You have been there. The car was working great. The track was sticking, and the tune-up was dialed. Then the weather changed, the track prep went away, and you were scrambling to make adjustments to get that performance back. Sometimes the on-car adjustability isn’t enough to make up the difference and you might need to go as far as swapping parts — if you have time.
Fortunately for those always pushing the performance envelope, QA1 developed a new line of shocks that allow for an unprecedented level of on-car adjustment.
“There are a lot of guys right now that might carry multiple shocks on their trailers,” Dave Kass, Marketing Manager at QA1, said. “They might send their shocks to a service center to have them tuned. Those things take time and they take money. This system addresses all those issues.”
That system is the new line of MOD Series shocks, which picked runner-up honors in the both the Best Engineered New Product and Best New Product in Performance–Racing categories at the 2018 SEMA Show.
They are available for a variety of Ford and GM vehicles, including Mustangs, Galaxies, and C10 trucks, plus A-, B-, F-, G-, and X-bodies. They can also easily fit custom applications thanks to the flexibility of piggyback or remote canister options.
“The base of the shock bolts on, so it is completely indexable,” Kass said. “That means you can face the knob to wherever it is easiest to access, and you can position it to where the canister is best located too.”
What really makes these dampers unique, however, is their QuickTune technology utilizing easily swappable modular valve packs that allow completely re-valving the shocks in minutes.
“We identified that racers would generally put a shock on that was able to adapt to a wide range of segments. It would perform well in all categories, but not great in all categories. As track conditions change and cars setups change, they would try to make adjustments to try and make adjustments to make the car perform as well as it could,” Kass explained. “What we wanted to do is give someone the capability to re-valve the shock while it’s on the car. This is two and a half years in the making.”
Like many adjustable dampers, these shocks feature a double-adjustable design with adjustable low-speed bleed for fully independent control over the compression and rebound. What separates these units, however, are the easily swappable valve packs that allow for completely changing the characteristics of the shocks without changing major hardware.
“What we did was develop a system that has five patents pending on it right now. Basically we took the valving off the piston. Typically your shim stack and the bleeds are on the piston, that’s been removed and we put the valving on this red valve,” Kass said. “We developed this interface that offers a full dry-valve technology. As the piston moves, it presses back and forth on this valve. So now you can have valve packs in your trailer — that you can sub out in about two and a half minutes — that are specific to different types of racing. That’s a game-changer.”
That flexibility not only allows for dialing in your suspension for the given track conditions, but it allows for multi-use vehicles to easily switch to a valving better suited for another performance venue.
“The base package of the shock comes with a curve that is good for 100 to 650. It’s a pretty wide range. The shock is capable of up to 1,600 pounds. The curve that you would start with for a handling-based situation is generally a little firmer rebound. You can change the rebound pack to fit that category,” Kass elaborated. “Let’s just say you are going to take that same car and hop on the drag strip. You can take that rebound pack and put the soft pack in. Same care, same everything else, but it’s a two-minute change. It is super, super simple. You do see cars competing in multiple segments. They might hit the drag strip, and they might hit the autocross.”
Just imagine, you can hot-swap the valving right on the car in a couple minutes and be ready to change from the drag strip to the autocross with minimal headache. It certainly opens up some possibilities while saving you extra expense and effort.
Of course, if you really want to go all out on the drag strip or the autocross, you will likely want to choose an optimized spring rate, but for cars that move from street to strip or strip to road course, the easy re-valving will smooth the transition.
“You have to look at how competitive you want to be in those segments. You are not going to build a pro-touring car and expect it to do what a purpose-built drag car will do,” Kass explained. “There is always going to be a compromise in spring rate, but the valving is going to allow you to perform really well in those different categories.”
No matter the category, it will be interesting to see how enthusiasts take advantage of the tuning capabilities of these shocks in the future.