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Rear Shock Opinion

Jay Welch

NAXJA Forum User

Is there opinion as to what is the preferred "off the shelf" shock on an XJ?

Mine is street driven only with an occasional trailer dragged behind.

I'm looking for something that is available locally and is not high end priced. I've usually gone with a Sears gas shock but am interested to see if there's something better without going for an off roading shock.

Not looking forward to this as I understand that the upper bolts usually snap.

Thanks guys,
Jay in MA
When I first wanted to replace the OEM shocks on my '88 someone talked me into trying Rancho 5000 shocks. They were much too stiff for street use. My brother then suggested KYB "Gas Adjusts." They were terrible. Valving was all off, either too much jounce and not enough rebound, or maybe the opposite, but they were too soft to control the suspension and I felt like I was all over the road.

So I stopped listening to little brother and did what I should have done -- bought a set of the biggest, fattest Monroe shocks I could get. Back then they were called, IIRC, Gas Magnums. I still run those, they have more than 100K on them and they still do the job. I'm sure Monroe still makes the same shock, but they don't call it the same thing now. I think it is what they now call the Gas-Matic LT, but a good Monroe dealer may be able to figure it out.
I have the Gabriel Gas Ryder LT. They have VST (Gabriel's version of self-adjusting) and it seems to work as advertised. They have a fairly firm ride on the road, but they soak up pot holes and speed bumps pretty well. I believe I paid about $23 each for them at Autozone.
Well, we have Auto Zone nearby and the price is right so I'll check them out as well.

Thanks for the input.......damn....I know I'll end up snapping the bolts. I'll probably wait til things cool off a bit.

Take care,
Jay in MA
dmillion said:
According to their website Monroe still makes the Gas Magnums.

THat's the one. Thanks for pointing that out. This shock has a much larger valve than most of their other shocks, and that makes it more efficient. I believe the Gabriel Gas Ryder LT also has an oversize piston. IMHO that's what you want. A smaller shock has to be valved stiffer to provide the same control as these big boys do.
I second moroe shocks for stock suspension. Same company that makes Ranchos, so they gotta be good right?

on the Ranchos, I used to run them at stock height, they were harsh, but I liked the ride and it cornered well.
dmillion said:
According to their website Monroe still makes the Gas Magnums.

Now I remember what the problem is: The catalog (I have the printed, paper catalog) doesn't list an application for the Gas Magnum series for the XJ. When I go to the back of the book to look at the physical data to find a match ... they don't print the data for the 34000 series (Gas Magnum). I know they work because I have them on my XJ, but I guess I'm going to have to crawl underbeath with a wire brush and a good flashlight to find a specific model number.
I run old Man emu shocks and they seem to be working great and I do a good amount of street miles (50+ a day), as for local I know of one place in MA that sells them but it is in townsend which really isnt too close to you, but they do ship, they cost a bit more but from my experiance work great.
Bilstein makes a good shock. I personally run Rancho 5K and love em. But then again I'm not afraid of a lttle jarring!
You guys are great. Thanks for all of the input.

I took a peek under there this weekend and it appears that they used some sort of captive nuts or perhaps a nutbar???.

If I snap the bolts, is it possible to just remove the "nut bar" and attach a nut to a box end wrench with some adhesive to hold it in place until I get a thread started???

Thanks again,
Jay in MA
hit them with PB B'laster a couple times for a few days before you try to pull those bolts......I've heard of people having good luck with that. I know that B'laster is an awsome product in our shop. Also make sure you arent overinflating your tires. That usually gives you that stiff jouncey ride everyone complains about. It's amazing to see the amount of people that complain about the ride of their car but will continuously pump 45 psi into them. FYI that is only the "maximum" tire pressure cast into the sidewall of the tire. The "recommended" tire pressure is printed on a placard located somewhere on the truck.(Mine is in the glovebox:))believe it or not this really makes a difference.
Interesting tidbit here. I was putting shocks in the rear of my 78 Delta88 and had some rear xj shocks on the bench. Put them next to eachother and they were identical travel and lenght. Also had same mounting.

So now when you are buying shocks you can have one more thing to compare with :) 77-84 Delta88, Caprice, Bonneville, ect..

l really like the Bilsteins I have front and rear. About $54 each. I don't do much more than street driving, but these shocks combined with my 235/70 R15 Michelin Cross Terrains gives me pretty good handling.