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kflyer

Axio - New shocks or 'used' shocks?

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It's time to replace the shocks on my Axio NZE-141. As the TL OEM shocks (which are also KYB, albeit a higher grade) are prohibitively expensive - the typical choice is the regular KYB replacement shocks available in Sri Lanka. None of the European/US brands (Monroe etc) make shocks for the JDM cars. However, in my experience the aftermarket (non-TL) KYB shocks for Axio/Allion etc tend to sit a little higher than the official OEM shocks and also give a stiffer ride - particularly in the front.

Does anyone have experience in replacing these with 'used' (called reconditioned, although there is no such conditioning) OEM shocks? If so, what is the expected mileage for a fairly ok set of shocks?

Any other thoughts/ options you have tried?

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

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I have changed aftermarket KYB shocks from KYB agent on few vehicles has not experience any discomfort or change in ride height.

Initially you will feel that the new shocks are stiff as you're used for the ride in your worn out shocks, not because the new ones are stiff.

Does not recommend using used as you will not know the condition, how long they will last and for the simple reason you will not be able the match damping of two shocks.

 

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3 hours ago, kflyer said:

It's time to replace the shocks on my Axio NZE-141. As the TL OEM shocks (which are also KYB, albeit a higher grade) are prohibitively expensive - the typical choice is the regular KYB replacement shocks available in Sri Lanka. None of the European/US brands (Monroe etc) make shocks for the JDM cars. However, in my experience the aftermarket (non-TL) KYB shocks for Axio/Allion etc tend to sit a little higher than the official OEM shocks and also give a stiffer ride - particularly in the front.

Does anyone have experience in replacing these with 'used' (called reconditioned, although there is no such conditioning) OEM shocks? If so, what is the expected mileage for a fairly ok set of shocks?

Any other thoughts/ options you have tried?

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Using used shock absorbers would be really senseless, there is a shelf life for the pressurized rubber parts, which may have been removed from a 2000km car,  which flipped or got rear ended and been in a container yard with water ingress for 5,6 years unladen with no pressure. 

just get the KYB replacements from a reputed supplier, most parts TL serves are just over priced distributer sourced stuff. Cutting corners or going paranoid on bits like this make you end up doing the same repair twice with no peace of mind.

Its not like doing some engine overhaul, shock absorbers are not all that costly, especially in a car. It’s a typical run of the mil jap car, whatever the bit you use there is a threshold of comfort that you can achieve, which is very low.

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Used shocks are senseless...you do not know the status/condition of the units you are buying. They might last for 40,000km or they might just last for 400km..you never know. Just buy new. Also..shock model to shock model there is no difference so if you buy the same line of KYB shocks from TL or the agent you will get the same ride and height....like some of the comments above...the difference in height and stiffness is typically because of the difference between the new shocks and the old worn out shocks. Look around the internet...you will find the corresponding KYB part number for the Toyota part-number and you will pretty much get the same thing. In Japan the price between the KYB and the same shock in a Toyota box/labelled-bag is the same. In SL it is not so because the agent charges a premium for Toyota authorized parts (partly because they need to make up for lost sales due to cheaper parts in the market and partly for other non-sensible reasons).

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kush, tiv - agree with both of you. Very valid point on the damping levels too.

I've used KYB previously too. However, on the Axio NZE141 I noticed a significant difference in ride height as well as the handling, more than what is offset by worn shocks, upon changing into KYB (Excel-G, Japan).

An engineer at TL once mentioned to me that this is because the OEM KYB front shocks on NZE141/NZT260 are a much softer version, with higher absorption, and that the average KYB aftermarket thus results in the car to sit higher. Whilst it sounds like a marketing claim, there seems to be some truth behind it - particularly given that the front shocks price difference between TL and aftermarket KYB is about 120%, whilst the rears are only about 30% higher.

Has anyone else experienced the same?

