What is adjustable damping and how do I adjust it? That is a question we’re asked a lot and in this article we’re going to discuss what exactly adjustable damping is, how it works, and how you adjust it.
The first thing to know about Adjustable Damping on Coilovers is that there are 3 distinct types of adjustable damping and those are Singled Adjustable, Double Adjustable, and Triple Adjustable.
Singled Adjustable Damping: Compression and rebound are adjusted simultaneously via a single adjustment knob.
Double Adjustable Damping: Compression and rebound are adjusted independently of each other via two separate adjustment knobs. Double adjustable coilovers generally have a distinct look in that they have external reservoir with a braided line attaching it to the damper. Rebound is generally adjusted from the top of the main piston shaft and compression is adjusted via the adjustment knob located on the external reservoir.
Triple Adjustable Damping: Compression and rebound are adjusted independently of each other but with the addition of independent high speed & low speed compression adjustments. Triple Adjustable Coilovers also have a distinct look in that they have external reservoir with a braided line attaching it to the damper.
But for the sake of this article we’re only going to cover the most common type of damping adjustment found on aftermarket coilovers and that is Single Adjustable Damping, also known as "1-Way Adjustable Damping."
Single Adjustable Damping adjusts the rebound and the compression of the piston shaft simultaneously. Meaning every time you turn the knob, it will change how quickly the piston shaft can compress into the damper body, and how quickly it returns after being compressed. Most Single Adjustable Coilovers have a “fixed” compression side and the damping adjustment generally adjusts the rebound of the piston shaft. On some coilover brands the compression will be adjusted with each turn of the knob but they’re generally engineered so that the rebound ramps up much faster than the compression with each turn of the damping knob towards hard. For example, BC Racing advertises that their dampers have a 1:3 ratio for damping adjustment, which means for every 1-turn of the knob toward hard, the compression goes up 1-click and the rebound goes up 3-clicks. Here you will find our full line of BC Racing BR Series Coilovers.
Q. Do I need adjustable damping?
A. That depends on your goals for the car and what the car will mainly be used for. If you’re a "set it and forget it" type of person then you most likely don’t need adjustable damping. On the other hand, if your goal is to fine-tune your suspension to your driving style and/or needs, then you definitely want adjustable damping.
One of the best Fixed Damping Coilover Kits on the market are the FIVE8 Industries SS Sport Coilovers.
Q. What is adjustable damping?
A. A coilover with adjustable damping means that the flow of oil inside the shock can bypass the shock piston and shim stack quicker or slower
Q. What happens when I adjust the damping?
A. By adjusting the damping, you're adjusting the speed at which the piston shaft returns and compresses, out of and into the damper body, respectively.
Q. How do you adjust the damping?
A. Damping can be adjusted by rotating the adjustment knob on the coilover. The Adjustment knob is most commonly located on the top of the damper piston shaft as shown in the image above. But, it can also be located further down on the piston shaft, in the underside of the upper strut tower, and is a wheel or dial shape, often referred to as a "side adjuster."
Please note that not all damping knobs look the same and not all are threaded onto the damper piston shaft. Some damping knobs are "slip-in" and are meant to be stored away when damping adjustments aren't being made.
After you've located the damping knob on your specific coilovers you can now adjust the damping by turning the knob counterclockwise to soften up the damping or clockwise to stiffen up the damping.