Liquid Shocks vs. Gas Shocks? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 03-23-2007
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Liquid Shocks vs. Gas Shocks?

A buddy of mine recommend that I use LIQUID shocks to replace my stock ones for the front of my Ranger and then use GAS shocks for the rear which allows for a quicker recovery time. If none of this makes sense, I apologize. Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-24-2007
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Virtually all modern automotive "shock absorbers" use liquid (oil) to hydraulically damp suspension motion. Modern shocks may also have a pressurized gas charge to help keep the damping more consistent as the shock heats up.

For many years, ALL Rangers have been factory equipped with oil damped and gas charged shocks, front and rear.

Most gas shocks are the emulsion type which means that the oil and gas are allowed to mix. More expensive shocks (including most off road racing shocks) may have a bladder or piston to keep the gas and oil separate.

For the best combination of performance vs. cost, you should consider quality gas/oil emulsion shocks for both front and rear.
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Old 03-26-2007
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One question further would be, what would quality shocks be that'd mount all the way around? I realize you get what you pay for. I plan to do a 3SL and a 3BL. Obviously only doing 3inches would sit me at the STOCK 4x4 height, which is where the BL comes in. Thanks! Any recommendations or advice as to do/not do to my truck?
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Old 03-26-2007
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Bilstein HD series, Ranchos, etc. Some suspension lifts require or include special length shocks. Maybe you should do the shocks at the same time.
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Old 03-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
Most gas shocks are the emulsion type which means that the oil and gas are allowed to mix. More expensive shocks (including most off road racing shocks) may have a bladder or piston to keep the gas and oil separate.
Bob, I respect your knowledge of automotive information but this explanation does not sound quite right, at least within my understanding of the definitions of those terms. Maybe I am misunderstanding something.

Emulsion to me means a dispersion of two normally incompatible materials, usually liquids. Having gas mixed with oil would be a bad thing.

I know gas pressure is used in shocks to help prevent the oil from aerating while being force through the orifices at high temperature. Some shocks have a barrier between the oil and gas while others have gas in contact with the oil. Maybe the term emulsion is used (incorrectly) for shocks which have contact between the oil and gas.
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Old 03-26-2007
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I planned on buying the shocks and doing it all at once. However, when I called to order them awhile ago, the man asked me if it was something which kinda menas "side mount or straight mount"? Does that make any sense?
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Old 03-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IN2 FX4
I know gas pressure is used in shocks to help prevent the oil from aerating while being force through the orifices at high temperature. Some shocks have a barrier between the oil and gas while others have gas in contact with the oil. Maybe the term emulsion is used (incorrectly) for shocks which have contact between the oil and gas.
I don't know whether the term 'emulsion' is technically correct from an engineering point of view but it is used widely by people in the shock industry. In an emulsion shock, pressurized gas (usually nitrogen) is allowed to mix with the damping oil and the valving is set up to accommodate the mixture as well as possible.

When subjected to extreme conditions, a shock with a piston or bladder to separate the gas and oil is almost always a more consistent performer than a comparable emulsion shock. It is also much more expensive. You won't see emulsion shocks on Baja trophy trucks but they work well enough for normal street and casual trail use.
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Old 03-27-2007
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I decided to do a little research on the various types of shocks. Apparently standard fluid shocks are referred to as emulsion shocks. Standard shocks not only have oil but also air or gas in them. During heavy use the gas can emulsify with the oil which reduces the dampening properties of the shocks. Hence the name emulsion shock. They are not designed to emulsify, it is just an inherent problem with the design.

As you stated already the shocks with a barrier between the oil and pressurised gas will nearly if not completely eliminate the emulsion problem.

Bob, thanks for making me look deeper to understand how shocks are designed and function.
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Old 03-27-2007
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Pressurized gas shocks reduce foaming of the oil actually. The higher the pressure, the better the effect. You can have twin tube shocks where the gas is at the top of the outer tube, and single or twin shocks where the gas is in a bladder, or even in a closed cell foam structure.

The bladder and foam types have one particularly significant advantage beyond preventing mixing -- they can be run in any position. Shocks with gas "pockets" that are not contained in some way must be mounted in a certain position -- though that can also be a requirement with certain self-adjusting shocks as well.
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Old 03-28-2007
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This information is totally helping me distinguish what type of shock to get. The EMULSION shocks seem the way to go, but who sells them and what type would you recommend? I'd just like to know that someone else on the forum is runnin' with them and enjoy what they've got.
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Old 03-28-2007
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I'm running Rancho RSX on my truck and I'm totally satisfied with their performance and especially their durability -- I've jumped, hopped, banged and generally abused my suspension and broken a bunch of crap -- but never the shocks.
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Old 03-28-2007
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I have rwenzing's old stock Bilsteins....they work well for me!
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Old 07-05-2007
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Ever herd of KYB Monomax's? It may be somethin for you to look into...
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