Which Conversion Kit has the Best Ride Quality?
Here at Air Delete, we often receive phone calls and emails from customers who are looking to convert from air suspension to springs but aren't sure which kit correlates to a certain type of ride quality. Today we're going to dive into shock valving design and go over the strengths and weaknesses of each of our conversion kits from a ride quality perspective.
Ride quality is a subjective measurement, but a lot about the characteristics of a shock can be determined by its valving. There are three main types of shock valving - digressive, linear and progressive. Shocks can have a different valving characteristic on compression and rebound. Most Fox and King shocks are linear, while most Icon, Bilstein 5100 and Eibach shocks are digressive. Our airdelete.com kit has linear valving. Below is a chart from the guys at AccuTune Offroad, showing a very general damping curve for each of the above valving types.
The y-axis is measuring force(lbs), while the x-axis is measuring velocity (or speed) of the movement of the shock. You can see that the digressive valving curve is particularly stiffer at slow speeds and then begins to plateau. The linear shocks tend to have (you guessed it, a linear!) curve. None of the conversion kits we sell use progressive valving, so we will omit further discussion on these.
What we can quickly observe is that digressive shocks may not be ideal for handling small, fast movements like washboard or height transitions on the road. However, digressive shocks will do a great job at absorbing large bumps, whoops and other high speed compression events. They will also do a better job at keeping down body sway. If you tend to feel that the air suspension in your Ram feels bouncy, loose, or has too much sway, a digressive shock like those in our Bilstein or Eibach kit might be the one for you.
Linear shocks like the airdelete.com kit or our Fox 2.0 kit do a better job at handling smaller, fast bumps in the road. If you do a lot of city driving and are often dealing with potholes, this may be the choice for you. The downside is that these will feel softer than the digressive valved shocks which means more body sway and the possibility of an occasional secondary bounce after hitting a large bump.
A note on tires: Tire stiffness and pressure play a large role in ride quality. We tend to notice that regardless of which suspension system you have, LT tires on a 1500 will ride poorly. This is because these tires are generally designed for a much heavier truck like a 2500 or a 3500. We recommend that most customers use a P rated tire as you will see a significant improvement in ride quality over an LT. There are some customers who require an LT tire for extreme use like offroading or very heavy towing, but there are very few other scenarios where we would recommend an LT tire over a P.