How do they work?
Nitrogen shocks have the same basic layout as a traditional coil over, with a shock shaft with a piston on the end of it. The piston has a compression and rebound shim stack, that controls the shocks damping in both directions. The oil is separated in the accumulator by a floating piston, on the back part of the piston there is high pressure nitrogen.
How does the nitrogen pressure support the vehicle?
The way nitrogen shocks work is, they rely on the shock shaft displacing the oil inside the shock accumulator. With the shock fully collapsed, the piston and shock oil is filling up the majority of the accumulator. When nitrogen pressure is added, it forces the accumulator piston against the shock oil and the pressure in the shock oil forces the rod out the end of the shock body, with enough pressure this will support a vehicle.
Why do nitrogen shocks ride so smooth and seem so soft?
When the shocks are filled to the proper ride height, the nitrogen pressure is barely supporting the vehicle. This would be comparable to running the softest coil spring that would support your vehicle. This is also why the shocks seem to float over small bumps and ride very smooth at low to medium speeds.
Why don’t the shocks need auxiliary bump stops like a coil over?
The nitrogen shocks are very soft and cushy at ride height, but when the shock is nearing the end of its travel, the nitrogen pressure builds quickly inside the accumulator making for an extremely progressive “spring rate”. This means once the shock is nearing the end of the travel, it’s getting extremely stiff. The shocks do use an external rubber bump pad as insurance in case they do bottom out.
What are the downsides to nitrogen shocks?
Because your supporting the vehicle with a compressed gas, it can be susceptible to temperature changes. Meaning if the shocks are filled to the proper ride height and then things warm up significantly, the can at times expand and grow to a taller ride height, same goes for colder temperatures. As they use nitrogen pressure, if something fails or gets damaged, the shock won’t be able to support the vehicle, same as if you broke a spring retainer.
Are they significantly more expensive than coil over shocks?
Not really when you compare apples to apples, Scott Shocks are built significantly heavier than a typical coil over, almost double the material is used when building a set of Scotts’. Thicker bodies, heavier thicker end caps, larger shock shafts, and Scott’s are all a 3” diameter body. The thing that will save you money with a set of Scotts’, is the fact that you won’t have to purchase different coil springs to adjust your ride and you won’t need any aux bump stops. The other thing to keep in mind is because there are no coil springs to interfere, external bypass tubes can be added to any set of Scotts’. In the end you get, a shock, bump stop and bypass shock all in 1. The one thing you will have to purchase with a set of Scotts’, is a Nitrogen Fill Kit and a decent quality Sway Bar in order to support the vehicle.