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Thread: Vendetta's Rancho 9000XL shock and Indy4x HD torsion bar install

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  1. #1
    Member Since
    Jun 2010
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    Wrench Vendetta's Rancho 9000XL shock and Indy4x HD torsion bar install

    Hey gang,

    As many of you already know, the suspension on my '99 was a mess. It sat idle for a couple of years as I scraped some nickles together to replace the motor, which I did last year. When I started driving it again, the ride was a lot cagier than I remembered it, but didn't really pay it much mind.

    Shortly after that, I put on ~33" Nitto Trail graps on bigger wheels, courtesy of OME 913s and a torsion bar crank. And while it LOOKED great, the drive was just getting worse and worse.

    I posted a few questions here because my truck would NOT track straight over bumps. And worse yet, if there were even a gentle turn over bumpy terrain, I risked losing all control - even if going at or below rated speeds.

    Some said it was a bump stop/spring helper issue, others said sway bar or egged-out bushings, and others still said ummmm.... have you changed your shocks?

    Hoping it wasn't that most-expensive cause, I hadn't really looked into it. But with the winter approaching, it was time to get serious. So knowing it wasn't the sway bar or bushings (we checked), I went full throttle and bought a set of Rancho 9000XLs AND the Indy 4x HD torsion bars. Installed everything yesterday.

    English doesn't offer words sufficient enough to craft an appropriate metaphor to relate the difference in the before and after comparison. It was that dramatic. Now, I recognize that this is largely due to how BAD the before was, as opposed to how AMAZING the after is. But still.

    Last night, in the rain, I drove my VX in a way that I have not been able to in probably 7 years. Not only was she able to take bumpy corners at speed on wet terrain, she did so without a single jarring bump, rattle, or bang from below. I progressively expanded the test envelope to include harsh grade-level railroad crossings and other road "hazards." Again, not a peep from the suspension.

    I turned it up a final notch and drove it over a series of speed dippy-bumpy things designed to keep traffic at or below 10MPH on a local community college road. (Being almost 2am, there wasn't another soul in sight.) I ran through that gauntlet at between 60-70mph, and was airborne more than once. The landings were smooth and graceful, and still not a single bottom out or jarring "bump stop." It was absolutely AMAZING. Instant love, all over again.

    Now I'm NOT advocating this kind of field test, but rather just sharing my experiences with my new suspension bits. So please don't try this. Consider this the "professional driver, closed course" disclaimer.

    That said, here are some more details:
    • The shocks that came OFF my VX were the factory shocks, never serviced. They were completely and utterly shot. There was some resistance on the pistons, but they wouldn't extend when compressed. Useless.
    • I've set my adjustable Ranchos' firmness to 6 on the fronts, and 7 on the rear. This is notably softer than the OEM shocks in good condition, but given my antics last night, I can say I'm pretty darned happy with these settings. Also, I carry no spare and generally no cargo, plus the stiffer springs and torsion bars compensate nicely.
    • The torsion bars are cranked out to lift the front slightly more than I'd like them to be, but this is only temporary until I can re-trim the cladding enough to eliminate the glancing rubbing I was getting before changing them out.


    So not only is THIS the truck I bought a dozen years ago, it's superior to it. The shocks and torsion bars have undeniably renewed a 12-year love affair that needed a little spark.

    BRING ON THE WINTER!
    -V
    Last edited by Vendetta : 01/12/2015 at 08:10 PM Reason: Spell check got a little too eager on a few words.
    -VI VX VNIVERSVM VIVVS VICI-

  2. #2
    Member Since
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    2001, Ebony Black, VX
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    WOO - I guess I have to get my shocks in there. I have them...they are just sitting in the basement waiting for a moment to work on the VX. This kind of review is exactly what I needed to get my rear in gear!! Thanks V! Great post!
    '03 Honda CR-V (DD) - '05 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon - '01 Ebony VX!

    A smile is like tight underwear, it makes your cheeks go up!

  3. #3
    Member Since
    Dec 2008
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    Former owner 2001, Foxfire Red, #0663
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    I love to hear a VX love story!
    Remember SilverBullet mentioning how significant the change was when he installed the HD torsion bars....hmmmm.....sounds like a really good combo you've got V.
    VX KAT
    ....the adventure BEGINS ANEW! ...2015......
    Remember that life is not measured in the breaths you take, but rather in the moments that take your breath away.

