We upgraded our off-road rides with Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks. We then used them in a wide range of conditions and are now here to tell you our thoughts on this off-road vehicle shock option.
Replacing shocks in your vehicle is an important upgrade that can improve the functionality of your adventure rig. But shocks aren’t easily “seen” as a visible improvement since they’re usually hidden behind your tires. However, don’t overlook this valuable upgrade. New upgraded shocks offer support, increased performance, and adjustability when you need it.
The Rancho Ride
Established in 1950, Rancho is a well-known name in the off-road shock absorber arena. Rancho initially focused on the 4×4 Jeep market, but in 1990, it was purchased by Tenneco. This allowed Rancho to expand its product line-up. With Tenneco’s support, Rancho designed the first multi-damping adjustable shock. With this, drivers could change their vehicle’s ride based on the type of terrain they were driving.
My husband Andy and I installed the front and rear Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks on both of our Mitsubishi Pajeros. These shocks boast nine manually adjustable damping levels, which make them perfect for traversing a wide range of terrain in comfort.
Our 1992 white Pajero, aka the Ralli Tractor, has been riding on RS9000XLs for about two years, while our 1991 dark gray adventure rig has been sporting these shocks for over a year. Both Pajeros had original equipment that needed to be replaced.
We put these shocks to the test. We utilized them in a multitude of terrain, from road trips across the country to sand dunes, washboard trails, mud, and gravel.
The on-tarmac ride quality is quite relaxed and limber, especially if you have the shocks set on the “full marshmallow” setting. Cornering is a bit floaty at times, but it allows for better absorption over bumps and potholes. If you crank the RS9000XLs to the stiffest setting, you’ll be greeted with flatter cornering opportunities in curvy sections, but bumps in the road become more apparent. We like to run our Pajeros in the middle for daily driving.
Adjusting shock damping based on the terrain you drive is important. Shock damping adjustability allows for a superior ride, no matter if you’re on tarmac or tricky terrain. When the RS9000XLs are set to softer settings, they absorb deep washboard roads and rocky terrain with ease. And you can soften or firm up the RS9000XLs with a quick flick of the wrist. Rancho’s small red turn-dials are easy to turn, although they are difficult to read. Off-tarmac performance is solid. The two-year-old suspension on the Ralli Tractor and the newer one on my Pajero have held up well over thousands of miles across varied terrain.
So Many Settings
Your vehicle weight and vehicle type may dictate which on and off-road damping settings work best for you. We found our optimal on-road comfort between settings 4–6, with a softer ride setting for off-road bumps and divots.
If you’re in a full-size truck, you may want to dial the shocks in at 7–8. If you like driving higher speeds on fast roads, then 8–9 may work for you. Since Rancho RS9000XLs have nine-way adjustability, users may need to try them out on different settings to find what works for them.
Are Rancho RS9000XL Good Shocks?
Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks are made for drivers of 4×4 adventure vehicles who want to explore off the beaten path. They are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to other adjustable shock options.
(Be sure to check for correct fitment for your vehicle. Shocks can be purchased as a set or individually.)
Since we installed our RS9000XLs, we haven’t noticed any noisy bushings, leaky seals, or bent shafts. Our shocks are performing as intended — no matter what terrain we’re rolling over. Our nine-way adjustable Rancho shocks have given us a few years of a compliant ride at an affordable price.
If you’re interested in running Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks, they offer a limited lifetime warranty. They also have a 90-day free ride policy. In case you’re not happy with the performance, they will refund your money. Rancho is a solid contender if you’re in the market for adjustable shocks that won’t break the bank.