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Replacement struts #5310673 01/02/20 04:11 AM
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carviewsonic Offline OP
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Just completed a 1200 km road trip in our 2005 Park Ave to visit family over the holidays. I know it's supposed to be a soft riding car, but there is too much bounce on the front end. So doing some research on replacement struts and came across this from the forum 'Car Talk'. Trav has made similar comments regarding brand quality as well.

Mustangman
Aug '16
Gabriel and Monroe parts WILL be stiffer than factory simply because they design them so you can feel that you actually changed something. KYB’s, too. All aftermarket shocks and struts are built that way.

I have used KYB’s and they ride well and are a quality product. Many are built in the US. I currently have Tokico adjustable struts/shocks on my Mustang with well over 10,000 miles and I am impressed. I have also used Gabriels. They gave me no issues but they were not stiff enough to settle my Ford van’s bobbing nose. The Sachs rear replacement shocks on the wife’s car have 80,000 mile with no issues.

BTW, I was an engineer for a former GM division that made shocks and I’ve cut apart many brands of shocks and struts to see what is inside. Monroe is a bottom feeder especially their aftermarket replacement parts, Gabriel is a bit better, KYB, Showa and Boge/Sachs (now TRW) are better yet. All are OEM suppliers. Premium suppliers would be Koni or Bilstein.


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Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5310678 01/02/20 05:05 AM
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ctechbob Offline
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I don't think the Gabriel and Monroe parts are stiffer because that's how they were designed, I think they're stiffer because they're usually replacing completely clapped out OEM parts, so of course they will feel that way. I do agree they are bottom feeders though. Probably ok for a large percentage of the population that isn't looking for anything more than a car that will go down the road.

Never catch me with them on my cars. Even my daily runs Koni's.


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Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5310682 01/02/20 05:32 AM
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MParr Offline
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It’s up to you on how much you want to spend. For your application, KYB will be fine.


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Re: Replacement struts [Re: MParr] #5310700 01/02/20 06:17 AM
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Egg_Head Offline
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My mother's 2005 PA Ultra has new KYB struts as of 1 year. I recently drove it on a 965 mile trip, very satisfied, suspension not too soft or too hard. Dang car avg. 27 MPG driving 80 MPH!

Last edited by Egg_Head; 01/02/20 06:19 AM.

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Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5310737 01/02/20 07:11 AM
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Kira Offline
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My 2¢ from the little research I've done:
NOTE: There's really not much real info you can draw upon.
Since we aren't talking sports cars here, I guess that will have to be OK

Family cars would be just fine with KYB replacements. Do check to see if KYB or TRW/Sachs/Boge offer variations.

I installed Bilstein H6 (heavy duty) on a 2005 Saab and was impressed. As stated above, I was replacing old, creaky originals.
The same premium shocks & struts are going into my Volvo V70 (station wagon) because of my experience.
They do cost a tad more.

Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5310768 01/02/20 07:51 AM
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BigCahuna Offline
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After looking for a while I changed out the struts in my '02 Explorer, with SEN SEN brand struts. I checked out all the usual brands and they had the best warranty, 10 years. Being that was 4 years ago, and my car was 14 years old at the time seemed like a deal to me. I Never want to change them out again , so that was my choice. The stock ones in the rear both had broken springs that fell out when I jacked the car up. The new ones raised the car up about 2 inches I guess, and it seemed a bit stiffer, but the old ones had 150k on them. Total cost online was about $70 each if I recall. The ride and handling feel fine to me. Your car is 15 years old so you'll notice the difference with any brand new strut you put on. The real question is how much do you want to spend, and how long are you gonna keep it? If the roads you usually drive on are smooth and well kept, any new shock / strut will feel good.,,,

Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5311229 01/02/20 03:46 PM
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pbm Offline
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Several years ago I replaced the OE struts on my 2002 Buick Century with KYB's.....they definitely firmed up the ride.

When I put KYB's in my 2005 Ion a few years later they were fine but the KYB strut mounts (made in Thailand IIRC) made noise until I replaced them with Monroe's (made in Taiwan IIRC)...


'Journalism is Dead'
Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5311260 01/02/20 04:14 PM
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IndyIan Offline
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I put KYB quickstruts on my wagon and they were a bit stiffer than the factory ones but they have very impressive sharp edge absorption over something like a 3cm lip. Better than the Outback even, which has much larger diameter tires and almost twice the sidewall. I think the KYB has an extra soft upper mount which helps take the edge off things.

