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Discussion Starter #1
Just got my old lady's 08 commander sport handed down to me and need to address rough riding that seems to be coming from the front when going over bumpy roads. I suspect the front shocks/struts are bad.

It's got 135k miles, all factory original suspension. I'm not getting any shimmying or wheel shake or anything like that, just uncomfortable and noisy when riding on rough roadways.

What should I replace the original front shocks/struts with to smooth out the ride? Also, is this something I can do myself?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Is it bouncy and loose feeling when going over bumps? Are you getting clunking?

I might just start by replacing the sway bar bushings since it's really easy and something that commonly wears out faster than a lot of other stuff.

I replaced all four shocks in my garage, but you would need some confidence working on cars and some special tools (that you can rent) to do the job. The rear shocks are cake but the fronts are a lot more involved being coil-over. You can rent spring compressors from Autozone and such to do the job yourself, but if you can fork up the cash to pay someone to do it, I'd probably suggest that unless you're confident in your abilities and have the better part of a day to commit to the swap. Rear shocks can be swapped out in <15 minutes for both without even so much as a jack.
 

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Shocks and struts and sway bar bushings go a LONG way.

I have bilstein struts and moog sway bar bushings and the XK handles surprisingly well @ 100k miles
 

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You can run the OME strut with stock springs or just get a Monroe strut. Doing the front can be a lot of work if you have never done it before. It should only cost you about an hour to hour and a half of labor to get it done and this time of year it might be worth it.
I would allow more than an hour and a half for all four shocks for the first time, and an extra set of hands is helpful, but nothing is too difficult or technical.

Btw, these vehicles don't have struts; we have shocks at all four corners, despite the fact that they are almost never referred to properly.:cheers:
 

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I don't know the proper semantics for shock and strut. The front coil over shock with a strut bushing "shock" of the Commander, looks a lot like, and functions in many ways like a MacPherson Strut. But the Commander has double wishbone front suspension, NOT a macpherson strut suspension. People call it a strut, calling it a MacPherson strut would be wrong, perhaps technically it is still a shock. On this board, if people talk about struts, they are talking about the front shocks on the commander.

One thing folks are missing, the front shock/strut has a strut mount that is a rubber bushing that bolts onto the top of it and bolts into the strut towers. That rubber bushing can soften/deteriorate with use and it would be wise to replace it with the shock strut. On MacPherson strut suspensions fresh strut mounts make a huge difference in ride and handling, the Commanders suspension? Maybe NOT, but I'm very confident if those strut mounts tear or crack (i.e. wear out really bad) it will negatively effect the ride and handling, even with brand new struts/shocks. It's worth the extra bucks to replace the strut mounts with the struts/shocks.

Sway bar bushings definitely, also inspect the end link bushings, likely they will still be good while the sway bar bushing will be deformed and worn out.

Blistein makes shocks and struts for the Commander, OME will say they are too stiff for a good off roading rig. You decide, but most people that get the blistein like them. Another option is to get the OEM from the Dealer, search online, there are more than a few online dealers that provide OEM Chrysler/Jeep Parts at competitive prices, but like the Blistein and OME, you'll have to order and wait for them to be shipped to you.

Blistein make a 5100 strut for the Grand Cherokee (both Commander and GC are built on the same platform using the same suspension), Blistein doesn't list these shocks for the Commander, but people have used the ones listed for the GC and they work fine. Of course one person had a shock blow and Blistein refused to honor the warranty because they don't list it for Commanders. The 5100 strut has adjustable spring perches that can be used to raise the front of the vehicle, whether that is to "level it" i.e. remove the forward rake the Commander comes stock or to raise the vehicle a few inches, which would require new springs are pucks in the rear suspension.

Finally, the one "gotcha" for the job, seen more than a few posts about the lower through bolt for the front strut/shock. The problem seems to be more common for those that live in the rust belt. Corrosion can seize that lower bolt to the lower control arm, and no matter what you try, it will NOT come out. People either give up, or end up cutting bolt out and destroying the bushing in the lower control arm to get it out, which results in them having to replace the lower control arm or the bushing in the lower control arm. If you encounter it, it will add a lot of time, frustration and cost to the job.
 

