Toyota shock absorbers

Submitted: Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:10
ThreadID: 109876 Views:3867 Replies:16 FollowUps:5
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Evening Members.
I'm a 100 series owner, and thought I'd ask the forum a question about why so many of us (Toyota owners) seem to automatically go to after market shocks for our fourbies.---I'm as guilty as anyone, but I often wonder, --are factory Toyo shocks so inferior that they can't handle the rough stuff?---Surely in making a respected 4x4 they would ensure their suspension was up to it wouldn't they?--or do we perhaps not give them their due credit, or get talked into changing when it's not needed---I crossed the Simpson with standard shocks on my 100 series with no issues at all, yet blew two "up market" shocks on the AB in a different vehicle.----wonder if I was just lucky that once -----What's everyone's thoughts on the Toyo's factory shocks ?---I'm always open to good advice---especially impartial stuff.
Cheers....Sapper D
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Reply By: Chris_K - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:17

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:17
We have friends with a 100 series - stock standard suspension did everything ours did with after market stuff - Cape York, Lawn Hill & NT etc. Bad corrugations - well, we normally stop every few hours on severe corrugations to let them cool down. Also good for the driver to have a rest as well. Did we waste our money - maybe/maybe not. I reckon the ride in ours was better on corrugations after the upgrade, and they seem to be pretty good on the black stuff as well. If you are doing lots of corrugated off road stuff and maybe tow stuff, then I reckon that they are a worthwhile investment...moderate off road use, maybe not.

That's called sitting on the fence! :)


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Reply By: steved58 - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:36

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:36
I have used my stock shocks and suspension for Cape York Gibb river road etc and no problems at all I have now changed them to after market mainly to give the vehicle a 50mm lift which helps with towing a heavy caravan it was a bit soft in the rear when loaded on standard suspension I think they can handle the rough stuff if you take it easy and rest them to cool when they get hot But I am of the opinion that Toyota tend to put a softer riding suspension on to give a smoother ride onroad so that it feels good when test driving the vehicle A stiffer suspension for a fully loaded vehicle is probably preferred by most to stop the bum dragging too much and its probably stiffer springs needed more than the shocks that's my thoughts anyway

AnswerID: 540599

Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:39

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 20:39
I believe stock Toyota shocks are quite good.

I recall meeting 2 families at Drysdale Station who had both lost aftermarket front shocks on 200 series on teh Mitchell falls track , one both and the second 1.
The shocks had blown the top seals and they both were waiting a week for the manufacturer to get new ones to them.

On the other hand I have seen numerous rental Toyotas barreling along at to me crazy speeds with no ill effects , all with stock shocks.

I also spoke to the Thrifty manager/owner in Kununurra who do all their own servicing, and he told me they never had mechanical trouble with the Toyotas.

IMHO many aftermarket shocks are stiffer just so the buyer notices them, and feel they have value. BUT if you can notice a shocks action it is too stiff and likely to fail on corrugations.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 540600

Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 21:27

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 21:27
There is a big differance with factory and aftermarket up grade shockers.

Most factory shockers on everyday vehicles are built to a price but also have to be just OK for everything......not good or very good for a specific application.

Factory shockers when loaded up and travelling the full lengh of the stroke can go off due to heat that cant be controlled offering little control of the spring making the vehicle bounce and unstable.

The other thing that affects shockers is this thing called stiction that can make shocker fill firmer then a godd quality shocker that has less stitcion....... Many get firmness due to stiction and valving mixed up and thinking a harder shocker will give a harder ride......long way from the truth.
AnswerID: 540605

Reply By: TomH - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 22:33

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 22:33
My 100 ser front shocks leaked at 130,000. The outfit that serviced it put some others in and they crapped at 150,000.

So much for aftermarket resembling the stock ones.
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Reply By: MARIC - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 22:46

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 22:46
I drive a Patrol ute TD42 TDI 1999 model with coil springs.
And I am guilty of replacing suspension after 5000k's because of a too soft feeling for farm work. I have OME coils and LTR shockies, the are one with a separate cannister for the nitrogen. Have done over 270,000 kms and very pleased so far.
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Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 22:50

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 22:50
I own a 2001 Troopy that has been on 3 trips to Cape York(OTT) included,all over the Kimberly including Mithell Falls ,Kalumburu,Walcott Inlet,around Tasmania,across the Gunbarrel and Tanami track plus many many kilometres on corrugation and have never had a problem with factory Toyota shocks.I was so pleased with their performance that I replaced my shocks at 265000 km with new Toyota shocks only because they had started to leak a bit of oil.For the past 6 years the Troopy has been towing a camper trailer to the NTerritory on my hunting trips where the car gets quite a hammering.I can only say that after market shocks are a waste of money in my opinion as I have seen many failures with them on my travels.I don't think Toyota would put crap shocks on a vehicle designed to take the rough stuff.The only after market thing I put on was a set of Firestone air bags on the rear to help with the load while towing.
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 00:11

