Shocks for a gen 3

#1
I've decided the 3rd gen montero really fits our needs as a 4x4. I would like a little more articulation and considered a gen 2, but the more I think about it I don't want to get an older high milage vehicle when I've put a ton of work into my gen 3. Also for 90% of our off road use I feel the gen 3 works really well. I love how fast you can push the montero off road and more or less it has a really smooth ride. So I'm in the process of going all in, 4.9 diffs, 33in tires, ARB lockers, and maybe t-case gears. Shocks are the hard one though.

Currently I'm running an OME lift with heavy duty springs up front (winch installed) and medium duty out back. I have air bags that are used when its loaded up. All four corners have OME Niro Charger Shocks. I have two main complaints with this set up:

First, I feel the ride is a little harsh on small bumps. Granted this may be due to the heavy duty springs up front, which I was right between the suggested weights between medium and heavy duty. I integrated the winch, so I don't have the added weight of a bull bar. Either way, I'd like it to soak up the small stuff better (1-2 in rocks etc)

Second is how the rear end behaves. The rear end kicks up on big bumps and large dips. It seems the rear end is bottom too hard and the shocks need more compression, or it needs more rebound to control the recovery after a hit. I can't decided which it is, maybe both compression and rebound. Using the air bags with a load it feels much worse. Best described as mushy, which may point to compression dampening.....

That being said, the off road speed is the biggest draw to the gen 3 montero and I'd like to capitalize on this. Shocks seem the best option. So......

Anyone have suggestions for a performance shock on a gen 3 Montero? I'm aware of King, but if I remember they would run about 4k for four of them. Also reading Gitouts build (the only one I've seen running Kings) he never made any comments about how they were better than sex. For 4k it better be....LOL. I was really interested in Radflo, but they don't make stuff for a Montero anymore. What options are there in the Radflow price range (maybe 1500 max). I'm sure no one makes anything specific for the montero, but will anything work from another vehicle? Similar vehicle weight/shock dimensions??? I'm sure someone has been down this road.......
 
#3
What type of struts are you using? There are 2 different type of struts as well, medium and heavy.

Check out adventure driven design. They have bilsteins available for the third gen.
 
#4
Offthepath - sorry I missed this one, I'm running the bilstein 4600s with stock (tired) springs with the intention of switching over to the OME or Lovell springs as soon as I get my act together. Based on my current (limited) experience, I like the bilsteins. They feel like they're compensating for tired springs right now so the ride feels a little loose (tippy might be a better word). The bumps are soaked up nicely and my expectation is that switching the springs would firm the ride up some, but not uncomfortably so. However - to be clear - I haven't been bombing back roads with a full load so if you're looking for advice at high speed I'm not the best candidate...

Based on what you're saying, it almost sounds like you're underloaded for the springs which is weird based on your other comments. My old truck used to exhibit very similar behavior when it was unloaded, but throw 100-200lbs in the back and it settled down nicely. How old is the OME stuff?
 
#5
I'm running the heavy duty stuff up front and medium duty out back with air bags.

Coffeegoat thanks for the info. I'd be really interested to hear how the bilstein's work if you switch springs.

I could see the front being underloaded, but I don't think the back is underloaded. The way the back behaves is my biggest gripe. When fully loaded up it handles much worse. Unloaded the rear end kicks up, fully loaded with the air bags pumped up it feels super squishy and wallows really bad. I have a feeling the rear shocks need more rebound dampening......? High speed off road performance is really what I'm after. Maybe the stock bilsteins would work?

Its a shame more stuff is not made for these. I was at fourwheels parts big expo this weekend and tried talking to a few shock companies and they just had a glazed over look on their face. On that note, I did get front and rear ARBs and a twin air compressor. The 4.9 diffs have been sitting in the garage so I should be getting ready to have a big box checked. Cant wait to try out the ARBs!
 
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#6
I'm running the heavy duty stuff up front and medium duty out back with air bags.

Coffeegoat thanks for the info. I'd be really interested to hear how the bilstein's work if you switch springs.

I could see the front being underloaded, but I don't think the back is underloaded. The way the back behaves is my biggest gripe. When fully loaded up it handles much worse. Unloaded the rear end kicks up, fully loaded with the air bags pumped up it feels super squishy and wallows really bad. I have a feeling the rear shocks need more rebound dampening......? High speed off road performance is really what I'm after. Maybe the stock bilsteins would work?

Its a shame more stuff is not made for these. I was at fourwheels parts big expo this weekend and tried talking to a few shock companies and they just had a glazed over look on their face. On that note, I did get front and rear ARBs and a twin air compressor. The 4.9 diffs have been sitting in the garage so I should be getting ready to have a big box checked. Cant wait to try out the ARBs!
Have you reached out to radflo to see it if they’d make you a set? I was checking those out a few years back and you’re right they are no longer on the site, but maybe they could still make them?


