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Difference Between Monotube and Twin Tube Shocks

The Difference Between Twin-Tube and Monotube Shocks

by Troy Hammond on August 10, 2015 Categories: Maintenance & Repairs

Monotube Shocks vs Twin Tube Shocks – Which Is Better For Your Car?

If you're looking for replacement shocks for your car, you have two main categories to choose from: monotube shocks vs. twin-tube shocks. If you're having trouble deciding, you're not the only one. Without doing a whole lot of research on them, you might wonder what the difference is between the two. But more than that, you're probably wondering what the best type for your vehicle is.

Let's take a closer look at the differences between monotube and twin-tube shocks. Then, you can decide which type you should use to replace the shock absorbers in your vehicle. Here are a few things you should consider.

Ride Quality

Ride quality is usually the first consideration people make when deciding on which shocks to buy. One of the main functions of shock absorbers is to dampen the effects of dips and bumps in the road while you're driving. How they accomplish this task is one of the major differences between the two types of shock absorbers. In monotube shocks, you've got one chamber that contains both the hydraulic fluid and gas. Thanks to a free-floating piston that separates them, the gas and fluid never mix. This provides stable, reliable support for your vehicle. Twin-tube shocks, on the other hand, work differently.

As their name suggests, twin-tube shocks have an inner and outer chamber. One contains hydraulic fluid and the other contains gas. When the shock is under pressure, fluid flows between the chambers to dampen the ride. However, if jolts in the road come at high speed or are especially violent, the fluid and the gas can mix. This can cause foaming and seriously impact your ride quality.

Comparing the Monotube Shocks and Twin Tube Shock Absorbers Responsiveness

Responsiveness is another important consideration. This is essentially a measurement of how well and how quickly your shocks adjust to road conditions. Ideally, your suspension should be gentle on smooth road surfaces and stiffen up on rougher terrain or high-performance situations. Twin-tube shocks get the job done by using several valves on their pistons that work independently of each other.

Monotube shocks do the same job with a single valve assembly. In this case, it distributes pressure evenly over the entire shock, putting less stress in a particular area. In addition, monotube shocks usually have a larger circumference, which can help spread the load out even more. Since they act as one unit, monotube shocks generally offer better responsiveness than their twin tube counterparts. This explains, in part, why many people decide to switch from twin tube to monotube.

Damping Stability

When the damping force is stable, you'll have a high-quality, responsive ride. What this means This means the pressure inside the shocks is distributed equally and evenly. Monotube shocks offer better damping than twin-tube shocks because of several aspects.

  • Monotubes come with a single valve mechanism that spreads the pressure out equally. Twin-tubes, on the other hand, use several valves on one piston.
  • The piston found in monotubes is usually much wider than the one used in twin-tubes.
  • The oil capacity in monotubes is much higher than that in dual-tube shocks. This also plays a big role in removing heat from the shocks.
  • The free-floating piston valve never lets the hydraulic fluid mix with the gas, whereas this can easily happen in twin-tube shocks. This results in more precise damping.

Ease of Installation

When searching for performance shocks or struts, ease of installation is an important consideration. If you're installing them yourself, easier is always better. And if you're having them installed at a shop, an easier installation will save you tons of money on shop fees. This is one of a few reasons why monotube shocks are becoming more popular.

They have a single shell that is home to the piston valve, hydraulic fluid, and pressurized gas. This means a much simpler and easier installation than their twin-tube counterparts which require more effort and precision. With twin-tube shocks, even a slight misalignment could throw off the damping performance of your shocks.

Aeration

One of the biggest hindrances of shocks is aeration. Considering that the device contains oil and gas (oxygen or nitrogen), there is always the chance of the two products mixing. When this happens the shock suffers the same effect to brake lines having air bubbles inside. This usually leads to poor damping and also fading especially after a high performance or driving in rough sections.

Twin-tubes are more prone to aeration because of its design where there is no separation of oil and gas. However, newer twin-tube shocks contain gases such as nitrogen which is more effective than oxygen. Monotube shocks have two chambers. The upper chamber contains the oil while the lower one has the gas. A floating valve separates the two and minimizes the odds of the two mixings.

Fading

Fading is a common problem that affects shocks as well as the overall suspension system. Constant pressure on the shock may lead to the performance of the accessory waning. This may be caused by the liquid developing air bubbles hence foaming, the pistons may become weak and allowing some pressure to escape in between or the heat may cause the chamber to expand.

Fading is known to affect twin-tubes more than monotube shocks. This is because of several factors. One, the surface area of the piston is much smaller. Two, the shock has a smaller oil capacity. Three, it is easy for the oil and gas to mix. Monotube shocks have a larger surface area and carrying capacity. The higher amount of oil assists in dissipating heat much faster and lessens fading.

Monotube Shocks Are The Better Choice

Looking at the above comparison, monotube shocks have an edge over twin-tube shocks. Monotubes offer a better response, are easier to install, can be installed from different angles, and don’t foam. Furthermore, the chance of aeration is quite minimal. Compared to twin-tubes, monotubes have superior damping ability and offer a better ride quality. It is true that monotube shocks cost more than twin-tubes.

However, the benefits that come with installing these shocks greatly outweigh the cost. In addition, monotubes are more durable; require minimal maintenance and the cost, in the long run, is much lower. Quality is key when it comes to buying shocks. Make sure to go for brands and companies that offer lifetime warranties. That means the company is confident in its products, and you can be too.

Looking to replace the shocks on your car with robust, responsive monotube shocks? At Strutmasters, we combine precision engineering with high-quality components to offer you the best possible ride when replacing your shocks. We probably have a kit that's been engineered specifically for your vehicle. Just search for your make and model on our website.

If you still have questions or need help finding the right replacement for you, just call our Suspension Experts at 866-358-0127 and they'll be happy to help.

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