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

SSTJ

Inexperienced Overthinker
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Hey! Sorry I am not very active the past few weeks. Because I don't really have much time, do you mind writing the the summary that I should post on the first post of this thread? So I can copy paste it? Credits will be given of course! haha

Sure. I'm all tied up this weekend, but I'll send you a PM soon enough.
 

MountaineerTom

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One of my front Black Max's started leaking oil. I pulled the shock and looked it over and found this. My initial thought was maybe a rock hit it the other day when off-roading, but after looking closer at it, I think that's a defect. I bought them through Summit Racing they are going to do an exchange. I mailed it out today with their pre-printed return label that came with the receipt and it's supposed to arrive to them Tuesday. Summit Racing is always easy to deal with.

For now, I have 3 Black Max's and then a Rancho on the right front. LOL

I didn't notice this when I opened them. For those buying the Black Max's, check them when you get them.

View attachment 258807View attachment 258806View attachment 258805

So I got my Black Max replacement shock Friday. Yesterday I opened it up to make sure everything was there. I went to extend it and nothing. Pulled and pulled on the shaft and it wouldn’t budge. Even tried rotating the shaft and still nothing. I’m starting to get pissed. Then I remembered…the shaft extends out of the bottom of the can. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Yep, works like it’s supposed to and no signs of leaks or defects on the shaft.
 

bobthetj03

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Can we add the Fox offering here. I think it is relevent to a shock with travels that are contained to the stock mounting points.
 

Therbytj

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May 25, 2021
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Ontario, Canada
Replaced my old bilstein 5100s with the ranchos.
between the shocks and adding an extra 80 pounds for the warn tire carrier

the jeep rides much better now, I didn’t believe it would be such a noticeable difference but well worth it.
Im happy with my 5” uptravel in the front.
the rear is a touch over 4” uptravel, want to get more. But I believe its the 160lbs between the spare and tire carrier.
 
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Mike_H

Buzz, buzz goes the driveshaft
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Quick update on my black max shocks. I had an opportunity to drive on some gravel roads last night. I'm liking these more and more. I was traveling about 45-50 over washboard and potholes with no ill effects. A wrangler is still a short wheelbase vehicle, but the rear end never stepped out of line, I never got the sensation that the jeep was floating or about to pivot in the center. Very well controlled. For 55-60 a corner, I'm thinking these are a win.
 

bobthetj03

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Quick update on my black max shocks. I had an opportunity to drive on some gravel roads last night. I'm liking these more and more. I was traveling about 45-50 over washboard and potholes with no ill effects. A wrangler is still a short wheelbase vehicle, but the rear end never stepped out of line, I never got the sensation that the jeep was floating or about to pivot in the center. Very well controlled. For 55-60 a corner, I'm thinking these are a win.
Quit spending my monies dude!!
 

Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
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Quick update on my black max shocks. I had an opportunity to drive on some gravel roads last night. I'm liking these more and more. I was traveling about 45-50 over washboard and potholes with no ill effects. A wrangler is still a short wheelbase vehicle, but the rear end never stepped out of line, I never got the sensation that the jeep was floating or about to pivot in the center. Very well controlled. For 55-60 a corner, I'm thinking these are a win.
I'm with you on this one. The more I drive them, a few hundred miles now, the more I like them. Having been through several shocks myself, these appear to have the potential to be a best bang for the buck shock. They exhibit all the good things you'd expect from a twin tube shock, i.e. a soft controlled ride, but none of the bad things, i.e. excessive fade. I drove some back roads that normally have a tendency to make the back end feel loose, with none of that same effect.

That said, I'm still reserving final judgement until I log more miles. Also, I noticed a tiny bit of oil on one of the rear shocks. It wasn't enough to concern me, like what @MountaineerTom experienced, but it was there. It's entirely possible this is normal, as the seals settle in. In terms of the ride, it is exactly what I wanted on this particular build, soft, compliant, and controlled. I'll keep an eye on it and report back!
 
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bobthetj03

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I'm with you on this one. The more I drive them, a few hundred miles now, the more I like them. Having been through several shocks myself, these appear to have the potential to be a best bang for the buck shock. They exhibit all the good things you'd expect from a twin tube shock, i.e. a soft controlled ride, but none of the bad things, i.e. excessive fade. I drove some back roads that normally have a tendency to make the back end feel loose, with none of that same effect.