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The difference comes down to how the bottom of the dampener mounts to the suspension. Struts act as an integral part of the motion of the suspension, whereas shocks are supplemental, only dampening (and in the case of coil overs, suspending) the suspension. If you were to remove a strut from a vehicle, the wheels would flail about and the vehicle would be uncontrollable because the strut actually constrains the hubs, whereas if you removed a shock or coil-over from a vehicle, the vehicle would be riding low and likely rubbing a whole lot, but would otherwise be functional. Commanders utilize an upper and lower control arm connected by a suspension hub spindle, so the upper and lower control arms are functional, independent of the coil-over. Also, just replacing the front shocks on a Commander doesn't require an alignment because the geometry is not modified as the shock mounts directly to the lower control arm with one transversely mounted bolt. Struts use two transversely mounted bolts that directly control the camber of the vehicle, so an alignment is always required after replacing a strut.

With this, the strut mount is actually a shock mount, and the strut tower is also a shock tower. It's such a common misconception, though, that even going to buy new mounts would likely require you to search strut mount rather than shock mount. And yes, as Mongo pointed out, always replace your mounts when replacing the shocks, as they are an inexpensive and necessary wear part to replace.

As for the lower bolt issue, I can see how that could be a problem in the rust belt, but mine came off with no issues. Anything beyond surface rust is uncommon up here though as we don't salt our roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
would it be best just to get these and be done with it?

MONROE Part # 171377R
MONROE Part # 171377L

 

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Getting a whole unit instead of the shock/strut would save you a few minutes of effort.

Thing is, you'd be turning in a perfectly good high quality spring and NOT knowing if the replacement spring was as high quality, maybe lesser.

My preference, I'd get a shock and strut mount and take the old unit apart and re-use the spring. Of course I also own the spring compressors, have air tools and good assortment of hand tools to deal with getting those things apart.

You're short on tools, and are willing to risk the quality of the spring may be different (and likely that is a low risk) the whole unit might be a good option for you.
 

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I had really good luck with Monroe quick struts on a previous vehicle. I hate spring compressors and the safety risk involved, so I would definitely suggest a quick assembly if you are leery about the project. I would have done a quick assembly if I weren't doing a lift when I replaced my shocks. As I recall, those particular part numbers have good reviews on Amazon as well, as a little more piece of mind.
 

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I would allow more than an hour and a half for all four shocks for the first time, and an extra set of hands is helpful, but nothing is too difficult or technical.
I was talking about shop rates to give him an idea of what it would cost to have the fronts done in labor. Not sure what the actual book time is but I can't imagine it being more then two hours. Although I was quoted 8/10 of an hour to change a coolant reservoir tank once so who knows. Needless to say I spent five minuets and put it in myself. The rear shocks he can do himself pretty easily if he wants to.

The only place I see them called shocks is Bilstien site. Everywhere else calls them struts. Can get confusing for people so I call them struts all the time.

would it be best just to get these and be done with it?

MONROE Part # 171377R
MONROE Part # 171377L
If you really want to do the job yourself than this is probably the way to go. I don't think you said which motor you have but I wouldn't want to compress a Hemi spring with a spring compressor you can borrow from autozone.
 

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...Struts act as an integral part of the motion of the suspension, whereas shocks are supplemental, only dampening (and in the case of coil overs, suspending) the suspension....
The only place I see them called shocks is Bilstien site. Everywhere else calls them struts. Can get confusing for people so I call them struts all the time.
I don't know if that is the actual definition, but baring a more definitive answer I would have to agree, Struts (which happen to be bigger and stronger) do dual duty as a shock and control arm for the suspension. i.e. MacPherson Strut Suspensions.

Perhaps, and I could be very wrong, there is an industry term that falls more along the lines of the size and/or strength of the shock or strut. Some shocks that are the size and strength (at least in appearance) of many struts, are often listed as Struts by the manufacturer themselves.

