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Shock Comparison: Rancho RS5000X vs Skyjacker Black Max vs KYB Monotube

TJim

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Hey everyone,

I have a 2.5"-3" Suspension lift, running 31x10.5 tires. I installed Rancho RS5000x, but they are short so I am looking to sell them in order to buy either the longer ones or some other option that I have seen suggested in this forum by some members.

Please let me know your opinions about Skyjacker Black Max and KYB Monotube shocks, and how they compare with Rancho RS5000x.

Or please suggest me any other alternative shock for this ride height.

* My use: Daily driver, but also off road on weekends. I don't do extreme rock crawling stuff, but I value both on road and off road performance/ride quality.
** I know they are not the best possible shocks, but I am looking shocks in this price range, or a little bit more expensive. I don't have the budget for custom tuned shocks etc.


Spoiler Alert: Some Findings From This Thread ... Special Thanks to @SSTJ for creating the summary.

Experiment 1: @Mike_H
  • From Ranchos to KYBs to Black Maxes.
  • Summed up his results by saying this:
    • Rancho 5000x: decent ride, but the front and rear ends seemed to be doing different things. Made for a very disconcerting driving experience. I'm starting to wonder if I got a bad set of rear shocks. I didn't feel any real differences between them, but there was something definitely wrong, that I haven't felt with any of my other experiments.
    • KYB monomax:. Better than the ranchos, in that they controlled the Jeep and the rear started reacting predicably again. Very stiff though. High pressure charge, enough so that when I was checking my bumps without the springs, the Jeep would lift up, then settle back down on every stroke of the jack. Bouncy ride.
    • Black max: compliant, good travel for the lift height (4'ish inches). They didn't exhibit any of the handling weirdness that the ranchos did, either. They will give a bit of a jolt in big bumps. I don't really have much else to say about them. They feel like they will be decent off-road, but I won't know until I try it. An added benefit... Because they aren't nitrogen charged, they are VERY easy to install.

Experiment 2: @Irun
  • From ??? shocks to Black Max. What shocks did @Irun have at first?
  • Summed up by saying: "Caveat here. I don't have my final driveshafts yet, but bolted up a spare 1330 rear shaft and took it for a quick spin. I couldn't go far, or fast, so I'll have to defer to @MountaineerTom for his feedback. My initial impression is favorable for my light setup. The twin tube shocks are definitely soft riding compared to monotubes I’ve had, like Bilstein 5100s. The best way I can describe the Black Max shocks is soft and compliant. There is no harsh feedback or stiffness. If you like a firm shock, these are not the shocks for you. For a daily driver, I'm expecting them to be exactly what I wanted. Time will tell though!"

Experiment 3: @MountaineerTom
  • From Rancho 5000x to Nitrocharger Sports to Black Maxes.
  • Swapped to Black Max and found that:
    • "They are certainly softer. They feel a lot like the stock ride to me. I know everyone didn’t get their Jeep with a stock suspension, but for me, that’s comparable to how it feels."
    • "When I put my lift on, I installed the OME Nitrocharger Sport Shocks. They were very rough over areas in the road like joints where roads meet bridges, man hole covers, your normal deteriorating pot-holed road or patched up pot holes. Around here it’s very sandy and some of the fire service roads get a lot rippled/wash board type areas on them and with the OME’s it was rough as hell and not enjoyable unless you were going very slow. I replaced the OME’s with Rancho RS5000x’s and it was an improvement In all those areas."
    • "These Black Max’s seem to me to be a ride improvement over the Ranchos. At first I thought they might be kind of mushy just pushing on the bumper corners before I drove it around. Even pulling out of my shop, thought the yard and out on the street I was still thinking it might be mushy. After driving around just a few minutes, I liked the feel a lot. I do have a newer style Antirock up front on the softest setting and the factory rear sway bar. A factory front bar or the ORO bar would probably be different, but I have no experience with those and the Black Max’s combo. Im happy. 🙂"
  • Followed up later to say:
    • "I had the Skyjacker Black Max's out in Uwharrie yesterday. Lots of rocky, bumpy trails. They felt very good to me. Even my friend (not a Jeep owner) who rode with me thought they rode really good. I had a couple places in mind that I thought the rear bumper might drag when coming off a ledge, but it didn't. If I had come off them faster, probably, "

Experiment 4: @Billy06
  • Started with KYBs in front and Rancho 5000x in the rear. Changed the rear Rancho 5000x to Black Max.
  • Results TBD ...

Plus, Lessons from @Rubicon88:
  • Within the same price range, Bilstein 5100s KYB Monomax, FOX, and Rancho 7000 are comparably stiff.
  • The Rancho 5000x is not as stiff as the above.
  • The Blackmax is the smoothest of the bunch on a TJ.
  • There are some striking similarities between Ranchos and Monroes.
  • There are also some similarities between Skyjacker and Gabriel.
 