That said, I'm still reserving final judgement until I log more miles. Also, I noticed a tiny bit of oil on one of the rear shocks. It wasn't enough to concern me, like what @MountaineerTom experienced, but it was there. It's entirely possible this is normal, as the seals settle in. In terms of the ride, it is exactly what I wanted on this particular build, soft, compliant, and controlled. I'll keep an eye on it and report back!

Now you two are just ganging up on me!
 

MountaineerTom

LJ Enthusiast, Retired USAF Weapons Loader
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I'm with you on this one. The more I drive them, a few hundred miles now, the more I like them. Having been through several shocks myself, these appear to have the potential to be a best bang for the buck shock. They exhibit all the good things you'd expect from a twin tube shock, i.e. a soft controlled ride, but none of the bad things, i.e. excessive fade. I drove some back roads that normally have a tendency to make the back end feel loose, with none of that same effect.

That said, I'm still reserving final judgement until I log more miles. Also, I noticed a tiny bit of oil on one of the rear shocks. It wasn't enough to concern me, like what @MountaineerTom experienced, but it was there. It's entirely possible this is normal, as the seals settle in. In terms of the ride, it is exactly what I wanted on this particular build, soft, compliant, and controlled. I'll keep an eye on it and report back!
I haven’t noticed any oil on the 3 originals or the 1 replacement so far.
 
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Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
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Following up on a couple things. First, I logged a couple hundred more miles this weekend on the BlackMax shocks. I'm happy to report that I didn't see any additional oil residue on rear shock that I had previously seen. Also, as @Mike_H did, I conducted a little non-scientific experimenting of my own. On a 8+ mile circuit, including a newly paved 4 lane road, a twisty and rolling hill backroad, and a two lane road with construction, I ran three sets of shocks back to back. Using the seat of the pants meter, here's what I found out:

Bilstein 5100 - these provided, by far, the harshest ride. On the 4 lane road you could tell the ride was firm, but it was manageable. On the twisty rolling hill road, the shocks were firm and only exhibited negative characteristics during abrupt changes in the road surface. When that happened the jarring sensation was noticeable, sometimes resulting in an unsettling feeling at the steering wheel. On a couple occasions, I let off the gas because I wasn't comfortable.

It wasn't until I got to the two lane road, with construction, that I realized just how bad of a fit the Bilstein 5100 shocks are for my light TJ. The constant abrupt road changes made it so I was very uncomfortable driving at 45 mph or more. At one point, I hit a set of railroad tracks at speed and the rear rebound was so abrupt that the backend jumped a little sideways. Bottom line here, these shocks may be okay for a heavier rig, which mine is not!

Stock JK Rubicon - These were new take off shocks a buddy gave me. Like the Bilstein's, they are a gas charged shock, but not nearly as firm. Overall, they exhibited similar characteristics to the 5100, just not as harsh or severe. The two lane road with construction was not as scary to drive as the previous shocks, however, the train tracks resulted in a similar experience as before. Abrupt rebound, which translated to the rear lifting and shifting. Albeit, not as severe as the 5100.

BlackMax - Suffice it to say these are my new favorite "inexpensive" shock. They exhibited none of what I experienced with the previous two rides. They were firm enough that you could tell they were doing their job, but soaked up any abrupt road changes relatively easily. I was able to hit the railroad tracks at speed and didn't have to let off the gas, or feel uncomfortable at any point in the ride. The biggest question for these shocks is going to be, how do they hold up over time?

That said, shocks, like tires, wheels, etc. are subjective. There is no one size fits all. If you're the type that likes a super firm ride, these are not the shock you're looking for! (y)
 

deadbeat son

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Dec 28, 2020
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441
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Denver, CO
Following up on a couple things. First, I logged a couple hundred more miles this weekend on the BlackMax shocks. I'm happy to report that I didn't see any additional oil residue on rear shock that I had previously seen. Also, as @Mike_H did, I conducted a little non-scientific experimenting of my own. On a 8+ mile circuit, including a newly paved 4 lane road, a twisty and rolling hill backroad, and a two lane road with construction, I ran three sets of shocks back to back. Using the seat of the pants meter, here's what I found out:

Bilstein 5100 - these provided, by far, the harshest ride. On the 4 lane road you could tell the ride was firm, but it was manageable. On the twisty rolling hill road, the shocks were firm and only exhibited negative characteristics during abrupt changes in the road surface. When that happened the jarring sensation was noticeable, sometimes resulting in an unsettling feeling at the steering wheel. On a couple occasions, I let off the gas because I wasn't comfortable.

