Very rarely will you see "coil-over shock" and "economical" in the same sentence. Truthfully, we were pretty surprised to even be writing it just now. But after acquiring a set of FOA shocks and comparing the price tag to that of other popular coilover reservoir shocks, there was no denying that such a beast existed. Tantalizing not just for the price, however, the FOA shocks can also perform.
FOA gets its pricing edge from the manufacturing process of its shocks. The company uses a patent pending, high-pressure, die-casting process in the construction of its shocks and components. The process of die casting the aluminum shock components costs much less compared to when using wrought material. FOA then passes on the savings to its customers in the form of an affordable performance shock to suit a wide range of applications. Available FOA shock absorbers include 2.5-inch reservoir and piggyback reservoir units, coilover units, coil-over reservoir and coilover piggyback reservoir units, emulsion units, and double and triple bypass units. Most of the FOA shock models are available in a 2-inch body series as well. Both the 2.5 and 2.0 shocks are offered in 6-inch to 18-inch strokes. FOA also offers 2.0- and 2.5-inch bump stops as well.
FOA designs its shocks primarily for recreational use, but by upgrading to the available Viton seals and improved piston wear band we were able to create a shock capable of operating under the higher temperatures typically generated in racing situations. The standard seals can handle up to 250 degrees F but the Viton seals remain stable to 400 degrees F. In addition to the seals and wear band we also ordered the optional billet top cap and replaceable Heim joint ends. Compression and rebound valving is made to order to customer specifications, however, FOA can recommend and set up the shocks based on the vehicle weight, the amount of shocks per wheel, and type of terrain and speed the vehicle encounters. The shocks can also be re-valved after road testing to fine-tune the ride quality.
We decided to take a step away from our typical vehicle choices for this article and installed a set of FOA smooth body 2.5 reservoir shocks and a set of FOA 2.5 coil-over reservoir shocks on a Baja Bug. The Baja Bug allowed us to repeatedly run amok on a whooped out test course to test the shocks for heat fade and structural durability. We also ran across various terrains at different speeds to get a feel for the compression and rebound valving. The results were positive across the board, yet a slight change in valving to the rear smooth-body reservoirs would bring even greater results.
In addition to the 10-inch travel FOA 2.5 shocks, we also applied further improvements to the Baja Bug. Affordable Suspensions supplied a wider beam and new longer-travel arms to handle the larger and longer 2.5 body shocks. It was also necessary to create new front shock towers and rear upper mounts to accommodate the Heim shock ends.
FOA stands for First Over All. It rings true, too, since they surely are the first to offer this level of shock absorber at such an economical price.