Innovative Dampers For Your 4x4
Every so often, something new and innovative passes over our desks. When it happens, we jump at the opportunity to secure an exclusive first-hand evaluation. This was the case when our friends at Rock Krawler Suspension announced a new line of 2.0 emulsion shocks that are configurable with remote reservoirs or as coilovers. These new shocks feature some of the latest advancements in shock theory and design, yet are going to be priced well within reach of the average consumer. After spending more than two years in the research and development phase, Rock Krawler's engineers claim to have found the best combination of materials to allow the new design to excel in virtually all disciplines of four wheeling. In addition, extensive winter testing on salt- and sand-covered roads has ensured that harsh environmental conditions will not affect the exterior finish or the sealing integrity of these units.
The intriguing part about this new design is the unique process by which the shock bodies are made. Instead of using the traditional steel tube body format like most shock manufacturers, RRD Racing shocks have 6063 aluminum bodies that start out as an extrusion. An aluminum extrusion is formed by pressing molten aluminum material through a specifically shaped die, similar to the way dough is transformed into a churro. The exterior surface of the shock-body extrusions feature fluting, or fins, designed to improve thermal efficiency. These fins create additional exterior surface area for air to pass over. Moreover, because aluminum dissipates heat at a higher rate than steel, the cooling effect is compounded even further. Aluminum does not rust like standard steel-bodied shocks with cadmium plating, nor will it chip like a clearcoat finish, so these shocks should remain shiny for many years to come.
Also, the shock's inner bore features a micropolished surface to further reduce friction between the piston seal and the inner diameter of the body. The result is a much lighter-weight shock that provides vastly improved cooling characteristics over traditional steel-bodied shocks. Currently, the only other racing shock that uses an extruded body is the ultra-high-end Bilstein Blackhawk.
Extrusions are an excellent choice for manufacturing a shock body because of numerous features and benefits. For example, extrusions offer time- and cost-efficiencies while satisfying a range of performance criteria that is virtually unmatched by other materials and processes. The extrusion process enables a high level of repeatability, offering less variation in tolerances-an important consideration for any shock manufacturer. Follow along as we dissect the innovative attributes of the new RRD 2.0-inch emulsion shocks.