ADS Racing Shocks: Torture-Tested Off-Road Shocks from Mild to Wild
ADS Racing Shocks: Torture-Tested Off-Road Shocks from Mild to Wild
The off-road world is full of variety, and much of the innovation in the industry is sparked by competition. Driving technique, vehicle setup and of course, custom components start as a competitive edge on the racing course, and transition into a product that works well in many applications and conditions. Arizona Desert Shocks, commonly known as ADS Racing Shocks, has been around since 1992. It’s used those 30-plus years to develop products for intense off-road racing, as well as bolt-on components for your everyday rig.
We recently had the chance to tour the ADS Racing Shocks facility, and watched the entire process, from raw materials to a finished and packaged piece, sent off for delivery. The intense nature of the manufacturing process creates a hand-crafted product, but there are several automated processes to ensure repeatability and top-notch build quality. Of course, machinery would be useless without skilled folks to operate them, and ADS Racing Shocks has an experienced staff that truly cares about the finished product. Once all the raw materials have been machined to the desired specifications, the shock is hand-built in house by specially trained technicians.
ADS Racing Shocks manufactures in its Tucson, Arizona facility. The staff is deeply rooted in the off-road community, and everyone pushes toward the same goal of creating specialized shocks and components to meet or exceed the needs of the end user. That’s because the employees are the end user. Many of ADS Racing Shocks’ employees have off-road rigs of their own, from rock crawlers to UTV’s and everything in between. Head Mill Operator, Collin, has a long-travel 1996 Toyota Tacoma, running a BTF kit with 2.5-inch coilovers up front and spring-under Deaver leaf springs and 2.5-inch four-tube bypass shocks out back. Another example is Joel, the Production Manager, who has a 1988 Jeep Commanche with custom trailing arm suspension with 2.125-inch coilovers and 3-inch six-tube bypasses, as well as custom 2.5-inch three-tube air bypass struts.
Anthony, the General Manager wheels a Can Am X3 XRS, equipped with ADS Racing Shocks MBR coilovers. Bryan, the Business Unit Manager, has multiple choices, with a 4x4 Ranger with a Twin Traction Beam (TTB) setup, Jeep JK, LT-swapped Jeep CJ7 or Yamaha YXZ, all ADS-equipped of course. Tyler Jameson has a wild 1960’s Chevrolet Suburban with a turbocharged LS engine, four-link suspension with coilovers and bypasses. Other employee rigs include a gen 1 Tundra Prerunner, a gen 2 Ford Raptor, a Toyota Tacoma rock crawler, Can Am X3, and many more. On any given day, the ADS Racing Shocks parking lot looks like an off-road show.
Machinery and Materials
Examples of machinery in use daily are the DMG MORI NLX 2500, NHX 4000 and Doosan S400 CNC lathes, for milling and machining the raw materials into shock bodies, shafts, brackets and more. Another high-tech machine is the Turnkey Technologies SLE14A laser cutter. Miller Dynasty 400 tig welders are used to weld the bypass tubes to the shock body, as well as other tasks throughout the shock-building process.
When it comes to materials, ADS Racing Shocks utilizes aerospace-grade aluminum, such as 6061 and 7075 in many components throughout the damper assemblies. High tolerance honed DOM steel tubing is used on the shock bodies for long life and superb strength. Each body is electro zinc plated and then treated with Cerakote ceramic coating for corrosion resistance. Shock shafts are built from large-diameter hard chrome material, offering a long seal life and abrasion resistance. ADS Racing Shocks also offers 303 stainless misalignment spacers on all lines. Every component is built to resist corrosion and provide smooth action, no matter the conditions or terrain.
ADS Racing Shocks is known for its fully customized racing shocks for high end race trucks, as well as true bolt-on systems for modern trucks and sport utility vehicles. The research and development needed to accommodate OE fitments is extensive, and ADS Racing Shocks laid the groundwork to transform daily drivers into highly capable off-road machines. Each set of OE-fit ADS shocks that go out the door are unlocking untapped potential, thanks to increased suspension travel capabilities and excellent performance on and off road. Nearly 30 years of applications are covered, and each component is thoroughly tested before it is brought to the market.
Toyota fitments include Tacoma, Tundra, 4 Runner, LC 200 and FJ Cruiser with a wide range of fitments from 1996 to current day production. Chevrolet fitments include 2007 to current 1500 4x4 models, as well as 2017 and up Colorado ZR2 platforms, standard or long travel equipped. Ford bolt-on shocks include Ranger, F150, F250 and F350 fitments, and shocks for 2500 and 3500 Dodge and Ram trucks are also available. Of course, Jeep applications are covered: 2007 to 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU, 2018 and up Jeep Wrangler JL/JLU and 2019 and up Jeep Gladiator JT direct fitments when a three-to-four-inch lift is in place.
Custom off-road builds is where ADS Racing Shocks steps up to the plate with a huge variety of options. Threaded body shocks for coilover applications, and smooth body applications are available in many lengths and styles. Emulsion, Swivel and Hose Reservoir configurations are available to meet the demands of the terrain and vehicle. Travel ranges from a six-inch stroke, all the way up to 20-inch stroke, depending on the diameter of the shock body. Shock diameters range from 2.125 inches to 5.25 inches for extreme applications. ADS builds custom bypass shocks, with options of three to seven tube bypass systems, and all of the components are fabricated and built in house. The general idea behind larger shock bodies and bypass systems is to keep the fluid cool, even in harsh environments and ADS prides itself in high flow systems that regulate fluid temperatures and provide consistent performance.
In addition to traditional fluid filled shock absorbers, ADS Racing Shocks also builds air shocks from 12 to 18 inches of stroke. You’ll also find that ADS builds an air bump stop, a very popular product that offers two to four inches of stroke, depending on the model. This product works well with any of the high-end shocks in the ADS catalog.
With a true enthusiast perspective, the staff at ADS Racing Shocks is constantly innovating. An example of that innovation is a new product, which debuted at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It’s a three-inch multi-stage bypass coilover for custom applications. The three-inch body allows plenty of fluid flow, but it’s the MBR technology that really got the attention of off roaders that saw the product launch. MBR is a true multi-stage bypass system, where each zone is independently adjustable internally via a positive stop helix system. The dual hose system offers recirculation for maximum fluid cooling. Sound complicated? From an engineering standpoint, it is complex, but from a user standpoint, this shock is versatile and highly adjustable. All this effort results in a shock that is built to perform at the level of a much more advanced shock, like a full race-prepped seven-bypass unit. The MBR shocks are available in 14 and 16-inch strokes, but more options, including OE fitments, are coming soon on this new product line.
Shock absorbers and coilover systems are the focus but other components, like bump stops, coil springs, control arms, bushings and accessories make for a full catalog of durable parts for the casual enthusiast or the hardcore racer. If you’re building an off-road rig or looking to improve the capabilities of your daily driven truck or SUV, ADS Racing Shocks has you covered.