  4. #4
    Member Since
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    Congrats V on your "new ride", glad to hear it has rekindled an old love affair!!
    Vixer Fixer

  5. #5
    Member Since
    Apr 2008
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    2000 Foxfire Red Mica, 0555 (RIP) & 0717
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    x4 - Just might have to consider getting a set of these torsion bars myself. Really wish I could make it up to Baltimore next weekend to do a back and forth test drive between our VX's. Would be interesting to know how these bars + stock shocks + cut stops + air lift might handle.

    Now Tom aren't you glad this is one thing you can cross off your list for the 29th?

  6. #6
    Member Since
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks guys and gals.

    Make no mistake, I never fell out of love... It's more like having spent a whole bunch of money her, what with the engine, wheels, tires, brakes, super charger (installation pending), and a whole mess of incidentals sitting in my garage, she was still "unappreciative" - as in still tough to handle. Downright dangerous to drive, in fact.

    But this thousand bucks or so was the best I'd spent on her since replacing the motor, no question.

    Thing is, because I did both shocks and torsion bars at the same time, I have no reference as to the value of each individually. Sorry Mav. Sounds like back to back road tests with my VX and one like Kate's (same shocks, springs, tires) would be the way to get it.

    -V

  7. #7
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
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    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
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    Nice write up V.

    We haven't had a negative review yet for the HD torsion bars. I can foresee a set in my future.

  8. #8
    Member Since
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    '01 Ebony #0830
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    Vendetta,
    Just a thought... Try dropping your shocks down to 1 or 2. That should show you what it would be like with bad shocks.
    Even with bad shocks, the HD torsions are better than the original torsions. The shocks are just a great bonus.
    Can't wait to replace my bad original shocks with Ranchos.

    Glad you had the same experience with them that I did!!!

    ---JIM---
    SilverBullet75
    Formerly: '01 Ebony VXSTLTH
    Now: '08 Saab 9-7x Aero 6.0L

  9. #9
    Member Since
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    I love the Ranchos too, I street at 9 front and rear and wheel at 1 on the trails. No bone jarring on the rocks, but good handling when on the freeway. I have had them for almost 4 years now, I love em!! Put them on the Wife's RS as well, just as smooth a ride.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
    Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    Member Since
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    if i want to switch to the rancho 9000 xl's do i need anything besides just the 4 shocks? i have no lift and everything is stock now - basically im asking if these are "plug and play" or would i need any extra parts to put them on
    Last edited by evillecutter : 09/25/2012 at 11:50 AM

  11. #11
    Member Since
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    1999 Ironman,#1-1767, #2-1326
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    plug and play

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowgizmo99 View Post
    plug and play
    gitty up - thanks

  13. #13
    Member Since
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    actually pb blaster, unbolt and bolt, lol

  14. #14
    Member Since
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    Due to V's awesome write-up here I finally took off my running/biking shoes and did some work to the VX.


    The boyfriend and I (mostly the boyfriend) put in 3 out of the 4 Rancho shocks last night and holy CRAP can I tell a difference in ride. At level 7 all around, it's like a luxury cruiser now...well all except for the driver's side rear shock.

    Anyone have any trouble getting a wrench on the top of that one? We didn't have a good breaker bar (it was in my Jeep :-() but still, the other three came apart without a problem. It seemed like we couldn't get the closed-end wrench quite on the nut because the frame was a little too close. Anyone?

  15. #15
    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperkate View Post
    Due to V's awesome write-up here I finally took off my running/biking shoes and did some work to the VX.


    The boyfriend and I (mostly the boyfriend) put in 3 out of the 4 Rancho shocks last night and holy CRAP can I tell a difference in ride. At level 7 all around, it's like a luxury cruiser now...well all except for the driver's side rear shock.

    Anyone have any trouble getting a wrench on the top of that one? We didn't have a good breaker bar (it was in my Jeep :-() but still, the other three came apart without a problem. It seemed like we couldn't get the closed-end wrench quite on the nut because the frame was a little too close. Anyone?
    At our recent wrenching event, lizardmen installed Ranchos on the rear of his (didn't get to his fronts yet). IIRC, drivers rear was the one that was giving them a headache. Unfortunately I can't give you the guidance of what they finally got to work since I wasn't involved. etlsport or lizardmen can probably tell you what they did.


    Put a smiley after you say that Bub.

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