Thread: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it?

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  1. #1 Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    I'm in the middle of my Claytons LA install and was thinking about how to install the rear shocks. They LA kit forces you to remove the rear sway bar and I was tossing around the idea of triangulating the rear shocks to help with body roll. I've read a few of the threads about triangulated shocks, some love it, some hate it, some only would do it on a trail rig or buggy, etc...

    When I say triangulated I don't mean at 45 degrees or something crazy, but more like 15 or 20. At 15 degrees you only loose 4% of your vertical damping rate. Also I don't want to interfere with the factory gas tank skid, so that will also limit the angle. I've yet to weld on the axle shock mounts so I'll be able to play with some configurations id need be.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind that I'll be driving my ZJ to Moab for GSW so I need it to be stable at highway speeds.
    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
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  2. #2 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    My avatar isn't animated Lifetime Supporter SirFuego's Avatar
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    I'm running upside down triangulated BBCS's in the rear of my ZJ. They were triangulated because that's the way the Clayton's high clearance rear axle bracket kit is set up. They were mounted upside down to get the shock tube out of harms way.

    On the road, I found the ride to be extremely stable provided I connected my front sway bar (no rear sway bar). The first weekend I got my Clayton's kit, I did some very light wheeling on some of the nastier seasonal roads up here -- which is mostly higher speed dirt roads. The ride was really smooth and didn't notice any loss in damping ability.

    On the slower rock crawling stuff, I can't honestly say that I noticed a stability difference due to the shocks -- but so much changed between my BB and 4.5" Clayton's that there were too many factors that affected off-road performance to say whether triangulation really helped or hurt anything.

    All these comments are based on a full-bodied ZJ. The pic below is much more recent, but the best I have of the rear shocks. The frame is supported enough to where the 4.5" are just barely unseated, but you can see the angle of triangulation I have in my setup. Click for a bigger pic.


    Another thing to consider is that it will give you so much shock travel is that you cannot rely on your shocks to limit downtravel and will NEED limit straps (not that you should rely on them to limit flex anyways, but I'm just saying...)
    Last edited by SirFuego; 03-17-2009 at 05:04 PM.
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  3. #3 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member DJJordache's Avatar
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    clayton has a kit for triangulating the shocks for ZJ's

    and you can keep the stock sway bar but you have to heat and bend it (I know I know) but it works until I figure something else out like a antirock
    93' ZJ 4.7L STROKER, Clayton LONGARMS, 4wd conversion, 231 SYE, HPD30, 8.8, BFG 35's, 2000 manifold & injectors, Hesco fpr, Port & polish, LS1 valves, WJ Steering/brakes, KOR SliderZ & steering box brace, Clayton TB bracket and my custom trackbar, Crane ignition, B&M cooler, Tom Woods, etc....
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  4. #4 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
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    I just did this to my ZJ....and from what I've heard it's not a good idea as you loose stability. However I went out wheelin this past weekend and the only difference I noticed was that I never bottomed out the rear shocks anymore!

    I did more of a 25* angle though, I'm sure 15* would be good for what you're wanting to do.
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  5. #5 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Cody's Avatar
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    From my experience, heavily triangulated shocks on coils sprung vehicles are a bad idea. Yours might not be enough angle and loss of dampening to change much--especially if you go up to a little stiffer shock.

    Every rig I have seen with coils and 45* shocks wobbles around like a slinky with a water balloon on top. The extra 2" of droop you get from the longer shock is less of a gain than the stability and dampening is a loss. IMO.

    Just my two cents. I'm the anti super duper wheel travel guy.
    Resident hater of tall lifts, dana 44's, 4.0's, stingers, exo cages, and ZJ tow rigs....and the word "overlanding"
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  6. #6 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirFuego View Post
    All these comments are based on a full-bodied ZJ. The pic below is much more recent, but the best I have of the rear shocks. The frame is supported enough to where the 4.5" are just barely unseated, but you can see the angle of triangulation I have in my setup. Click for a bigger pic.
    Based on your pic, I'm guessing that your shocks are about 30 degrees. That would be about the max angle I'd run.

    I'm thinking of putting the axle side mounts in line with the outer edge of the coil buckets and the uppers just inside the "frame" rails.

