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Totally Valved

Posted in How To on August 21, 2002
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Contributors: Randall JachmannMark Dustin

There's always the next step to take in building the ultimate off-road vehicle. Sure, you've taken the first step -- suspension upgrades. The next step in making your suspension system work most efficiently is the addition of a custom shock absorber. Most aftermarket suspension kits include a basic, mass-produced shock that compensates for the new spring rate. The performance of these shocks is fine for everyday use. They are valved to work adequately for their specific application. However, for the serious off-road trail driver, having a well-damped shock can make all the difference in the world. To improve the shock absorption, you could spend hundreds of dollars on custom racing shocks, getting a smooth ride in the roughest of terrains. The downside to this is the custom fabrication work that goes into creating the mounts for them as well as the price. While the price point has dropped down, the average enthusiast can't always afford the shocks and the custom fabrication work. The next option would be a shock that falls somewhere in between full-race and mass-produced, OEM-style shocks. Luckily, Doetsch Enterprises has stepped up to the plate to fill this niche with an affordable custom-built shock.

Doetsch Enterprises of El Cajon, California, builds dampers and shocks that fall between racing shocks and OEM-style shocks. For more than 20 years, Doetsch Enterprises has been building shocks for off-road applications, thus filling the void in the market for customers who want to upgrade to a better-than-stock-performing shock.

The new Doetsch shock is custom-built to fit the needs of each customer's truck, using the stock locations for mounting (an added bonus). A wide variety of valve combinations are available, ranging from 75 to 300 pounds of force on compression, and 250 to 1,000 pounds of force on rebound, all depending on the type of ride you want. With this wide of a valving spectrum, the staff of Doetsch Enterprises discusses all the options with each customer, helping to create the perfect shock that will meet the customer's desires.

Once a valve combination is set, the crew at Doetsch starts the shock building process. Doetsch manufactures all the shock parts so there are always plenty of parts on hand. Each shock is built in-house under the high-quality standards of Rick Doetsch. The turn-around time on a set of shocks from the time of order is about 48 hours.Doetsch shocks are available in mono-tube or twin-tube styles in their "smooth body" shock line. In the coilover realm, only a mono-tube design is available. Oil as well as nitrogen-gas versions of the shocks are available in both the smooth-body and coilover shock styles.

Since the shocks are fully rebuildable, you can change the valving or mounting style of your shocks at anytime. All that you need to do is send them in to Doetsch and tell them what you want done. At this time, Doetsch doesn't offer a service kit for its shocks. However, if service is needed, Doetsch handles it in-house, turning it around in 48 hours, keeping your ride out of commission for as short a time as possible.

The bodies of the shocks are made of anodized aluminum and are offered in a variety of colors. The anodizing makes for easy maintenance when they get dirty. A little soap and water will keep them looking as good as new.Doetsch builds a variety of shocks for stock and custom applications. For those with long-travel suspensions, Doetsch offers shocks with as much as 15 inches of travel. Doetsch shocks can be built for single, double, or triple mounts, and with piggyback and remote reservoirs as well. On the following pages, we will show you what goes into the construction of these affordable performance shocks.

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1. Each Doetsch shock body begins life as a T60-61, 125-wall aluminum tube, which is cut to length. 1. Each Doetsch shock body begins life as a T60-61, 125-wall aluminum tube, which is cut to length.
2. Once one end of the body is threaded with a CNC lathe, it is removed and blown clean of oil and metal shavings.  This is done to ensure that none of the metal shavings remain on the threads; the metal shavings could possibly damage the threads when it is remounted to thread the other side. 2. Once one end of the body is threaded with a CNC lathe, it is removed and blown clean of oil and metal shavings. This is done to ensure that none of the metal shavings remain on the threads; the metal shavings could possibly damage the threads when it is remounted to thread the other side.
3. After the body is finished, the piston rods are put into the CNC lathe for threading. 3. After the body is finished, the piston rods are put into the CNC lathe for threading.
4. Once the body is threaded, it is racked into another lathe where it is rubbed with a semi-abrasive sponge.  This process gives the body a brushed appearance. 4. Once the body is threaded, it is racked into another lathe where it is rubbed with a semi-abrasive sponge. This process gives the body a brushed appearance.
5. Next, the body is ready to be anodized. To do this, the shock bodies are laced on a dipping rack. 5. Next, the body is ready to be anodized. To do this, the shock bodies are laced on a dipping rack.
6. Then, they are put through the five-part process, which includes aluminum cleaner, aluminum etch, aluminum de-oxidizer, the color anodizer, and boiling water to seal the anodizing. Between each step, the shock bodies are rinsed to avoid mixing chemicals.
7. The bushing mounts come in three different styles, designed to bolt on in stock positions.
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SOURCES

American Metal Processing Inc.
Dept. OR
390 Front St.
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 444-6171
Anodizing

Doetsch Enterprises
Dept. OR
916 Fesler St.
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 448-9200
(800) 8-SHOCKS (874-6257)
www.doetsch-shocks.com

Maxima Products
Dept. OR
9266 Abraham Wy.
Santee, CA 92071
(619) 449-5000
Shock Oil

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