So you've all heard about or have used the new version of Proline Powerstrokes available for our trucks. Yeah they are said to be good shocks, yes they are rediculously overpriced IMO, but are they worth spending 80-100 bucks on, and whats so special about them?
Im gonna say no, they're not worth the money, and this is because there is nothing super special about them. First off, have a look for yourself at the internal and external components:
Nothing too special about these shocks to warrant spending that kinda money if you ask me.
How do they work?
When you are going over small bumps on the driving surface, this compresses the top (softer) spring. Then Upon larger bumps and landings, once the top spring is nearly fully compressed, the power transfers over to the larger (stiffer) spring on the bottom. Its a very basic setup really, and this is old tech that Proline was far from first in coming up with, even with their first epic fail released in 2005. Quad Racers and Offroad enthusiasts have been doing this for many years, and aftermarket kits can be bought for most shocks to convert them to dual rate. I figure that if a simple kit can be a big deal for a regular quad or 1:1 offroad truck shock, then why not figure a way to do the same for our shocks.
As most of you may already know, I run a fairly heavy truck. A Stock weight Stampede weighs in at 4.3lbs, while my Hot Racing P2de XL Tips the scales at 7.3lbs. Now if you dont like chassis slap when landing big air launches, imagine what my truck is like upon landing. I am currently using TeamBlueStar full aluminum, threaded-bodied shocks. I bought this set of shocks for 50 bucks and up until i installed the swami bar and aluminum chassis, they worked great, but they did need a lot of preload adjustment. They needed rebuilding in a bad way, and after getting no reply to my emails to the manufacturer about a rebuild kit, i tore them apart anyways. This is when i found out that all the parts from the Traxxas ultra shocks are a direct fit. I had a brand new set of ultras in the parts bin, so i swapped over the shafts with 2 hole pistons already installed on them, as well as the lower seals and spacers. All parts were a perfect fit. The only incompatible parts between the two brands is the traxxas pistons are too thick for the TBS shafts. No big deal, as i just swapped to all traxxas parts and the TBS shafts were getting worn anyways.
Ok, now onto the dual-rate, dual-spring setup. The only thing special about the powerstrokes is the dual spring design.
How are they setup to use dual springs?
Exactly how it sounds, the only difference between powerstrokes and other shocks is that they use two springs instead of one. All the top (short) springs are softer springs than the lower springs. This is a little hard to explain in understandable terms, but, even the stiffest available top spring will still be softer than the softest available lower spring. This is so the top spring, no matter what the rate is, will always compress before the bottom spring starts compressing. This setup gives you a fully tunable first rate (top spring), which is the rate used for best tire to surface contact when driving on light terrain and small imperfections on the surface. Then the same tunability is also available for the second rate (lower spring), which is the rate used for larger bumps and surface imperfections, as well as for big air landings. With all this tunability, it cant help but be impressive.
How do Make two springs fit together end to end?
Look below in the pic of the powerstrokes rebuild kit. The part that looks like an large version of a plastic upper spring retainer is called the dual rate slider. It would be nice to just buy this set for ten bucks and slap them on but the diameter is too large. no worries though, cuz if you have extra shock parts laying around, just grab a couple spring retainers and some CA glue, glue two spring retainers back to back and your done.
Powerstrokes rebuild kit:
My truck would be too heavy for even the powerstroke springs, so i needed something a little stiffer to get rid of most of the chassis slap, so i opted to use front ultra springs for the upper spring and the original linear racing springs from the TBS shocks for the lower. This turned out to work very well. With all the available springs on the market that will fit the ultra shocks, it wont be hard to find a setup thatll work for any truck. For stock weight trucks, it may be necessary to get shorter front springs to use for the upper spring.i cant recall which front traxxas shocks have the shorter spring, i think its the bandit, but dont take my word on that one.
So now that i have the shocks all mounted up, time to give them a workout, but nothing near me to do so. So i slapped together a new launch ramp with some junk wood i had laying around. (i used to skateboard many moons ago, so ive built quite a few vert ramps). Got this one done in about an hour and never used a tape measure once. lol. I used the plastic sheet off of an old coors light bar light (had it for years, but couldnt throw it away for some reason) to make the face of the ramp a little better looking and more weatherproof. then I threw on a bunch of rc decals I had Laying around.