Skyjacker Black Max Shocks are Tuned for Comfort

Posted by Sean Reyes on

“I put a lift on my truck and the shocks that came with it ride so rough I think I don’t know how long my teeth will last”.

With lift kits being as expensive as they are, it becomes cost prohibitive to a lot of buyers to then have to spend hundreds if not thousands getting shocks to correct their ride. And shocks aren’t always the solution to a poor suspension setup.

Where many other manufacturers who focus on lifted and off-road suspension systems go by a “stiffer is better” approach for performance reasons, Skyjacker operates under what they call their “Soft-Ride” ethos. Rather than trying to give you all the stiffness possible to resist bottoming out like some of the other budget brands, Black max shocks are set up relatively soft to provide a cushy and forgiving ride, and bringing some movement back to your suspension.

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  • Comparing gas to non-gas shocks, non-gas achieve slightly more shock travel due to the allowable space (no gas chamber).
  • More travel means less chance of bottoming out without having to be as stiff.
  • More oil volume that works well under easy or moderate terrain where very high heat isnt generated.

Foam Cell Design

Instead of having anywhere from 75-200+ psi of nitrogen charged into the shock to prevent cavitation and fade from shock oil expansion under high temperatures, the Black Max uses a foam cartridge in the secondary tube that not only works to keep air bubbles from forming, but will actually change size to match the expansion of the shock oil under extreme use, allowing for consistent damping in easy to moderate terrain.

We are not going to kid you and say the Black Max is the best option on the market for your vehicle, nor are they perfect for all conditions. Their soft riding nature does you no favors if you are looking to carry heavy loads, or going fast off-road. Foam cell shocks typically dont provide sporty handling on the roads or dirt, but they are geared more towards comfort. Black Max shocks help fill the gap between premium monotube shocks and hydro-only dampers.

Black Max Foam Cell vs Nitrogen Gas options (ProComp ES9000, Rancho RS5000X, Skyjacker Nitro 8000)

No matter how you swing it a standard hydraulic shock is always going to have issues with fade. Without any additional help to stop the shock oil from heating up or to minimize cavitation, hydro shocks have the tendency to be very inconsistent in performance and have a shorter overall lifespan. Shock fade occurs when the shock oil heats up to the point of cavitation, which means air bubbles start to foam, resulting in lost resistance/damping ability for the shock piston. The shock becomes extremely loose, resulting in excessive wheel hop and traction loss, bad news if you’re off-road and losing control of the vehicle.

The most common way companies attempt to circumvent these issues is by adding a fairly high Nitrogen gas charge to the shock, typically between 150psi to 300psi. The inert nature of the nitrogen keeps temperatures inside the shock lower through heat transfer from the oil to the gas, also helping to prevent the shock oil from cavitation, which maintains proper damping ability.

However this heavy gas charge can lead gas shocks like the ProComp ES9000, Rancho RS5000X, Skyjacker N8000 to ride a little more harsh than your basic hydraulic shock.

The Skyjacker Black Max uses a foam cell insert that not only separates the air from the oil in the shock to help minimize cavitation, but the foam also compresses to compensate for oil expansion when the shock gets hot from working hard. This system allows the shock to be 90% as competent at resisting cavitation as a gas shock without the added harshness from having 75-200+ psi of gas charge.

  • In comparison against the nitro-gas counterparts, the foam cell Skyjacker Black Max is a much softer shock, that will be much more compliant over bumps, and transmit less unwanted harshness into the driver’s seat.
  • The Black Max is an outstanding option for low speed technical off-roading like rock crawling and for the daily driver looking to soften up their ride.
  • Skyjacker also typically offer longer extended lengths and shorter compressed lengths when compared to shocks marketed for the same lift heights and vehicles from other companies including Pro Comp. The reason for this is because the shock doesn’t require space for the nitrogen gas, and more of the shock tube can be used for the main piston.
  • This means more shock travel out of your setup as well as more options for various lift heights making it easier to find the right option for your rig.

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