Being in the aftermarket automotive parts business with a focus on Rancho shocks and suspension, customers often ask, “What’s the difference between the Rancho RS9000XL, RS5000, and RSX shocks?” All three are reputable products, yet each is built for different uses and driving experiences. The Rancho RS line of shocks were engineered for the Jeep, truck, and SUV market and ideally used in off-road conditions.
At the entry level is the Rancho RS5000 shock absorber. The RS5000 is a premium (almost general-purpose) shock often installed as a better-than-factory replacement for vehicles with worn out shocks or upgraded suspensions. It’s also recommended for the budget-minded consumer. The RS5000 is designed to provide comfort and control across the driving spectrum from street to mild off-road. The result of this is a ride quality that’s often bumpier than what the factory shocks provided because firm shocks are ideal for off-road driving and this comes at the sacrifice of some street comfort.
The Rancho RSX shock is an upgrade from the RS5000. The RSX is unique in that it incorporates an automatic “impact-sensing” reflex valve. This valve automatically opens and closes depending on how quickly or slowly the piston is forced in or out. This provides a broader range of comfort and control across the driving spectrum from street to aggressive off-road.
Something unique about the RSX is that each shock is engineered specifically for the vehicle which it will be installed. They’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. This provides optimal performance in concert with the vehicle’s weight. The downside of the RSX is that it’s not available for heavy-duty (HD) and super-duty (SD) trucks and larger SUVs (at least not at this time). This isn’t to say that it can’t handle heavy off-road use, because it can. It just can’t handle the extreme weight of certain full-size vehicles, mostly the heavy-duty ones.
An upgrade from both the RS5000 and RSX is the RS9000XL. The RS9000XL features a manually-tuned valve system that allows the driver complete control of shock firmness setting. This provides the widest range of control across the driving spectrum from street to extreme off-road. Ride quality can be set soft for highway driving, medium for city/urban driving, and firm for off-road driving and even towing.
There are nine settings to choose from so even the pickiest drivers (or their passengers) can find a suitable comfort level. In addition to manual tuning, there is an auxiliary remote control unit called the RS999705 myRIDE wireless remote control. It allows the shocks to be adjusted at the touch of a button while the vehicle is parked or in motion. The RS9000XL was designed with today’s bigger trucks in mind so in addition to the typical 2-1/8″ and 2-3/8″ body diameters found on most shocks, the RS9000XL is also available with a 2-3/4″ body for select full-size applications.
In selecting your Rancho shocks, you’ll need to consider your budget and what kind of driving they’ll be used for. RS 5000 cost the least, RSX cost approximately 40-50% more than RS 5000, and RS9000XL cost approximately 40-50% more than RSX. If you’re looking to save money or merely replace your old, worn out shocks, the RS 5000 shocks will be fine. If you’re still on a budget, but want a ride superior to what an RS5000 offers, then the RSX is recommended. If budget is not an issue, or if you want the best shock available without getting into the “extreme” off-road shocks, then the RS9000XL is recommended.
Rancho shock absorbers have been the ideal choice for off-roaders for over three decades. Their newest line of performance shocks are called the Rancho quicklift which is a fully adjustable shock and suspension lift in one.