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Old 16-03-2009   #1
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Shock absorbers

My last Panda had to have new shock absorbers at 3 years (just after the warranty had run out !) My present Panda which I bought a year ago has just failed it's first MOT as the shock absorbers have gone. Luckily this time the car is just unde 3 years old.
Is this a problem with pandas ? My dealer of course says not.
Next time I think I will buy a Citroen C1.
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Old 16-03-2009   #2
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Re: Shock absorbers

Shock absorbers should really be replaced more often than they are.

Having the shocks changed is like driving a brand new car. They degrade slowly enough that you generally won't notice, but change them and the difference is dramatic, to say the least.

3 years sounds about right for a commuter car.
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Old 16-03-2009   #3
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Cool Re: Shock absorbers

I had to change shock son my old stilo and used boge shocks ..far better than fiat OEM shocks IMO..You can get them on line and at your motor factors if you want them and I found them a lot cheaper than fiat replacements and they are gas filled as well so you get a better ride..

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Old 16-03-2009   #4
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Re: Shock absorbers

Quote Originally Posted by lizzy64 View Post
My last Panda had to have new shock absorbers at 3 years (just after the warranty had run out !) My present Panda which I bought a year ago has just failed it's first MOT as the shock absorbers have gone. Luckily this time the car is just unde 3 years old.
Is this a problem with pandas ? My dealer of course says not.
Next time I think I will buy a Citroen C1.
Well what mileage was the car on when you had to have them? On some small bumps I often think it feels like the wheels are 'bouncing' or 'juddering' like the shocks are worn but maybe they are just not good shocks on these. The springs are certainly stiff.
Did new shocks make a difference?
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Old 16-03-2009   #5
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Re: Shock absorbers

Mileage about 22,000 (in both cars). Haven't been replaced yet so don't know how car feels . Failed MOT on them so must be needing to be changed.
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Old 16-03-2009   #6
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Re: Shock absorbers

Cars have 4 "dampers", a better name for shock absorbers, one for each wheel.
I suspect that the dampers are failing on the front of your car(s). I also suspect that they are being failed for damper oil leakage rather than their actual performance.
I Feel that 22,000 miles is a very low mileage at which to see these failures.
Are you driving on a lot of rough roads or over a lot of speed bumps? Are you driving in very dusty conditions or very near to the sea, these would possibly lead to damper oil seal failure.
I'm pleased that you can have the dampers on the current car replaced under warranty.
Ask your Fiat dealer why these failures might be happening, they may have some tips for you to prevent future problems.
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Old 16-03-2009   #7
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Re: Shock absorbers

Yes we live by the sea. And the roads on the Isle of Wight are
HORRENDOUSly potholed !
Thanks everyone for your help.
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Old 17-03-2009   #8
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Re: Shock absorbers

Yes, sounds like Doctorchris has that one wrapped up. Let's face it, although I don't imagine the Italian streets are that good, how many towns and cities these days don't have really crap worn out road surfaces and lots of those horrible speed retarder bumps all over? It must prematurely wear out the dampers if you are hitting those all of the time. But yeah, near the sea must make for a bit more of a corrosive environment so maybe they are leaking or both leaking and not functioning properly. This forum is really useful for this kind of stuff!
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Old 17-03-2009   #9
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Re: Shock absorbers

This is really more of a query than an opinion - must be losing my grip.

Are you sure that the state of our - let's say "averagely" bumpy - roads really wears out dampers more quickly than would happen on smoother roads? It seems to me that the damper internals - valves, seals, and so on - are being jiggled about continuously - even on the smoothest surface there must be constant movement. The same goes for the suspension bushes, anti-roll bar bushes, and so on. If we drove on very smooth roads all the time, all the wear would be concentrated on a very small part of the rubbing surfaces and I'm not convinced that the amount of fluid passing through the valves within the damper would make a difference to them. Very large movements, which take the suspension to the limits of its travel in either direction, might cause damage, especially if the driver is either caught unawares or doesn't have the common sense to slow down; however, I'd like to suggest that moderately bumpy roads, causing substantial suspension travel, could be better for the wearing components in a suspension system than very smooth ones. And there's a clear case for cornering on the door handles to spread the wear on anti-roll bar bushes.
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Old 17-03-2009   #10
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Re: Shock absorbers

