You could also go with a non-adjustable shock that has been custom-valved. The key here is to work with someone like Race Car Dynamics in order to figure out what valving would be optimal for your particular car and driving habits. We believe that if you’re going to go the non-adjustable route, then custom-valving is worth the extra coin, since it’s very hard to buy an off-the-shelf shock that is valved perfectly for your modified Camaro. One exception would be shocks that are included as part of a suspension package, or set up for a specific combination of parts.
Get What Works
When shopping for shocks, it’s critical to get the right parts for your particular ride. We asked 11-time autocross champion, Mary Pozzi to give us her thoughts on this issue. “It’s pretty basic really,” says Mary. “Ninety-eight percent of drivers haven't a clue if a shock's working properly, or at all for that matter. I mean, how many times are you driving along at freeway speeds all the while watching a wheel and tire on the car ahead bouncing up and down? What you're seeing is a shock that is most likely blown on rebound underneath a completely oblivious driver. When I was selling auto parts, we'd have customers come in and see a set of shocks laying on the counter. Immediately, they'd grab a shock, tug it apart, and push it back together trying to imitate their car going over a speed bump. They would then pronounce it fit for automotive use or cast it aside like a rotten pear. I'd laugh, but not too loudly as I did want to sell parts. It's impossible to manually reproduce cyclic compression and the release of an automotive suspension system without a shock dyno. Quality matters. So don't be tempted to purchase a shock by price. Proper shock selection is vital for your Camaro.”
Valve design is key to how any shock functions because it controls the flow of oil from one chamber to the other. When the piston pushes down into the shock the oil is forced through the valve. Since only a small amount of fluid can pass through the valve, hydraulic pressure is created, which dampens the spring’s energy. Most shocks today have dual-purpose valves. When the road is smooth, the valves open more for a softer ride, but when the action picks up, the valves close off for extra stiffness.
The Inside Story
On the left you can see the two parts of a mono-tube shock, while on the right the three main parts of a twin-tube version. Most notable is how much larger the mono-tube’s piston is compared to the twin-tube’s, even though the shock bodies are almost the same size. Bilstein's larger piston and deflective-disc valving develops controled force when needed at the slightest movement of the suspension. This results in weight transfer when you need it. This means better control under braking, and your tires will stay glued to the road even through the rough spots. Bilstein's patented deflective disc valving system allows for exact valving of both compression and rebound movements.