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Anyone know the difference between a expensive and cheap shock absorber?

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Anyone know the difference between a expensive and cheap shock absorber?

Old 06-09-2015, 04:23 AM
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Default Anyone know the difference between a expensive and cheap shock absorber?

I decided I want to put new shocks on my 06 Ram 3500, all I do with it is pull my 5th wheel RV 12000mi +/- every other year, the rest of the time it rides around empty like most 3/4 and 1 ton diesel pickups I see... Changing them just because they were on it when I got it and I am going through everything on the truck.....
Anyway there are shocks from $20.00 each to $80.00 each in standard equipment.

In snooping around the Cummins & Dodge forums, everyone seems to favor the Bilsteins at $80 +/- each.. Nobody actually claims what the difference is from what I read between them and the competition, just the typical I have them because they're the best. Unless it was a modified car or being used for something unusual I have always been a OEM shock is fine kind of guy. I don't need to be beat up in my vehicle because I need to brag that I have heavy duty shock absorbers...
So I have Bilsteins at $80 ea, KYB (never heard of'em) a little less, and Monroe from $24 to $42 ea...
Anyone tell me why I should $180 more for a set of Bilsteins (aside from that's what they did). I have posed this same question to Shockwarehouse where I will likely buy the shocks.
Old 06-09-2015, 05:21 AM
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I'm a member of the diesel truck resourse site too and have found a lot of info to help with the maintenance and repair of my 2005 dodge 5.9, 2 wheel drive. The expensive shocks are more for a reason. They are built better than stock and have variable rates of damping and bigger seals and higher load capacities. All stuff you don't need for on road use and moving loads well within the capacity of your truck. However if you do decide to do some heavy duty gravel/dirt construction road or even some ranch type off road work as a major part of your truck use, the Bilsteins are highly recommended.

I've got the factory shocks on my truck still at 78,592 miles.
Old 06-09-2015, 05:27 AM
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I just changed out my shocks with Bilsteins and I can definitely tell the difference. Maybe my shocks were blown, I didn`t see any oil oozing down the sides. I`m like you, I tow my RV 4 to 5 times a year, and out of those tows, I pull once over 100 miles. I had KYB`s on my rear before I switched and they did a great job. But with the Bilsteins, I have a much smoother ride over all when I tow and it feels more stable. I dunno, maybe it`s me.
Some reviews I`ve read, people said they couldn`t tell a difference.
Old 06-09-2015, 05:28 AM
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Consistent performance over a wide operating temperature range, nitrogen gas filled, larger piston and bore, longevity, etc.

Depending on the application there may not be a considerably noticeable difference. Running the beach, off-road, poor road conditions, more difference.
Old 06-09-2015, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Afishinado View Post
I decided I want to put new shocks on my 06 Ram 3500, all I do with it is pull my 5th wheel RV 12000mi +/- every other year, the rest of the time it rides around empty like most 3/4 and 1 ton diesel pickups I see... Changing them just because they were on it when I got it and I am going through everything on the truck.....
Anyway there are shocks from $20.00 each to $80.00 each in standard equipment.

In snooping around the Cummins & Dodge forums, everyone seems to favor the Bilsteins at $80 +/- each.. Nobody actually claims what the difference is from what I read between them and the competition, just the typical I have them because they're the best. Unless it was a modified car or being used for something unusual I have always been a OEM shock is fine kind of guy. I don't need to be beat up in my vehicle because I need to brag that I have heavy duty shock absorbers...
So I have Bilsteins at $80 ea, KYB (never heard of'em) a little less, and Monroe from $24 to $42 ea...
Anyone tell me why I should $180 more for a set of Bilsteins (aside from that's what they did). I have posed this same question to Shockwarehouse where I will likely buy the shocks.
It is all in the internals. The difference in valving (dampering), the quality of the seals, the quality of the piston, the shims. Mono tube vs twin tube. The quality of the shock oil. Less important for street cars, but more so for race cars - how the shocks dyno at compression open and rebound open vis-a-vis compression close and rebound close on the force vs velocity curve.
Old 06-09-2015, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Jersus View Post
It is all in the internals. The difference in valving (dampering), the quality of the seals, the quality of the piston, the shims. Mono tube vs twin tube. The quality of the shock oil. Less important for street cars, but more so for race cars - how the shocks dyno at compression open and rebound open vis-a-vis compression close and rebound close on the force vs velocity curve.
Okay, I can see that, but to me and for my uses (IMHO babying the thing) what do I need?

