Update on "restoring new car ride in 04' Jeep Grand Cherokee


#1

I want to thank all who offered advice, and relate my solution. Original post was that I had replaced all 4 shocks on my 04’ Jeep GC, new tires, and the ride was now actually harder that before the suspension work. Suggestions ranged from tire inflation to whatever. I decided to get 4 opinions (Jeep dealer included) from professionals and sift through the suggestions.



Each mechanic drove the car and their first comment was “you have in the wrong shocks”. I was unanimously told by all that the shocks I purchased, Gabriel, were ‘garbage’. They were basically the Auto-Zone cheapo brand and definitely will NOT measure up in quality or performance to true original equipment shocks. All said that Monroe were much better quality, and would cost upwards of $60 per shock, before labor was factored in.



I had 4 new Jeep/Mopar shocks installed by the Jeep dealer a few days ago, and the ride is now what it originally was and what I expected. It is unbelievable what a difference these shocks make. The ride is smooth (as smooth as a Jeep GC can ride), stable, corners very clean and crisp with no body roll, and I do NOT feel every little dimple in the road.



I guess I find it a bit disturbing that after market parts can be so inferior in performance, and there seems to be nothing to do about it except bring them back and demand a refund (this weekends task).



Does anyone have any experience in returning parts, such as this case, where they are obviously only 60 days old (I have the receipts) and are basically a poor product? I did Purchase them from Auto Zone, and depending on how they handle this, I may never shop there again…even for the small stuff like oil and filters.


#2

I haven’t returned auto parts, but in other consumer complaint situations, like mis-handled car repairs, etc., I find that polite but firm letters requesting refunds do work. Include the “hard information” like the names and employers of the mechanics who evaluated the rideand found it unacceptable, and stay away from personal opinions, like “Gabriel shocks are junk”.


#3

Glad to hear you got it working correctly. Unfortunately, some of the after-market stuff sold in those McParts stores is real junk. I guess a lot of folks will just put up with it, or they just can’t tell the difference. Sometimes it’s worth paying more for OEM parts in critical applications.

Good luck with returning the parts, I hope that they at least give you a partial refund.


#4

Thanks for posting back. My mechanic put Monroes on my 93 Caprice 4 years ago and I’ve had no problems. My 2000 Blazer has 86k miles, so I should be replacing the shocks in the near future. Based on your experience, I’ll go with the OEM Bilstein shocks.

Thanks,

Ed B.


#5

You bought bargain shocks and are surprised they don’t perform as well as the higher priced OEM shocks? How do you think they can offer them for less money? The old saying holds true in most cases, you get what you pay for. All of the auto parts stores around here offer parts at different price points. You can buy the more expensive shocks there but most people try to cheap out and then later grouse about the quality. Go figure.


#6

I really like bilsteins, but they are fairly pricey, expect to pay $100+ per shock for your blazer:


#7

The point, was that I didn’t realize they were bargain shocks. When a parts dealer, even one like Auto Zone, offers a part as equivalent to original equipment, my expectation is that they will maybe not last as long.

What I didn’t expect was how inadequate they were right out of the box. I fully understood that I was not buying what the car was equipped with at production. It is a hard lesson learned, and one I won’t soon forget.


#8

The bargain parts they sell are actually fitment equivalents not performance equivalents. They do sell performance equivalents but they are typically the highest priced option.

Whenever I buy parts from them, they always quote the various options available and tend to push the higher priced ones. I suspect that is to reduce the likelyhood of callbacks like you are experiencing. ANYONE who has done DIY car repairs has learned this lesson at one point or another so you’re not alone. I apologize for coming off so harshly in my prior post. It appeared as though you knew they were the cheaper version and expected them to be as good as the OEM. A lesson you will never forget :wink:


#9

Maybe you just happened to get a bad one. I find it hard to believe all 4 would be defective.
I’ve purchased a lot of shocks of varying types and prices from a number of parts houses with few problems.

You might also consider that just because you buy shocks from a Chrysler dealer it does not mean that Chrysler actually builds those shocks. The shocks may be made by the same company who provides them to AutoZone or whomever.
Same situation with other parts. TRW provides ball joints and tie rods to Ford, GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, yada, yada,.
TRW also provides suspension parts to the aftermarket and these parts are not branded as TRW but may be branded as an XYZ brand, etc.

In the 1940s Harley Davidson started using a shock absorber unit on the front springer forks. This shock was not made by Harley at all but by Monroe. The same carries over to electrics, bearings, or whatever.

I agree that Bilsteins are decent, and pricy, but they also have their share of failures. Several customers who wanted Bilsteins were very upset when some of the units failed within 2 weeks.


#10

I’m sure Bilstiens do have failures, but I’ve never personally had one fail. They do have a lifetime warranty:

http://www.bilstein.com/warranty.php

There are other good brands available for comperable prices, but I would avoid the cheap junk. I pretty much avoid McParts stores for anything except fluids and the occasional light bulb.


#11

If the OEM shocks in this instance are such better quality, then why did they only last 3 years? I would expect good shocks to last a lot longer than that.


#12

Maybe you just happened to get a bad one. I find it hard to believe all 4 would be defective.

In all probability they weren’t defective. They were just designed poorly.


#13

bought bargain shocks and are surprised they don’t perform as well as the higher priced OEM shocks?

Just because OEM shocks are more expensive doesn’t mean they’re good. I’ve replaced shocks/struts in almost every vehicle I’ve owned with HIGHER QUALITY shocks then OEM that cost on average HALF the OEM price.


#14

I’ve purchased and used a lot of Gabriel shocks with no problem. In fact, all three of my children have Gabriels on their vehicles right now. One has 2 vehicles and the other has Monroes.

As to the same questions that has even been raised on this board in the past in regards to Monroe shocks - well their client list includes producing OEM shocks for Ford, GM, Chryler, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, VW, and even Citroen; not to mention a multitude of aftermarket parts houses such as NAPA, Advance, O’Reilly, Pep Boys, etc.

I have no idea of the depth, if any, of Gabriel’s involvement in producing automaker OEM shocks.
The OP’s vehicle is fixed and is fine now; that’s all that matters.


#15

Good questions, I’ve never even heard of “Gabriel” so I can’t comment on their quality. The OP indicated they were cheap and he wasn’t satisfied with their performance, that’s all I know. I just feel safer with OEM brand or something I know is better than OEM for any critical applications. It’s good to hear he got it fixed.


#16

I’ve purchased and used a lot of Gabriel shocks with no problem. In fact, all three of my children have Gabriels on their vehicles right now. One has 2 vehicles and the other has Monroes.

I’ve used Gabrial and Monroe in the past also without any problems. But I’ve also had problems with them…mainly to do with longevity on trucks. Never had a problem with them on any car I or my wife owned. But the FACT remains…he switched brands of shocks and the ride is better.