Simply Softer: EVS Foam Bumpstop Review

Easy hands-on install of new foam bumpstops

Jan. 14, 2008 By Dan Spalinger/Team Xterra Racing

Sounds like the beginning of a toilet paper commercial doesn’t it?  Well, it’s a fitting description for Daystar’s recently introduced line of “EVS Foam” bumpstops as well.

Developing aftermarket products since 1977, Daystar describes these “Enhanced Vehicle Suspension” bumpstops as a new product line designed to be installed on the shaft of ANY shock, enhancing its performance by softening compression and preventing hard impacts when all up-travel has been used.

I consider myself fairly unskilled when it comes to making modifications or additions to my truck (heck, I work at a bank, how mechanically inclined can I be?), so when I come across a product that describes itself as “simple” or “easy” my ears perk up, even more so when this same product is inexpensive (which this one is).

To be clear, these foam bumpstops are not, and were never meant to be, a substitute for a true hydraulic bumpstop system like those seen on many high-end race/recreational vehicles and  available from manufacturers like Fox, Bilstein, or Light Racing.  Instead, they are meant to soak up the occasional unexpected rock or hidden log that uses up all of your available travel.  If you are doing consistent, prolonged or high speed cycling of your suspension, then these bumpstops are not going to be adequate for your application.

How the bumpstops looked upon arrival along with the directions and two installation tools

The EVS bumpstops come in two flavors: Red (soft) and Black (firm).  For my suspension I chose black, as I occasionally have a heavy foot while wheeling my Xterra down some of New Hampshire’s finest dirt roads and want to make sure that I (try) to keep my shocks from bottoming out too hard.

Initial view of rear bumpstop squeezing over its installation tool onto an "eye end" shock

The bumpstops arrived a few days after ordering them from my friendly neighborhood online retailer, and my Xterra offered me the opportunity to install the bumpstops on both “eye” end shocks and “stem” end shocks, as the Nissan runs eye-to-eye shocks in the rear and eye-to-stem shocks in the front.  Each type of shock requires a specific tool from Daystar (sold separately for only a couple bucks a piece) that assists in slipping the bumpstop over the end of the of the given shock.

I started on my rear shocks (eye-to-eye) first and made the immediate mistake of thinking that I could just unbolt the bottom of the shocks and (using the eye-to-eye tool) slip the bumpstops on.  This was not such a good plan. It was nearly impossible for me to get the right angle and exert enough force to get the bumpstop on. 

View of the uninstalled rear shock with its new EVS bumpstop
I quickly cut my losses and completely removed both shocks, making it easier to let some of my weight do the work of pressing the bumpstops on.  In retrospect, my unheated garage (and cold New England winter) probably contributed to the stiffness of the bumpstops and their determination to not go easily onto the shocks.  They eventually yielded (thanks to copious amounts of the Daystar-provided Vaseline-like lubrication), squeezing around and over the eye-to-eye tool and eye of the shock.  Perhaps warming them up in a pot of boiling water would make them more supple and less hernia inducing, should I need to install more sets in the future.

So the rear bumpstops were on the shocks, which were then recompressed and bolted back into place. 

View of how the front shock/suspension looked before bumpstop was installed

Now onto the front, eye-to-stem, shocks.  Learning my lesson from the rear shocks, I completely unbolted the front shocks and while I was at it, removed their “dust boots”.  Underneath the “dust boots” (besides a lot of dirt and salt) I found that Bilstein equips short shocks like these with their own version of foam bumpstops.  In looking at both the stock Bilstein bumpstops and the EVS bumpstops, the differences were obvious.  The EVS version is slightly taller (allowing an earlier cushioning effect) and had three levels of gradually thickening (and stiffer) foam.  In gripping each, it was evident that the Bilstein version would provide the same amount of resistance no matter how hard the shock was compressed whereas the EVS version seemed to offer a softer resistance at initial contact, with the resistance increasing as the bumpstop was further and further compressed. In the case of these particular Bilsteins, the entire stem end of the shock simply slides off the shaft, eliminating any need for the eye-to-stem tool and allowing the bumpstop to simply slide right on.

View of the comparison between the stock Bilstein bumpstop and the new Daystar EVS bumpstop

Quickly rebolting the front shocks into place, I was done. Now it was time for the road test to see if they made any difference at all or if they were just a fancy way of making my wallet a few dollars lighter.

To be honest, given the lack of legal off-roading near my home and the very stiff setup in my rear suspension (SAS leaf springs and stiffly valved  Bilstein 7100’s) I could not compress my rear suspension enough to get the bottom eye of the shock to come in contact with the new bumpstop.  They are on there all right, but I have no idea how different it might feel when the rear shocks compress that much. 

View of the front Bilstein with its new EVS bumpstop installed

However, my front suspension is a different story.  With a limited amount of travel in the IFS setup in the front of a first-generation Xterra and shocks that are pretty much on their last legs, it didn’t require much more than the speedbumps and unpaved/rutted sections of my “still being built” housing complex to feel the difference.  Audibly, running over these bumps and holes now induced a softer “thump” as opposed to the “thwack” sound that had previously accompanied my neighbor-annoying, high-speed runs across the complex.  From a bottom-of-the-butt standpoint there was a difference as well.  Instead of feeling a sharp jolt from hitting the larger potholes and ruts I got more of a “hitting a heavy bag” feel to the impact.  By no means is the ride now “pillowy”, but the new bumpstops seem to have more of an initial cushioning effect which transitions into a stop – in contrast to the immediate halt that stock bumpstops did.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that these bumpstops will allow your truck to leap tall buildings in a single bound or get your significant other to stop complaining about how rough your Jeep rides.  But given how such a simple product may not only improve your ride at times but also reduce the amount of “shock” that is transferred from the road (rocks, dirt, sand, mud, etc.) into your suspension system and driveline during your off-road adventures, they are worth it to me.

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View of the new front Bilstein reinstalled with its new bumpstop on and its dustboot removed Newsletter
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