This is going to be a long read, so take your pee breaks and grab some popcorn first.
As some of you know, back in September I replaced all 4 struts on my car with Raybestos quick struts...This thread is to let you know, frankly, that they are complete crap, and I dont recommend anyone install these on their car, do it right, go Mopar!
This goes for Monroe quickstruts as well, from my research they are one in the same, built by the same companies, but re-branded....I cant get anyone at Monroe or Raybestos to admit where their products are built....hrmmmm....anywho...
I'll start by describing how the issues came about. After install, and only 45 miles of driving, and a wheel alignment, the left front strut bearing basically exploded. The right front mount began making noise shortly after the left bearing came apart. This caused the car to unexpectedly dart across the road....on occasion....for instance when I hit a big bump, or turned a corner.
The install was pretty straight forward. I had no trouble with the rear struts, (and they are still fine) other than having to grind a huge ball of extra weld off of the bottom of one of them to allow it to fit into the knuckle collar. That was a bit awkward, got me kind of suspicious about the quality...trusting my good past experiences with Raybestos products, I repaired the weld and installed the strut. Fronts went right in, but threw the toe-in adjustment way out, which was a bit suspicious. It seems that the springs, isolators, and strut cartridges are fine, its the mounts and bearings that cause the main issues....which many here have experienced.
In the end I decided to go back to Mopar and get the proper mounts and bearings, and repair the front struts myself....details about my conversations with Raybestos and Rock Auto at the end of the post...
Drivers Front (LEFT) Strut
Upon dis-assembly, here is what I found.
To begin with, the car was leaning about 2 inches down on the left side. Measured it quick before I tore it apart. In the end the cause was the bearing being in several pieces, allowing the spring to move around....
Here it is just after removal, you can see the bearing completely came apart:
Here is the strut bearing once I removed the mount. The strut retainer nut was torqued correctly and tight.
Per the Mopar FSM, this is the correct mount, and the mount itself looks OK...just seems the bearing is destroyed...here it is next to the new Mopar mount (on the left)...you can see all the index marks are correct, making both mounts drivers side mounts.
Rubber looks good. However, the MOPAR mount has quite a bit more of it, seems to be heavier duty all around.
Passenger Side Strut (RIGHT)
Issues at first seemed to be less than what I was experiencing with the left side. This side turned out to be much worse.
First thing I checked after removal of the strut was the strut shaft nut torque. It was LOOSE.
The nut had only been ran down about 1.5 threads on the shaft. It came off with almost no effort. The left side had 5 threads showing and was torqued per the FSM.
Once I got it apart, I found the rubber had become separated from the mount, and the bearing was beginning to come apart.
Next, I got the new right side MOPAR mount and compared it with the right side Raybestos mount. This really pissed me off to no end. See the pics, take care to study the index mark location; MOPAR mount is on the right side of the pic:
Clearly you can see they used a LEFT SIDE
mount on the RIGHT SIDE
by looking at the index marks. This is a big no-no.
Here is the service manual's view on the subject:
CAUTION: Before installing the upper mount, make
sure the correct upper mount is being installed on
the strut. DO NOT install a right mount on a left
front strut or a left mount on a right front strut.
Incorrect mount installation may cause poor vehicle
ride and steering feel, and excessive front end
noise. A lead or drift condition may also be the
result. Left and right mounts look similar, but are
different from one another. Looking down at the top
of the upper mount, 2 tabs can be seen, (Fig. 66)
and (Fig. 67), down inside the mount center well. A
rectangular hole can be seen on the edge of the
mount mounting surface (Fig. 66) and (Fig. 67). This
is always in the 10 o’clock position when observing
rubber tab positioning, whether a left or right mount
is being observed. Once this hole is located in the
10 o’clock position, the tabs should be in the positions as shown (Fig. 66) and (Fig. 67). The right
upper mount should also have a white dot painted
on its mounting face.
Here is how the index marks are supposed to look per the FSM:
Comparing Mopar to Raybestos
Basically, the Mopar mounts and bearings were constructed better. Heavier construction, more rubber on the mounts, much more stout. They fit better.
I have called Raybestos, Monroe, and Rock Auto and raised hell, and the best I can get, "yes, there have been a few problems with those, send your old ones in, and we'll send you a new set"....I asked some hard questions about the left mount being installed on the right, has that been corrected, etc (I knew of this before, today's work just verified what I had heard).... basically got the run around, and "I dont know"....so....hell no...I really want to go thru this 2-3 more times more...yeah, send me a new set....right...
I offered to send them a bill for installing the proper Mopar parts, along with pictures and detailed descriptions of all the problems, I got, "if you install mopar parts on your Raybestos struts it will void your warranty", and "we do not reimburse for labor"....I also agreed to a new set of struts *If it was verified that these problems had been solved*...but got "this is not a widespread issue"...."the only thing we can do is swap the struts for another pair" nice. Also explained about the other people on this forum that have had similar problems, and have replaced 2-3 sets of struts. Even threw in the part about my car darting across the road...got "theres nothing we can do about that".... I basically had my d**k swinging in the wind and they were trying to cut it off. I did not want more aftermarket garbage, so I opted to replace the mounts and bearings with the proper Mopar stuff.
Talk about a company that doesnt acknowledge blatant issues with their quality control or their products. Sorry, "we'll send you the same junk again" wont cut it. I am done with aftermarket crap.
This was a $600 investment. It cost me another $300 to get the proper Mopar parts from the dealer to fix this. Not counting the alignment it will need again. So I am in it for $900 plus. If I would have gone all Mopar "quickstruts" it would have been $1200. Kicking myself in the ass repeatedly. My car needed everything, so this looked like the way to do it.
In the end, DONT buy this crap, get the proper Mopar parts for your car. Screw the "quick" assemblies....they are pure JUNK, at least for LH vehicles. I have to say there are no issues yet with the strut cartridges or springs/isolators, but Im not so sure at this point; after only 45 f*cking miles of driving on these brand new struts.
The mount/bearing problems have been enough of a problem already. I have always had good results with Raybestos/Monroe in the past, but this has totally ruined it for me. I can understand a defective part here and there, but this poor workmanship and multiple people experiencing failures; along with the company's bad attitude about it, is just inexcusable.
I am done with aftermarket garbage. In the last 2 years, I have had more problems with aftermarket parts than ever before, on Fords, Chevys, Mopar vehicles, etc....most of it has cost me more time/headache to fix than just getting the right stuff from the dealer to begin with. Yes, there are some "aftermarket" parts that are just re-branded OEM parts (such as gates belts, timing sensors) but this needs to be verified before purchase IMO. Some parts (spark plugs for ex) are available as the same item OEM, and aftermarket, those are OK too. It has been some time since I have been this upset with a company. Pure crap. They dont have any staff that understand Russian swear words either.
I will be getting everything from light bulbs to major engine parts at the Dodge dealer from now on. Working in the OEM parts business myself I have seen quite the array of OEM vs aftermarket quality in the past 2 years, and I must say....aftermarket is garbage, save yourself the hassle, and the money, buy OEM!