ZR2 Shock Sorcery: Chevy Colorado ZR2 Shocks Explained – Inside the Multimatic DSSV
Learn how well the new shocks work and, more importantly for car heads, how and why they work. First, for a little history:
Suspension damping technology has remained relatively unchanged for the past 100 years. Conventional dampers (known to the layperson as shock absorbers) work by forcing a piston through a chamber filled with pressurized hydraulic fluid. Orifices in the piston direct fluid flow, while stacked washers, known as shims, control the rate at which the oil passes through. Throughout the years there have been advancements in shock absorber technology, but the basic theory has remained the same. Shocks can be commonly found in twin-tube and mono-tube, while racing applications have given us position-sensitive damping (also known as bypass, both internal and external), large-diameter bodies, and remote reservoirs. When Chevrolet set to engineering the Colorado ZR2, it could have easily tapped industry stalwarts Fox, King, or Bilstein. Instead, it commissioned the engineers at Multimatic, who were behind the revolutionary dampers used on the ’14 Camaro Z/28, to design and build the shock absorbers for the company’s new off-road warrior.
And the basics: These shocks (aka dampers) replace all the old internal hardware completely:
In Multimatic’s DSSV dampers, spool valves replace the traditional piston and shims. Each spool valve has a spring-loaded valve that opens and closes at a variable rate depending on the speed of the damper’s shaft. Further, the orifices in the spool valve can be adjusted, allowing engineers to make the dampers firmer or softer depending on the amount of force being applied to the spool valves. For example, the Keyholes (as Multimatic calls them) can be tuned so that under light pressure (such as cruising down the road) the dampers are soft and compliant, and then under heavy load (such as large bumps while off-roading) the dampers can firm up.
And how well do they work?
Over the years, we’ve driven a multitude of vehicles with both internal- and external-bypass shocks. We’ve got to say, even with the limited wheel travel of the ZR2, the DSSV dampers work phenomenally well. They absorb big hits without any discomfort to the passengers while not creating any awkward vehicle movements. We still need more seat time before really casting judgment, but our first impressions are nothing but positive.