New struts/shocks question

Discussion in 'OEM' started by vipergg, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. vipergg

    vipergg Well-Known Member

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    Getting ready to replace shocks/struts on a 2008 Isuzu Ascender 2WD . I'm going to go with monroe quick struts on the fronts and monroe OEspectrum shocks in the rear . Quick struts are $113 a piece for the fronts and the rears are like $26 a piece. I have seen conflicting opinions on whether you need to bother with a front end alignment after doing these . Some say yes and others say no and whether to get a 2 wheel alignment or 4 . If you do get an alignment it adds another $70-100 to the job depending on whether you go 2 or 4 wheel . So what is the consensus on the alignment if doing a job like this . Also one last question if i do the rears myself do you need a torque wrench or can you do it with just a ratchets and a wrench safely . Have never done something like this before and the backs look easy as long as you can get the bolts out . I will be having the fronts done by a shop .
     
  2. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    My thoughts on the alignment. Normally, no but if the new springs bring the front end up a bit, even an inch, you will need an alignment as this will affect toe out. When I brought mine down from a 2.5" lift to normal ride height, the toe was way out. It felt fine driving it to the alignment shop but once on the machine, it was toed out of spec. And an extra $30 for a 4 wheel alignment is worth it IMHO.

    Rears are easy. You can get away with just a ratchet and wrench set.
     
  3. 24v 4.2

    24v 4.2 Silver Supporter

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    I didn't think the stock rear setup was adjustable?
     
  4. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    Maybe not but the front could be adjusted in relation to the rear (I may be wrong though).
     
  5. Sparky

    Sparky Moderator

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    If you were reusing the original springs then there would be no need for an alignment. But since you are changing springs too that may impact ride height a bit, which as Mooseman said would affect the alignment.

    There really is not much point to a 4 wheel alignment on these trucks as you cannot do anything with the rear, and when you do a front end alignment it is always in relation to the vehicle as a whole anyway.
     
  6. Daniel644

    Daniel644 Well-Known Member

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    solid rear axles don't have alignment adjustments so IF you get an alignment it would only be 2 wheel, at least from the factory, I haven't looked that closely in the after-market for these trucks but I know 4th gen f-bodies can have adjustable rear control arms so you can center the wheels front to back in the wheel well (where the adjustable panhard handles left to right, none of which is needed at stock height).

    as for whether you need an alignment or not depends on how much sag your stock front springs have, best way is to park it on flat concrete, like a garage floor and measure the distance from ground to fender BEFORE swapping on BOTH fronts, then take those measurements again after your done and if they are different then I would suggest an alignment to be safe.

    rears are SUPER easy, heck I replaced both rear shocks without even jacking up the truck (just backed it up on ramps for clearance), both rears should take 30 minutes TOPS with basic hand tools, it's even easier if you do jack the frame up a little. Quickstruts are only the fronts, as "quickstrut" is an assembled shock and spring combo and on the rear they are separate pieces so it's likely just the shock there. the fronts being assembled should only take you maybe an hour each side, definitely a straight forward job in this case.
     
  7. vipergg

    vipergg Well-Known Member

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    I think I will wait a couple of weeks before getting an alignment. Even the instructions with the quick strut says it could sit a little higher until the springs settle in . So I will give a little time before doing the alignment.
     
  8. vipergg

    vipergg Well-Known Member

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    Well finally got these done. Love the Monroe quick struts and the OE Spectrum rear shocks. Firmed things up just enough and still has that GMT360 comfortable ride. At first ride I am very pleased with the way they ride and there is no clunking or anything. Had it aligned and they did one lower ball joint while they were at it . Ride height still looks about the same . Highly reccomend these if you want the original ride characteristics and not the very firm ride of HD Bilsteins . :2thumbsup:
     
  9. smt 59

    smt 59 Well-Known Member

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    Don't like to disagree but I've had both and the monroes sucked, I run Bilsteins and would not run anything else now. Let us know in a few months what you think. Just my opinion
     
    xavierny25 likes this.
  10. vipergg

    vipergg Well-Known Member

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    Yup just your opinion ...
     
  11. smt 59

    smt 59 Well-Known Member

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    Just keep an eye open on the front struts for the oil seal letting go, check your warranty period.
     
  12. xavierny25

    xavierny25 Platinum Supporter

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    I have to agree with smt 59. While I was away in Buffalo n.y 3 yrs ago when I first got my voy I had my wife have a indy shop do the fronts with the Monroe quick struts. I was not happy with the ride when I got back from buffalo but with the money I spent on getting it done I just left them in there. Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago I got the belstein hd and installed them myself and I'm kicking myself in the a__ I didn't do it sooner.
     
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  13. tcurlee

    tcurlee Member

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    I'm getting ready to replace my struts/shocks front and rear. I was contemplating going with more stock like the Monroe's or upgrade to the Bilsteins. This thread has pretty much swayed me in the Bilstein direction. What's the opinion on the best place or web site to buy these. I see the rears are fairly straight forward. A friend and myself plan on tackling the fronts - is there anything special I should know about the fronts before I start ; any special tools I'll need - stuff like that?
     
