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  • Falcon Shocks 3.3 Adjustable Piggyback Review

July 07, 2017

First impressions:

We first saw these shocks when Teraflex introduced them at SEMA in 2016. Knowing what we had in store for our Dog Crawler project, I knew immediately that these would be part of the build. It was a long wait, but Christmas came early and we got our hands on the 3.3 Falcon Piggybacks for our 2-door in mid-June of 2017. I know the demand for these shocks have been overwhelming, but in our case, the wait was at no fault of Teraflex - we waited to order them, since this build is completely self-sponsored. All four shocks come in one giant box, individually wrapped, and held in place with structured cardboard. Upon opening the box, you are greeted by a signed note from the builders and shock inspectors, full color graphic directions, and some fun stickers. They were so pretty just sitting there, we actually kept them in the box sitting in our office for a full week, anxious to get some time to install them. Given the obvious pride they took in building and packaging these shocks, I could not wait to get my hands dirty and start digging into our Jeep once more.

Falcon Shocks Unboxing

Installation:

If you've never installed shocks on a Jeep Wrangler JK, you should. It’s easy. Very easy. It might sound daunting at first, but a helper and a decently equipped garage can see all four shocks replaced in under two hours. Obviously, we are a bit biased because our online store sells to the DIY crowd, but turning a wrench and taking pride that you did the upgrades with your own two hands is part of what drives our company.

Fronts

We started to tear into the front suspension and kept on the front tires. It is June in Texas, after all, so we did not exert any unnecessary effort removing the tires. Easily the hardest part is the passenger side upper mounting bolt. There are many tips and tricks out there on the forums, but we simply used an open ended wrench to get the job done. With both front shocks out of the way and the suspension drooped, we mounted up the top of the shock and used a pry bar to slide the lower mount into the shock bracket.

Pro Tip - We have a Teraflex 44 front axle that is new with heavy duty brackets, so we had zero issues sliding the shocks in place, but if your stock axle has seen some rocks, you might need to open up the lower mounting brackets a little bit from prior trail damage.

Once installed, you will notice that the shocks have play in them because of the offset design. This is completely normal and by design – don’t continue to hammer down the bolts trying to eliminate the movement.  

 

Rears

Moving to the back, you need to remove the rear tires to give you better access. Remove your shocks with the upper two bolts and lower bolt and nut. You will reuse the top bolts but get new offset hardware for the bottom mounts.

Pro Tip – Make sure you have a 5/8” drill bit before you rip your Jeep apart. This is not a bit that typically comes in a generic drill bit “set.”

As stated in the easy to read directions with pictures, drill out only the tire side of the bracket and then torque down the new offset lower bracket. Mount up the top, throw a little grease on the lower bracket, slide on the shock, torque the bolt and you are done.

Mount

Rear Falcons installed

 

Bonus install

We also installed the new Falcon Nexus EF steering stabilizer. Since we went from stock -> Falcon, there is no comparison. The stabilizer is awesome and I will leave it at that. Shoutout to James from Jeeples.com for lending a hand in getting these installed on Dog Crawler. It was crunch time to get these installed before an event the next day and I knew I could count on him.

Stabilizer before and after

 

Performance On Road:

We have put about 250 miles on these shocks playing around with different settings both around town and on the highway.

Setting 3 – Firm: This setting seemed similar to my Bilstein 5100’s that I took off the Jeep, perhaps a tad firmer. They are firm, but you feel in complete control. I noticed very little body roll and the Jeep seems to handle great. My Bilstein’s were always a little too firm for my personal tastes (especially driving across country to Jeep shows), so on-road we will probably rarely see this setting.

Setting 2 – Custom: We have tried 2.4 and 2.1 so far. 2.4 was the default setting out of the box and performs flawlessly. Wanting to customize, we made a quick adjustment to 2.1 and this is the setting we have fallen in love with for the immediate future. Great response at slow speeds and as your speed increases the shock seems to get better and better.

Setting 1 – Soft: Wow, honestly I had no idea a lifted 2-door Jeep JK on 37s could ride so soft on the highway. The Jeep truly soaks up every pothole that the construction-ridden North Texas Highways have to offer. My only minor complaint is the “bounciness,” especially at slower speeds. It’s entirely possible I am just not used to a soft ride, and it feels exaggerated in my mind. I am anxious for our next Jeep meet to let some local Jeepers take Dog Crawler for a spin and have fun with the settings. My wife, who does not drive a Jeep, loves this setting. When we were out testing the settings, I had her drive and she had a little too much fun driving as fast as possible over pot holes in this setting. This is also our German Shepherd's favorite setting because he likes the smooth ride. 

Overall, even though I LOVE how soft setting 1 is, it is such a huge departure from what I am used to with this Jeep, I am sticking with the 2.1 custom setting. It has the softness over bumps of a 1 with less rebound, and the steering response of 3 but with much more back saving absorption.

Performance Off Road:

We have tested these shocks on gravel roads at fast speeds and some mild slow crawling. 

Setting 3 – Firm: I honestly do not believe I have encountered anything yet off road to truly test the increased bottoming resistance that is gained with the firm setting. This setting is firm, without a doubt, but is not the “knock your teeth out” firm. It’s a not-harsh-firm, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Setting 2 – Custom: Once again I have nothing but great things to say about the 2.1 setting. Driving with relative speed down rough gravel roads is laughably soft and I feel in complete control. I find myself hitting pot holes and jumping curbs at the mall for fun.

Setting 1 – Soft: If you like to go off road and not spill coffee on yourself, this setting is for you. Absolutely incredible how much these shocks in this setting absorb everything. I feel in control and the absorption feels so smooth as the Jeep flexes. Dropping off ledges, although still my least favorite part of rock crawling, is not nearly as bad as it used to be, and the cycle of the suspension is seamless.

Overall, when off road I preferred soft settings for the majority of the run, but what I love about these shocks is that when I get to an obstacle I can easily change the soft->firm rating with a simple twist. Saying it takes 30 seconds to change the setting is if I take my time and snap some sweet selfies during the process.

Summary:

These shocks are MASSIVE and look and perform fantastic on the JK platform. If you love to tune and modify your Jeep to perform as well as possible, these shocks are for you. I feel like I have only scratched the surface with the customization of these shocks as we have not even began to mess around with tire PSI, front vs rear settings, or tested above 2.4 in the mid-range setting. Full disclosure: We paid for these shocks, they were not given to us. My ringing endorsement is because of how much I have truly been impressed with these Falcon 3.3 Piggybacks. My #1 complaint is that now my inner fenders look horrible so I am currently shopping replacements, so the slippery slope continues.

Black Dog Offroad sells Jeep Accessories and Dog Gear and donates a portion of every dollar to dog rescues across the US to help our Jeep Dogs in need. Thanks for reading, and give us a call if you have any questions or need anything not seen on our site.

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Jeep Setup

Jeep: 2012 Jeep Wrangler JK 2-Door

Suspension: 3.5” Rock Krawler X-Factor with Teraflex Alpine Arms

Axles: Teraflex 44, 4”+ correction with 4.88 Yukon Gears and Ten Factory chromoly shafts paired with ARB lockers.

Armor: JCR Offroad Bumpers Front and Rear, Poison Spyder Crusher Flares and Rock Sliders

Tires: 37” Toyo MT set at 28 PSI

Hitting gravel potholes




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