Part of the reason why I'm trying to replace these is because of a prolonged handling issue - that I've been trying hard to diagnose for over an year to no avail. Alignment checked, never any deviation. Links, bushes, checked and replaced where necessary. Steering rack checked and the 'rack bush' replaced. Tires are Michelin with plenty of life left. The issue keeps me puzzled as the handling is not as responsive as it once was and the car no longer feels 'planted' on the road.

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27 minutes ago, iRage said:

Used shocks are senseless...you do not know the status/condition of the units you are buying. They might last for 40,000km or they might just last for 400km..you never know. Just buy new. Also..shock model to shock model there is no difference so if you buy the same line of KYB shocks from TL or the agent you will get the same ride and height....like some of the comments above...the difference in height and stiffness is typically because of the difference between the new shocks and the old worn out shocks. Look around the internet...you will find the corresponding KYB part number for the Toyota part-number and you will pretty much get the same thing. In Japan the price between the KYB and the same shock in a Toyota box/labelled-bag is the same. In SL it is not so because the agent charges a premium for Toyota authorized parts (partly because they need to make up for lost sales due to cheaper parts in the market and partly for other non-sensible reasons).

Hi iRage, much appreciate your comments. This is exactly how I used to look at same too. But the experience last time has left me puzzled.

The part numbers of KYB aftermarket units and the TL units differ - but this could of course be due to distribution reasons than product differences. Yet, I think KYB has a higher scale lineup which they do not sell here? I've seen some part numbers on their overseas catalogues which are not available for sale here (we seem to import only the Excel-G lineup). Could this be the difference?

I just want to restore the original handling I had in the car, not so long ago. Been having this car for five years and used to serve very well.

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Replaced All four shocks in my Allion, with KYB Excel-G. No issues so far.  Improved handling plus the comfort.

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45 minutes ago, kflyer said:

Part of the reason why I'm trying to replace these is because of a prolonged handling issue - that I've been trying hard to diagnose for over an year to no avail. Alignment checked, never any deviation. Links, bushes, checked and replaced where necessary. Steering rack checked and the 'rack bush' replaced. Tires are Michelin with plenty of life left. The issue keeps me puzzled as the handling is not as responsive as it once was and the car no longer feels 'planted' on the road.

Did you check the rubber bushes, some times they are replaced with aftermarket inferior ones

Also was alignment checked with the original specs, some times I've seen them using specs of other models variants/ older models if the actual specs are not available in their data base.

Some times KYB Exel-G has higher damping pressure which tends to stretch the coils a bit than the originals. I've notice that they settle with time. Higher damping should be better for handling if that is your concern.

 

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I would never recommend used shock absorbers. Like other pointed out, most of them might have been sitting with water, dust and rust.

I personally had bad experience after using KYB Excel-G in my previously owned Corolla 121, so I would never recommend anyone to use them. I bought them from the agent (T**s agencies) but after installing the I experienced no difference in ride height but a significant reduction in comfort. Usually reconditioned(G,X and Luxel grades) are more comfortable than the brand new imported xli,gli,lx limited variants. But with the new shocks I was amazed how comfortable was the brand new imported ones. Even on the carpeted roads I felt a notable reduction on comfort. On the other hand handling was much better and I would still choose 121 over a 260 Allion anytime for driving pleasure. At the moment I prefer a comfortable and relaxing drive over a sporty drive without hesitation. 

I also heard that Toyo Lan uses higher quality grade of KYBs but don't know about the truth.@kflyer What is the price Toyo Lan quoted for shock absorbers? I also need to change the shocks of my 260 Allion and I will not put KYBs ever again, because I bought the car recently and hope to keep it for another 4-5 years.

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19 minutes ago, alpha17 said:

I would never recommend used shock absorbers. Like other pointed out, most of them might have been sitting with water, dust and rust.