  14. HARDTRAILZ

    HARDTRAILZ Moderator

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    You need strut compressors that you can rent from any Auto Parts Store. Some people are scared of the springs and take them to a shop to be compressed and swapped. Other than that it is pretty simple.
     
  15. DocBrown

    DocBrown Well-Known Member

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    30 minutes including stopping a few times to for a swig of beer!
     
  16. xavierny25

    xavierny25 Platinum Supporter

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    You just missed a great deal on a set of hd bilstein here on the sight for 100 bucks. Iirc I got mine from rockauto.com.
    You should replace the upper strut mounts while your at it.
     
  17. smt 59

    smt 59 Well-Known Member

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    Shock warehouse.com out of Michigan is were I purchased mine on sale.
     
  18. tcurlee

    tcurlee Member

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    Well, I went with KYB strut plus in the front and KYB shocks in the rear a few months ago. I was pleased with the ride quality for awhile but just recently started to feel 'weird'. so I went up under to take a look at things and discovered the left front strut leaking fluid -- very very not pleased !! Not looking forward to doing that work over. The stock ones were a B**** to get out. I got them from Rockauto and they've already sent me a replacement -I just have to send the bad one back and get refunded. Any one else have problems with KYB's ?? I thought they were gas charged,, do they have fluid also or did I assume wrong?
    -- 05 Envoy 4x 180,000+ miles
     
  19. Chickenhawk

    Chickenhawk Well-Known Member

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    Shocks are a very personal thing. What I like might not be the same as someone else. I stress good handling over everything else. However, at my advanced age, I also don't want any harshness in the ride.

    The day I bought my 04 Trailblazer, I took it to the shop and got Rancho RSX all around. (These are identical to the Monroe Reflex.)

    About 4 years ago, I had one of the rear Ranchos leak, and they swapped both rears under warranty for the Monroe Reflex.

    Last month I swapped the fronts for Monroe Quick-struts, with the Monroe Sensa-Trac shock. Here is why.

    As the Monroe Reflex (in my case, the identical Rancho RSX) wore, it got MORE harsh. I got tired of the harshness. They still controlled well ... I just didn't like the hammering and the passengers cringing over fast, small bumps. I also wanted a new spring and upper spring mount anyway. They were straightforward to install. (Don't watch too many youtube videos; you don't need to unbolt any suspension pieces or sway bar links. Just remove the shock complete with the bottom arm, and once off your truck, use a chisel to spread the pinch fitting apart. All I needed was a chisel, wrench, sockets and a wide pickle fork.)

    A day later, the new shocks felt very similar to what i just took off (which is a good thing) but without the harshness (which was also a good thing.)

    In the month since, they have softened up a bit and I am REALLY liking them. They are better controlled than the factory shock but not as stiff as the Bilsteins. I am keeping the Reflex shocks on the rear because I really like more rear stiffness to better control understeer and make the truck handle more neutral. (This is why one of my first upgrades was a stiffer rear sway bar.)

    So why do the Reflex shocks wear and become more harsh? The answer is in the design and the philosophy of the shock. The Reflex is an acceleration-sensing design. This means that they are stiff and harsh in normal driving, but when the bypass valve opens because of a quick ACCELERATING shock piston movement, they open more than a usual shock, and soften when accelerating. So basically, they are a stiff shock, that softens with quick bumps. As the piston and bypass valves wear, they will bypass less, meaning that the harshness will become worse with years of use.

    By the way, this is why Monroe does little marketing of the Reflex shock and has dropped the Reflex from many of their product lines. They were just too harsh for some.

    So what's different about the Sensa-Trac, and why has this one become the de facto standard for the performance replacement market? They are a POSITION sensing shock. This means that they are soft in the middle of the piston travel area (because of simple slots cut into the inside of the shock cylinder) and only stiffen when they reach the area of greater travel. So they start soft, and stiffen when most needed - when you start approaching the limits.

    While the Bilsteins are nice - and we used to run nothing but Bilsteins in our BMW 2002 endurance race car back in the early 1980s - they are just not for me. I wanted WAY more control than the factory ride, but with not much more stiffness and no more harshness. I got these with the Sensa-Trac shocks in the front.

    And, in answer to some questions, I measured ride height front and rear, left and right, both before and after. There was less than a 1/2" difference in the front ride height left to right with my previous springs and shocks. The new Monroe Quick-struts were an IDENTICAL ride height. (They even evened it out, left to right too!) No alignment needed.

    So I may be old but I am very sensitive to handling, braking and shock issues. (I test drive police cars on race tracks as part of what my wife laughingly refers to as a "living.") But I also drive the roads of Northern Manitoba, in what may be the worst highway in North America. (Trust me - NO ONE can do the Gillam run in under 20 parsecs.)

    I am happy with the Quick-struts. For me.
     
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