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Discussion Starter #1
My RF strut is leaking and my LR shock is too. My shop, run by Mopar trained techs, is trying to sell me on some EZ Struts and NAPA shocks. Quote was about $1000 for the job. They said the car will not pass the state safety inspection the way it is and I have until 6/30/13 to do something.

Obviously, it is a bad idea to put $1000 into a $2000 car (1994 Acclaim w/185k). I checked with a dealer and OEM shocks and struts-only are about $300 in parts.

Question: Would you guys try to find salvage yard parts (the way I am leaning) or take a chance by buying the OEM parts and pay them more labor for disassembly of the strut assemblies?

I have been told by a dealer parts rep that some of the rubber might disintegrate when they are disassembling the struts and I'll end up buying more parts anyway, providing they are available from Chrysler. Further, he said the price I was quoted is "reasonable".

Thanks in advance,

Musikmann
 

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You should be able to purchase quick strut assemblies much cheaper than the quote provided. Check E-Bay, Amazon, Rock Auto, or other stores. You can get an independent mechanic to swap these out for about $125 and then you'll need an alignment for about $70 - $80. I suspect you can get the job done for about $500 - $600, which would be quite a bit cheaper than $1000 which is insane.
 

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That's a gouge. Quick struts (you really should do both, and don't bother with doing it piecemeal-- having to use a spring compressor isn't worth the 40 dollar difference) are about $180 per. That's actually not a difficult job, the struts are held in with three nuts and connect to the knuckle with two more. Even if you have to remove the knuckles, it's about 2 hours per side with hand tools if you've never done it before. Rear shocks (again, replace both) are much cheaper, about $25 per. That's another two hour job per side, again with hand tools and no prior experience. You will probably need a Sawzall (don't use an angle grinder around the gas tank) to cut the upper bolts-- some people say you can get in there with two wrenches, but I found it impossible to do with any of my wrenches. If you go that route, make sure you get the appropriate hardness of bolt to put the new shocks in with. Lowe's or Home Depot should have them.
Also, don't go with junkyard parts. It might seem like a very good deal, but keep in mind that they must have some wear on them, and will not last as long as new parts. My car got 18 years out of her first suspension, so I would say do more new parts for another 18.
 

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I would not have a problem spending $1000 on a $2000 car unless you could find a better car for the trade of the current car plus $1000.

That aside, the price is high. I think the $500-600 range total is more appropriate.
 

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watch for an autozone buy 3 get one free deal. I know i didnt come close to 500 when i did my lebaron. the only thing that might have brought it close to 500 was because i needed a camber bolt kit to do the alignment. And they overcharged me for it.
You can do the rear shocks yourself. Its just two bolts. Sadly one of my bolts stuck so i couldnt do it myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback guys. I neglected to mention the quoted labor/parts prices which follow:

Strut - Sensa-Trac @ $327.38 ea

Shock - NAPA Response - Rear @ $44.70 ea

Labor: $88.72

Total: $904.05 including sales tax
 

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$44 is way too high for rear shocks, unless you're buying something really high-end. Ditto for the front end, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you could get the ENTIRE suspension for the price of one shock and strut from them. If this doesn't include an alignment, you're really being taken for a ride. I suspect what they've done is "buried" the labor cost in the parts cost; last I heard, labor could be up to $80 an hour, and If they're trying to do the entire thing in an hour... well, you'll probably be back to get things "re-fixed". Haste makes waste. What really worries me, though, is this practice to begin with. Something with that quote is very, very wrong, which screams dishonesty to me. I would start looking for another place to take the car, or better yet, start doing the work yourself.These cars are very easy to work on, and you'll save quite a lot of money. Nobody in my family has had a very good track record of service at dealerships, and if you want to talk about price gouging, it seems the dealers have that down to a science. When it comes to local shops, a lot of times you're one in a hundred customers or less; at some dealers, you can be one in a thousand. And if the repair at the dealership is too expensive, well, there's a lovely '99 Accord we just got traded in, mint interior if you ignore the cigarette burns and the coffee stains, only smokes a little, and starts 9 times out of 10! Dealers are in the sales business. where most local repair shops just do service.
 

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Labor for this job is at least 2 1/2 hours, so they are burying it in the parts cost. But $35-$40 each for decent shocks is typical now. And quick struts, if available (they never made them for the Daytona) include new springs, seats, bellows, strut bearing, so $400 for a pair is normal. I paid a dealer $1000 for front strut assembly replacement (all parts) back around 2007 in my last car. The bottom strut bolts wouldn't budge, I broke a socket on them. So I had to have the job done.
 

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I got my front struts (blue Monroe, without springs etc.) from RockAuto discount, flown by FedEx here to Finland and carried to my home, for about € 125 (like $ 150). Had spring compressors + basic tools so for my front it was $ 150 + alignment. I needed a pencil toch and hevy duty socket to loose the other strut lower bolt-nut. They've been there now more than a year without problems.
Rear shocks came also from RockAuto discount the same way, they are still waiting for assembly due to there is no immediate need for replacement. Can't remember, must have been € 70-100 with shipping, and the shipping was again much more than the parts cost, like for front end as well. Anyway I get the same parts cheaper that way compared to dealers available here (they must have nice profit % due to they import full containers by sea).
This as a reference what you save by doing yourself. I'm not saying $ 1000 is too much, in case there will be a transaction it was not too expensive. If you can't do it yourself, I think the best is to look for a "home mechanic", do it together so you will see how it was done and in case there will be questions concerning the job you know how it has been done. I just replaced my neighbour's brake pads due to he was not comfortable doing it himself. I'm sure he'll help me one day and think that next time he will do the pads himself.
 

