Adjusting shock absorbers

Feb. 21, 2002
Properly adjusted shock absorbers safely dissipate energy.

Properly adjusted shock absorbers safely dissipate energy. Watching and listening to a shock absorber in operation aids in proper adjustment.

To correctly adjust a shock absorber, set the adjustment knob at zero prior to system engagement. Cycle the mechanism and observe the system's deceleration.

If damping appears too soft with no visual deceleration and bangs at end of stroke, move the indicator to next largest number. Adjustments must be made in gradual increments to avoid internal damage (e.g., adjust from 0 to 1, not 0 to 4).

Increase setting until the system smoothly decelerates and stays controllable. There should be negligible noise heard when the system decelerates or when it comes to rest.

When there is abrupt deceleration at the beginning of the stroke (banging at impact), move the adjustment setting to a lower number for smoother deceleration.

If the adjustment knob is set at the high end of the scale and there is still abrupt deceleration at the end of the stroke, a larger shock absorber may be required.

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