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Discussion Starter #4
No, they aren't used. Found a brand new set for the rear for a really good price. Was thinking about Bilstein but figured for the price I couldn't pass these up if they would fit.
 

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No, they aren't used. Found a brand new set for the rear for a really good price. Was thinking about Bilstein but figured for the price I couldn't pass these up if they would fit.
If budget is the driving factor, then I'd say go for it.

Now that being said, Bilstein HD 4600's or 5100's (depending on how much of a lift you have, if any) would still be an upgrade over new factory OEM shocks.
 

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What are the benefits of Bilstein over OEM or Gabriel or any other shock?
The biggest difference from what I understand is that Bilsteins use monotube technology and OEM shocks use twin tube technology.

Read more in the below quote:

Bilstein is a well know name when it comes to shocks and performance vehicles, but they don't stop there. They make many different series that benefit all different types of vehicles. They make a Heavy Duty shock for towing vehicles and trucks, a series of shocks specifically for motorhomes, and several performance shocks for off-road racing and lifted vehicles. Most significantly they have revolutionized what shocks and suspension components can offer for sports vehicles. Bilstein has something unique that sets their shocks apart from the rest of the manufacturers; they were the pioneers of the Monotube design. This design offers great qualities that offer a long lasting and high quality shock.

It is important to understand the difference between a standard twin tube shock and Bilstein's Monotube shock in order to really grasp all of the benefits. Twin tube shocks have the outer reservoir and then another tube inside that is the "working cylinder". The working cylinder contains the dividing piston and this is where the dampening and function happens. The dividing piston is small in a twin tube design and allows for air bubbles to enter the oil, causing foaming. Foaming in a shock leads to decreased dampening force and performance. This design also traps heat in the shock body leading to a shortened lifespan. In a Monotube design heat is able to transfer from the oil to outer surface of the shock making it function more efficiently. The nitrogen in the shock is separated from the oil by a dividing piston that is 228% larger than a twin tubes piston, and pressure from the gas keeps the oil from foaming. This process results in a longer life for the shock as well as a better ride and more control over the vehicle.
 

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No, they aren't used. Found a brand new set for the rear for a really good price. Was thinking about Bilstein but figured for the price I couldn't pass these up if they would fit.
How cheap are they? ~$60-70 per shock for bilsteins, which most would agree is an upgrade.

The stock ones aren't bad of course, and would be a definite improvement over worn out stockers, but if you are doing the work might as well upgrade IMHO
 

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What are the benefits of Bilstein over OEM or Gabriel or any other shock?
IMO, Gabriel shocks would be a downgrade from the OEM shocks.


The OEM shocks usually cost more even if you find them at wholesale (a lot of Dealers sell OEM parts over the internet at wholesale prices) because they are higher quality than the Gabriel and Monroe's you find at local auto-stores.


I haven't tried Gabriel or Monroe's on the Commander, I have on other vehicles and brand new they were at best equal to the OEM shock/strut and quickly degraded/wore out faster than the OEM shocks/struts.


The Blistien is a small upgrade to the OEM and will probably last as long as well. And it ain't much more than the OEM shock in price if you comparison shop off the internet.
 

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IMO, Gabriel shocks would be a downgrade from the OEM shocks.


The OEM shocks usually cost more even if you find them at wholesale (a lot of Dealers sell OEM parts over the internet at wholesale prices) because they are higher quality than the Gabriel and Monroe's you find at local auto-stores.


I haven't tried Gabriel or Monroe's on the Commander, I have on other vehicles and brand new they were at best equal to the OEM shock/strut and quickly degraded/wore out faster than the OEM shocks/struts.


The Blistien is a small upgrade to the OEM and will probably last as long as well. And it ain't much more than the OEM shock in price if you comparison shop off the internet.
After my great experience with bilsteins when I went to install shocks in another vehicle I found a great deal on Gabriel Max Control monotubes (their top end most expensive option!). They were terrible.

In less than a year one was completely blown, another was very worn out. They have now been replaced with bilsteins. Instant improvement.

I won't ever waste time and money installing lesser shocks than bilsteins. There are superior options of course, (like Fox for example) but they cost significantly more.