    If there isn't any stability benefit to running triangulated shock, why do people bother? Is it purely for more flex? More flex is great, but I don't want to be dropping coils left and right.
    -Ted Z
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  7. #7 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
    From my experience, heavily triangulated shocks on coils sprung vehicles are a bad idea. Yours might not be enough angle and loss of dampening to change much--especially if you go up to a little stiffer shock.

    Every rig I have seen with coils and 45* shocks wobbles around like a slinky with a water balloon on top. The extra 2" of droop you get from the longer shock is less of a gain than the stability and dampening is a loss. IMO.

    Just my two cents. I'm the anti super duper wheel travel guy.

    Cody I'm glad you chimed in since your posts came up in mosts of the threads I searched.

    You're running LA's right? How are your rear shocks set up?
    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
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  8. #8 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member ATL ZJ's Avatar
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    I agree with cody. This may seem a little hypocritical after having ~45 degree rear shocks on my rig this time last year, but the reasoning behind that was due to a weight imbalance and poor shock selection. I actually needed far less dampening than those stiff shocks gave, so I leaned them over to reduce the stiffness.

    Angling coilovers, air shocks, or air struts inward at the chassis and outboarded at the axles has an advantage and a purpose. The idea is for the springs to angle in towards the body, so that at no point during articulation or sidehilling can the springs "kick over" 90 degrees vertical and help gravity to push the chassis downhill or onto its side. But mounting regular shocks (for dampening only) in that orientation is usually just gimmicky and counterproductive. If you want to combat body roll, mount your shocks completely vertical to take advantage of their maximium dampening potential.
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  9. #9 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATL ZJ View Post
    If you want to combat body roll, mount your shocks completely vertical to take advantage of their maximium dampening potential.
    Sounds like good advice now that I think it through a bit more.

    Next question:

    Would it be worth the effort to turn the shock mounts 90* from the factory orientation any ways? The shock bushings are going to get worked over with the flex the Claytons kit allows.
    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
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  10. #10 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    My avatar isn't animated Lifetime Supporter SirFuego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted_Z View Post
    If there isn't any stability benefit to running triangulated shock, why do people bother? Is it purely for more flex? More flex is great, but I don't want to be dropping coils left and right.
    I have my flex limited with limit straps such that it can't droop beyond the coil spring unseating. Sure it hurts my RTI score, but RTI scores are worthless anyways. I personally feel that a shock should NOT limit droop -- because it was not designed to do so. My buddy ripped apart a shock on the trail because he was using them to limit droop. I used them to limit droop in my previous setup and the shocks were worthless after a year.

    That said, my shock mounts are not hanging below the axle like the factory, so there is a ground clearance advantage to mounting them like that. I do know that my buddy who built the rear axle wasn't too happy with the shock angles (he wanted them to be vertical), but there really wasn't any room to work with to get them vertical and mounted wide enough on the axle to do that.

    I've driven my ZJ (when it was street worthy) at 74 for about 4 hours or so on the highway and it felt fine as long as my front sway bar was connected.

    I personally have no complaints with the way it's set up, but like I said, I don't really have a benchmark to compare it against.
    Quote Originally Posted by SB406
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  11. #11 Re: Triangulated rear shocks, worth it? 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Cody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted_Z View Post
    Cody I'm glad you chimed in since your posts came up in mosts of the threads I searched.

    You're running LA's right? How are your rear shocks set up?
    Yes, long arms, 6" lift and 35's. My shocks are just like a normal ZJ. I think they are an 11" stroke shock, with 3 up and 8 down. It flexes plenty for anything I've ever wanted to do.



    Stability is the last thing you get form triangulating the shocks. Dampening is the ability to resist compression, so if you're sidehilling and your shock has x% less dampening, well your big top heavy ZJ is going to reallly get leaning. The ideal shocks for coil sprung rigs like our is a digressive valved shock as opposed to a more common progressive valve. Most of the bilstein stuff for TJ's/Zj's is digressive.

    I think my water balloon on a slinky analogy is pretty accurate lol.


    note: sorry if that picture makes you log into nagca to see. I'm not trying to covertly drive you over there, I just haven't renewed my phototime sub and haven't gotten around to re-hosting my pictures.
    Resident hater of tall lifts, dana 44's, 4.0's, stingers, exo cages, and ZJ tow rigs....and the word "overlanding"
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