Bump stops are designed to protect your suspension system. Some stops can even give you increased control over your suspension while off-roading. If you’ve been looking at bump stops for your off-roading bump stops for your vehicle, you should stop and take a look at the bigger picture. Make sure you understand the basics of bump stops before deciding which product is right for you.
We’ve developed a short guide to answers your questions about off-road bump stops. We’ll explain what a bump stop is, how it works, and why you might need them. We’ll also show you what kinds of bump stops are available on the market and provide you with some unbiased recommendations.
What are Bump Stops?
You can call them by several names: bump stops, jounce bumpers, axle snubbers, but they all refer to the same thing. They’re a small-but-vital component that works with the suspension on your truck or SUV. Sometimes you’ll even find them on car suspensions.
Bump stops can be found in several different places on your vehicle. When bump stops are placed on trucks or SUVs they’re usually mounted directly on the frame, located just above your front suspension’s lower control arm, or somewhere between the frame and your rear axle tube. You might also find them inside the vehicle’s shock absorber or on its shock shaft.
Bump stops can be made from several different materials, and the materials depends on the design. Factory-made bump stops typically use rubber or microcellular foam. Aftermarket bump stops are usually made with polyurethane because it’s durable and it can be used with injection-molded products.
There are even specialized bump stumps, including bump stops designed for off-roading. If you want off-roading capabilities, two of your best options are hydraulic bump stops and Timbren Active Off-Road Bumpstops. The hydraulic bump stops are can effectively absorb suspension energy with fluid, usually a lightweight shock oil. Instead of fluid, Timbren’s Active Off-Road Bumpstops use a natural rubber designed to absorb harsh vibrations when your suspension bottoms out.
Why do you use a Bump Stop?
Bumps stops are ultimately designed to protect your suspension or chassis from damage. They protect against metal-on-metal contact that might ware down your suspension parts, or they can keep your frame from moving too far. They’ll also help preserve the integrity of your vehicle suspension’s shock absorbers.
The bump stops found on production vehicles are often made from rubber because they’re cheap and abundant. If you want an upgrade, you can find aftermarket stops made from urethane, but neither option greatly improve your ride quality. If you want to ensure a soft, comfortable bounce when your vehicle bottoms out, then Timbren’s Active Off-Road Bumpstops are your best option.
If you’re a serious off-roader, then your factory bump stops are painfully inadequate for handling off-roading; they’re much better suited for pavement than the trail. Factory stops give you lousy ride quality, but that’s not the worst part. Off-roading with them can also be dangerous and cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you want maximum control while off-road driving, then you need bump stops specifically designed for rough terrain.
How do Bump Stops Work?
Your suspension system is made of several tiny, intricate parts working together. Broadly, your suspension can be grouped into seven different systems:
- Shock absorbers
- Steering System
Your bump stops are some of the tiniest parts in your entire suspension system. This part is small, but not insignificant. Your factory bump stops are designed to limit how much your springs can move around and protect your axle and frame by preventing them from smashing together.
Various types of bump stops
When you look for bump stops online, you’ll find one of three different types:
- Factory bump stops
- Shock-absorber bump stops
- Off-road bump stops
All three types of stops have been designed to prevent a bottomed-out suspension from causing damage to your truck or SUV. The other types of stops provide even greater protection. Off-road bump stops are designed for better ride quality and control when traveling on rough terrain. Active Off-Road Bumpstops give you even further protection by providing greater cushioning between your frame and axle. This helps absorb the constant stress of your suspension bottoming out.
How do You Install Bump Stops?
Replacing a bump stop is easy. Most OEM bump stops are bolted directly to your frame, and if you’re using an aftermarket stop it’ll install on the same spot. Simply remove the old part and replace it.
Most of the Active Off-Road Bumpstops are bolt-on kits that use the existing holes in your suspension frame. They’re compatible with several different off-road vehicles, and they’re also available for front or rear suspension. Like an aftermarket bump stop, you can pry the factory stop out of a cup and press an Active Off-Road Bumpstop assembly in its place.
If you’re installing Hydraulic Bump Stops, then it gets tricky. Installing these stops requires a much higher skill set, and you’ll need special tools for grinding, cutting, welding, and painting metal. To make installation a little easier, these kits include metal brackets.
What Size Bump Stop Do I Need?
Bumps stops are only available in one size –unless you choose the hydraulic style. Hydraulic bump stops, also known as air-bumps, come in 2 and 2.5-inch diameter cylinder sizes. This also includes 2-inch, 3-inch, and 4-inch stroke lengths, which are adjusted using internal spacers. The cylinder diameter you need is determined by your vehicle’s weight. Your stroke length is determined by your suspension travel and where your bump stops are mounted.
If you’re using a solid-axle vehicle that’s 5,000 lbs or under, 2-inch Bump Stops work best. You can use them for extreme off-roading, like rock crawling. If your vehicle has a low ride height, then 2-inch or three-inch stroke lengths are recommended for those with limited space. Higher ride heights, heights above 6 or seven inches, should go with the full 4-inch stroke lengths.
The 2.5-inch bump stops are capable of absorbing much more energy than the 2-inch size. This makes them better suited for solid-axle vehicles over 5,000 lbs. They can also be used with highly leveraged a-arm/trailing arm applications. If you own a mud truck or a desert racer with large amounts of suspension travel, you should run the 4-inch bump stops. Vehicle with a-arms or low ride heights can go with the 2 or three-inch bump stops instead.
What Bump Stops are Used Off-road?
There are 4 types of off-road bump stops:
- Active Off-Road Bumpstops (Timbren)
- Wheeler Superbumps
- TeraFlex Speedbump bump stops
- Hydraulic bump stops (Bilstein or King)
Is staying on a budget not an issue? Then hydraulic stops are the choice for you. These stops are filled with shock oil and nitrogen, which you can fine-tune to suit your off-roading needs. To install these stops, you’ll need a custom shop specializing in made-to-measure installation, since this type of stop works best with your existing shock setup. The two most popular brands of air bumps are Bilstein and King, which average around $700-1,000 USD for a pair.
If you want stops that look and act like hydraulic stops, but work like your factory stops, then you can go with TeraFlex Speedbumps. When installing these stops, you’ll need to do some customization to get them to fit. Average price: $300-$400 USD (pair).
Wheeler Superbumps creative stops that resemble the factory version, but are much taller and with greater ride quality. Average price: $150 USD (pair).
Active Off-Road Bumpstops are made by Timbren Industries. They’re constructed from natural rubber and are available in different shapes and sizes. Depending on what you drive, you can find a custom kit to fit your vehicle for off-roading. If you’re able to remove a bump stop, then you’re able to install Active Off-Road Bumpstops. $225 USD (pair).
Now that you’ve taken your time to read through our guide, you now know what a bump stop is, and how they can assist you in off-roading. More specifically, we covered:
- What is a Bump Stop?
- What is the purpose of a Bump Stop?
- How do Bump Stops Work?
- How do You Install a Bump Stop?
- What Size Bump Stop Do I Need?
- What Bump Stops are Used Off-road?
If you think our bump stops are right for you, you can visit the Active Off-Road Bumpstops information page to learn more.