I recently purchased a solid-axle truck. There are a lot of settings available for the shocks, but I have no idea what they do.
Generally, there are different mounting positions available for the top and bottom of the shocks on all vehicles, and they have the same effect no matter what vehicle they’re on. The more holes you have, the more adjustment you can make when dialing in your truck. Let’s start with the bottom of the shock. Some trucks have the shocks mounted directly to the axle, and in that case, you don’t have any room for fine-tuning adjustment. You’ll have to make changes to the shock itself to adjust the truck. If you have a truck with the shocks mounted to the suspension arm, then you can alter the feel of the shock by moving it on the arm. Going toward the chassis allows the arm to apply leverage to the shock and make it feel softer, but you also make it feel stiffer by moving it back toward the axle, where less leverage is applied. So if you’re running on a surface that is loose, for example, you’ll want to soften the shock to allow weight in the chassis to transfer to the tires and provide more traction. A high-grip surface will require a stiffer setting (shocks mounted toward the axle) to reduce weight transfer and, therefore, traction. A shock that is set straight up and down is going to have the same feel as the suspension is compressed, but if you angle that shock, it will give it a softer feel at the beginning of its movement. The more you angle it, the softer it will feel and for a longer part of the stroke. So if you’re running on a bumpy surface, you can angle the shocks to soak up the bumps better, but they will still be able to soak up jumps properly once they are compressed. A truck running on a surface that’s smooth will benefit from a shock that is stood up.
By moving the shock in or out on the arm or changing the angle will have an effect on how your truck performs.
Independent-suspension vehicles have similar settings, and the theory of setting up their shocks can be applied to a solid-axle monster truck.