Walker Evans is a legend in the off-road world with over 140 race wins and 20 championship titles. While most off-road enthusiasts know Walker Evans Racing for their iconic beadlock wheels, their shocks and coilovers are becoming more and more popular. They first introduced a new line of snowmobile shocks in 2003 and followed up with truck and jeep shocks in 2005. They now also offer a wide range of UTV coilovers and shocks.
Walker Evans Racing is located in Riverside, CA and you can visit them online at WalkerEvansRacing.com or call them at 951-784-7223.
We called Walker Evans anonymously and spoke with their sales department about coilovers for a fictitious application. The first sales person we spoke with was helpful but gave us the feeling that we were bothering him with our questions. All of his answers were short and non-specific but he did give us a list of what they needed from us to build the coilovers. We tried finding a dealer to order the coilovers through but none seemed to sell them short of placing a special order. We decided to give Walker Evans another chance and spoke with a different sales person who was friendlier and worked up the order for us. He did not ask us very much about the vehicle to determine what the proper valving was but he said he had what he needed and we were given a 10-14 day lead time for the order.
Shipping and Delivery
We received our Walker Evans coilover two weeks after we placed the order. The coilover arrived in great shape and was packaged very well. Upon going through our checklist, we noticed that we received a compression adjuster on the reservoir (that we didn't even know was an available option) but also the wrong misalignment spacers. We contacted Walker Evans about the spacers and they sent out the correct ones the next day. As for the compression adjuster, they said it was not a standard option and would run about $75 extra.
Walker Evans 2.5 x 12" Coilover, Remote Reservoir, No Springs
The first word that came to mind upon getting our hands on this Walker Evans coilover was "beefy". The coilover feels particularly heavy compared to others in this group and they feature massive rod ends with 3/4" ID bearings (5/8" being standard). The lower seal cap is machined to accept a large adjustable wrench which should make opening the shock super easy. The last thing that caught our eye was the size of the shaft which appeared a bit small and, sure enough, measures out to only 3/4" which is in odd contrast to the size of the other components.
Great looking coilover with excellent fit and finish.
Extra-large 3/4" ID bearings with 1/2" low-misalignment spacers.
Lower seal cap machined to accept a large adjustable wrench for servicing.
Massive components and heavy construction but only a 3/4" shock shaft.
Attractive component, cylinder, and reservoir finishes.
Opening the Walker Evans coilover was very easy and followed standard performance shock servicing procedures. The shaft assembly came out easier than any other performance shock we've opened. Once the lower seal cap was cracked loose, it came out using just two fingers and the shaft pulled out with very little force -- which is great for servicing, but makes us wonder what would happen if it cracked loose during a race. The top cap took significantly more work to remove which we attributed to the thread locker but later found a section of damaged threads that we must have been fighting.
The one-piece lower seal cap can be unscrewed very easily with an adjustable wrench or large pliers.
The shaft assembly pulled out with very little vacuum force inside the shock fighting us which is unusual.
Damaged threads in the top cap made removal a pain, but everything else on the shock was very precise.
Why build such a beautiful coilover and then use globs of sealant on the reservoir hose?
The heavy, thick wall, beautifully machined, DOM steel shock cylinder is a work of art.
As expected, the reservoir was very easy to open and all of the components appear to be very well machined and are a nice fit inside the reservoir cylinder. With the exception of the damaged threads on the top cap which we attribute to being a fluke in machining (based on the quality of the other parts), the entire tear-down process on this Walker Evans coilover was one of the fastest and easiest we've done.
Very attractive aluminum reservoir cylinder with Walker Evans decal.
The reservoir end caps and internal floating piston are very well made and are a snug fit in the cylinder.
Our coilover arrived with a compression adjuster which we did not order, so it will not be covered in this review.
Walker Evans offers custom reservoir hose lengths and different fitting options to fit any application.
The coilover hardware used on this Walker Evans coilover are a proven design and appear very well made. The upper coil nut is massive and spins freely but precisely on the cylinder threads. It is locked in place with a stop nut which we find simple and effective. The stop nuts are also very well made and a great fit on the cylinder with plenty of lip to engage the slider. At the bottom of the coilover, the lower spring plate slides in over the shaft and rests positively on the lower rod end.
Very well made components, tight but smooth threads for easy and secure adjustments.
The components all have some play within our test springs but have plenty of engagement for a safe fit.
A third stop nut is used to lock the upper spring plate in place.
The black plastic slider is nothing special but more than enough to do the job.
All coilover hardware is bare aluminum.
Shock Shaft and Piston Assembly
The shaft and piston assembly in this Walker Evans coilover is very impressive overall. While the shaft and piston are noticeably smaller than most performance 2.5 shocks in our collection, all of the components are very well made. The piston is CNC machined from aluminum and features a high-flow design and a unique one-piece wear band. The seal cap and shaft guide are a one-piece design that include a DU bushing, an o-ring and two opposing wiper seals. An oversize 3/4" bearing is used again in the lower rod end but despite the larger size, the provided spacers offer very little misalignment for a 1/2" bolt. Our biggest concern, however, is that the shaft only threads 1/2" into the lower rod end.
