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Howdy:

I am the owner of a 2004 Element EX 2WD Auto Tranny.

Question

Has anybody had success with aftermarket shock units while keeping the stock springs/struts?

If so, what product did you go with? Back in the day, I always went with top-of-the-line Monroe products.

Any shock/strut tips for someone new to wrenching on an Element?

Background

It has started riding kinda rough, the last few thousand miles. I suspect the shocks/struts are shot.

It sits level, back & front and the springs look to be in order, so the springs are likely OK.

I do not want to replace the springs or the entire strut assemblies up front. I just want to replace what is labeled the following from the Majestic Honda website:
SHOCK ABSORBER UNIT, R. FR.
SHOCK ABSORBER UNIT, L. FR.

SHOCK ABSORBER UNIT (2 for both L&R)

In other words, I want to replace the hydraulic parts:shocks in rear and "replacement cartridge" in front. I am not looking to mod the suspension from stock in any way but to replace the bits that are worn out.

Thanks for any replies.
 

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In July 07, i replaced my rear struts with aftermarket ones from trick trucks,they are just like the oem but ride a little better.The brand is KYB GR-2 gas struts. Hope this helps.
 

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No experience in replacing them on the Element, but the parts your referring to for the front in most cases I believe are still to be considered the "strut" at least to most parts stores. From my experience, a replacement cartridge slides into the part that bolts onto the steering knuckle and locks in with a large nut up top. Anyway, you may seriously want to inspect the top plate/bearing assembly, it may be worth your time/money to replace those while your in there. Good luck and make sure you keep us posted as to what you decide and how you feel about the results. My E has 82k and still feels pretty good, but I just got it, so I don't really know how a new one would ride :-|
 

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Shock Replacement

Monroe SensaTracs are avail for f & r on the internet for about $65 each. The OEMS I took off were KYB, leaking at 50K. Need a good spring compressor and a couple special tools for the front. Rears are easy. Be sure and mark the parts so they go back in the same position.
 

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Don't forget to get the alignment checked after replacing the struts. I know this should be done for the front. Does replacing the shocks in the rear affect the camber?
 

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usually with macpherson type struts your alignment wont be off. there really isnt much movement to throwout camber. the rear wont effect camber w/new also. unless the rear are really bad. my stocks were shot. just put the teins coilovers in and rides like a dream.
 

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The camber and caster on the Element is not adjustable without the addition of aftermarket parts. However, anything that affects ride height can change Toe, front and rear , which is adjustable.
 

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Monroe SensaTracs are avail for f & r on the internet for about $65 each. The OEMS I took off were KYB, leaking at 50K. Need a good spring compressor and a couple special tools for the front. Rears are easy. Be sure and mark the parts so they go back in the same position.
How well do the Monroe's ride as compared to stock? I know I am looking at doing this in the Spring and I'd rather get it done before they begin leaking. I am currently at 87,500 without issues but would rather be safe and do it now.

I know we only have 2 choices, KYB or Monroe for the rear and I think only Monroe for the front. Plus there is always going with OEM.

Thanks.



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Nix Monroe from your list

I've experienced both Monroe's Sensatracs and KYB's GR2s on a 1991 Honda Accord. I've also replaced a 2001 Civic's front and rear struts with KYB GR2s.

After my experience, I will never buy Monroe again and will always seek out KYBs. The Monroe's allowed way too much travel out of the box, where the KYBs allowed limited travel, but appeared to stiffen when you needed it.

For what it's worth!
 

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Not too terrible of a job, but certainly not for a novice, either. You will definitely need a spring compressor to do the job. On my E, the bolts were seized on 3 of the 4, and required a torch to cut them off and replace them. Then when it came to alignment time, another bolt needed to move for alignment, and it was seized. The alignment shop went ahead and did the alignment which was barely off, and then told me to get the bolt unseized and bring it back for another alignment...This is after they charged me to do the first one, and thought I was crazy asking if they'd charge me a second time when I brought it back since they didn't bother to get the bolt loose and charge me, or just call me and not align it the first time....
 

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The lower bolts were seized on mine as well. It was only 4 yrs old with 30K. Hardly ever driven in salty conditions.
What a pain to remove. I have a lift, torches, cutters, grinders, impact guns and still fought with them. You have been warned.
 
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