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Old 05-21-2020, 05:59 PM #1
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Shocks; when to replace?

Curious what the general consensus is about when to replace shocks. Our '14 TEP is non-KDSS, and I'm not sure if our other vehicles are just making the 4R shocks feel softer since we haven't been driving as much the last couple of months (meaning, simply my perception has changed), or if our shocks are starting to show signs of wearing out. I mean, it's always wallowed around a bit (technical term lol) in corners and bumpy/uneven sections of road, but just seems to be doing more so lately.

4R is 6 years old and just turned 48,000 miles yesterday, completely stock, offroad use has been minimal and very mild (no rock crawling nor any strenuous flexing of suspension).

So which is harder on shocks - Time or use (mileage)? And what would typical life expectancy of stock shocks be?
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:51 PM #2
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It's not really time or mileage per se. It's more in how and where they are used. Washboard roads every day will wear them out much faster than a smooth highway everyday, for example.

I had the original shocks on my 3rd gen for 20 years. They were still fine, but the springs had sagged, so I replaced the springs and shocks at the same time.

I know that when I was looking at new TRD ORP's, I drove both with and without KDSS. The non-KDSS 4Runner drove with noticeably more suspension movement. Bobbing up and down much more than the KDSS rig. The non-KDSS 'Runner just had a noticeably softer, and more uncontrolled ride. Some prefer that softer ride.

I prefer more control, and went with the KDSS.

There are firmer damping shocks available if you want a firmer, more controlled ride.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:10 PM #3
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When the jelly you know and love starts to become too jelly is when shocks need to change.

Lol seriously though, you will know once the shocks are due for a swap as the drive will become far more wallowy even on smoother roads
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:30 PM #4
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Agree with others.

It's not generally time or miles directly.

Heat and environmental factors (salt, incompatible fluids, etc) that are going to corrode seals or degrade the internal oil.

Just do the corner bounce test (push down on each corner individually of the vehicle) and see if it is bouncy bouncy or bounce stop. Generally it should rebound just past nominal, and then return to nominal and stop. No extra cycling.

FYI, A buddy of mine and myself I have 2014 4Runners. One with KDSS and one without. Combined they are north of 165,000 miles. The KDSS one has slightly more miles and maybe 5% on various dirt and off road tracks. Neither need new shocks, but they tend to fail quickly when they do pop.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:31 PM #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I didn't notice it so much until I traded the Wrangler for a Tundra. The last 6 weeks or so when I have gone anywhere it's been in the truck. So yeah, with your colloboration I'm thinking more perception on my end than anything. I will do the bounce test though.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:00 AM #6
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at 6 years and 48,000 miles, you would definitely notice a difference if you replaced your shocks. Some people wait for failure, or obvious signs such as leaking oil. Some people schedule them in to maintenance. your call.

They have a service life in lieu of being rebuildable. and replacements can be cheap or expensive. OEM replacements or bilsteins would be a noticeable difference, I would bet. People seem to really like the Eibach kit too.
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:06 PM #7
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Just to give an update on this, I did the bounce test and the back end definitely bobbed more than it should have. I replaced with Bilstein 5100's all around (kept factory springs and no lift to rear). Set fronts at .85 to slightly level (still has minor rake to front though). The factory rear shocks were shot. They compressed so easily for removal, and after out I noticed both were leaking. So yeah, definitely past due to replace.

5100's, dang they're firm. I read they were firmer than stock, but going from worn out bouncers to 5100's is like going from an old Cadillac to a go cart. lol But they'll be fine, overall I'm pleased so far.

Thank you all for the feedback!
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Old 07-14-2020, 12:25 PM #8
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I added 5100s a few months after buying my Trail. The on road ride was a little firmer but not much. The off road ride had a much better feeling of control.
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:17 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobsTrail View Post
I added 5100s a few months after buying my Trail. The on road ride was a little firmer but not much. The off road ride had a much better feeling of control.
As I run them they seem to be softening just a hair, or I'm getting used to them. The rear is definitely more planted and controlled now, and it doesn't waller around through a corner like it used to on the old shocks. On the flip side, I notice more feedback through the steering wheel. It's not bad or dangerous, just different after being used to 6 years of gradual degradation of the factory shocks.
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:20 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jernik View Post
As I run them they seem to be softening just a hair, or I'm getting used to them. The rear is definitely more planted and controlled now, and it doesn't waller around through a corner like it used to on the old shocks. On the flip side, I notice more feedback through the steering wheel. It's not bad or dangerous, just different after being used to 6 years of gradual degradation of the factory shocks.
Wait until you replace the springs...that's a game changer in terms of road/off road manners.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:31 PM #11
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at 55k miles mine were really soft. I now have 5100's eibach springs, JBA uppers, poly swaybar bushings, 285's... It can snowball quick. I put regular bilstein HD's in the tacoma I bought new in 98 when it had 5k miles on it and noticed a HUGE difference. Toyota doesn't exactly spec the greatest dampers.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:56 PM #12
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When I pulled out the rear shocks To upgrade with king shocks on my 14, I noticed that one was already leaking. It had about 45000 miles at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jernik View Post
Curious what the general consensus is about when to replace shocks. Our '14 TEP is non-KDSS, and I'm not sure if our other vehicles are just making the 4R shocks feel softer since we haven't been driving as much the last couple of months (meaning, simply my perception has changed), or if our shocks are starting to show signs of wearing out. I mean, it's always wallowed around a bit (technical term lol) in corners and bumpy/uneven sections of road, but just seems to be doing more so lately.

4R is 6 years old and just turned 48,000 miles yesterday, completely stock, offroad use has been minimal and very mild (no rock crawling nor any strenuous flexing of suspension).

So which is harder on shocks - Time or use (mileage)? And what would typical life expectancy of stock shocks be?
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:19 PM #13
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Replacing mine tomorrow on the 18. Has 46,000 miles and wallows pretty constantly. And bounces more than I like. 5100s on all four corners and all new Dobinson springs going on too. Should have it back on Thurs. Need to do some measuring tomorrow to see how much lift I get. Anxious to firm it up a bunch over factory.
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Old 07-15-2020, 12:34 AM #14
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Replacing mine tomorrow on the 18. Has 46,000 miles and wallows pretty constantly. And bounces more than I like. 5100s on all four corners and all new Dobinson springs going on too. Should have it back on Thurs. Need to do some measuring tomorrow to see how much lift I get. Anxious to firm it up a bunch over factory.
It'll definitely be firmer than stock ever was. I think you'll be happy.
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:31 AM #15
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OP, milage is the driver, except that time will harden all seals eventually.

The shocks in my xterra,were soft by 50,000, same for my 4runner.
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