Impressive one-piece lower seal cap and shaft guide design.
Small but very well made shock shaft and piston.
The wear band on the piston is a one-piece design that prevents flow-through.
Only one bleed hole is found on the piston between a compression and rebound port.
The 1/2" misalignment spacers in the 3/4" bearing offer very little misalignment.
Misalignment spacers made of aluminum which is sure to wear out fast.
Uncomfortably low engagement of shaft in lower rod end.
Walker Evans custom builds all coilovers to order and offers standard or custom valving. Ours came with the shims stack configurations listed below, but keep in mind that our shock unexpectedly came with a compression adjuster with an additional shim stack at the reservoir. Shim stacks, as well as rebuild kits and replacement parts are readily available through Walker Evans for easy tuning and repairs.
The following is a list of component materials, dimensions, weights, finishes, and other important details as they pertain to each individual part. Each component was measured multiple times with a highly precise caliper and scale.
13.1 lbs. Overall Dry Weight with Hardware*
1,270 grams of Moving Weight
750 grams Dry Weight Without Hose*
Medium Weight | Clear
*Compression adjuster removed, estimated 100g for standard end cap.
17.563" Long | 2.474" OD | 2.118" ID | 0.178" Wall | 2,560 grams | DOM Steel | Zinc Plated
3.360" Tall | 2.481" OD | 0.903" Ear Width | 0.204" Bearing Wall | Aluminum | Red Ano
Top Coil Nut
1.10" Tall | 0.450" Spring Perch | 2.972" OD Spring Seat | 225 grams | Aluminum | Bare
2.616" Tall | 2.948" OD | 2.616" ID | 0.500" Wide Spring Seat | 0.166" Wall | Plastic
Lower Spring Plate
1.000" Tall | 0.510" Thick Seat | 3.750" OD | 0.896" Slot | Aluminum | Bare
1.437" OD | 0.593" Wide | 0.746" Ball Width | 0.750" ID | Alloy Steel | PTFE
1.245" Overall Width | 0.500" ID | Aluminum
16.625" Long | 0.749" OD | 870 grams | Steel | Hard Chrome
0.802" Thick | 2.080" OD | .030" C. Slots / .280" R. Ports | 48 grams | Aluminum | Plated
0.440" ID | Various OD and Thickness | Steel | Bare
1.011" Tall | 1.236" OD | 0.878" ID | 26 grams | Aluminum Bare
Seal Cap / Guide
1.385" Tall | 2.479" OD | DU Bushing + O-Ring + 2 Wipers | 211 grams | Aluminum | Red Ano
None (Built Into Seal Cap)
2.0" OD | 1.25" Thick | Foam Rubber
Lower Rod End
2.423" Tall | 1.981" OD | 0.894" Ear Width | 0.206" Bearing Wall | 108 grams | Aluminum | Red Ano
8.500" Long | 2.480" OD | 2.120" ID | 0.180" Wall | 467 grams | Aluminum | Clear Coated
Reservoir Valve End
2.116" OD | 0.532" Thick | Schrader Valve | Aluminum | Red Ano
Reservoir Hose End
2.122" OD | Thickness N/A | 1.500" Bore | 3/8" NPT Thread | Aluminum | Red Ano
2.105" OD | 0.801" Thick | 0.547" Deep Hollow | 61 grams | Aluminum
16.75" Long | 0.770" OD | .390" ID | 3,000 PSI | Steel Braided | 3/8" Fittings | Braided
Summary / Conclusion
Overall, the Walker Evans coilover is a very impressive shock with a handful of odd quirks. In some ways, like the heavy duty shock cylinder and 3/4" bearings, the coilover appears to be built to withstand serious forces and abuse. In other ways, like the "lightweight" 3/4" shaft, small piston, and minimal lower rod end engagement, the shock is built as if it was intended to be ultra-light. Altogether, though, it is neither super-light nor extra-strong.
The Good Stuff
The Bad Stuff
Very well made components
Customer service and sales not great
Impressive lower seal cap design
Small 3/4" shaft and piston
Beefy, heavy wall shock cylinder
Weak lower rod end attachment
Precise fitting coilover hardware
Strange placement of bleed hole in piston
Massive 3/4" bearings
Bearing spacers offer very little misalignment
Extremely easy to service
Bearing Spacers made of aluminum
Replacement parts available
Excessive sealant used on reservoir fittings
Several custom options available
Lower seal cap and shaft come out far too easy
Well packaged and shipped on time
Made in the USA
The Final Word: Walker Evans coilovers are very well made and would be a great choice for any mild to moderate off-road application. Their price is fair compared to other USA made high performance 2.5 coilovers when you consider the several shortcomings that these coilovers have. We would love to see Walker Evans refocus and either go all out heavy and tough, or shave the extra weight and go ultra-light --going half and half like they do now leaves them with neither.