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TheBoogieman

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NOBODY to my knowledge has tried all three on a TJ, so the point is mute. Speculation is all you can get.
p.s. You might be the only Jeep owner is history to buy Rancho shocks that are too SHORT, since they run long. :unsure:
 
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TJim

TJim

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NOBODY to my knowledge has tried all three on a TJ, so the point is mute. Speculation is all you can get.
p.s. You might be the only Jeep owner is history to buy Rancho shocks that are too SHORT. :unsure:
Yeap, unfortunately my ultra light TJ got close to 3" lift out of 2" OME springs.

That set my 0-2" Rancho RS5000x at 5.7" up travel, and 2.3" down travel.

I think it is safe to say I need the longer ones.
 

TheBoogieman

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Yeap, unfortunately my ultra light TJ got close to 3" lift out of 2" OME springs.

That set my 0-2" Rancho RS5000x at 5.7" up travel, and 2.3" down travel.

I think it is safe to say I need the longer ones.
Does Greece have craigslist or Facebook marketplace? I sold some fairly new RC shocks for $150 and bought better shocks for $187.
 
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TJim

TJim

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Does Greece have craigslist or Facebook marketplace? I sold some fairly new RC shocks for $150 and bought better shocks for $187.
Yeap, we have FB Marketplace, and equivalent sites to craigslist. I've already listed them and waiting.

The truth is that I doubt that there will be a major improvement in either of the above shocks, or at least for my ass. I am just curious to know the experiences of other people running them. Especially in a light setup.

I have some days until I buy some new ones, so I 'd happy to hear some suggestions/experiences.
 

SSTJ

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I like how the question captures a lot of recent discussion on other threads about these three options. I worry that since that discussion is young, it may be too early for anyone to have any helpful experience to share about these three. Lots of people have run the Ranchos, but I get the feeling that not many have yet tried the other two. But hopefully I'm wrong and we'll learn something here.

For what it's worth, I think I recall you saying that you found the Ranchos to be a comfortable ride for you, even though yours is so light (like mine). If that's the case, then you might be fine just moving up to the longer Ranchos. Have you already checked to see if the BlackMax and KYBs come in a length that would be a good a fit for you as the longer Ranchos would be? I mean they probably do, but I remember to made some very careful calculations about the ideal length of your shocks, given the amount of lift you got from those new springs.
 
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bobthetj03

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Measure your shocks length at ride height. Also, any added bump stop extension we need to know about? There will soon be some data on the other 2 brands of shocks.
 
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TJim

TJim

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Measure your shocks length at ride height. Also, any added bump stop extension we need to know about? There will soon be some data on the other 2 brands of shocks.
My front shock length at ride height is around 18.75".

No bump stop extension for now, since I did not need any for Ranchos 0-2". They will be added for sure with the longer shocks.
 
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TJim

TJim

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What is your actual ride height.

I just ordered a set for my 31" tire build. We'll see how that goes!
My actual ride height of the front shock is around 18.75".
I got around 3" front lift, and around 2.5" rear lift.
 

Rubicon88

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Sep 24, 2020
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Western PA....Altoona area to be exact.
Hey everyone,

I have a 2.5"-3" Suspension lift, running 31x10.5 tires. I installed Rancho RS5000x, but they are short so I am looking to sell them in order to buy either the longer ones or some other option that I have seen suggested in this forum by some members.

Please let me know your opinions about Skyjacker Black Max and KYB Monotube shocks, and how they compare with Rancho RS5000x.

Or please suggest me any other alternative shock for this ride height.

* My use: Daily driver, but also off road on weekends. I don't do extreme rock crawling stuff, but I value both on road and off road performance/ride quality.
** I know they are not the best possible shocks, but I am looking shocks in this price range, or a little bit more expensive. I don't have the budget for custom tuned shocks etc.
All three are capable for what you do.

All three have sizes that will fit ...

What exactly do you want to know?
 

bobthetj03

WRKJ779, KN6SRH
Supporting Member
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Feb 3, 2017
Messages
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Location
Clearlake Ca.
My front shock length at ride height is around 18.75".

No bump stop extension for now, since I did not need any for Ranchos 0-2". They will be added for sure with the longer shocks.
You are pretty much where I am at ride height, so the 55239's will work well up front, but you'll need to add 1.75" of bump stop extension up front. For the rear, you can run the 55241's, but you'd get a better travel bias if you run bar pin eliminators up top. That will give you a closer 50/50ish bias, but again, you'll need bump stop extension. You can forego the bump stop extension in the rear if you have a 1.25" BL. Otherwise, you probably need the rear extension anyway for the rear track bare relocation bracket to clear the tub.
 
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TJim

TJim

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All three are capable for what you do.

All three have sizes that will fit ...

What exactly do you want to know?
Mostly personal experiences, and opinions.

For example, I have seen many times in this forum that Bilstein 5100 are a stiff shock choice. I have seen that you suggest a lot Skyjacker Black Max Shocks, and that they are a bit softer than Rancho RS5000x.

I would like to know if anyone has personal experience, running both choices, or two of them in the same rig. And how they compare.

I most likely will go with the longer Ranchos, but I have some time to kill till then.