- Apr 18, 2020
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One of the most common questions amongst Raptor pages is “whats everyones opinion about *insert suspension component here*?” Let’s put a stop to one size fits all recommendations, and take a different approach. We believe that every part has its place/purpose and that’s why we made it our mission to do all the research for you.
Our first step is learning from the designers of the product how they intended it to function, how it’s made and most importantly, what makes it different? Secondly we install it, check fitment, and then go one step further to make sure it’s compatible with other common aftermarket upgrades. Our last step is our favorite, to TEST! We test on the street, we test HARD in Baja, Southern California desert, and the border wall trails of southern New Mexico. Hot lapping the tracks of TRR and alike of Central Texas help expose any durability issues. For extreme weather testing we’ll work with Alaskan raptors to test in extreme cold climates and conduct torture testing in the scorching deserts of Arizona. Exposing any weakness while discovering all the pros and cons of a product, before we start to make a signal recommendation. This is a commitment we made to the Raptor Community. If 7 years in the industry has taught us anything, it’s that testing is the only way to make sure we get you the right parts the first time.
Why do we do this? One, because we freaking love this stuff and two, because we know everyone uses their Raptors differently. Sharing our knowledge to help everyone enjoy their trucks that much more, is why we get out of bed in the morning. Our goal is to combine all our real world experiences to connect you with the proper suspension component. Not just one that’s in-stock or has higher profit margins. With Hammer, you’re getting the parts we have actually proven to be ideal for your specific use and preferences!
Theres many different configurations for the Raptor platform that accomplish higher ride height over stock, improved ride quality, and increased durability. We’re going to explore Perch collars, heavier duty top hats, upgraded spring replacements, and all the aftermarket coil-overs options to paint the picture of what scenario each option is best suited for.
Since the perch collar is one of the most common, tried and true techniques to raise the front ride height on your Raptor, it makes sense we start our journey here. Simply designed, it clamps onto the shock in two pieces allowing it to be installed without removing the shock (not recommended). Available in multiple heights to help achieve the desired stance choose between 1.5, 2”, 2.25, and even 3” taller than stock. The main difference between most perch collars is how the added height effects the ride quality. Each size collar places a different amount of tension on the factory coil to achieve the desired height based on how you want your truck to sit and how you want it for ride. The higher the lift height, the more force required to compress the shocks. This is why they are often used to help compensate for heavier winches/bumpers.
Expect a sportier ride with better handling. Reduced body roll, brake nose dive, and experience a more planted feel. The taller the perch collar the more noticeable sharp edges become. Man hole covers, rail road tracks, bridge expansion joints, rough cracked pavement etc will all feel more noticeable inside the truck. The low cost, multiple height options, ease of install, and fast shipping make perch collars a very popular option. We recommend these when ride quality is less of a priority, or as temporary setup while saving up for upgraded shocks.
Now if you not only want to increase ride height, but also want to enhance the ride quality, aftermarket springs use longer length and thicker coils to change the height and ride quality. The two main flavors are Eibach and Geisers. Which flavor tastes best to you depends on what type of ride you’re looking for. The main difference between the two is the type and weight of the coils spring rate. Eibach’s are linear while Geisers use progressive spring rate. Let’s break this down further and translate how it affects the way the raptor feels.
Eibachs are available for all three generations of Raptor. They provide increased ride height (1.7-2.5” on Gen 2; 1.5” 2.2” front 1.5” rear or a 2.2” HD rear on gen 3), and a linear spring rate at 600-in pounds. When a coil spring rate is linear it means it requires the same rate of force to compress the entire spring, leaving you with a more familiar feel to the OEM spring. With a slightly heavier spring rate than OEM at 600 in-lbs, expect to trade that super plush cushy ride that tends to feel soupy feeling in the turns, for firmer sportier ride that improves handing by reducing body roll. The heavier spring rate means it requires more force to compress the shock, this is part of how the extra height is achieved. The ride changes and feels firmer and more sporty. The large majority of raptor owners welcomes this firmness as most feel the stock suspension is a tad too floaty feeling.
