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):
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.