I personally had bad experience after using KYB Excel-G in my previously owned Corolla 121, so I would never recommend anyone to use them. I bought them from the agent (T**s agencies) but after installing the I experienced no difference in ride height but a significant reduction in comfort. Usually reconditioned(G,X and Luxel grades) are more comfortable than the brand new imported xli,gli,lx limited variants. But with the new shocks I was amazed how comfortable was the brand new imported ones. Even on the carpeted roads I felt a notable reduction on comfort. On the other hand handling was much better and I would still choose 121 over a 260 Allion anytime for driving pleasure. At the moment I prefer a comfortable and relaxing drive over a sporty drive without hesitation. 

I also heard that Toyo Lan uses higher quality grade of KYBs but don't know about the truth.@kflyer What is the price Toyo Lan quoted for shock absorbers? I also need to change the shocks of my 260 Allion and I will not put KYBs ever again, because I bought the car recently and hope to keep it for another 4-5 years.

This is the issue I'm having too. There was a lack of comfort after switching to KYB last time. The TL prices were about 34k each for front, and about 16k each for rear. KYB generic ones are 14k  and 12k each comparatively.

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2 hours ago, kush said:

Did you check the rubber bushes, some times they are replaced with aftermarket inferior ones

Also was alignment checked with the original specs, some times I've seen them using specs of other models variants/ older models if the actual specs are not available in their data base.

Some times KYB Exel-G has higher damping pressure which tends to stretch the coils a bit than the originals. I've notice that they settle with time. Higher damping should be better for handling if that is your concern.

 

The rubber bushes of? I've replaced the links with non-OEM ones, trying to resolve the issue. Made no difference.

The alignment was checked from multiple places. Tried different configurations and even zero camber at one point, to no avail.

I think the stretching of coils took place in my one when I replaced them with KYB first. But in my case, I felt that it worsened the handling?

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19 hours ago, alpha17 said:

I would never recommend used shock absorbers. Like other pointed out, most of them might have been sitting with water, dust and rust.

I personally had bad experience after using KYB Excel-G in my previously owned Corolla 121, so I would never recommend anyone to use them. I bought them from the agent (T**s agencies) but after installing the I experienced no difference in ride height but a significant reduction in comfort. Usually reconditioned(G,X and Luxel grades) are more comfortable than the brand new imported xli,gli,lx limited variants. But with the new shocks I was amazed how comfortable was the brand new imported ones. Even on the carpeted roads I felt a notable reduction on comfort. On the other hand handling was much better and I would still choose 121 over a 260 Allion anytime for driving pleasure. At the moment I prefer a comfortable and relaxing drive over a sporty drive without hesitation. 

I also heard that Toyo Lan uses higher quality grade of KYBs but don't know about the truth.@kflyer What is the price Toyo Lan quoted for shock absorbers? I also need to change the shocks of my 260 Allion and I will not put KYBs ever again, because I bought the car recently and hope to keep it for another 4-5 years.

Hmm r u sure its original japanese shocks? There was two other flavours Malaysian KYB and Klassic KYB. Im not sure what went wrong for u 🤔

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2019 at 7:05 PM, kflyer said:

 

An engineer at TL once mentioned to me that this is because the OEM KYB front shocks on NZE141/NZT260 are a much softer version, with higher absorption, and that the average KYB aftermarket thus results in the car to sit higher. Whilst it sounds like a marketing claim, there seems to be some truth behind it - particularly given that the front shocks price difference between TL and aftermarket KYB is about 120%, whilst the rears are only about 30% higher.

 

Nope..it is the same....the Toyota numbers are different from the KYB numbers ! That is a given ! Like I said before, there are conversion tables out there which will say what the KYB part number for a certain Toyota shock absorber part number is ! For example,  48510-12F10 Toyota part number might be KYB number 33318902 or something. Same goes with other parts like spark plugs, etc....