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 00:11
I travel a lot with a mate - Gibb, Mitchell Plateau, Simpson, Cape, Googs etc - and we both have Hilux utes.
We both tow trailers of approx same weight, and he has standard suspension while I have the aftermarket gear.
Neither of us has had any problem in more than 100,000 kms from new, and he probably saved about $2000!
I went for my OME kit because I carry a much heavier canopy (and have had a GVM upgrade).
The other main difference is that my two-inch lift has given me the advantage in quite a few tough rocky sections and sharp dips/crossings, where he has copped a bit of panel damage because his vehicle travels lower.
Very happy with my suspension, but have to say that without the additional weight I'm sure I'd be fine with the standard kit.
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Reply By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 08:45

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 08:45
A few years ago now we sat in on a discussion about the CSR given by Eric and Ronelle Gard who wrote the book ' The Canning Stock Route a travellers guide'. At the time of their talk, they had driven the CSR a mere 18 times as I remember it. The discussion covered a lot of details and of course suspension came up.
These guys used original factory components without any serious failures and had seen all brands of aftermarket suspensions fail at some point, the clincher that they emphasized strongly was not to overload the car.
All kinds of tips were suggested to achieve this, for instance pooling some tools and equipment. With a few vehicles travelling remote together, it is not necessary for every vehicle in the group to carry a full workshop of tyre removal kit, spanners, sockets, welders, jumper leads, hi-lift jacks, trolley jacks and so on.
Another tip was to lay all the camping gear that you think you need out on the garage floor and seriously think about each item. Do you really need the Cobb oven and fuel, a camp oven, the Weber bbq etc. A lot of people seemed to governed by space, ' keep loading until nothing else fits'. When weight and practicality should be the governing factors.
Cheers, Kanga.
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 10:18

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 10:18
You don't hear people say that they have upgraded their shocks because the the factory ones are unreliable but do so for better performance and handling and often coinciding with a suspension lift.
I have always found my vehicles to be better suited for my use with quality after market products that are made specific for my own usage requirements but I would not necessarily say that I have improved their reliability as a result.
Like a lot of items on your vehicle , they are made for they average user to operate in most general circumstances and I view changing shocks no differently to changing from factory tyres, brakes, sidesteps etc to specific products that suit my needs better.

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Reply By: gbc - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:06

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:06
Depends on what weight you add and the mods you make. I did just the springs in the ranger and kept the shocks when it was new. The front has a steel bar and winch. Just recently I replaced the factory rubber with LT all terrains of a larger size (265 75 16) - the front shocks are struggling noticeably to control the extra weight of the new tyres.
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:15

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:15
I have to also make the comment that there are aftermarket shocks and aftermarket shocks. I have bought lots in my time 4WDing and I have come to this conclusion.

The best and IMHO only aftermarket shocks to buy are those that are sold in the maker's name.
I trust Bilstein, Koni, KYB, Boge, and very few others ( maybe Monroe seeing I have some on the car now and am happy ). I have had Koni and I currently have them on my camper trailer and they are great. I have had Bilstein but have been turned away as they are single tube , and I have ruined some from rock hits.

Many different brands on the Australian market are made by one company COFAP which is a Brazilian company and the biggest shock maker in the World it is said.
These are sold at all sorts of different price points and maybe have different quality components , but who knows.
There are probably other manufacturers from China that now supply the Australian market.
Regards Philip A
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 17:44

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 17:44
I'm a fan of the factory Toyota shocks - they are branded Tokico and made in Japan. Sounds a lot better to me than Cofap, Made in Brazil. I've never had a failed factory shock. Seen a lot of aftermarket shocks fail in rough country. And go price them and they are cheaper than any aftermarket shocks.

I usually upgrade my springs to take the heavier load and get a bit more clearance. That what I've done to my last 4 Toyotas. The 2 Prados and the HDJ79 did a huge number of trips - Madigan Line (x2), Anne Beadell Hwy (x8), Simpson desert (x6) Gunbarrell, Canning, High Country etc etc etc I also run factory shocks with heavier springs in the 200series but health reasons have prevented it getting the same workout over the past 2 years.

Main downside is that the rear suspension won't have the extra droop of the aftermarket shocks. But for reliability, they are worth every cent.

