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Pls. Look At My Shocks!

Rogue

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2003
Messages
312
Location
Orange County, CA
Corvette
1991 Turquoise Metallic Coupe
Please give me your honest evaluation of my FX3 Shocks. I have attached photos. It is from my 1991 C4 with 49k miles on it. The shocks are original FX3 Bilsteins.

I took my Corvette to my mechanic for some electrical work. He told me that my front shocks are shot! He said there was a large amount of shock fluid that has flowed down the tubes and thus the shocks need immediate replacement.

Please look at the photos:

The first photo is the rear shock. Compare this to the last photo which is the front shock (both fronts look the same). Is the amount of soot/grime/grease normal on the front shocks?
Rear_Shock.jpg

LF_Shock.jpg
 

Rogue

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2003
Messages
312
Location
Orange County, CA
Corvette
1991 Turquoise Metallic Coupe
As a follow up, the car's handling seems okay. The 3 settings on the FX3 systems do work as in, there is a noticeable difference in all 3 settings.

I do feel that the Touring setting is a bit too soft and bouncy when I hit big bumps/dips especially at higher speeds. At the Performance setting, they are rock hard. The Sport (middle) setting seems to give the best performance although there seems to be a bit of float at high speeds and bigger bumps.

Because I have never ridden/driven an FX3 equipped C4 with fully functioning/new shocks, I can't tell very well whether the shocks are good or bad. However, in the back of my mind I feel the shocks should not have that floaty feeling at high speed AND should not be bouncy in the Touring setting.

I hope you guys can help me. I can't trust my mechanic 100% because I know he has his vested interest in charging me more work on my car. He overcharges me about 15-20% for parts and wanted to charge me $500 for each shock (shea right), and $500 for parts to replace the suspension bushings on EACH CORNER of my Corvette. Although, he does quality work and I have never had to bring my car back to him for re-work. I can tell he is very eager to work on my car's suspension as he is smelling chee-ching! $$$. When I told him I could get the FX3 shocks for $200 each he was shocked!
 

John Robinson

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
1,555
Location
Muncie, Indiana
Corvette
1993 Polo Green Coupe
First the rear shocks will always be cleaner then the fronts because they are not in the air stream from other cars. Based on what I can see of the A arms and the shock I would think that what you see is a normal amount of dirt on the front shocks. My suspension looked very much like that when I bought my car with 67K on it. The previuos owner had not cleaned the suspension or shocks off. I got some degreaser and used a garden hose to clean off the dirt. I have put 20K on the car since and occasionally will clean the shock. Short version is that by cleaning and watching I found that the shocks were working and not leaking.:)
 
1

1950Johnny

Guest
spray it clean at the pressure car wash and drive it for a week or two. Then see if it's leaking.
 

McSnagg

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
59
Location
Nebraska
Corvette
1988 Triple Black Convertible Z52 4+3
I just replaced all 4 Bilsteins on my 88. They looked about the same as yours. The front units had virtually zero resistance when I got em off. I replaced mine with KYB shocks. Cheaper than Bilstein, and much better quality than a Monroe or Gabriel shock.

The ride and handling improvement was amazing!

Good luck
 

SPANISHVETTS

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,143
Location
El puerto de Santa Maria Spain
Corvette
before 60,63&82 now 90 383 Stroker & 91 ZR1-Sold
Based on what I can see of the A arms and the shock I would think that what you see is a normal amount of dirt on the front shocks. :)

There is not enough fluid in a shock to make the mess on your front suspension and Blistein tells you that the shocks will leak a bit. Pull em off and check em.

There is a machine called a suspension dyno in Europe (no idea what it is called in the US) that will test the shock and give you a graphic print out of what it is doing. Any Racing team that is serious about winning will have one and most of them will take outside work. If you cain`t find anybody on your side of the pond pull em off and send to me. I will run them on my machine.(not during race season)

Blistein will rebuild the shocks for you as well. When they rebuild them they will port them most anyway you want. I had mine rebuilt and am totally happy with their work.

And yes mine have a bit of oil and filth build up after only 18k miles.
 

Rogue

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2003
Messages
312
Location
Orange County, CA
Corvette
1991 Turquoise Metallic Coupe
Thanks guys.

I will clean it up and see what happens then. It just looks awfully grimey, which I can't remember happening on any of my other cars.

Also, I have already budgeted to replace the FX3 shocks with new ones from Bilstein. However, after reading up on some of the issues that may happen, I would really hate to 1) replace shocks that don't need replacement 2) replace them and have one of the actuators act up.
 

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