Originally Posted by Haggar
Effective travel depends on A) how and where you mount the shocks
pretty much that.
here is my $.02. Also, when I say "shock", I mean air shock or coilover or whatever your spring/damper system is.
It all comes down to how close the shock mounts to the wheel, and the shock angle in relationship to the "swing arc" of the axle.
The more upright and close you can package the shock to the wheel, the easier it is to tune the shock consistantly.
The more you "lean" a shock over, the harder it will be to tune the shock, unless you really oversize the shock body to compensate for higher heat, load changes in relation to swing arc, etc.
IMO, the ideal mounting angle for the shock is perfectly perpendicular in relationship to the swing/arc of the axle. A good and easy example is almost every trailing arm setup ever. The constant arc angle makes the shock more repeatable and easier to tune through the entire swing of the axle.
As far as location of the shock in relation to the wheel, the closer you get it to the wheel, the less load the shock will see (to keep it simple). That means you can get away with a smaller shock body and the loads are again, more predicable and stable, especially with side-hill type vehicle loads. This is somewhat contracticory to the trailing arm example, but you have to remember that trailing arms setups are
designed for max travel and fast moving components (shock mounted on the axle in go fast trucks just wont survive the heat)
designed for people who can throw serious coin at big body shocks.
not designed for side hill stability
But, of course you can go too far. You want to use every single inch of the shock body because of the way it is valved. You need to used the fully compressed oil/air at full bump, and you want to have it less compressed at full droop. If you are only using 2/3 of the travel of your shock, it will be extremely frustrating to tune because you don't get to the use the "extremes" of the valving.