The reason why TL shocks are 120% more expensive is of three fold:

1. It not because they are different but because they yarn tales to justify/hide keeping a large markup. Last year I bought all 4 shock absorbers, lower and upper control arms and stabilizer links, steering knuckle joints, bushes, and dust boots for our RAV4 in Japan from my local Toyota dealership. It cost us a total close to  132,000yen. My dad checked the price in SL for the same parts (before buying them in JPN) and the total was nearly 450,000LKR for the parts alone (one front shock unit assembly was nearly 80K !!! vs 20K yen in JPN). The exact same part ! Same Toyota box, same numbers. The 132,000yen with 40% import tax (which we did not play) plus another 11,000yen for postal fees for the shock-absorbers still does not amount to what TL charged. (at the time the exchange rate would have been about 1.33 for 1 yen so you are looking at about 255K LKR, that is pressuming we paid full taxes, versus 450K ...a markup of 200K ???

2.  Sometimes the manufacturer sells entire kits whilst the source manufacture might sell just a component of the kit (although it would not apply to shocks in some cases)

3. TL and most other agents do not have much parts sales because of the cheaper third party parts flooding the market along with independent part suppliers bringing in genuine parts (and fake ones) from other markets....so the agents have to mark up their prices to account for lost sales as they still have to cover their operational costs. (This is speculation on my part)

Granted the KYB agent might not have the direct part they give to Toyota due to market differences as you suggested for certain models and might just have a compatible one. Even within a certain product series (Excel-G or Gas-a-just, etc...) you get different spec'd units and what you get in SL might be those spec's for local conditions. Also, sometimes a car model might have different type of front shocks through-out its production period for which the local KYB distributor might only have the direct replacement for only one type. For example , the Axio 16x series has 3 different types of front shocks (each with slightly different specs), but fitment wise can be installed in the entire Axio 16x range. The KYB agent might carry only the direct replacement part for just one type of thie Axio shock but sell it to any Axio (so if the Axio comes with Toyota shock number A,B,C KYB-SL might only have direct replacement for A, but still will sell it for an Axio that might have come with shock B or C) .However, the KYB agent (can't remember the name but had their office/showroom at Hyde Park Corner) had the direct replacement for my Mark X...so it is hard to imagine that they do not have the direct part for an Axio (or they just have only one part).

But yes..the height and other aspects could be because it is not the direct replacement but a compatible model added with the fact that they need to be broken-in. Yes...in SL you do not get the higher end options for almost all parts (unless you go to specialist parts suppliers). At the end of the day your choices are:

1. Pay a 120% markup and buy from TL

2. Buy from KYB agent a direct/exact replacement (which they might not have but only compatible unit)

3. Buy a used ones

4. Go to a reputed car parts importer (independent guy) and get them to bring you down an actual set of shocks purchased at a Toyota dealership in Japan

Option 3 is completely a waste of money...only time I would tell people to buy used shocks is if they see the car they came from with their own eyes and watched them remove it after you agree you would want them... but even then...I would not tell them to have much long lasting hope.

I too have not heard of anyone complain much about Excel-Gs for street cars....

Edited by iRage

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I'm not trying to promote KYB but personally have found them to be more reliable than the originals

On a lancer CS1 2001, originals gave up at 30k km, genuine mileage, agents quoted Rs. 54k for the two fronts, had to order and get down KYB with a 2 months wait cost only Rs. 17K lasted over 4 years 80k km and was in good nick when i sold the car.

Honda GP5 2015 originals gave in at 35K, replaced with KYB not the exact but one from Freed only difference in physical appearance was the bracket that held the brake hose which needed bit of a twist. No noticeable change in ride or handling in day to day use.

 

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7 hours ago, aruntantan said:

Hmm r u sure its original japanese shocks? There was two other flavours Malaysian KYB and Klassic KYB. Im not sure what went wrong for u 🤔

KYB Excel-G version.“Made in Japan” was carved on each shock absorber. Bought from T**s(agent of KYB for SL).