I feel that it's not so much movement in suspension or steering components that causes wear as how much energy is involved in that movement.
Driving over a smooth undulation in the road transmits only a small amount of energy whereas hitting a pothole puts a large amount of energy into the system which causes wear or even damage.
Think about, for example, a wheel. Nobody ever bent a wheel driving on a smooth road but there are plenty of examples of wheels bent by driving into a pothole.
I did have another thought for Lizzy. If salt corrosion is damaging her dampers then regularly spraying them with a hosepipe or pressure washer might reduce this. I live near the sea but have never had a damper fail and I frequently pressure wash the underside of my cars.
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Old 17-03-2009   #11
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Re: Shock absorbers

Couple of good Posts there doctorchris, the spring is actually the shock absorber and the damper controls the rebound oscillations. Whenever I have replaced OE dampers I have found better aftermarket examples, oddly I had great fun playing with Spax adjustables a few years back on a tweaked Ford Anglia. On that car I never had to replace the Spax and there are plenty out there better than Spax. Just my personal opinion, car manufacturers dont always fit "the best" but fit compromises between performance, durability and cost.
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Old 18-03-2009   #12
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Re: Shock absorbers

Before I hose my dampers I'll have to find them !
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Old 18-03-2009   #13
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Re: Shock absorbers

Quote Originally Posted by doctorchris View Post
I feel that it's not so much movement in suspension or steering components that causes wear as how much energy is involved in that movement.
Driving over a smooth undulation in the road transmits only a small amount of energy whereas hitting a pothole puts a large amount of energy into the system which causes wear or even damage.
Think about, for example, a wheel. Nobody ever bent a wheel driving on a smooth road but there are plenty of examples of wheels bent by driving into a pothole.
I did have another thought for Lizzy. If salt corrosion is damaging her dampers then regularly spraying them with a hosepipe or pressure washer might reduce this. I live near the sea but have never had a damper fail and I frequently pressure wash the underside of my cars.
If they are better, it makes me wonder why all cars are not supplied with gas dampers as standard. How much more expensive would that be on a new car? There again perhaps its a lot if you multiply it by thousands of cars! The Citroen C1 only has a courtesy light switch on the driver's but not the passenger door! Now thats tight!
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Old 18-03-2009   #14
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Re: Shock absorbers

Quote Originally Posted by jj58panda View Post
If they are better, it makes me wonder why all cars are not supplied with gas dampers as standard. How much more expensive would that be on a new car? There again perhaps its a lot if you multiply it by thousands of cars! The Citroen C1 only has a courtesy light switch on the driver's but not the passenger door! Now thats tight!
Most cars are built down to a price. My dad has replaced the dampers in nearly all of the cars he's had with Bilstein's or Koni's and has never needed to replace them. One manufacturer which at least in the past used to fit good shocks was Peugeot as they made their own and they were actually quite good. Tbh I think 3 years is pretty poor for shock absorbers. The wifes Subaru I believe has KYB's (hardly a premium brand) as standard and it only got a reccomendation for a small leak on one damper last year after 14 and a half years of use and 200,000 miles. Now I understand not everyone is going to get that mileage out of their dampers but I do think 22k is a bit of a joke.
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Old 18-03-2009   #15
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Re: Shock absorbers

Quote Originally Posted by jj58panda View Post
If they are better, it makes me wonder why all cars are not supplied with gas dampers as standard. How much more expensive would that be on a new car? There again perhaps its a lot if you multiply it by thousands of cars! The Citroen C1 only has a courtesy light switch on the driver's but not the passenger door! Now thats tight!
Gas dampers are still oil filled, just the free space inside is pressurised with inert gas rather than air.
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