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#7
For what it's worth, I have a 2005 with OME MD springs and shocks. It handled very well on and off the road, but the rear sagged heavily when loaded. I replaced the rear springs only (kept the MD shocks) with HD springs and never looked back. The ride up front is very comfortable with the MDs and only a tiny bit harsh in the rear over solid speed bumps unloaded. Loaded, it drives great. On dirt and washboard it really shines. I can (and do) drive it fully loaded like a rally car. Never once has the rear end felt out of control. Airing down the tires helps take the edge off too.

It sounds like your setup is the reverse of mine. With MD springs in the rear that like to sag, it sounds like the airbag may be interfering with with the suspension functioning properly. I would recommend trying out HD springs in the rear with the MD shocks and see how you like it.

Also, what type of tires are you running? P or LT rated? When I switched from passenger to light truck tires, I had a noticeable increase in ride harshness, but that was expected in exchange for larger and tougher tires.

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#8
Have you reached out to radflo to see it if they’d make you a set? I was checking those out a few years back and you’re right they are no longer on the site, but maybe they could still make them?


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Yes about a year and a half ago when I got the OME I was ready to pull the trigger on Radflo. I called and they were not interested at all. That was the same time I called King. Just too much $$$$


For what it's worth, I have a 2005 with OME MD springs and shocks. It handled very well on and off the road, but the rear sagged heavily when loaded. I replaced the rear springs only (kept the MD shocks) with HD springs and never looked back. The ride up front is very comfortable with the MDs and only a tiny bit harsh in the rear over solid speed bumps unloaded. Loaded, it drives great. On dirt and washboard it really shines. I can (and do) drive it fully loaded like a rally car. Never once has the rear end felt out of control. Airing down the tires helps take the edge off too.

It sounds like your setup is the reverse of mine. With MD springs in the rear that like to sag, it sounds like the airbag may be interfering with with the suspension functioning properly. I would recommend trying out HD springs in the rear with the MD shocks and see how you like it.

Also, what type of tires are you running? P or LT rated? When I switched from passenger to light truck tires, I had a noticeable increase in ride harshness, but that was expected in exchange for larger and tougher tires.

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Interesting......

I don't see the air bags interfering, but I wish I would have gone to the HD rear anyway (i would still keep the air bags though). When loaded down its heavy with a roof top tent, 10-15 gallons of water, and stuff for 3-4 days of sustained camping. I wanted to maintain a good DD ride, but even with the air bags it could be stiffer when fully loaded. I'm planning on doing a full rear bumper in the next year and will replace the springs then. I was planning on getting matching OME shocks (unless I found something different), but given your input I'll give the springs a try first before I change the shocks.
 
#9
Heavy Duty OME springs work well for the Gen. III folks who laden their rigs for extended travel. However, they are a constant load spring. You will be hard pressed to get them to produce a "smooth" daily driver ride when the rear of the vehicle is unladen no matter what shock is installed.
(I have HD springs and struts in the front and with a bull bar and winch it has always performed as expected.)

Rear shocks are another story...
Mating medium duty shocks with a heavy duty spring may work for daily driving, but I would not like to have that setup with a fully laden rig and miles of "high speed" dirt roads in front of me. I have had two rear heavy duty OME shocks fail over the years. Both shocks failed due to a blown seal. The first one was replaced by OME, and second time it happened I was told they wouldn't replace it due to the age of the shock.

After this, I purchased a pair of Bilstein B6 4600's.
https://www.bilstein.com/us/en/product/bilstein-b6-4600/
(Bilstein shocks have a lifetime replacement policy.)

This combination has worked very well. They are not quite as stiff as the HD OME shocks on the compression stroke and control the rear end on the rebound stroke well.

Cheers
 
#10
The front MD (2914) and HD (2915) springs both have the same spring rate (HDs are 15 mm taller to account for more constant weight), so I would guess they should have a similiar ride and any differences should be attributed to the valving on the different shocks (all things being equal on the same vehicle, same weight, same setup).

The rears springs are variable rate with higher spring rates for the HD springs. I've been running the MD shocks with the HD springs on the rear for nearly 4 years and they perform flawlessly offroad with a heavy load (4 people and a weekend's worth of gear). ARB tech support actually recommended this setup to me (HD springs, MD shocks in the rear) as a good compromise for on road drivability and off road load carrying ability.

I've enjoyed the setup, but only time will tell if the shocks hold up to continued abuse. View attachment ome_spring_specs.pdf

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#12
I completely agree the ride is better in the rear with a constant additional weight. I'm running probably half the recommended weight in my daily driving so it's a tad rough, but regularly load it up for my offroad trips. I typically run desert trails around Arizona and Utah. Anywhere from nicely graded dirt, washboard, sand, to loose rocks/boulders. Not much rock crawling, though. I like to cover ground quickly and the Gen 3 delivers every time.

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