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I changed rear shocks of my 2008 allion three weeks ago.Toyota quoted somewhere around 45k (whole kit) for each while the kyb was 16k. Toyota kandy guys said they dont have the shock absorber alone. After changing i feel like the suspension is little bit stiffer but it is tolerable.

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On 6/7/2019 at 4:25 PM, iRage said:

Nope..it is the same....the Toyota numbers are different from the KYB numbers ! That is a given ! Like I said before, there are conversion tables out there which will say what the KYB part number for a certain Toyota shock absorber part number is ! For example,  48510-12F10 Toyota part number might be KYB number 33318902 or something. Same goes with other parts like spark plugs, etc....

The reason why TL shocks are 120% more expensive is of three fold:

1. It not because they are different but because they yarn tales to justify/hide keeping a large markup. Last year I bought all 4 shock absorbers, lower and upper control arms and stabilizer links, steering knuckle joints, bushes, and dust boots for our RAV4 in Japan from my local Toyota dealership. It cost us a total close to  132,000yen. My dad checked the price in SL for the same parts (before buying them in JPN) and the total was nearly 450,000LKR for the parts alone (one front shock unit assembly was nearly 80K !!! vs 20K yen in JPN). The exact same part ! Same Toyota box, same numbers. The 132,000yen with 40% import tax (which we did not play) plus another 11,000yen for postal fees for the shock-absorbers still does not amount to what TL charged. (at the time the exchange rate would have been about 1.33 for 1 yen so you are looking at about 255K LKR, that is pressuming we paid full taxes, versus 450K ...a markup of 200K ???

2.  Sometimes the manufacturer sells entire kits whilst the source manufacture might sell just a component of the kit (although it would not apply to shocks in some cases)

3. TL and most other agents do not have much parts sales because of the cheaper third party parts flooding the market along with independent part suppliers bringing in genuine parts (and fake ones) from other markets....so the agents have to mark up their prices to account for lost sales as they still have to cover their operational costs. (This is speculation on my part)

Granted the KYB agent might not have the direct part they give to Toyota due to market differences as you suggested for certain models and might just have a compatible one. Even within a certain product series (Excel-G or Gas-a-just, etc...) you get different spec'd units and what you get in SL might be those spec's for local conditions. Also, sometimes a car model might have different type of front shocks through-out its production period for which the local KYB distributor might only have the direct replacement for only one type. For example , the Axio 16x series has 3 different types of front shocks (each with slightly different specs), but fitment wise can be installed in the entire Axio 16x range. The KYB agent might carry only the direct replacement part for just one type of thie Axio shock but sell it to any Axio (so if the Axio comes with Toyota shock number A,B,C KYB-SL might only have direct replacement for A, but still will sell it for an Axio that might have come with shock B or C) .However, the KYB agent (can't remember the name but had their office/showroom at Hyde Park Corner) had the direct replacement for my Mark X...so it is hard to imagine that they do not have the direct part for an Axio (or they just have only one part).

But yes..the height and other aspects could be because it is not the direct replacement but a compatible model added with the fact that they need to be broken-in. Yes...in SL you do not get the higher end options for almost all parts (unless you go to specialist parts suppliers). At the end of the day your choices are:

1. Pay a 120% markup and buy from TL

2. Buy from KYB agent a direct/exact replacement (which they might not have but only compatible unit)

3. Buy a used ones

4. Go to a reputed car parts importer (independent guy) and get them to bring you down an actual set of shocks purchased at a Toyota dealership in Japan

Option 3 is completely a waste of money...only time I would tell people to buy used shocks is if they see the car they came from with their own eyes and watched them remove it after you agree you would want them... but even then...I would not tell them to have much long lasting hope.

I too have not heard of anyone complain much about Excel-Gs for street cars....

Very valid points and make a lot of sense. Thank you.

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Used shocks generally are sold with the coil spring as well but it requires bit of hunting to find a good set. Instead its easier to buy a brand new set of shocks

BTW Monroe does make shocks for JDM vehicles

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