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SC10 Shock Tuning Tips, Part 1: Shock Size, Piston Size, Oil & Spacers

Whether it is big bore or small bore, a piston with a lot of little holes or a few big holes, shocks can be a small mystery. In this article, I discuss the effects of pistons, oils, and spacers on your SC10 setup.

Shock Size

Big bore, or small? Personally, on a smooth indoor carpet track, I prefer the V2 shocks over the big bore shocks just for the weight savings. Normally, there are not as big of or as many features as you would find on an outdoor track and the track is typically laid over top of smooth tile or concrete, so the need for the dampening of of a larger bore shock is not needed. Outdoor tracks or indoor clay/dirt tracks are typically rougher and show some erosion, so you will want a larger bore shock to smooth out the track surface.

Piston Size

Piston size is typically dictated by the size of features your track has. With larger features, you need the shock oil to “pack” inside of the shock as the shaft is initially compressed in a hard manner, such as landing off of a jump. Pack is basically the shearing action of the oil trying to make its way through the holes in the piston. So, if you take a jump, and land with the chassis slapping the ground, you would want to go to a piston with a smaller hole size than you have. Changing from a number 1 piston to a number 2 piston on the V2 shocks, or from a 2 X 1.6 piston to a 3 X 1.4 piston on the Factory Team big bore shocks could make a significant difference.

Shock Oil

Shock oil provides the dampening of the vehicle in the turns. In other words, it, in combination with spring rates, determines the speed at which the shocks will compress and rebound.

A thicker oil will provide a slower response from the truck making it comfortable to drive, very easy to control, but also a slower cornering speed. It is like driving a Cadillac (no offense to Cadillac owners, in fact, if you need someone to drive your CTS-V, let me know).

Thinner oils will provide the opposite effect. They cause the shock to react quicker to changes in direction of the vehicle, and to changes in the track surface. Thinner oil lets the car transfer weight quicker to the outside of the vehicle in a turn, allowing the vehicle to turn more quickly into a corner and the shock to rebound more quickly, causing the truck to square up more efficiently when exiting the corner.

Internal Spacers

Internal spacers are used to limit droop on the front or rear of the vehicle. They are placed on the shock shaft and simply don't allow the shaft to fully extend to the full range. One thing to remember when discussing spacers is that the front shocks will control weight transfer to the rear of the truck under acceleration and the rear shocks will control the weight transfer to the front of the truck under braking.

When you add limiters to the front shocks, then the shocks can not extend to their full length, keeping more weight on the nose of the truck and increasing steering on power. When you remove spacers from the front shocks, it has the opposite effect. It will cause the weight to transfer towards the rear, increasing rear traction during acceleration.

Adding spacers to the rear shocks will cause them not to fully extend, and keeps weight from transferring to the nose of the truck under braking, which increases traction on the rear of the truck under braking. Removing spacers from the rear shocks has the opposite effect, causing more weight to transfer to the nose of the truck, increasing steering under braking.

I hope this covers any questions you have about the internals of a shock. As always, leave any questions in the comment block below, and I will answer to the best of my ability. Until next time, have fun!