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Shocks G-Class

Shocks G-Class

The search for the best shocks to suit your needs and application can sometimes lead to information overload. Please visit our G-Wagen suspension category page to read a general overview of recommended products and helpful information for choosing shocks and springs.

What follows is a comparison of the shocks we most often recommend:

If your goal is to soften your ride, you’re on the right track with a change in shocks as they may have the biggest effect on your perceived ride quality improvement. Just know that springs and tires can affect ride quality too.

In order of preference for ride comfort and overall performance, here’s our recommendation as of the date of this writing (10/20/2020):

  1. Prerunner self-adjusting shocks by Bilstein-4x4 proyect (yes, with a “y”)
  2. ORQ Series two-way adjustable shocks by Ohlins
  3. OEM Performance Series adjustable shocks by King
  4. Old Man Emu (OME) Nitrocharger nonadjustable shocks

All of the following shocks will work with stock ride height as well as lifted Gs. Unless you will install portal axles, Viking recommends against lifts beyond the height offered by its THOR Springs (70mm at front and 50mm at rear).

See the highlights of each brand below.


BILSTEIN-4X4 PROYECT

Born of a collaboration between Bilstein and 4x4 proyect, the Prerunner shocks offer the top-level performance of any shock absorbers we’ve seen and tested.

Distinguishing Features:

  1. Self-adjustment technology so you never have to get out of your vehicle to fine-tune them for different terrains
  2. A HUGE 2.65-inch diameter body
  3. A two-year warranty
  4. Long travel (FOX Shox were at approximately 8.5-inch travel; these give 10 inches of travel)
  5. Built from standard Bilstein parts. Easy to rebuild and save money on new shocks.
  6. Regularly in stock
  7. Best customer service we’ve experienced

The first few sets shipped to the US featured custom-tuned valving for each customer in order to help 4x4 proyect hone in on preferences and driving styles in the US market. You can now opt for one of three different types of pre-valved setups:

  1. Soft: very comfortable. Ideal for Gs with no extra weight that are mostly used for road driving and light off roading

  2. Medium: a very nice mult-purpose setup. Perfect for a G that will have some extra weight and needs more stability on and off-road.
  3. Hard: For fully built expedition/overlanding Gs (like Benyamin Senekal's G500). Designed to handle high loads (1000lbs+) and deliver stability on vehicles with heavy roof racks.

OHLINS

Long-known for its dominance in World Rally Championship (WRC) racing, Ohlins offers superior handling for both street driving such as commutes to and from work as well as the rocky off road-type trails you see commonly at Rally races. A practical application would be fire roads and other types of light off road terrain. Your Ohlins will work well here and on the streets for significantly-improved control.

Ohlins’ Dual Flow Valve technology gives you the ability to adjust your suspension so that it responds more appropriately on both compression AND rebound for different terrains. This suspension is made to help you take your car to the limit of how much your tires can grip the road before slipping, and it helps you to improve your ability to maintain your line of travel when going over bumps and dips.

Distinguishing Features:

  1. Dual adjustment for rebound and compression
  2. Fine adjustment: 35-40 clicks on rebound and 25-30 clicks on compression
  3. 2-year warranty
  4. Precision engineered and built in Sweden

KING SHOCKS

King’s OEM shock upgrade kits will greatly improve your G-Class’ ride quality beyond the stock ride.  These shocks have undergone extensive real-world testing to develop the optimal damping curves and spring rates for the G-Class. The 24 clicks on the adjustment dial give you the flexibility to fine-tune your shocks for the best responsiveness you can get depending on the terrain you traverse.

Distinguishing Features:

  1. 100% made in the USA
  2. Built from high-end, precision-machined, rugged parts
  3. 2.5-inch diameter body
  4. Increased wheel travel (front at about 25%, rear at about 15%)
  5. Serviceable design allows for valve adjustments with simple hand tools

Built with race-winning design features the King OEM replacement kits, just as the Ohlins and Prerunners, are complete and provide simple 100% bolt-on installation with no cutting or welding done to your vehicle.  The large body and reservoirs increase fluid capacity and heat dissipation to provide sustained damping performance even under the most punishing conditions like those you’ll find in Baja-style driving.

OLD MAN EMU (OME)

ARB’s OME shocks were built to help overlanders traverse the remote and lonely desert terrains of the Australian outback. Service out there is extremely scarce. This is why those drivers carry everything with them, consequently weighing down their vehicles with a LOT of gear. Coupled with the recommended OME Springs, these shocks offer solid support for G-Class trucks weighed down by a lot of equipment like you’ll find on many of the overlanding rigs. Given its extra stiffness, we don’t usually recommend this setup for daily drivers going around town and to and from work, unless if comfortable for you means an extra stiff ride. There are indeed a handful of drivers who prefer it that way!

Distinguishing Features:

  1. Stiff for extra support
  2. Simple design and build
  3. Inexpensive: with the springs, the whole suspension kit rings in below the cost of any of the adjustable shocks alone
  4. Often in stock and drop ship from ARB

 

SHOCK LENGTHS

For a comparison of shock lengths in compression and rebound/extension, please see the chart below. The ORC-Bilstein adjustable sport shocks are estimated at approximately the same lengths as those of their non-adjustable special/silver ORC-Bilstiein shocks. The discrepancy in compressed lengths may have been due to manual error in getting the shock fully compressed to the same point that the Special/Silver shocks were. These numbers are provided as approximations only for you to get an idea of fitment or how these shocks match up with different springs.

MADE FOR 0 TO 2-INCH LIFTS (per the shock manufacturer, but we've seen these shocks fit 2.75 inches at front & 2 inches rear)

FOX Shox. (We've even fitted these with our THOR springs that lift the vehicle by about 2.75 inches at the front and 2 inches at the rear.)

King Shocks.
(We've even fitted these with our THOR springs that lift the vehicle by about 2.75 inches at the front and 2 inches at the rear.)

OME Shocks.
Customers have bought these to match with THOR springs as well. We have not installed this combination on our own vehicle, but have not received any negative feedback from any customers regarding fitment of this combination.

Ohlins. These will fit in this range too and even higher; you just need to specify your lift so that your shocks can be adjusted accordingly. There is an extra cost for adjustment. See the Ohlins product page for current pricing.

NOTES:

  1. The following information is according to the manufacturers: OME Shocks will definitely fit with the OME 2-inch lift, but FOX & King are made to fit that range also. Ohlins come made for a stock height. To adjust them to a higher lift, you need simply specify the amount of lift so they can be properly adjusted.
  2. We know that FOX, King, OME and Ohlins shocks fit the THOR Springs (2.75-inch lift at front, 2-inch lift at rear). We also know that the OME Shocks fit the OME Springs (2-inch lift at front and rear). Accordingly, it might stand to reason that the FOX, King and Ohlins shocks would fit with OME springs. However, we've received feedback from a mechanic that his experience with FOX Shocks is that their extended length was too long for that of the OME coil springs. The difference in fitment may be due to the shocks' compressed and extended lengths. Please see the approximate extended and compressed lengths in the chart below.
  3. With trucks lifted 2 inches or more, our experience and observation is that you will need extended brake lines and locker lines at the rear. An upgrade of all your steel-braided brake/locker lines is generally a good idea anyway.

MADE TO FIT 0 TO 1.5-INCH LIFT (per the manufacturer, but we've seen these fit 2.75 inches at front and 2 inches at rear)

ORC-Bilstein Shocks (Sport and Special).

NOTE: According to ORC, their 1.5-inch lift does not require you to get extended brake lines and locker lines.

 Compare the compression and rebound lengths of the shocks sold at vikingoffroad.com for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class