King Shocks : Visiting the King Off Road Racing Shocks factory

King Shocks : Visiting the King Off Road Racing Shocks factory

King Shocks : Visiting the King Off Road Racing Shocks factory

This US brand with the blue Logo is more and more present in Europe on competition vehicles but also as factory replacement suspension for SUV’s, Pick-up’s like Toyota, Jeep, Ford, etc… and also UTV’s like Can-Am, Polaris RZR,…

Here I offer you a complete visit of the factory, located in Garden Grove, CA, 30 miles out of LA.

King Off Road Racing Shocks

I got a spend half a day, under the beautiful Californian sun, reporting from King Shocks, right after the King of The Hammers 2016.

This company was created in 1996, but its CEO, Lance King, was already working on suspension since the 80’s. The analysis was simple : there was a need for high performance, extremely tough products aimed at competition (like Baja’s) vehicles. From this demand, and after several years of research, the King products became one of the top references in high end competition suspension, but it doesn’t stop there. They actually develop suspensions as factory replacement kits to swap out the stock shocks and springs of plenty SUV’s. More recently, a SSV line has been created. And they just released a shock range developed with Robby Gordon.

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For those interested by those products in France, it’s possible to get infos or order through http://www.dreamteamcar.com/ or http://www.equip-raid.fr/ or http://bumperoffroad.com/

R&D Office

Before producing a shock, it has to be designed, and this is the task of the R&D (research and development) team. At King, around 6 people (technicians, engineers with the help of some trainees) are going to work on new projects. They have at their disposal several CAD workstations (Solid Works) but also a 3D printer, allowing them to create prototype parts.

CAD is essential given the highly technical nature of the products

Some parts and tools from the 3D printer

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There is a couple of test machines for springs and shocks. Those machines allow complete testing, in the lab, in the exact same conditions as of the tracks. During real field testing, some sensors are installed on the suspension and are going to sorta « record » the terrain. Then it’s just a matter of re-injecting the parameters the machines to recreate track laps and see, in the lab comfort, how the suspensions are going to behave.

To the left, the shocks testing machine and to the right, the springs one.

Also note that this team is working on specific tooling to instal shocks.

When vehicles are modified or when new vehicles are released, the team test the compatibility with OEM replacement kits and modify them if necessary.

Here, on a Ford Raptor, the technician checks and optimize the OEM replacement kit.

The Factory

King Shocks has this particularity that every component for the suspensions is manufactured in-house. Except for springs, King doesn’t subcontract any of the machining or creation of their parts.
For sure it has a cost impact, but this choice allows them to constantly control the quality. And this very high level of quality is what King Shocks is putting forward.

One of the factory workshops.

The production is split in two different assembly lines : one for competition and one for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacement.

The OEM kits are complete, meaning that if you order, let’s say a Jeep Wrangler JK kit, you’ll find everything needed to swap your suspension out.

Competition suspension is a little more advanced field. Every suspension can be personalized (shaft and body diameters, piston, valves, colors, …). This division provides shocks for different offload vehicles ; Protruck for the Bajas, Rock Crawling, Ultra 4 (around 50 % of the KOH competitors run King shocks), Rallye, etc…

The range is extremely wide, and every application has a product, with a technology more or less evolved. That why you can find bumpstops, coil overs, airshocks, and this in different diameters and with more or less compression/rebound tuning possibilities.

Shock manufacturing in a few steps :

In the factory, there are one OEM replacement assembly line, and one competition line, but the process is identical.

Everything starts with the raw material delivered to the factory.

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Then the different components of the suspension are going to be machined on those CNC machines : shock body, shaft, piston, head,… Once produced, they are going to be checked and stocked while waiting to be installed.

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Different workstations are splitting the assembly. Every worker is in charge of some part of the assembly , and checks everytimg the quality of what has already been done, which allows a continuous quality process.

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Here, this worker is marking on a shock body, the different locations where the bypass tubes are going to be installed.

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Welding station

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A part of the replacement parts stock…

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Then, every order is checked, stocked and will await for an order or is directly sent out to the customer.

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Here, the OEM kits

Finally, know it’s possible to have your shocks personalize however you want. For example, I was able to check out some Toyota VDJ200 gold plated suspensions that were going to be shipped to some Persian gulf country…

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Some pictures from KOH2016

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