radflo 2.5"s without aftermarket UCAs.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killswitch View Post
As NoahVT said, all these coilovers will only travel as much a the UCA will let them so on stock UCAs you're extremely limited, actually you can't even fit SAWs or the extended length radflo 2.5"s without aftermarket UCAs.
you can fit extended length rads with OEM UCA's, BUT the UCAs rest on the CB's. LOL.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 12:36 PM
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^lol, as far as I'm concerned, if the UCAs are resting on the coilbuckets then they don't "fit".

Also, I have a question about the results here, if the Bilstien stroke is 4.71" and the Radflo is 5", how does the bilstien offer more travel at the wheel?

Also, I looked up the Bilstien and the OME struts and am curious how those work on the Xterra? The Xterras run coilovers, I don't know that much about struts so I'm asking not telling here but just wondering how those are going to mount on an X?


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Last edited by Killswitch; 11-21-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 02:43 PM
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This is great reaserch.

Could you provide some cites for your data?
Where are you getting 1:1.5 stroke to travel ratio? I knew it was somewhere between 1.5 and 2. Can you confirm 1.5 for a reputable source?

Links to sites for extended/compressed lengths?

I'm a little suspicois of those numbers. Seems like the differences shouldn't be that far off. For axample, if you assume the upper eye mounting point is the same and the corecct ratio is 1:1.5, then 15.06" and 18.66" uncompressed lengths [(18.66"-15.06")*1.5)=5.4" difference in droop height at the tire.


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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killswitch View Post
^lol, as far as I'm concerned, if the UCAs are resting on the coilbuckets then they don't "fit".

Also, I have a question about the results here, if the Bilstien stroke is 4.71" and the Radflo is 5", how does the bilstien offer more travel at the wheel?

Also, I looked up the Bilstien and the OME struts and am curious how those work on the Xterra? The Xterras run coilovers, I don't know that much about struts so I'm asking not telling here but just wondering how those are going to mount on an X?
Bilstein is 7.065", Radflo is 7.5". Decimal places matter.

Strut+coil = coilover.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coilover

"Coilover" is short for "coil spring over strut"

Quote:
Originally Posted by NixX View Post
This is great reaserch.

Could you provide some cites for your data?
Where are you getting 1:1.5 stroke to travel ratio? I knew it was somewhere between 1.5 and 2. Can you confirm 1.5 for a reputable source?

Links to sites for extended/compressed lengths?

I'm a little suspicois of those numbers. Seems like the differences shouldn't be that far off. For axample, if you assume the upper eye mounting point is the same and the corecct ratio is 1:1.5, then 15.06" and 18.66" uncompressed lengths [(18.66"-15.06")*1.5)=5.4" difference in droop height at the tire.
The ratio was calculated off of my truck, I went outside and measured the droop of my truck until a front wheel came off the ground by measuring the height of the corresponding fender before and after, it was right at 2" with 4" extension at the strut. then i let the truck rest on its own weight and measured the amount of travel left on the strut and it was right around 2 and 5/8" which means the down travel available is 1.375", if you divide 2/1.375 it gives you 1.46".

These are estimations as I did not use precise measuring equipment, just wanted to get a realistic idea.

Your math is off because the OME strut with the 18.66" extended length drops to 12.99", which is 5.67" of travel, while the Bilstein 15.06" long strut compresses up to 10.55"which is about 4.71", which is only about 0.96" difference.

The references are on the first post, but here there are again:

References:
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.
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