Best C5 Shocks for Your Corvette: Expert Reviews, Cost, Value, Comparisons, Pros and Cons


Best C5 Shocks for Your Corvette | By Chris Trautman | Corvette-Web-Central.com

Have you been searching for the Best C5 Shocks for your Corvette but aren't sure where to start?

The C5 Corvette came stock with several different suspension options throughout its production from 1997-04.  In fact, the production options RPO codes were FE1, FE3, F45 and F55 all listed in performance order with the newest last. 


First, a quick lesson on picking the right parts:

  • FE1 is the basic old school normal non-performance shock for the entry level Corvette C5.  
  • The FE3 could be found on the Z51 and Z06 C5 Corvettes. 
  • The F45 and F55 shocks where part of GM's adjustable ride technology.  
  • The F55 was the shortest production run during the last 2 years of production.  
  • Both the F45 and F55 shocks can be prone to leaking and are very expensive to replace. 

Better known as MAG ride (or a magnetorheological damper) which puts a computer controlled magnet inside the shock which adjusts the shock valve dampening through iron filings in the shock fluid. 

This fluid binds together with the application of an electrical current from the ride computer. This reaction restricts the shock fluid through the fixed orifice magnet allowing proper oil flow for the desired shock rate.

(Wow that was a lot of geekery!)  So long story short, they cost a lot of money and are getting harder to find as the C5 continues to age and their shocks wear out. 


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Let's Compare The Top 3 Best C5 Shocks!

Compare

Price Approx

$420 USD Set of 4

Front $241-276 USD (Each)

Rear $323-370 USD (Each)

$2900-3100 USD Set of 4

Reviews

* Currently Unrated

Pros

  • Best Performance OEM Brand for the cost
  • Same as newer C6 Z06 Corvette shocks
  • Fits all years 97-13 (will need shock simulator if you have F45 or F55 Shocks
  • OEM Quality
  • OEM 1 Year Warranty
  • Best overall ride for daily driving
  • Re-buildable
  • Reasonable ride quality for performance based shock
  • Lifetime Warranty

  • Adjustable ride height, true coil over conversion removes leaf springs, 24 distinct settings both front and rear
  • Eliminates cross talk from OEM leaf spring setup

Cons

  • Not adjustable
  • Not for hard core racing but not bad
  • Will need Shock simulators for F45/55 Shocks
  • More Expensive for full set
  • Harsher ride for everyday driving
  • Most expensive

Cool Features

  • Drop in install
  • Cost around $100 each (approximately)
  • Re-buildable
  • More adjust ability than other shocks 
  • Customize for different driving and track needs

Bottom Line

  • Most C5 and C6 Corvette owners agree these are the best daily driver shocks to replace any worn existing shock.
  • Compliant ride with a performance spirit.
  • Performance shock for the twisties, maybe not the best for an everyday driver. 
  • Buy this shock if you are looking for max performance for a leaf sprung corvette without coil-over shocks
  • Cost can be a factor if you are on a budget, but if you are looking to transform your Corvette ride & handling this is the setup to have

* Not rated in our system.  This is a shock brand we have not tested nor had any direct experience.  The opinions we offer are through several data collection points across our network of verified purchase product owners.  


What About the Expensive F45 Shocks?

What do you do if you have the F45 Shock option and don't want to replace it with the same OEM shock? We have a solution for you!

You are in luck since you can use 1998-2004 Corvette Shock Absorber Simulators For F45 Selective Real Time Damping Electronic simulators for F45 suspensions. These simulators fool the car ride system and allow your corvette to function without Malfunction Indicator Lights and reach speeds above 80 mph.

You can now pick any shock setup on this page for your Best C5 Shock setup!

Upgraded Suspension Items for The Best C5 Shock Setup 

aFe Power 440-401002-A PFADT Series Heavy Duty Street End Link SetaFe Power 440-401002-A PFADT Series Heavy Duty Street End Link Set

What are the signs my end end links are failing?

You will notice noises during turning, twisting or over bumps.  Typically performance can be lost after 50k miles.    

Sway Bar End Links on all C5, C6 and C7 Corvettes vary in different forms of cheap plastic pieces to mildly more durable metal designs that break down quickly and degrade handling and performance dramatically. 

  • If you are changing your shocks, we also highly recommend replacing your sway bar end links.

The sway bar end links are not required for your shock change but they are nice to do at the same time!

The aFe Power 440-401002-A PFADT Series Heavy Duty Street End Link Set are built to last much longer than the OEM units. 

They are built with these unique high quality features not found in other brands.  

  • Heavy Duty, 1/2" Rod End Links, PTFE lined for quiet operation
  • CNC Machined Aluminum Articulation Spacers, Grade 8 Hardware

The minor cost difference between these and the stock units is well worth the investment for the Best C5 Shocks!



Maintenance tips:

Leaving your car to sit can be just as bad as driving when it comes to shocks.  It sounds like a no win, but it's important to keep the shocks exercised occasionally to keep the rod of the shock wiped clean of contaminates that cause corrosion. 

Failing to do so can cause corrosion on the chrome rod. The shock will eventually leak as the rust bubble located on the rod slides up and down inside the shock tube, destroying the internal seals. 

On the flip side, driving your car also can wear out the shocks. 

So, what's the answer?  We say drive it, don't save it for the next guy!        

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