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Old 02-18-2009, 07:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do I know when my stock shocks need replacement?

I have MY 05 Forester X and I bought it used. I assume that the shocks are are OEM and have not been replaced. I just rolled 60K and was wondering if they may still be good or not...is there a definitive way to tell?

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Old 02-18-2009, 08:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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The Trick I learned in Automotive class...

Press down sharply at each corner (Knee on bumper) of the car and release. The car should spring back up, then come down to pretty much settle to normal height. If the car bounces more than that, it shocks are worn out.

You do this at each corner to test each shock.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by James View Post
The Trick I learned in Automotive class...

Press down sharply at each corner (Knee on bumper) of the car and release. The car should spring back up, then come down to pretty much settle to normal height. If the car bounces more than that, it shocks are worn out.

You do this at each corner to test each shock.
But be careful! My buddy decided to show me that, but pushed down using the fenders, which have nice hand sized dents in them now. If the car feels like it bounces after a bump, rather than just absorbing the bump, then they are probably pretty worn. I would say if you drive easy, you could get more than 100k out of them, mine were still "ok" at 80k with a lot of abuse.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have gone 130k on stock struts with them still being good. I've seen cars with 200k on stock struts that were just getting soft.

Alot depends how they are used. Mostly highway won't wear them out as much as offroad use.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Barring outright failure of a strut due to oil leakage I think strut condition is a very subjective thing. For me, a set of struts is done when the car feels mushy and inprecise even with brand new tires. When I put a set of KYB GR2 struts on our Forester at 108K it brought back the precision in the steering and cornering that I had missed since about 80K. The new struts were enough to make the car feel crisp and a lot newer again.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I figure it's up to you and your wallet. 107k of hard use (towing, offroad) and my shocks are pretty soft. That being said, my wallet won't let me get new ones!
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I want to replace my front struts but I don't see how it's affordable atm. Kinda my own fault tho.
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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They wanted replacing as the car rolled off the assembly line.....

I don't know why Subaru persist with soggy Forester suspension. Well - I do know - it's to allow wheel articuation when traversing rocky streams etc. Yeah right. Why compromise what the car does for 98% of it's life for something it might do for the other 2% and in most cases never does?
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by forestergump View Post
They wanted replacing as the car rolled off the assembly line.....

I don't know why Subaru persist with soggy Forester suspension. Well - I do know - it's to allow wheel articuation when traversing rocky streams etc. Yeah right. Why compromise what the car does for 98% of it's life for something it might do for the other 2% and in most cases never does?
Lol, ye but I don't like too stiff suspension either. But the foz has very soft. too soft indeed
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I can usually tell that they are worn at 40k and continue to run them until about 80k.

That was on my Celica, 626, and Talon. Don't know about Subaru ones. The Celica was so odd that when you pushed down on a corner it stayed down and very very slowly resumed position.
I usually have a chicane to drive, and when the shock doesn't control the secondary bounce, it pushes my line way out. Time for new shocks.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default squeaky noise going into driveway

My 2003 forester XS got 59k miles, and driving started to feel a little wiggly, and going into my driveway, it makes a little squeaky noise on front left, is it time for new shocksI was quited 1K to replace all 4 with KYB, is that reasonable? Can I replace them myself?
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default That depends on...

1. Prepared to get VERY dirty?
2. Do you have an air compressor?
3. Do you have an impact with that air compressor?

As an aside, you can buy a very big electric impact as well.

It might take a 3/4...I don't think a 1/2 inch(electric or air) is up to the task.

By the way, here is a good deal on a 3/4 electric...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hitachi-WR22...item564a950e05
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Back in the day shocks were shot at 50K. I don't even begin to worry about them til after 100K miles.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBK View Post
I have MY 05 Forester X and I bought it used. I assume that the shocks are are OEM and have not been replaced. I just rolled 60K and was wondering if they may still be good or not...is there a definitive way to tell?
Assume nothing. If you know (or can guess) the dealership(s) that serviced the car, call their service department and ask if the shocks have been replaced. You don't need to know the former owner's name, but you will need the VIN number (last few digits) of the vehicle VIN. I have found Subaru dealerships to be very organized and super helpful.

Another user mentioned the 'push down and release' test. Possibly denting the safety bumper notwithstanding, that test doesn't work so well on newer vehicles. It is worth trying, but even if the vehicle settles in place with only one bounce, the shocks might still be flaky.

Mileage is probably the best test. If the shocks have 100k on them, consider a replacement. For the best handling, a 75k replacement is not out of the question. This is a high-wear component. But, I guess it depends on your budget.

As for the wrenching replacement, I just went through this. An impact wrench is handy but not really essential - we used one to remove the top strut bolt and spin the spring compressor.

To remove the two big bolts at the bottom of the strut, get a 1/2" drive (1/2" drive minimum - 3/4" drive would be better) breaker bar and a 4' cheater. The nuts will come off like butter.

Borrow a spring compressor for a local auto parts store. Jack up and support one end of the vehicle at a time - the whole front or whole rear. Don't try to jack up a single corner only - twists things around too much. For the '05 X, you don't need to undo the brake lines.

Finally, be sure to completely support the front hub (use a jack, milk crate, whatever) before you remove the strut - you've been warned! Two persons can do all 4 corners of the vehicle in 3-4 hours - maybe less.
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