Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The shock of the new

The Goat engages in vehicle repair
She dances on the sand, it’s true. But when loaded with passengers and/or recovery and/or camping equipment, the rear of Rio my little Terios is a little overwhelmed. In 32,000km of mixed use, I appear to have completely shagged the rear suspension and am thus in the market for some replacement parts. The ride is fairly harsh at the best of times, and as the rear doesn’t sag even when loaded, it’s my belief that the springs are OK. I removed a shock absorber to take its measurements, and quickly discovered an almost total absence of meaningful damping. That would explain the car’s unorthodox behaviour in bumpy corners, and go partway to solving why the rear bottoms out over speed bumps.

Occam’s Razor dictates that I should try to solve the easiest part of the problem first. As this involves one nut and one bolt per side, new shock absorbers would seem to be in order.

So off to the internet. I eventually cajoled the Google elves into telling me which after-market shock absorbers would fit, and where they could be purchased. Because almost nobody seems to list shocks specifically for a Terios, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time comparing brands with each other and selecting shocks that are the correct length and have the right end fittings.

Length: 495mm to 315mm;
External diameter at the top: 50mm;
Mounting: 12mm diameter ferrule in the eye at each end.

Old Man Emu? 
Well, the man in the shop produced one for a Suzuki Jimny. Probably too feeble for the heavier Terios, but it was leaking anyway and he didn’t have any others.

According to a couple of on-line forums, there are Pro-Comp dampers that will fit, but the people posting didn’t see fit to say which part number. Of the three Dubai retailers listed as Pro-Comp resellers, one had a few for Jeep Wranglers, the second now only does Teraflex, and the third only does Skyjacker. Only for Wranglers, obviously.

Nobody in Dubai, despite what their company websites continue to allege. I’m told that Monroe and Old Man Emu come off the same production line, so it’s a bit odd that OME doesn’t list Terios, but Monroe does.

Iron Man? 

And on the third day I even went to Daihatsu. The original dampers have a Daihatsu part number, but are made by KYB. Naturally, I’ve found nobody in Dubai with any in stock, and I’ve tried plenty of outlets. In any case, I want to upgrade my suspension with something that won’t fail (again) in a year owing to off-road abuse.

The length is good, but I really want a stiffer one.”

Anyway, Daihatsu has only got one as at yesterday, and that was promised to someone else. The parts guy told me that the OEM dampers weren’t really designed for off-road use, and I should look to the outside market. No shit, Sherlock!

A brief foray into Abdullah’s Shock Absorber Trading LLC was a futile exercise in the Department of Not Coming in Dubai.

I could get some Fox racing shocks, but they’re a bit spendy. The local dealer said I should remove the existing shock, spring, and bump-stop, and measure the actual limits of suspension travel. That way there might be more alternatives in the Fox Universal catalogue. I ask myself why he couldn’t do this with his car lift and air-conditioned workshop if I was expected to drop around $450 in his lap. Apparently I should crawl around in the street with a scissor jack and some piles of bricks.

My final port of call produced a suggestion that perhaps some custom-built Öhlins, maybe coilovers to help the existing springs, were the solution. Trouble is, these are extreeeemely spendy. Numbers like £2000 appear on the Öhlins website, although that is for all four corners.

The project is ongoing, but today I’m taking a break after three days of being told that we haven’t got any. I did find a lift kit, comprising a full set of shocks, springs, and adjustable panhard rod and links. It’s made in Taiwan, as is thus likely to be of top kwolli’y, and is sold by retailers in Singapore and Cyprus. I have asked the price delivered to Dubai, and await responses. This, incidentally, isn’t my favourite option, but I appear to be running out of alternatives.



Martín said...

something on German lands? you know I could come in handy...

Grumpy Goat said...

The Bilstein P/N 19-227696 is alleged by Bilstein to fit, but I have no idea of its physical dimensions, nor how its damping characteristics differ from the OEM shock absorbers.

Martín said...

how about here?:

Martín said...

not sure about your particular version of the Terios, sorry...

Grumpy Goat said...

I have replaced my shocks with KYB. These are the people who make the OEM units, but sell them at a fraction of the price if the word 'Daihatsu' isn't stamped into the shock body for an otherwise identical piece of kit.

Having now got new shocks, the maximum and minimum dimensions that the suspension will tolerate, and some serial numbers for after-market kit, I can wait until I'm next in Europe or the Far East before attempting to upgrade.

I'm still extremely cheesed off with the number of shock absorber shops where attempts to buy shocks got the answer: "No. We don't have any."

It's like trying to buy cheese in a Monty Python sketch.

Anonymous said...

How about a pair of Spax KSX adjustables? K70-T-T-0 would be suitable - 4mm shorter at open and closed dimensions. I can get a price from Spax if you wish. I'm still on the old email (think boat).


Grumpy Goat said...

Hi Eric! Check your email.


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