And finally, and likely the biggest reason people and industry call it a strut, it just looks like one. The fact the coil spring over shock, they constructed it like most macpherson struts, probably because it would be cheaper that way in mass production, only makes it look even more like a macpherson strut.

And you never know, perhaps the shock for the Commander/Grand Cherokee is used on other vehicles as a MacPherson strut, such a thing is possible.

Schlotzky is correct, the Commander has a double wishbone front suspension (upper and lower control arms) what people call a strut is a coil spring over shock that does NOT act like a control arm on the suspension in anyway.

Honestly, its NOT that confusing, if people call it a strut, you know they are talking about the front shock that looks a lot like a strut. You try to look up a replacement part and can't find it under shocks, check under struts.

And when replacing the front shocks/struts, replace the upper shock/strut mount. A normal shock would come with new bushings in it at the top and bottom, since the commander/GC's front shock is constructed like a strut, the upper bushing comes separate, it bolts over top the spring as the upper spring perch. So you need to buy a new one and replace it when replacing the Shock/Strut. It will probably be listed under strut mounts and NOT shock mounts, and again, you never know, it might be used as a true Strut Mount on another vehicle with MacPherson Struts.
 

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would it be best just to get these and be done with it?

MONROE Part # 171377R
MONROE Part # 171377L

People have gone that route with success. That being said, your likely going to have to compress the spring a bit to get the whole assembly out in the first place, and again to install the new assembly. It doesn't seem like much saved time or effort to me, as assembling spring and shock is not difficult in any way.

Spring compressors are available for rent for zero dollars @ your local autoparts stores. I replaced mine and I am running bilstein 5100's in the front @ a slight lift. For the same cost as those monroe quickstruts, I got a higher quality shock, and a lift. (5100's have an adjustable spring perch for .75"-1.5"-2" front lift.)

This was my first coil over shock replacement that I had ever done unassisted, I did it by myself in my driveway in half a day while keeping an eye on the kids. It's not terribly difficult with the noted possible exception of the clevis bolt (no problems for me) that isn't even required to be removed for replacement of the front shocks/struts.

I did neglect to fully tighten down the top strut bolt and had to go back in and retighten a week later.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't think you said which motor you have but I wouldn't want to compress a Hemi spring with a spring compressor you can borrow from autozone.
ive got the 3.7L engine. however, i have never had shocks/struts replaced on any vehicle i have had, let alone considered doing it myself until here recently. i've got a compressor, impact wrench, air ratchet, and of course crecsent wrenches and a socket set.

Im getting to the point where i'd prefer to do the work on my rides myself, but also can appreciate the fact that there are many repairs that are above my pay grade.

supposing one were to just replace the shock and not get the whole assembly, what are the steps to doing so, and what other parts are necessary to make the swap while using the stock springs?
 

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You can do like others have said. For the price getting 5100 is probably a good idea. You could just put it on the lowest setting if you don't want any lift. Or dial it in to kinda level out the Jeep and get a new look. Bilstien and OME I know will give a nice ride because so many XK WK guys are using them. Also Mongo mentioned in his post what other parts to replace while you're at it.

For a how to check this link out I didn't read it word for word just kinda skimmed over it but it looked about right. Except I just hit my upper control arm with mallet to brake the ball joint out.
 

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You can do like others have said. For the price getting 5100 is probably a good idea. You could just put it on the lowest setting if you don't want any lift. Or dial it in to kinda level out the Jeep and get a new look. Bilstien and OME I know will give a nice ride because so many XK WK guys are using them. Also Mongo mentioned in his post what other parts to replace while you're at it.

For a how to check this link out I didn't read it word for word just kinda skimmed over it but it looked about right. Except I just hit my upper control arm with mallet to brake the ball joint out.
FYI the lowest possible setting DOES lift the front end .75" which Should be level

I popped my ball joint with a hammer as well. No puller needed. Just let it hang with the bolt backed out most of the way but still on so that the weight of the assembly helps you, and leave the bolt on enough threads to catch it when it falls.
 

