drdisque HalfDork
Dec. 28, 2016 9:23 p.m.

So SWMBO's car and our current baby-hauler is a 2011 Mazda2

It has a whopping 32k miles, it is a city car, both bumpers are gouged to all hell and the interior is filthy but I try to keep it mechanically in good shape.

I replaced the rear shocks in June 2015 because they seemed to be in bad shape and the car also needed front brakes so I just decided to get everything done at once.

I selected KYB Gas-A-Justs as they seemed like the best option for the money ($38 each), the other options are Sensen ("economy" shocks), Monroe, Gabriel, and Sachs. Monroe and Gabriel cost a hair more than the KYB's and the Sachs costs about twice as much as the KYB's.

Anyway, this weekend we go to the wife's family's vacation home 75 miles away and of course because of the baby, SWMBO feels the need to bring about 200 lbs of crap, which we loaded into the hatch, back seat, and front passenger seat.

As I got on the freeway on the way there, I could tell something wasn't right with the rear end - I seemed to be hitting the bump stops over bumped but just assumed that the heavy load on the rear that it was just riding low close to the bump stops. Now that I got home, I drove it around town and now it's clunking and the rear end still doesn't feel right, I feel like I broke a shock. Is it really possible that a shock would blow out after only 18 months and maybe 7000 miles? The weather's going to be decent this week so I'll try to get under the car and yank on the shocks to see if they're physically broken. Has anyone else had any bad experiences with KYB's blowing out prematurely or breaking from normal loads?

We're looking at getting rid of the car soon too, so if I do replace them again, it probably won't be with the Sachs, so Gabriel or Monroe?

DrBoost UltimaDork
Dec. 28, 2016 10:16 p.m.

If the shock was broken it'd be bouncing up and down a lot. Is it pogoing around on you?

drdisque HalfDork
Dec. 28, 2016 10:23 p.m.

It feels a bit like a bucking bronco - I go over a bump and the front handles it well but the rear seems to jump up a lot more and take longer to get settled. But it doesn't seem to "bounce".

pointofdeparture PowerDork
Dec. 28, 2016 10:36 p.m.

KYB Gas-A-Justs are known for being really harsh monotube gas shocks. Especially if there isn't a corresponding pair in the front that sounds about right. I didn't like the set I ran on my Supra back in the day. I seem to remember ultra-strong rebound without enough compression damping, which is similar to what you describe.

Armitage HalfDork
Dec. 29, 2016 7:52 a.m.

If you're hearing an actual clunking sound, something is definitely wrong. Shock mount bushing, tie rod end link, ball joint, or something?

outasite Reader
Dec. 29, 2016 9:04 a.m.

Check rear stabilizer links. Do you have ramps? If yes, back the car on to them, while observing the links move car up and down and check for excessive play/movement at the ball and socket joints. Common failure on Mazdas.

Armitage HalfDork
Dec. 29, 2016 12:24 p.m.

Derp yea that's what I meant ^^^ Tie rods... what is this, 4WS?

dean1484 MegaDork
Dec. 29, 2016 3:22 p.m.

Internet myth and legend is that KYB's are not what they use to be. So having yours fail would support this. I ahve no first hand experence nore do I know anyone that have had an issue with them.

The last time I used KYB was in a 190 2.6 about 10+ years ago and they were great but I sold the car shortly there after so I don't know how long they lasted.

The last time I replaced shocks and struts in a street car was this spring and I posed the question and Monro was where I ended up. They seem to have upped their game (or just not got bad) over the last couple of years. So far I am very pleased with them (in my 1997 corolla).

einy Reader
Dec. 29, 2016 3:23 p.m.

"Bad shocks" don't make cars hit the bumpstops, but bad or broken spring can .... check those out while your under the car.

That said, I will vouch for the harshness of KYB Gas-A-Just shocks. I just put a complete set on the S10 and holy crap, it went from sproingy to super harsh. But, Control is much better than before the swap.

MattW New Reader
Dec. 29, 2016 4:03 p.m.

If it's a bucking bronco it would indicate lack of damping.

So what is the to go shock we like anyways?

drdisque HalfDork
Dec. 29, 2016 4:21 p.m.

So I parked in a fairly clean parking garage today and just took a gander under the drivers side rear (where I thought the sound was coming from). It was the biggest "well there's your problem" moment in my life. Shock oil absolutely coating the shock body, even dripping on the ground in front of me to confirm that it's fresh. So yeah, blown shock. Since I'm selling the car I'm just going to get another one of the same so it'll match the other side and I only have to do one. But yeah, 15 months and 7k miles is pretty lousy.

pointofdeparture PowerDork
Dec. 29, 2016 4:23 p.m.
MattW wrote: So what is the to go shock we like anyways?

As far as budget choices, I am a huge, huge fan of the Koni Orange (or, ugh, STR.T) for the applications they are available for. They are basically a non-adjustable Yellow set to full soft and are a lot of shock for the money with Koni's great warranty. IIRC Keith is a big fan of them too. If they aren't available I will typically go for a Bilstein product.

If money is no object Koni Yellows or Bilstein HD/Sport are my #1 choice. Have also heard great things about the Koni FSD but have yet to own a car they are available for.

iceracer PowerDork
Dec. 29, 2016 4:31 p.m.

why all of these "fancy" shocks on a 2

stock or cheap Monroe or Gabriels should work.

Datsun310Guy PowerDork
Dec. 29, 2016 4:42 p.m.

4" lift kit and Ground Hawg tires is what you need.

Oh wait, that's for a K5 Blazer.

Armitage HalfDork
Dec. 29, 2016 4:45 p.m.

In days of yore, the KYB AGXes had a lifetime warranty. Worth checking to see what warranty yours have.

drdisque HalfDork
Dec. 29, 2016 4:56 p.m.
Armitage wrote: In days of yore, the KYB AGXes had a lifetime warranty. Worth checking to see what warranty yours have.

According to the website they still have a lifetime guarantee but it's pretty worthless to me.

First, they say it doesn't apply to parts that are "worn but not defective" or "abused" (you could make the case for either in this case). And also you have to present the warranty claim product to the retailer (which in my case is RockAuto) which would mean sending it to them, waiting for RockAuto to submit the claim to KYB, waiting for them to process the claim, and then they send you a new one. It's a $38 part. I think I'll just pay for a new one rather than wait a month for a possibly unsuccessful warranty claim.

snailmont5oh Reader
Dec. 29, 2016 7:08 p.m.

That's the good thing about getting things at a physical store. You can walk in with a thing and say, "Um, this broke," and they say "Okay," and hand you another one. Of course, you pay more.

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