I've also installed KYB MonoMax shocks on a pickup. Those weren't bad, but price is comparable to the billy's so I won't go that route again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I found the new set of OEM's for $45, which is great compared to the $140 Bilsteins (that's if I get them from Amazon)
I just wasn't sure if it's really worth it to pay the extra for the Bilsteins and if it would make a big difference.
 

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Well I found the new set of OEM's for $45, which is great compared to the $140 Bilsteins (that's if I get them from Amazon)
I just wasn't sure if it's really worth it to pay the extra for the Bilsteins and if it would make a big difference.
That is a significant price difference.


~$20 a shock is CHEAP.

I'll just say, that if they are in fact actually OEM then thats a great deal. In my experience the the dealer sometimes offers OEM economy and OEM premium quality items. Typically the premium line is what was actually on the vehicle when it was originally built. I have no idea if this is the case with those shocks. I do know that the dealers offer brake components like this, and the economy line is crap.


That being said I've been burned by cheap shocks and other components in the past. If I were you I'd be wary of where those things came from depending on who was selling and why and I would make darned sure that they were what the seller is saying that they are. My recommendation is going to be to not cheap out here. Do what makes sense for you though! I'm not here to crap on OEM components, or to say that Bilsteins are absolutely the best thing ever.

Cheers and good luck!
 

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Find the OEM parts catalogue, they are on the internet available for download at certain places, look up the part by the part number and you will get the OEM part used on the assembly line.


Yes, the Dealers sell a line of aftermarket parts for some common maintenance items, like brake pads, and maybe shocks. So if you go into a Dealer service center and just ask for new brakes, you may get cheap aftermarket brake pads in replacement of your quality OEM pads.


The aftermarket Auto Stores, like the brake pads, sell several bottom of the barrel lines of parts for brake pads and shocks. You don't want to use those. In fact, I don't buy shocks from auto-stores anymore, I order a quality brand off the internet.


Finally something to keep in mind with shocks, all they do is damping, they should specifically match the designed damping for the suspension system, that changes with the spring rate and other factors in the suspension. In a sense, they are no different than spark plugs. The only proper improvement that could come from a different shock would be, how long it lasts and its quality in the sense how close to the spec damping it maintains, not only new but 10's of thousands of miles down the road.


The problem with damping, its such a hard concept/specification to describe, you just can't list it as a spec that anyone other than a automotive engineer would understand. So, the marketing folks can run hog wild, cause no one can call BS on the numbers/specs. Nor can gear heads say, I'm going to a "X" amount of damping with this shock......


So, when folks say, I put in "X" shock and it was a huge improvement, they may just be talking about regaining the lost handling and ride quality that so gradually degraded over time. Just like spark plugs, hey look, I get better mileage and more pep since I changed to these spark plugs. Ummmm, NO, your mileage and pep gradually declined over the years, so slowly you never noticed, the fresh set of spark plugs just returned that mileage and pep that you didn't notice you lost over the years.


Having said all that, you can overdamp or underdamp the suspension system, i.e. put in more or less damping then the suspension is designed for. Again there is no magic number, the design makes trade-offs for an optimum point to perform well in a variety of conditions. So, like anything, you change the numbers of the part you're putting in, your changing around those trade-offs. So, yea, some can buy an aftermarket shock that over damps, and that pushes the trade-off more toward better handling but a firmer/rougher ride.


The real way to upgrade the suspension is to change it out with an aftermarket system that is engineered and have matching spring/damping rates, geometry and other factors all re-engineered to make an improvement for the type of conditions/application you're looking to use it in. You throw in a "stiffer" (over damped) shock, you're just sliding the optimum point a bit without much changes in the real overall performance.


Oh, and shocks do a lot of work, they do get hot or over stressed. That is why you see some off-road vehicles that have these funky monster shocks with remote oil reservoirs, to handle the stress and heat created by the huge loads they put on them.
 

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Just like spark plugs, hey look, I get better mileage and more pep since I changed to these spark plugs. Ummmm, NO, your mileage and pep gradually declined over the years, so slowly you never noticed, the fresh set of spark plugs just returned that mileage and pep that you didn't notice you lost over the years.
Funny that you said that, I just had all 16 of my spark plugs changed out at 82,400 miles.

One of my exhaust plugs was really jacked up as it turns out.

2 or 3 of the other intake plugs were somewhat worn.
 
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