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There is a lot of good information floating around in this thread, but experience vary too. I'm not trying to start anything over the strut/shock argument, just a general FYI, as technically we have shocks. No doubt it's so commonly referred to as a strut because it looks like a strut, but coil over shocks are still pretty common.

I personally didn't need to use a spring compressor to remove/replace the coil-over assembly, so a quick strut would be as simple as popping out the old one and popping in a new one. If you were you keep the stock spring, you would stick a spring compressor on either side of the spring, and slowly and evenly tighten down both sides until the pressure is off the mounts, then you stick an 8mm wrench on the shock shaft and losen the top shock bolt with an 18mm wrench until removed, then take the shock mount, isolator, and spring off, put the isolator, spring, and new shock mount on the new shock, tighten the shock bolt, then loosen and remove the spring compressors. The problems I usually run in to with spring compressors is the compressor hooks binding in the spring (insurmountable, it turns out, on my progressively wound lowering springs on the sports car I did this on, but not as relevant to the Jeep), the reach not being adequate to compress the spring enough, or the spring compressors slipping off (really unsafe, and something I experienced when I swapped mine out most recently [this is why you want high quality spring compressors!]). Beyond this, you'll still need to take off the bottom clevis mount and tap it on to the new shock.

None of this is too difficult, but I'm not the biggest fan of spring compressors because of the aforementioned reasons.
 

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Years ago I would correct people on the terminology of shocks vs struts vs coil over shocks.... but then realized that words do evolve with time and that industry (not just people on forums) have deemed "strut" an acceptable term for our shock (hence they're listed as struts in many catalogs and you can even buy a monroe "quick-strut"... and I wish Rancho would make a QuickLift Strut Assembly for us...). It was hard... but I finally accepted this (not being facetious, it was a pet peeve of mine) and stopped trying to correct people for using a term that need not be corrected.
 

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Years ago I would correct people on the terminology of shocks vs struts vs coil over shocks.... but then realized that words do evolve with time and that industry (not just people on forums) have deemed "strut" an acceptable term for our shock (hence they're listed as struts in many catalogs and you can even buy a monroe "quick-strut"... and I wish Rancho would make a QuickLift Strut Assembly for us...). It was hard... but I finally accepted this (not being facetious, it was a pet peeve of mine) and stopped trying to correct people for using a term that need not be corrected.
Its new info to me, I know that macpherson struts are different, just not that technically that is not the proper term for these. Thanks for the info guys.
 

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There is a lot of good information floating around in this thread, but experience vary too. I'm not trying to start anything over the strut/shock argument, just a general FYI, as technically we have shocks. No doubt it's so commonly referred to as a strut because it looks like a strut, but coil over shocks are still pretty common.

I personally didn't need to use a spring compressor to remove/replace the coil-over assembly, so a quick strut would be as simple as popping out the old one and popping in a new one. If you were you keep the stock spring, you would stick a spring compressor on either side of the spring, and slowly and evenly tighten down both sides until the pressure is off the mounts, then you stick an 8mm wrench on the shock shaft and losen the top shock bolt with an 18mm wrench until removed, then take the shock mount, isolator, and spring off, put the isolator, spring, and new shock mount on the new shock, tighten the shock bolt, then loosen and remove the spring compressors. The problems I usually run in to with spring compressors is the compressor hooks binding in the spring (insurmountable, it turns out, on my progressively wound lowering springs on the sports car I did this on, but not as relevant to the Jeep), the reach not being adequate to compress the spring enough, or the spring compressors slipping off (really unsafe, and something I experienced when I swapped mine out most recently [this is why you want high quality spring compressors!]). Beyond this, you'll still need to take off the bottom clevis mount and tap it on to the new shock.

None of this is too difficult, but I'm not the biggest fan of spring compressors because of the aforementioned reasons.
Those things sure scare the crap out of me. It's good to have a healthy respect for the amount of stored energy you have there when they are cranked all the way down. I had one slip while i was reinstalling one of the front strut assemblies. That's going to be a hard habit to break calling those struts, I've always seen them referenced as such :)
 
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