We’re big fans of Fox suspension elements here at Streetside. We covered a few reasons for this already, but we wanted to go a bit deeper. So we got ahold of the professional coolguys at Fox to get some details on their 2.0 Performance Series shocks, which were built for desert racing but will work just as well on a street pickup or Jeep.
I talked with Brian Godfrey, Offroad Division Marketing Manager at Fox, who kindly took some time to educate me, admittedly more familiar with tarmac racing, on the virtues of Fox’s Performance series.
Most companies who make racing parts and road parts sell them as completely different lines, at different price points and different quality levels. So I assumed that Fox’s Truck and SUV Performance series was a step down from their Offroad Racing Performance Series. But that’s not how Fox works. They design everything for racing, but the Truck and SUV shocks have different fittings for production vehicles. Brian set me straight.
AS: The Truck & SUV Performance series seems to be a consumer-level line positioned beneath your Offroad Race Performance series. But do any racers use them rather than the Offroad Race line? Perhaps for prerunning?
BG: For Truck & SUV, we have 3 product lines – Evolution Series (good), Performance Series (better), and Factory Series (Best). The Truck & SUV Factory Series products are directly in-line with our Offroad race products (Also Factory Series) sharing the same components, but made as direct replacement shocks for specific vehicle applications. The Truck & SUV Performance Series products come from what we’ve learned in Offroad in a consumer-level package designed to offer the top-level performance at an affordable price. Performance Series shocks are used on a majority of offrace team’s chase vehicles, but for offroad specific pre-running vehicles and race use, Factory series shocks are used.
AS: Were there any cool development vehicles in particular that Fox used to test the T&SUV Performance Series?
BG: Testing and development comes more into play with our Factory Series shocks. For last year’s Baja 1000, FOX worked with Ford to test the 2015 F150 disguised as a 2013 model, utilizing modified 3.0 Factory Series Internal Bypass Raptor shocks with ECS (External Cooling System).
You know you’re doing something right when Ford gives you a secret new truck a year before its release so you can test it. In an 882 mile desert race.
AS: What are the coolest properties of the T&SUV Performance Series? What’s your favorite aspect of them that few to none of your competitors do?
BG: Our Performance shocks use metal impacted, clear anodized, billet aluminum bodies (no rust and better heat dissipation than steel); heavy-duty, 5/8” stainless steel shafts [which I later learned were hardened via induction case to over 55 Rockwell C]; race-developed, high-flow damping piston matched with application specific valving; redundant seal packs (main seal, wiper seal, and scraper seal) and Nitrile rubber bushings (for increased suspension articulation and a squeak free ride).
Fox also offers versions with an aluminum external reservoir for increased cooling and an offroad race performance look as well as versions with CD (Compression Damping) adjuster to adjust ride firmness. Fox is the only company to offer a billet aluminum clamp for the reservoir versions, which is included in the price of the shock.
Brian confirmed that the Performance series is specifically designed for each application. Well, duh, Andy, you’re thinking. Otherwise it wouldn’t fit. But I’m not just talking about the fitment. The valving is customized, too. This is important because the weight and other stock suspension elements on the vehicle will have an effect on the valving configuration. Where some companies might just weld different sets of mounting brackets onto the same shock, Fox redesigns the whole unit. And that R&D can’t be cheap for them.
And then there’s the redundant seal system, with three seals where some shocks only offer one. Even the oil in the shocks is race-ready. Fox develops their own fluid for the Factory series, which they use on their many Fox-sponsored racing machines, and shares it with the Performance series.
It’s further proof that Fox doesn’t want to be known as a parts-store-level manufacturer, milling out cookie-cutter units for everything on the road. They have a passion for off-road racing, and they bring it to everything they build. So the Performance Series wasn’t just inspired by racing parts, it was designed in the very same way.
Check out our full Fox line here, and see what they’re capable of on Youtube.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.