Bypass Shocks Explained

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Found these couple videos explaining bypass shocks. Why is this important? Well our latest suspension build features a fully adjustable bypass shock.

The concept is simple. Take out the compromise of having to choose between a shock that works on the highway or one that works in the rough stuff. That trade off has always been that shocks were too stiff for off road or too soft for proper on road handling.

What does bypass mean?

In terms of the shock absorber it means that the fluid inside the shock body “bypasses” the normal pathway. This allows the fluid to move faster with less resistance and soften the ride. Depending on where that fluid is routed back into the main valving can also tune where the shock stiffens up to keep from bottoming out or applying proper dampening.

Here is a video from one of our Featured Partners ARB USA and Old Man Emu.

And another from FOX.

How do the shocks on our Project JK work?

The ICON CDC Valve is an externally adjustable valve that restricts oil flow into the reservoir creating 10 levels of compression damping force ranges.  Controlling the amount of oil flow externally allows optimizing of ride quality for varying terrains. With the addition of an ICON CDC Valve a different tune is required on the working piston to get the ride quality range of adjustment to softer than standard at the “S” setting and much firmer than standard at the “H” setting. The ICON CDC Valve piston is custom tuned per application with different valve stacks because not all shocks or applications are equal. Adding on the CDC Valve is not a one size fits all if you want optimum performance. The CDCV external knob allows for 10 levels of adjustment. Each detent from S-H is a noticeable difference in ride. When engineering this feature into each shock application, the main shock piston is re-calibrated such that setting “4” is equivalent to the non CDCV version. This allows for both a softer and firmer ride than the same application without this option. The ICON CDC Valve (CDCV) brings a new thinking to the table with an upgrade option that offers true ride quality diversity. [Source: ICON Vehicle Dynamics]

This is in addition to the bypass technology available on their two tube design giving a much broader adjustment for tweaking performance than a traditional shock. (We are using the CDCV shocks without the bypass tube.)

Does it work?

This is harder to quantify than a simple yes or no. When we installed the new IVD shocks we took off a very good set of traditional shocks that worked well both on and off road. The IVD shocks are a big step up in compliance with road imperfections, bump compliance at speed, and general handling. They are a big step up in price as well.

For our JK each shock is $514. Compared to your traditional $50 Monroe shock that most lift kits use that is a massive difference in price. Besides the CDCV you also get a remote reservoir, 2.5 inch machined aluminum housing with excellent fit and finish and 10 levels of adjustment.

4WAAM-IVD-Stage 5-ShockWe didn’t really answer the “Does it work better? question yet. Yes they clearly work better even with the little time and miles we have used them. How much better is still to be determined. We will be hitting the trails and taking a bunch of videos showing the shocks working in all conditions and keep you updated along the way.

Why does any of this matter?

Versatility and safety. The more versatile your vehicle – the safer it becomes. Building an off road vehicle can easily become such a compromise of goals that you eventually end up with another vehicle to drive day to day. Then you end up with those moments of regret. You know the ones when you are driving along and go “Man I wish the top were off” or “That looks like a cool back road”. Things like bypass shocks, quieter MT tires with improved all weather traction, serviceable suspension parts, and more make that compromise much less than in the past.

That next time you are thinking of skimping on parts try to remember that buying a second vehicle is far more costly than a few hundred extra for better equipment.

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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