It wasn't until I got to the two lane road, with construction, that I realized just how bad of a fit the Bilstein 5100 shocks are for my light TJ. The constant abrupt road changes made it so I was very uncomfortable driving at 45 mph or more. At one point, I hit a set of railroad tracks at speed and the rear rebound was so abrupt that the backend jumped a little sideways. Bottom line here, these shocks may be okay for a heavier rig, which mine is not!

Stock JK Rubicon - These were new take off shocks a buddy gave me. Like the Bilstein's, they are a gas charged shock, but not nearly as firm. Overall, they exhibited similar characteristics to the 5100, just not as harsh or severe. The two lane road with construction was not as scary to drive as the previous shocks, however, the train tracks resulted in a similar experience as before. Abrupt rebound, which translated to the rear lifting and shifting. Albeit, not as severe as the 5100.

BlackMax - Suffice it to say these are my new favorite "inexpensive" shock. They exhibited none of what I experienced with the previous two rides. They were firm enough that you could tell they were doing their job, but soaked up any abrupt road changes relatively easily. I was able to hit the railroad tracks at speed and didn't have to let off the gas, or feel uncomfortable at any point in the ride. The biggest question for these shocks is going to be, how do they hold up over time?

That said, shocks, like tires, wheels, etc. are subjective. There is no one size fits all. If you're the type that likes a super firm ride, these are not the shock you're looking for! (y)
I can’t recall, did you post the weight of your TJ once you completed the build?
 

Vasq

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Just ordered the black max's to replace some rancho 5000x's (because i recently dented the rancho can). Man is it hard to find good lengths for a 3" lift. the black max's were the closest I could get; and I like that the can is up. Excited to hear everyone is starting to like them!
 
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Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
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Man is it hard to find good lengths for a 3" lift. the black max's were the closest I could get; and I like that the can is up.
This is what drove me to them in the first place. Finding shocks in the 4 - 6 inch range was easy. Finding them in the 2 - 3 inch range, with the amount of travel and ride height I needed, was surprisingly difficult!
 

Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
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I can’t recall, did you post the weight of your TJ once you completed the build?
Th last time I had it weighed I came in at a little over 3700 lbs. The big weight additions for me were the 241OR, Dana 44, and the winch. By the time I'm done I expect to be a little over 3800.
 
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TheBoogieman

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My Rubicon has been dieting, wish the wife took the hints. Irun you're giving me mixed signals on the shocks. Good or bad on the street? Offroad?
p.s. I don't read all of your posts, so I might have missed a ton of crap.
 
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TheBoogieman

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Just ordered the black max's to replace some rancho 5000x's (because i recently dented the rancho can). Man is it hard to find good lengths for a 3" lift. the black max's were the closest I could get; and I like that the can is up. Excited to hear everyone is starting to like them!
PLEASE post another review after a month. First impressions are misleading. I had RC shocks on my 5.5" lifted XJ, rode like shit. Switched to Rancho RS5000X and it was great until I got used to a bad ride. I think shocks are like brakes and everyone just adjusts and thinks better than "NOTHING" is great.
 

Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
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My Rubicon has been dieting, wish the wife took the hints. Irun you're giving me mixed signals on the shocks. Good or bad on the street? Offroad?
p.s. I don't read all of your posts, so I might have missed a ton of crap.
No mixed signals here. My experience thus far is that they are a very good shock for the money. I haven't taken them off-road yet, but since my style is slow and steady, I don't expect anything strange there. I mentioned this in a previous post, where one of my good friends bought a set after me. He is a "spirited" driver and tells me he's very happy with them. Of course, I'm still in the honeymoon phase with the shocks, so there is that!