DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
1997 Dodge Intrepid
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased some KYB struts for my 97 Intrepid from Rockauto. I'm suspicious about these struts as they may be bad/defective. My question is shouldn't the struts have a lot of pressure on them? Should I be able to VERY easily compress the struts with just one hand? One of them has NO pressure at all, it stays fully compressed on its own. The other 3 have VERY little pressure, such a small amount that I can very easily compress the strut by just pushing it down with one hand. I mean I have had hood lift supports with more pressure than this. Can anyone confirm that these are indeed bad? Oris just the one with no pressure bad?
 

·
Woober Goobers!
Joined
·
51,898 Posts
Hope you didn't buy closeouts.
 

·
Registered
1997 Dodge Intrepid
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hope you didn't buy closeouts.
The rears were listed as closeouts, but I have 30 days to return them. Well about 12 days left now to return them. I suspect that these struts have all been sitting in a warehouse somewhere for over 20 years and have just lost their pressure over time.
I don't have any experience with struts though. Every vehicle I've ever owned with struts I have just paid a shop to replace them. I have replaced shock absorbers on several vehicles, and from what I remember, they all had FAR more pressure than these struts that I just bought from Rockauto. I needed to use both hands and lean my body weight into it to compress the shocks in order to bolt them up. I feel that the struts should have at least as much pressure.
 

·
Woober Goobers!
Joined
·
51,898 Posts
Should be at least a little pressure in the struts. They do come with wire retainers to keep them from extending.

The spring should provide most of the support and the strut the damping both for extension and rebound.

Tough call. Any sign of oil leakage?
 

·
Woober Goobers!
Joined
·
51,898 Posts
Gas Charged
There are basically three types of shock absorber designs: mono-tube high-pressure gas, twin-tube low-pressure gas and twin-tube hydraulic (non-gas). Each of these designs has certain ride and performance characteristics that can enhance the performance of a vehicle.

The reason why gas is added to some shock absorbers and struts is to reduce foaming or aeration of the oil in the shock that is caused by cavitation as the oil passes through the valving. Over time, shocks can lose this charge of gas. If all the gas escapes, the shocks can overheat and fade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
I remember when I replaced my struts some years back that one of the front KYB struts hardly compressed at all while the other did with minimal effort. I advised KYB of this and they sent me a replacement strut free of charge. I still have the "defective" strut in its box as a spare.

Funny thing is after all that suspension work, the front driver's side still tends to bottom out on certain bumps. Not sure why - it even did this when I had the original Tokico factory struts on the car. These cars had so many design defects when new and the problem will only continue to get worse for the remaining few that are on the road. Unless you can spot a clear defect like a massive oil leak as Ronbo mentioned, I'd just use what parts you can find and live with them since they're likely just as old as the car.
 

·
Registered
1997 Dodge Intrepid
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
According to their website, KYB Excel G struts are twin tube gas charged struts.

"KYB Excel-G shocks feature a nitrogen gas-charged twin-tube design and are designed to restore your vehicle's original capabilities. Excel-G is made on the same KYB OE assembly lines, uses the same OE quality components and is calibrated to compensate for worn suspensions to restore original, designed performance."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,472 Posts
KYBs should slowly be able to extend by themselves. However you should be able to slowly press them in. But if you try to do it very hard it should stop you.

IF it stays compressed I would consider it dead.
 

·
Registered
1997 Dodge Intrepid
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
KYBs should slowly be able to extend by themselves. However you should be able to slowly press them in. But if you try to do it very hard it should stop you.

IF it stays compressed I would consider it dead.
One of them stays compressed, absolutely will NOT come back out on its own. The other 3 can be compressed with VERY minimal effort, I can literally push it down with one finger. They do extend back out on their own, but very very slowly. I'm debating on whether to return them or just return the OBVIOUSLY dead one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,472 Posts
One of them stays compressed, absolutely will NOT come back out on its own. The other 3 can be compressed with VERY minimal effort, I can literally push it down with one finger. They do extend back out on their own, but very very slowly. I'm debating on whether to return them or just return the OBVIOUSLY dead one.
But can you quickly push it in.
 

·
Registered
1997 Dodge Intrepid
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
By "quickly" how quick do you mean? It takes about 2 or maybe 3 seconds because it does have some resistance. I'll try it again when I get back home tonight and see exactly how quick I can compress them. I'll also see how quick I can compress the dead one. Also, not sure if it makes a difference, but the dead one came in a different size and style box than the others and the label on the actual strut looks COMPLETELY different than the others. It's a rear one and you'd figure both rears would be identical since they are supposed to be the same strut and have the same part number and all.... But the two rear ones
have completely different labels, and were in completely different boxes. The box that the dead one came in was quite obviously opened and re-taped as the other three boxes were stapled
AND taped. That COULD just mean they were made a few years apart, but it could also mean something else entirely.........
 

·
Woober Goobers!
Joined
·
51,898 Posts
Bet RA would charge for a return on closeouts so it might not be worth it to return one or more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Edited: Added some more info about the nitrogen leakage and worn strut shocks.

Obviously, the one that will not extend is bad (nitrogen has all leaked) and you can return it ASAP - check their return procedure, since as was mentioned, you probably need to email for a return authorization. You could even attach a short video clip, showing it not extending. You don't want to buy the Rockauto closeouts on struts, shocks, or hood lifts because those could have been sitting in a warehouse and the nitrogen gas can leak over time. As far as the different box, Rockauto may reserve the right to "mix and match" the closeout stuff from different sources, though it should still obviously have the KYB label on the strut.