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I did try to assemble new struts, and have someone change them out for me. But I bought Gabriel Ultra Duty, and they were not concentric - the top of the strut would not align with the center of the spring. I think they were defective. The spring was badly bowed when I assembled them. Couldn't afford any more down time, so I finally had them done for me. Otherwise, would have cost me about $400 in all.
 

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+1 on the quick struts. They don't make them for my car, so I had to do it the old fashioned way last summer. I ordered the parts on-line and bought a used spring compressor. The front end cost me about 350 all in, plus another 100 for the alignment (which I don't see listed in your quote). It's actually a straight forward job you could easily tackle in a day yourself. My rear shocks cost me 30 each, but I snapped a bolt off and had to have a garage tap it out. I think you could do the entire job yourself for about half the price you were quoted, if you have the tools and room to work.

If you're doing the struts anyway, check your ball joints and tie-end rods. They may need to be replaced, and if so, you'll need an alignment anyway. You can rent the required tools, and the parts cost isn't bad (about 25 for each ball joint and 30 each for the tie-ends, in my case). You'll still be under the 1000 quoted to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the additional information guys. I know another tech who can do this work and no doubt for much less. A friend of mine is the manager of an Advanced Auto and he can get me the parts. An alignment was mentioned and Starfire_MK2 was correct, that will add more money to the total job. I'll look into the ball joints and tie rod ends. I got a quote from Goodyear, also high, and they recommended tie rod ends.
 

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You'll get a much better deal on them through Rockauto than you will at Advance. I don't care if your buddy even gets them at his discounted price. I'm currently on hold on replacing the struts on my 99GC. I got them at Advance a little over 2 years ago and one is definitely leaking. I plan on getting the quick struts from Rockauto and getting a refund from Advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Chuzz, I just looked at the Advance website and their Monroe quick struts (the only ones they offer for a 1994 Acclaim) are considerably higher than those I found at Rock Auto. I'm talking $190 vs. $110 at RA for Monroes. Heck the most expensive Moogs were $140 if I remember correctly.

I just logged on here to ask for brand and supplier suggestions. Someone earlier mentioned Rock so I mainly wanted to ask about brands. Rock had 3 brands of quick strurs and a number of shocks for the rear.

I might look at a couple more places but so far, I am sold on Rock Auto. Thanks for the feedback.


Labor for this job is at least 2 1/2 hours, so they are burying it in the parts cost. But $35-$40 each for decent shocks is typical now. And quick struts, if available (they never made them for the Daytona) include new springs, seats, bellows, strut bearing, so $400 for a pair is normal. I paid a dealer $1000 for front strut assembly replacement (all parts) back around 2007 in my last car. The bottom strut bolts wouldn't budge, I broke a socket on them. So I had to have the job done.
Bob, the NAPA garage where I got that quote (Chrysler trained techs at my dealer that is now closed so that's why I have been using them). They want $327 EACH for the quick struts, whatever brand those are.

I'm glad I asked you guys on here because the one guy is trying to rip me off. The partner Dewey is more fair but was otherwise occupied when the other partner Tom prepared the quote. I think Dewey might have had some other ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My original alternator went out. Dewey's brother works for a slavage yard and found me a Denso from a 1998 Voyager that is still working, it's been over a year on that. So that is the main reason I was thinking about used parts. At the moment I don't know if this yard will have compatible parts but I'm at least going to ask about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Did quite a bit of price shopping with all the usual suspects. I found Rock Auto was the most reasonable on the quick struts @ $104.79 each for Raybestos. The tech told me I needed inner tie rods and ordered the same brand in those @ $19.01 each. They had less expensive ones but these were on close out and both struts and tie rods were professional grade. I like to match things as close as possible.

Now I still need rear shocks but I don't see that Raybestos makes them. As I mentioned earlier, I can still get MOPAR shocks through the former Dodge dealer. If I remember those were only about $35 each.

If not MOPAR which brand would you guys go with? I just want to get the closest match with the Raybestos front end.
 

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Monroe or KYB are both good brands. I stay away from Gabriel after their shocks rotted out completely in 4 years (I could crush the body of them with my hand); and their front struts were defective.
 

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I just did front struts and think the whole thing cost me less than $250.

I bought the struts from Rock Auto dealer closeout for nothing (something like $15 each), also bought the strut mount and the dust shield and all that. I would have loved to have bought quick struts, but I couldn't find them.

As other posters said, taking them off the car (and putting them back on) was easy, even though it's the first time I'd done that.

I couldn't get the springs to compress enough with my spring compressor (turns out size and width of coils were too big for my toy compressor), so I paid a guy $60 to essentially rebuild both sides with the new parts (struts, mount, etc) inside the springs. Note: If you do this, be sure to mark which side each spring comes from, since they are not interchangeable.

Then $85 for alignment at Sears.

The bad news was that the car had ridden so rough before the new struts, I hadn't realized the tires were out of round. With the new struts, that became unbearable, so ended up having to get new tires, too. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I went ahead and ordered the Mopar rear shocks @ $35.00 each. They are the firmer variety, the regular ride are no longer available. This might turn out to be a mis-match but the parts guy said they should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Bob Lincoln said:
Monroe or KYB are both good brands. I stay away from Gabriel after their shocks rotted out completely in 4 years (I could crush the body of them with my hand); and their front struts were defective.
Rock Auto had Raybestos (least expensive @ $104.79), Monroe ($114.89) and Moog ($140-something). I saw Gabriels on the Autozone site @ $165.99 ea and now I'm glad I didn't choose those. A couple places had KYB too but those were more money than the Raybestos. I hope I didn't makes a mistake in going for the cheapest on these things.


AllThumbs, I already have $250 in front end parts alone and I don't know what the labor charge is going to be. Since I spent another $70 on the rears I'll probably be into this job for about $400 plus the alignment.
 
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