Geiser Offroad springs, are also available for all three generations of Raptor. These provide increased ride height of 2.5” or 3” for the Gen 2, or 2.5” up front on the gen 3 (1.5” on the 37pp and R). Geiser as well has a rear for the Gen 3 at 1.5”. Geisers are stiffer than stock and are 10% stronger than OEM. This comes from having a progressive spring rate. Progressive spring rates means that the spring rate changes based off compression of the spring. The first bit of the spring will be noticeably lighter for a nice smooth on-road ride quality, but upon compression it takes a lot more force. If you value performance AND ride quality, these are the springs for you. The added force these springs require to fully compress help keep the raptor more composed off-road.
For those who intended on driving their raptors with OEM coil-overs to the limits or who participate in off-road events, we recommend the SDI top hat lift/reinforcement. The oem shock top hat has been a known weak point, causing shock failures on over a dozen trucks down in Baja and similar environments. This complete top hat replacement for the gen 2 & 3 Raptor kills two birds with one stone. Providing 1.5-1.75” of height over a stock Raptor while eliminating the shocks weak point with its heavy duty billet construction, and improved rigidity. SDI designed this to be their preferred way to level when paired with their eClik system. This is an extremely safe and robust option that not only makes your truck look and ride better, but will give you the piece of mind of you won’t be left stranded on the trail.
Coil-overs are the big guns when it comes to improving your suspension. With many options coming from ADS, Fox, King, Icon, it can be difficult to understand how the ride will differ. The fox race series is currently the only option that will allow you to change your coil-over while maintaining your live valve electronics out of the box and is engineered to feel the most like a stock raptor, while offering drastically more off-road performance.
There are three main differences between oem and Fox Race Series (FRS) live valve. The largest performance benefit comes from the drastically larger oil capacity with the external reservoir which translates to drastically higher shock fade resistance. The remote resi on the fox is the only recirculating system for the gen 2 (and fits gen 3) raptors, they are dubbed the cactus coolers.
Second is the height adjustability . Get the stance you want by adjusting the preload for front end height increase of 1”-2.75” and being able to match the rear ride height no matter what type of setup you have back there
Third reason to upgrade to FRS is to take advantage of the 3 settings on the bottom of the shocks to fine tune the feel of your ride quality even further. Choose between on-road comfort, on-road performance, and pure off-road performance. The QS3 adjuster controls BOTH rebound AND compression unlike the manual adjusters on the icon/king/ads which has one dial for each. The FRS Live Valve lets you choose what you want, and the computer does the rest.
While we’re on the topic, lets talk about the computer. The SDI eClik suspension controller uses its processors advanced sensors and algorithms to control of how soft or firm your truck feels. The system actively controls the amount of energy required to compress the shock by Increasing and decreasing the flow of oil inside 500 times per second. This lets the shock flow freely to soak up the terrain before it can transfered to you and your passengers in one millisecond, and instantly decrease the flow in the next. Decreasing flow inside the shock helps resist harsh impacts, and controls the buck/bounce, but can feel stiff and harsh when driving over normal terrain and lower speeds.
Dial in your own suspension settings using the Pro menu with the on-dash high resolution touch screen puts you in FULL control of exactly how your truck drives. Adjust shock softness/firmess, throttle steering and braking reactions on the fly without affecting any of the factory drive modes/settings. EClik even offers a rear weight setting that mitigates rear sag and aids and mitigates unwanted sway from heavy loads. The eClik can as well be mixed and configured with any of the above hard suspension items allowing you to mix and match for that perfect ride.
With all mentioned items and more available at Hammer Performance, we’re here to take care of you and help you get the suspension you need without having to second guess your decision. With a collective 40 years in modifying and off-roading Raptors, and much longer in off-roading, you can have confidence your Raptor will perform to the top of if it’s capabilities and without loosing anything you love about your raptor.
As always if youre interested in any of these products, feel free to contact me here in a private message or email me JYackle@HPbuilt.com for exclusive FRF discounts.