I have also done some kms on Old Man Emu - they were softer than the factory shocks so ditched them after 2 years, and had some Terrain Tamers which were fine for about 2 years. Never seen a Koni fail. Seen a few Bilsteins fail.
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 19:33

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 19:33
My 2 bobs worth, we have had our 150 prado from new, personally feels much better to drive, very little body roll on the black top, great towing the boat or camper trailer.. The extra ground clearance to, helps with launch and retreive with the boat, ie waves washing up the ramp... as well as the obvious advantage..
Have had old man emu, since the car was about 2 months old... I consider it to be money well spend... My opinion anyway. Cheers Odog
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Reply By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 20:54

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 20:54
Thanks everyone, that was a great cross section reply ---In closing the debate off, I wondered wether any one knows what actual brand of shocks Toyota use.---I'm sure they don't make them themselves, and like a lot of their parts would be outsourced.---Is there a name or logo on them, or a company that has the contract?---just curious
Cheers ...Sapper D
AnswerID: 540661

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 00:10

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 00:10
across all toyota models they will be either Tokico or KYB....both japanese manufacturers of both OEM and aftermarket shocks.

We have not seen much of either as aftermarket product in the country for a while.

Both where supplying OEM gas shocks on japanese car makers when munroe was still supplying old technology oil shocks to the australian manufacturers.

Both companies where right there in the early days of gas shocks.....back in the 80's and 90s a hell of a lot of competitive vehicles ran KYB gas...because it was pretty well KYB or take out a bank loan, remorgage the house and buy Bilstine.

The one thing I can say for certain, because of the way Toyotas are sprung, they both depend on good shocks and are very hard on shocks..

As has been said...there are after market shocks and aftermarket shockers....many of the aftermarket shocks are simply badge engineered product sold for much more than they are worth.

As far as toyota shocks failing.....well define "fail"........are we talking about spilling their guts or just not working very well.

There are lots of toyotas running arround with buggered shocks doing bugger all.......but they have not "failed" and they are not likley to.

I have two 2wd one 4wd......both where riding like drays when I baught them......when I replaced the original shocks ( myself) it was plainly obvious that there was not one properly functioning shock absorber between the two vehicles......but they had not "failed".

I have to agree that you need to buy sockabsorbers from a company that either manufactures them or at least has the capacity to design and test them.......not just specify the paint colour and design a sticker.

My personal preference these days is EFS...they may not actually make their own shockabsorbers , but they are a suspension company and know their business.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 06:42

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 06:42
Yes I remember running Tokico shocks in my RX3 and RX7 Mazdas back in the day when Alan Moffat was driving them at Bathurst
My 79 series and Hilux both had Tokico as OEM equipment

Ultimate Suspension is another great Australian company that custom build their suspension components and shocks to suit your requirements
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 08:14

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 08:14
Tokico was mentioned above.
Been around for 50 years.
They are the original developer of twin tube gas shocks.
Part of the Hitachi automotive group.
I'd guess there might be more vehicles in Australia riding on Tokico shocks than any other brand.
FollowupID: 826567

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 15:19

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 15:19
I dare say that between them KYB and Tokico supply 100% of the japanese car OEM market...and have done for a very long time.

Different manufacturers will be more aligned with one or the may be more aligned with Tokico...but I remember a little whole ago a high performance version of the hilux being advertised with "special" KYB shockies from the factory.

One thing that occurs to me is how a shock absorber is designed to fail.

We see this in many things these days.....electronics especially.....many things that where well designed in the past would either, fail softly or recover from overloads......a lot of product now pushes the limit of the format and there is little room for soft falure or self protection.....gross, catastrophic failure seems to be a common design factor.

Shockabsorbers, like so many things, are all about what happens to a shockabsorber when it is worked hard and overheats ........does it just cease to work well or does it catastrophically fail by spilling its guts.

It occurs to me that many of the OEM shockies may not be particularly good examples of the manufacturers work, may be a cost focused design and barely adequate for the job.....but they may be well designed and may not die a death of bleep oil when over worked.

A less well designed or manufacturerd shock absorber may work better in the short term having increased damping rates and maybe better oils or whatever......but the internal mechanism and the seals in particualr may not be up to copeing with the incresed demands.

This is where a manufacturer who knows their business will know what they have to do to get a reliable product..beyond fiddling with damping rates and the like.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 16:29

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 16:29
Bantam I think you will find that the high performance Hilux (TRD Model) was running Bilstein shocks, I had a set of them on my Hilux

Agree with you that the OEM gear are built for middle of the road fair performance but reliable whereas some of the after market gear is more performance orientated, if they did not perform better than OEM gear no one would anyone bother to buy them
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Reply By: Bazooka - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 21:50

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 21:50
Jackaroo original shocks were relatively skinny but did the job well enough for more than a dozen years before one developed a small leak and I replaced them with bigger capacity Lovell oils . If your shocks are "working too hard" or you're not happy with the ride then the bits to look at are the real "shock absorbers" in the suspension - springs. Shocks as we know are dampers not "shock absorbers".
AnswerID: 540758

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