Originally Posted by catfever24 View Post
I just changed out my shocks with Bilsteins and I can definitely tell the difference. Maybe my shocks were blown, I didn`t see any oil oozing down the sides. I`m like you, I tow my RV 4 to 5 times a year, and out of those tows, I pull once over 100 miles. I had KYB`s on my rear before I switched and they did a great job. But with the Bilsteins, I have a much smoother ride over all when I tow and it feels more stable. I dunno, maybe it`s me.
Some reviews I`ve read, people said they couldn`t tell a difference.
Like you, the shocks on it aren't oozing, a little rusty. With 185k on it, seriously doubt they're original. I'm likely to go with the Bilsteins if I get more reports like this, I like the smoother ride comment. I don't want anything that will make it remind me any more that it is a 1 ton truck.

It would be interesting to hear the guys at Shockwarehouse say what is comparable to the OEM.
Old 06-09-2015, 06:10 AM
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Mike, from racing, Bilsteins have superior built quality, including valving and monotube construction. Damping goes both ways, up and down. Most factory shocks have smaller pistons, cheap valving, and mediocre characteristics. Ever notice how a stock shock has stiff "compression" but lousy "rebound"? don't get that with most Bilsteins.

KYB's are a very similar design, but can't say how they are today. Monroe is just stock stuff.
Old 06-09-2015, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Afishinado View Post
Okay, I can see that, but to me and for my uses (IMHO babying the thing) what do I need?
For the price difference ~40/each, so 160 total, I would go with the Bilsteins. I looked quickly at their spec sheets, and they are using everything top of the line. The monotube, nitrogen gas combo will really smooth out your ride as there will be zero chatter.

I do not run them in any of my race setups (Afco guy), but if you want I can call some dirt guys I know that do run them for more details.
Old 06-09-2015, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
........ Bilsteins have superior built quality, including valving and monotube construction. .............
Originally Posted by Jersus View Post
For the price difference ~40/each, so 160 total, I would go with the Bilsteins. ......
I hold what both of you guys say in high regard on this sorta subject.
So I'll drop an extra $180, my truck might ride more like a Chevy
Old 06-09-2015, 07:50 AM
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I have Bilstein 5100s on my truck, they are decent shocks but the finish on them looks terrible after 1 season, they also ride very firm,
I just put new suspension on my Jeep and went with Rancho RS9000s, so far they seem pretty good, they have a dial on them so you can set the firmness, I have them on 0 right now and they ride nice and soft. They are about the same price as Bilsteins, have the same lifetime warrantee, are painted instead of bare metal, they also have a $106 rebate if you buy 4 before the end of June.
Old 06-09-2015, 10:21 AM
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I put Bilstein 5100 on my 2007 Ram 3500 a couple years ago.
The only difference I see is when towing, much smoother. When the truck is empty I see no real difference
Old 06-09-2015, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
Buy the monroes and in couple of years change them out again. Not because they will be worn out but because it is cheaper to change out your shocks then it is to do front end work. And besides, new shocks equals feel of a new ride.
Couple...as in two? Screw that. My time is too valuable as it is. Bilsteins 5100 or 5300 and forget it. Monroes went to shiet after it was bought out by Tenneco.

FWIW, I have 5300s on my 2500hd. REALLY good ride empty or towing with 33s and 4" lift.

To the OP, you can't go wrong with the KYBs either. Make sure you get the monotubes. The ride of the twin tubes sucks

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