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Silverado Coil Overs Versus Standard Shocks

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Coil over kits are not just for imports and hot rod pony cars; coil overs serve the same function across all vehicles. Aggressive dampening and superior durability over standard shocks. If you're looking to build a superior off-road truck a quality set of coil overs will allow your Silverado to better handle the dips, dives, and demands of off-road excursions.

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Shock absorbers play a major role in the function of your Silverado. Chances are you’ve spent a good amount of time learning about how to upgrade the shocks on your truck. You may have even spent a good amount of money on upgrading those shocks. It’s also likely you may be feeling some ambivalence after hearing about the option to make the upgrade to coil overs even though you have a set of top notch shocks on all four corners. The truth is that coil overs have a place in the world while shocks will also cut it.

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The Science of Shocks and Struts

Silverados arrive with shocks and struts as the factory equipment that’s designed for absorbing shock and keeping the tires in contact with the ground. Both shocks and struts install in similar locations and seem to handle the same job, but the reality is the genetics of each unit has them achieve the same goal in very different ways.

Shocks: Shock absorbers are located on the rear of the truck. Most times you will hear people refer to struts as shocks but this is because a shock absorber is what came first. A shock absorber gets its name from its role. A shock absorber is meant to work in conjunction with a leaf spring or coil spring. The spring works to support the weight of the vehicle. As the vehicle moves along, the springs would continue to bounce around after hitting bumps if it weren’t for the shock working to absorb these forces. The force is absorbed by a fluid filled chamber and piston working together to dampen the movement of the springs.

Struts: A strut and a shock absorber share a lot in common when it comes to the internal design. The main difference is that a strut combines the roles of the shock absorber and the springs into one single unit. A strut features a coil spring wrapped around the outside of the housing of a shock absorber. Because of this design, the strut can effectively support the weight of the vehicle while dampening the forces of the spring. 

The Science of Coil Overs

At first glance, a coil over and a strut can easily be confused. This is because they do have a great number of similar qualities. A coil over draws its name from the fact that it consists of a coil spring that’s wrapped around a shock absorber, which is exactly the same as a strut.

The difference is that struts are fixed units that offer limited amounts of adjustable features if any at all. A coil over is fully adjustable giving users total control over multiple factors

Ride Height: The coil spring on a coil over is adjustable. When adjusted, these coil springs can raise or lower the truck’s ride height. This will also have an impact on the Silverado’s ride quality as you will be raising or lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity. 
Ride Adjustment: Along with changing the ride height, loosening and tightening the coil spring will make the spring stiffer or softer. This will make for a smoother ride or a stiffer ride. The valving of the shock absorber can also be adjusted. These factors are what give users complete control over the entire truck. 

Coil Overs Off-Road

Coil Overs are traditionally associated with sports cars, and this is because of the ability to fine tune the shocks for use on the track. Truth is, the capabilities of coil overs go a long way off road as well. 

The very same principles that make them great for sports cars is what makes them great for off-road use. They can also be used to increase the travel of the suspension which is ideal for hardcore applications. To top things off, they can come with some of the same features that shock absorbers can.

Shock Reservoirs

When a shock is put to hard use and is expanding and contracting rapidly, aeration of the fluid inside can occur. This will result in reduced ability of the shock to perform. An external reservoir may be attached to a shock or coil over to help prevent or reduce the possibility of aeration to occur and is a must have feature for hardcore off-road applications. 

The Drawback of Coil Overs

Coil overs are the superior choice for hardcore drivers, but they are less than ideal for many. The biggest drawback to a coil over is you will have to spend a lot of time to set them up properly. It’s not the type of thing you’re going to be able to simply set and forget. 

What works on the street won’t work well on the track and the same vice versa. This means that every time the environment changes you will want to adjust the coil overs. For weekend warriors and those looking for an all-around solution shocks and struts will work wonders. This is why they are factory equipment on a vehicle like the Silverado in the first place.

Lift and Shock Choices

When it comes to selecting shocks or coil overs for a lifted vehicle you need to make sure the selected equipment will live well within the realm of the lift height. On a Silverado with a small lift kit, shock length isn’t always a concern though when you reach up to the realm of 6-inches or greater things will need to change. Shocks can be purchased to accommodate this issue and so can coil overs, though the additional travel provided by select coil overs will again reign supreme. 

Shock Extensions and Their Role

Shock extensions are an option to retain travel and comfort with small lift kits. Anything above a 2-2.5 inch lift will be out of range for this solution and appropriately sized shocks should be purchased.

Fitment includes: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, LS, LT, WT, SS, Hybrid, Z71, LTZ, XFE, Custom, HighCountry, RST, TrailBoss