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Shock Absorber Recommendations

Graham Smith

New Member
Mar 12, 2010

This is my first post on the "new" board... My poor beast has had a quiet year while I have been working hard...
Now I want to get her back to full fitness, then get out and play.

Right now, the most pressing job is new shock absorbers.
What are everyones opinions on make and model of shock?

She is an HDJ80 with 5cm lift and OME springs. As my OME shocks only lasted 10000km, I'm not too keen on them...

Look forward to your thoughts.
Best wishes
What do you use the truck for? Expeditions?
What sort of loads do you carry?
How come the OME failed?
Are you in the UK or further afield?
Hi Julian

I am still in UK.
The is going to be used for play days, Salisbury plain etc... I cant see me getting anywhere abroad soon.

I am considering Bilsteins, Koni or Ironman. I just dont know which would be best.

Have you got Bilsteins on yours? (assuming you still have your 94 HDJ80 -same as mine)

Graham, different Julian, but I had a look at his truck the other day and I don't think they are Bilsteins
I am sure JulianV will be along some time to confirm what they are.
I had a good look at dampers recently after being a bit disappointed with the damping control of OME
Koni's are very well made units, I believe the Heavy track raid dampers are built over in Holland and have some rudimentary rebound adjustment, they seem to be pretty popular on Land Rovers as a step up from OME
Ironman seem to be pretty popular with owners on here, West Coast 4x4 seem to be the font of knowledge for them
Bilsteins have a great reputation and I believe JulianV might be able to source custom valved options from Australia, Jon Wildsmith on here has them on his 100 and likes them
There are a few more options like Fox but they get pretty costly
The custom Bilsteins I have from Julian V for the 100 are very good and their control is very noticeably better than anything I experienced with OME on the 80. Different trucks I know but some basics about how the shocks should behave are the same especially at the back.
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Hi Graham,

What was it that you didn't like about the OME shocks?

OK, here is my quick take on shocks.

Ironman - not got the best rep in Aus for longevity so I have always steered clear, but having driven a few trucks recently with it on I would say that in terms of ride they seem to be along the lines of OME.

OME - Tends to be a 'standard' - my old ones were 10 years old, had done 3 trips around Morocco and 100k miles and the shocks were fine and bushes almost pristine. I just found with the basic +200kg rear springs the ride was too harsh when unloaded, rattling your teeth a bit, but settled down once loaded with family and a boot full of clobber.

Ridepro - this is what I mainly sell. Has been developed by ex OME staff so very similar to OME but I find it provides a more a smoother ride. Darren McRae in Aus has done a lot of work with them on the development side of things resulting in things like the Slinky springs and better valving on the heavier duty Rox versions of their shocks - I have these on my truck and some consider it to be very car like in it's handling whilst still providing good articulation. Even without the slinky springs the Ridepro Rox shocks are provide a great upgrade over the OME ones.

Bilstien - These are noticeably better than the standard offerings from any of the above, but are a bit pricier. Again providing a smoother ride.

Fox - the muts nuts, but you pay through the nose for this - we sell a 3" slinky kit with Fox shocks that is hard to beat but all in costs around £2,500!!!!!

Koni Heavy Track Raids - very popular european top level solution, but not sure how they stack up against the Ridepro, Bilstien or Fox shocks that are popular in Aus.

The key thing is to start at the price and then work your way from there - in most cases it is a case of you get what you pay for.
As I understand it they were a victim of the economic situation... strange the website still seems to work. :think:

I'd not get too excited by them anyway. I had their 2" lift kit on my old auto 80 and they didn't last well. The shock were toast after 12000miles of roads and grassy fields and the the front ones sheared the bottom spigot off after only 2 years fitted.

The springs are Dobinsons from Oz but the rate on the rear was too soft with no rate options through Explorer.

I currently have Terrafirma shocks (no longer available but Frogs may still have some stock) on Ironman B set springs and it's a nice ride but would want stiffer on the back for a load.

The Bilsteins were the shock of choice in my younger boy racer days :oops: especially for rally use but the Konis are a super quality item albeit at a super price. I have Konis on an old Aston Martin and they are very good quality but firm as you like
Terrafirma is the brand of Britpart, and the shock are completely different - I had them side by side on the floor last month!
Dave Burgess said:
Terrafirma is the brand of Britpart, and the shock are completely different - I had them side by side on the floor last month!

that's interesting to know- didn't really beleive the person at the time- what are you thoughts on the terrafirma stuff? better made than some of the [s:uxb701fz]sh[/s:uxb701fz]britpart stuff is?
Only been on for about 2000miles and 6 weeks but so far so good. They are not doing LC stuff any more but concentrating on LR kit. I got them at a very special price from Frogs Island for that reason (they may still have some £20 ea +Value added theft back in Feb).

They're clearly a bought in and marketed item, similar to the OE ones with bash plates welded on the rears and the same daft washers on the front. I've got them set up with Ironman B springs at +50mm.
When I bought my 80, 5 years ago it was fitted with OME shocks and their 5cm lift.

Several of the shocks were leaking oil, so I installed the standard Bilstein ones. My preferred shock for most my vehicles.
They are still on the vehicle and continue to perform nicely.
I should mention though that it is only a weekend vehicle.

On my BMW commuter I installed bilsteins about 6 years ago and they are still doing the business.

You have to like the ride though. They need to warm up and then you're in for a comfy secure ride. Short trips they are pretty rough.

On my previous landcruiser SWB 70 I installed Koni shocks. Nothing fancy just the OEM replacement ones. Loved those as well, but the bilsteins are better built and should last longer IMHO.