As far as the other three, it is a tough call, because even quality "new" strut shocks for our cars (KYB, AC Delco, etc.) may have been sitting in a warehouse for a while since there is much less demand now. The nitrogen gas is what keeps the shock oil under pressure to prevent oil cavitation, so if it leaks out (or into the oil), then for a couple of reasons the oil will provide less resistance to vigorous spring motion - called "fading". I am fairly confident that this can happen with the (compressible) nitrogen leaking into the oil over time, because I had two identical new strut shocks that offered different amounts of resistance after sitting in the boxes for a few years, and they extended on their own at different rates after being compressed.

As a rough test of a new strut shock, first grab the shaft and work it up and down a few times manually (should get a bit stiffer). After that you should not be able to easily push down the shaft with just your index finger - it should need the palm of your hand (in a rag), bearing down on the nut. Turn it over (with the nut still on the end of the shaft) and push down on a bathroom scale. It should take around 15 pounds or more of very steady pressure (above the weight of the shock obviously) to push the shaft all the way to the end of travel - may be a bit stiffer at the end. After it is completely compressed, it should then re-extend within several seconds (depending on the length of the shaft obviously). If it takes a lot longer than that to extend (like 20 seconds), it probably has leaked some nitrogen, but it may still be OK to use. However, it must still have significant resistance if you pull it up by hand. If it extends very slowly and also is easy to push down and pull up, there is some problem inside and it will give little damping to the spring motion.

Below are some YouTube videos that will give you an idea of what a new strut shock should be like. (Technically the "strut" is considered the whole assembly including the spring, spring seats and bearing.) There are probably some other videos if you want to search on test/testing struts or shocks.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
One more thing. Like I mentioned in another thread, for any parts like strut shocks that there is a fair possibility that you may need to make a "nationwide" warranty claim (in case you move), you'd probably want to stick with O'Reily, Advance Auto, and Autozone, since they enter your info in their computer and honor it nationwide (see their warranties on the websites). According to the KYB website, O'Reily and Autozone carry their struts.

NAPA seems to only be honoring their warranties at the store where you purchased, and there are very few Car Quest stores left to honor their nationwide warranty. However, Advance Auto [now the Car Quest parent company] still carries some good warrantied Car Quest parts. As I mentioned in another thread, people have reported problems in online reviews with returns when using the NAPAonline.com site.

The Rockauto prices are good, but anything I buy from them I don't expect to use the manufacturer's warranty, because online reviews say that Rockauto isn't great on manufacturer's warranty return service. And many of the manufacturers like KYB now require you to go through the retail seller, rather than returning parts to them. (I don't think Amazon even does that for car parts outside their own warranty window.) But Rockauto is fine for stuff like gaskets, spark plugs & wires, suspension parts, filters, etc..

On the manufacturer closeouts (30 day Rockauto warranty only) you can take a chance on the part if the price is really low and it is a "hard" part not likely to be damaged in handling. But be aware that like NOS Mopar parts off ebay, it may be in a grungy old box that was sitting in a warehouse for 20 years. Any rubber parts like spring mounts, belts, hoses, seals, etc. you are taking a chance with closeouts because rubber deteriorates gradually over about 10 years. However if the part is very cheap (and some are) compared to an expensive new part, it can be worth it if you don't mind having to replace it if it goes bad in a year or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
A bit more info on the new struts:

Note: Edited the previous post with some more specific info about testing new strut shocks and the nitrogen leakage issue, including:
-Before testing on the scale, work the shaft up and down a few times because the shock may stiffen up a bit by working the hydraulic oil through the passages, in case it has been sitting a long time in a warehouse.
-There is going to be some manufacturing variation, so one new strut may be slightly stiffer in compression than another.

Here is a quote from an article on the possibility of nitrogen leakage in shocks, and the opinion that the nitrogen will preferentially leak into the oil rather than out of the shock - but either way it would cause some fading.:
------------------
"Gas Discharge
.....gas chambers keep the shock oil under constant pressure, which reduces cavitation and foaming. If the gas leaks out of the chambers, the unit will “fade” and not perform as intended. Note that the unit will not leak externally. Instead, the nitrogen will form tiny bubbles in the oil. Since Nitrogen gas is compressible and is much thinner than the oil, the unit starts to fade and provides much less resistance and ride control. On a rough road, this can cause a lot of tire bounce and a loss of traction and control. "
-----------------
Unfortunately, the younger guys at the stores may not know about the possibility of nitrogen leakage out of new shocks that have been sitting in a warehouse for a few years, so when returning a new shock they will likely only replace it if there is little resistance by hand and the shaft won't extend at all on its own; or else it takes a much longer time to extend compared to an identical new shock (again, working the shafts up and down a few times first before comparing). Again, that is why it is better to order them from a local store, so you can show them if one of the struts seems noticeably weaker and much slower to extend compared to the other.
 

·
Woober Goobers!
Joined
·
51,898 Posts
Shocking results .....heh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Just checked Rock Auto's prices for the KYB rears. $23.14 and that's in Canadian dollars for the closeout sale. They also have an option for "Regular Inventory" at $58.27 (again, in Canadian dollars). I'm very curious as to what's the difference between closeout and regular. Never seen that before. Also, Sachs struts. Has anyone tried those on their LH?

If all else fails and Rock Auto doesn't want to resolve this, you could talk to KYB directly or dispute the charge with your credit card company.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top