Last edited by IndyIan; 01/02/20 04:22 PM.

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Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5312174 01/03/20 12:06 PM
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zzyzzx Offline
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Originally Posted by carviewsonic
BTW, I was an engineer for a former GM division that made shocks and I’ve cut apart many brands of shocks and struts to see what is inside. Monroe is a bottom feeder especially their aftermarket replacement parts, Gabriel is a bit better, KYB, Showa and Boge/Sachs (now TRW) are better yet. All are OEM suppliers. Premium suppliers would be Koni or Bilstein.


I'm be more interested in your commentary on some of the cheap Chinese off brand struts. Mostly out of morbid curiosity. I use Monroes (sometime even the blue ones) and they work fine for me (on my beater).

Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5313178 01/04/20 01:54 PM
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Toys4Life_C5 Offline
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I have been amazed at how long gm shocks and struts last. I recently took a couple rusty as heck shocks off of my 01 tahoe and they are still pressurized and seem pretty stiff. Look like heck though!!

Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5313197 01/04/20 02:19 PM
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caprice_2nv Offline
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Original shocks at almost 200k on the 05 Silverado work truck. The fronts are getting weak but rears feel okay. It carries a lot of weight too.


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83 Chevy Caprice - 305 Sbc
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Re: Replacement struts [Re: caprice_2nv] #5313208 01/04/20 02:29 PM
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Wolf359 Offline
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Originally Posted by caprice_2nv
Original shocks at almost 200k on the 05 Silverado work truck. The fronts are getting weak but rears feel okay. It carries a lot of weight too.


The shocks don't carry any weight. It's the springs that carry the weight. The shocks/struts just control the damping. You can't tell if they're worn by looking at it. When they're new, it's properly damped, when they're worn, they're under damped and you get more bounce. You'd only know it by seeing how much the car bounces when it goes over bumps. I replaced the rear springs on my Mercedes, the new and old both looked identical in height next to each other, but the new ones rode much higher.

Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5313243 01/04/20 03:07 PM
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caprice_2nv Offline
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The front bounces more than it should on speed bumps, the rear does not. That's how I'm judging how worn they are. It still handles well considering.

Ride height still looks decent, although I'm sure the springs aren't like new anymore.


84 Olds Cutlass - 350 Olds
83 Chevy Caprice - 305 Sbc
79 Honda CX500
Re: Replacement struts [Re: carviewsonic] #5313664 01/05/20 06:51 AM
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DaleRider Offline
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Originally Posted by carviewsonic
Just completed a 1200 km road trip in our 2005 Park Ave to visit family over the holidays. I know it's supposed to be a soft riding car, but there is too much bounce on the front end. So doing some research on replacement struts and came across this from the forum 'Car Talk'. Trav has made similar comments regarding brand quality as well.

Mustangman
Aug '16
Gabriel and Monroe parts WILL be stiffer than factory simply because they design them so you can feel that you actually changed something. KYB’s, too. All aftermarket shocks and struts are built that way.



And I think that's just pure unadulterated BS.

I think the actual reason is simply this: Most aftermarket shock/strut manufacturers winnow down the number of OEM parts from dozens to just a handful. My brother, who has been a professional wrench for about 4 decades (and is ASE cert'd in numerous systems) put it this way as an example......

Chrysler has dozens of part numbers for front struts on their minivans each year. (The year John showed me this the Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler minivans had over 40 specific part numbers for front struts...) But when you look up replacement struts from Monroe, Gabriel, et al, they've winnowed all those part numbers down to 6 or 8 or something akin to that. Cost cutting measures for the most part and almost no one notices the new strut isn't exactly the same in ride quality or ride height from the old OEM that was taken off.

And the all-in-one struts are even worse in that the spring that's included in the AIO strut probably doesn't have the same exact spring rate as the old OEM spring....again, the OEM springs are essentially dialed in for the particular application while the Monroe/Gabriel/et al replacement is a "close enough" spring that few will notice the difference......which can end up feeling stiffer than original.

As for how to prove this.....all one has to do is get a dealer to show you all the different part numbers for struts/shocks for the various models of a vehicle while Monroe/Gabriel/et al will have just a handful.

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