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

Mike_H

Off-Camber is scary
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Feb 28, 2017
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Grand Rapids, MI, United States
I don't know the milage on mine, but I've been pretty happy with my black maxes too.

It seems, reading this thread, that rear shocks are more critical than the front. Makes sense to me, because we have bigger variations in weight on the rear vs the front. That's where the cargo goes, spare tire or not, hard top vs soft, etc.

I know of all the different shocks I've tried (all in this thread, plus bilstein), the fronts were never a problem. It was always the rear shocks that I had issue with.
 
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TJ Starting

Jeep or sleep
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Jan 22, 2019
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982
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SE TX
I don't know the milage on mine, but I've been pretty happy with my black maxes too.

It seems, reading this thread, that rear shocks are more critical than the front. Makes sense to me, because we have bigger variations in weight on the rear vs the front. That's where the cargo goes, spare tire or not, hard top vs soft, etc.

I know all the different shocks I've tried (all in this thread, plus bilstein). The fronts were never a problem. It was always the rear shocks that I had issue with.
And also when sitting in the front seat your butt is about right in line with the front of the rear tire.

I have black max on the rear of my tj for a couple hundred now and have been very impressed with the improvement. They also got me very close to 50/50.
 

Billy06

TJ Enthusiast
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Sep 6, 2020
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288
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Indio, CA
I don't know the milage on mine, but I've been pretty happy with my black maxes too.

It seems, reading this thread, that rear shocks are more critical than the front. Makes sense to me, because we have bigger variations in weight on the rear vs the front. That's where the cargo goes, spare tire or not, hard top vs soft, etc.

I know of all the different shocks I've tried (all in this thread, plus bilstein), the fronts were never a problem. It was always the rear shocks that I had issue with.
I've had Pro Comp, Rancho, Black Max's, and KYB on mine within the last year. The rears defiantly make the difference. Not sure if it's just in my head, but I can feel the difference in ride quality between a full tank of fuel and an empty tank.
 
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Mike_H

Off-Camber is scary
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Feb 28, 2017
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Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Did a lot of rocky, rooted trails this weekend. I was very impressed with the black max. The ride was controlled. I felt like I was able to drive faster than I did last time I was on the island with the ranchos. Lots of differences this trip though... More spring lift, bigger tires, more weight (hard top and 3 passengers).

Anyway, I'm very impressed with the black maxes.
 

Irun

Jeep Addict
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Oct 31, 2019
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6,584
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Virginia
Did a lot of rocky, rooted trails this weekend. I was very impressed with the black max. The ride was controlled. I felt like I was able to drive faster than I did last time I was on the island with the ranchos. Lots of differences this trip though... More spring lift, bigger tires, more weight (hard top and 3 passengers).

Anyway, I'm very impressed with the black maxes.
Interesting. I've also noticed a more controlled ride with them. Although I haven't wheeled with them yet, I do have another test. A buddy lives on a dirt road, which is a washboard PIA to drive. With the Black Max shocks I can take a curved section at 45 mph with no issues. I could not do that with another set of shocks I had. For the money, I'm now a huge fan of these shocks!
 

jjvw

We are MegaJeep!
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Feb 17, 2018
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21,209
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Colorado, USA
What makes you think given my location I'll ever get the opportunity to flex it out completely anyway? :ROFLMAO:
Not going to lie, I want to take it places. But the likelihood it sees any terrain where maximum flex is required...for a long while, is slim. Especially without lockers (which are several months away from happening, at least).
Cycling the axles (without springs installed, using a floor jack) to determine the best sized shock is not the same as "flexing it out". If you drive on the street, you will benefit from a shock that fits well.
 

Wtrask

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
375
Location
Maine
Just got my blackmax shocks installed today. I’ve only driven about 10 miles on them and I’m quite pleased with them especially the rears. I no longer feel every ripple and small cracks in the road and the bigger bumps are not nearly as harsh as they were with my rancho 5000x fronts and rancho rs9000s in the rear. I have Currie 4 inch springs front and rear. I used part numbers B8525 in the front and B8528 in the rear. They fit great. I had no issues with length whatsoever. Hope this helps anyone on the fence about ordering them.
 

NOTNSUV

Say What?!
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Sep 18, 2021
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1,245
Location
Spring Creek, NV
@Rubicon88

Skyjacker Black MAX shocks are available in the lengths I need for my particular lift so I've added them to my spreadsheet of potential replacement shocks.

Do you have an opinion about the Skyjacker Black MAX shocks for this hypothetical:

2006 LJ hardtop.
Not a Skinny Minnie.
Not a daily driver
Drives to and from the trail head, sometimes as far as 400-500 miles.
All purpose trail jeep, not a dedicated rock crawler
Considerable driving on washboarded roads.
Actual manufacturer of current shocks unknown. Most likely Edelbrock or Bilstein, but guessing.

Cat Scale weights:

Empty except for fuel and driver: 2240# F; 2600# R; 4840# Total

Fully Loaded with fuel, spare fuel and water, camping gear and food for extended trip, tools, occupants, etc.: 2260 F; 3060 R; 5320# Total

Specific Black MAX shocks on spreadsheet: B8549 and B8528

The hypothetical jeep In "heavy" trim:

View attachment 254919
@Mr. Bills
Where did you land in your shock selection? If the Black Max, are they the p/n you list? And can you describe your impressions?
Your LJ description is dead on for mine and how it will be driven. It came with Bilsteins and they're going away. I'm running 4.5 - 5" short arms, TT, MML, BL. 35 x 12.5 x 15 Cooper Evolution. I have not weighed mine yet but will when it's back on the road.
 
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OP
TJim

TJim

TJ Addict
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Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
1,200
Location
Athens, Greece
Fronts are in now and I took it for a very short and quick spin. Read here for more!


View attachment 255730
This is way off topic, but how do you manage keeping your TJ so clean? I am jealous.
 

thekidwithquestions

Acquiring Jeep funds...
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Joined
Feb 25, 2021
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1,383
Location
NC, Wake Forest
I guess I'll be joining the experiment...

03FF6439-A2E8-4B1E-8CF8-AF11E761DC81.png


I currently have Biltsten 5100s installed, so the Black max's will be replacing those.
 

TheBoogieman

Disturbed American
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Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
6,384
Location
C-Ville VA
@Irun just swapped out similar shocks on an LJ and described it as a small, but noticeable improvement,
That could be psychosomatic. I had new RC N3 shocks on my XJ with a 5.5" lift. I bought some Rancho RS5000X shocks and it rode so much better....until I got used to them a couple weeks later and then it seemed just slightly better. :unsure: I have never had an off the shelf shock that I thought rode good on and off road. My Zone hydro shocks rode the smoothest on the road, but were still not to my liking. Maybe a Black Magic Shock is in the future. Too many variables (and opinions) I believe.
 
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