QOTD: A Shock Cure?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd a shock cure

Unlike other Questions of the Day, in which we tap your collective brain for the purposes of solving the world’s most pressing problems, today we focus all of that energy to benefit one man: your author — and by extension, the father of his godsons.

It’s advice time, and your subject is a quirky, low-volume SUV.

As you’ve already guessed, this friend is the same one who managed to get his hands on a 1999 Isuzu VehiCROSS Vehicross. The Trooper-derived Vehicross, which sold around 5,900 copies in the U.S. and Japan for three model years apiece, lately finds itself the subject of renewed collector interest.

It’s rugged, decently powerful, and unmistakably distinctive. No one misses your entrance. However, its on-road mannerisms bear no resemblance to that of the comfortable, car-based CUVs littering today’s highways. The Vehicross’ short wheelbase, solid rear axle, and ultra-stiff, rally-minded suspension means you’ll feel every imperfection, large and small. It came from the factory with monotube shocks outfitted with external reservoirs — great for blasting across the desert in Dakar, but less than ideal for sedate daily driving.

Having nearly cracked my teeth while riding over speed bumps at a walking pace in this thing, its reputation is well earned. However, that was two years ago, and my friend’s Vehicross has seen plenty of washboard country roads and crumbling city streets in the ensuing months. Its legs are tired; the fancy shocks are now toast, especially in the rear. With crashy-crashy now replaced by bouncy-bouncy, said friend wants to put an end to his trampoline-like existence.

He faces a choice: Outfit the Vehicross in as similar a manner as before, or find a middle ground that offers a balance, however lopsided, of off-road ability and on-road tranquility. Day to day liveability will surely win out.

As yours truly pilots a non-trail rated Cruze, I’ll leave it up to you to lend my friend advice. We’re talking specific shock (and perhaps spring) suggestions here; weigh in with your choices in the comments.

[Images: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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3 of 19 comments
  • Slavuta Slavuta on Feb 13, 2019

    If you want my suggestion, I say, place is downrange. It will make a fine target

  • Qwer38456 Qwer38456 on Feb 13, 2019

    I have been driving a 95 Trooper since 98. With daily driving I would go through a set of shocks in less than 2 years. This includes Monroe, Rancho 5000 and a few store brands. The Bilsteins are the only ones I have found that have lasted any longer. I have stopped daily drive it but they did last more than two years when it became my families offroad and camping tank.