Caring For Shocks And Struts
by Pat Goss
PAT GOSS: Out of sight out of mind typically describes how people feel about shocks and struts. Well that could be a real disaster, and here to give us some pointers is Mac McGovern from KYB. America. Welcome to Goss’s Garage.
MAC MCGOVERN, KYB AMERICA: Thanks for having me, Pat.
GOSS: All right now tell me a little bit about KYB.
MCGOVERN: KYB is the world’s largest supplier of original equipment shocks and struts for brand new vehicles, but we also distribute our products to the aftermarket, to Pat’s Garage as a matter of fact.
GOSS: Okay, now we’ve got a lot of things laid out here. This is the first one; tell me a little bit about this particular unit
MCGOVERN: Sure, we call this our G-R-Two, and it’s a twin-tube construction, and it’s what you’ll find on most original equipment products. What happens on this unit is the action [goes up and down] and it’s moving hydraulic fluid in and out of an inner and outer chamber. This is on most brand new vehicles, about 80 percent of them, and the G-R-Two is something you’d put back on a vehicle if you were trying to restore it’s original handling and control characteristics.
GOSS: But how does that work? There are other things under the car that are worn and we’re going to put the original back on?
MCGOVERN: Sure, well we’ve got a little trick there because what the G-R-Two does is we’ve increased the dampening rate just slightly enough to compensate for those other components, so it’s going to work better on the cars that you’re working on.
GOSS: Okay. Now, single tube shocks, like we have here.
GOSS: What is the real difference?
MCGOVERN: We’ve got two of those models. These would be considered an upgrade in most cases. We’ve got a gas adjust where you put on a SUV or a mini-van or vehicles that you use kind of everyday where you want more performance, or in the case of our truck shock you put this on a vehicle where you’re doing a lot of heavy work. And as you can see in comparison to the twin tube, the inner chamber is much larger on this unit. The major difference is that there’s no air anywhere in the hydraulic chambers. Instead the nitrogen high-pressure gas is below a floating piston, and as this unit moves up and down it pushes against this floating piston and it allows the unit to perform better over bumps as well as for body-roll and nose-dive. It controls those heavier loads a lot better than a twin tube could so we consider this an upgrade on most vehicles.
GOSS: So you actually have some choices depending on what you want out of your replacements.
MCGOVERN: That’s true. In most cases a strut is a strut and there aren’t really any upgrade choices, but where you’ve got a shock absorber you can actually restore that vehicle’s original capability or you can increase its capabilities with a couple of different choices.
GOSS: Hey, interesting stuff! Thank you so much.
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