Are Monroe shocks any good?

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I just put on new front brake pads, rotors & calipers on my 2wd s10 as well as upper and lower ball joints. Also on my to do list are the front and rear shocks. I've been shopping around a little bit to see what I could find; O'reilly's has Monroe gas charged shocks for $20 a piece. Rock auto has AC Delco shocks for about $14 each, which is the cheapest they have available. While I want to keep it under $100 for all 4, I'd also like to not get [censored] shocks that'll need replacing within a year or 2. The fact that the AC Delcos are the rock bottom cheapest kind of makes me nervous. I know they have an 'advantage' line that is cheap, but probably has pretty poor quality. Is Monroe a decent quality manufacturer? I spent the extra money on ball joints to get Moogs and I couldn't be happier with that choice.
 
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I have the cheap yellow monroe shocks on my van right now and they are fine. With that said, I wouldn't put them on anything but a junker. They do bounce a lot. I went with monroe sensatrac (black) on my explorer and they are excellent for road driving. No idea about off road. Couldn't be happier with them.
 
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I put the SensaTracs on my wife's car--front struts, rear shocks. They seem to work just fine.
 
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I like the yellow cheapies, but my standards are low. They're better than what was on there.
 
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Originally Posted By: slowdime
I just put on new front brake pads, rotors & calipers on my 2wd s10 as well as upper and lower ball joints. Also on my to do list are the front and rear shocks. I've been shopping around a little bit to see what I could find; O'reilly's has Monroe gas charged shocks for $20 a piece. Rock auto has AC Delco shocks for about $14 each, which is the cheapest they have available. While I want to keep it under $100 for all 4, I'd also like to not get [censored] shocks that'll need replacing within a year or 2. The fact that the AC Delcos are the rock bottom cheapest kind of makes me nervous. I know they have an 'advantage' line that is cheap, but probably has pretty poor quality. Is Monroe a decent quality manufacturer? I spent the extra money on ball joints to get Moogs and I couldn't be happier with that choice.
Better than oem for sure!
 

slowdime

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Sounds like I may be better off avoiding the cheapo Monroes from the shamrock gang. I may end up just buying shocks in pairs and replacing them a paycheck or 2 apart. KYB was another brand on rockauto, of the 'economy' and 'standard' tiers on the site, KYB was the cheapest of the standard replacements at around $30 each.
 
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Monroe Reflex shocks are good. Plus, there is a $40 rebate when you by 4. You can buy them in pairs as long as you buy all 4 by the end of April. The Reflex shocks are MUCH better than the Sensa-Trac. Other good shocks to consider are Gabriels' Max Control shocks. Gabriel has a buy 3, get 1 rebate. Other Gabriel options are Ultra and LTV. They are available on Amazon and at Autozone.
 
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Why spend extra money on better chassis parts but then look for the cheapest shocks you can find first? I bet you would regret buying those $14 cheapies before you got to the end of your street. Avoid shock/strut manufacturer's cheap replacements like the plague. While you're at it, avoid their 'OEM grade' ones also because they are never as good. I'd suggest something like Gabriel's Pro Guard line which is supposed to be better than stock but nothing too fancy. $26 each from Autozone.
 
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Napa lists the Monroe Reflex for your truck, not sure of the price or availability where you live though. If you can find them or get them ordered in for you the Reflex is the best of the Monroe shocks to use. I had a set of 4 Reflex shocks on my Dakota and they were great. When they wore out I found out Monroe no longer makes a Reflex for a 2 wheel drive Dakota so I went with the Gabriel Ultra's from Autozone. The Ultra is a great shock as well, every bit as good as the Reflex. I went through several different brands and models to find that out. Stay away from the cheap yellow Monroe Gas-Matic. Get the Monroe Reflex or Gabriel Ultra if you plan on keeping the truck. When I bought my Gabriels I had a $20.00 off a $100.00 coupon I printed from the Pep Boys web site. Autozone honored the PB coupon and I saved $20.00. Maybe your Autozone will do the same.
 
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@jimmy, if you liked Monroe Reflex you'd probably like the Gabriel Max Control (their equivalent monotube shock)
 
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Both Monroe and Gabriel are running a buy 4 get one free after MIR deal right now. OP may find details on the rebates online at the respective web sites or down in the promotions and sales/coupons forum here. MIR can be a pain but can also be worth it too for a fairly expensive part like shocks. I just got my $10.00 rebate from Autolite last week, it only took about a month to receive it, which is pretty quick for a MIR check.
 
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Originally Posted By: Jimmy9190
Both Monroe and Gabriel are running a buy 4 get one free after MIR deal right now.
But what would I do with the 5th, free shock? Just kidding, of course.
 

slowdime

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Originally Posted By: Bottom_Feeder
Why spend extra money on better chassis parts but then look for the cheapest shocks you can find first? I bet you would regret buying those $14 cheapies before you got to the end of your street.
Excellent point taken. There's nothing I hate more than getting a cheapie part and hating it from day 1. Buyers remorse sucks and I've never had remorse over a quality part. I baby my truck and do what I can within my budget to maintain it well. I know a guy who runs an online parts business. In the past he's mostly dealt in performance aftermarket stuff for full size trucks. I was just talking to him and apparently his distributor has given him the opportunity to take over a large share of their oe parts distribution. He told me he could get me stuff at cost! So once he gets everything squared away I'm going to look into getting some good shocks along with some bed rail caps and fender flares. Sweeet
 
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Monroe Reflex is an excellent shock for light trucks and they are affordable. I am not a fan of Gabriel or KYB shocks. Bilstein, Edelbrock, and Rancho are the only other brands I would use on a truck. FYI - Rancho and Monroe are the same company and share technology. I think it is the Rancho RSX that is the same as the Reflex from Monroe. Whichever is cheaper would be what I would go for. Don't cheap out on the shocks though. Not worth it. Spend a little more and get some good ones.
 
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I've had 2 pairs of monroe reflexes on two different rides and liked them. the valving is very good at letting sharp impacts fly right through and then just bringing it all back. nice. I had a used car that came with sensatracks. very good on-road shock. the cylinders are "slit" at normal ride height so they are more compliant but then firm up as you leave the standard riding height. So it handled more firmly in corners and over bumps but was smooth when level and cruising. Between the two, I'd get the reflex. It is velocity-sensitive, thier top valving, which I believe is the same type of valving bilstein uses. Nothing wrong with kyb GR2's either. firmer than stock. Kinda made my old subaru ride like a crx. very very planted. ride was more firm, but they'd let go over rocks and speed bumps so you wouldn't jar your teeth. you'd see it coming and brace for it and then it was like, "oh." Gabriel Ultras have a good name here. I have no experience with them.
 
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I use the Monroe's on all my cars, and I like them. I have used both he Sensa-tracs and the blue ones. The people who don't like the Monroe Blues just don't like the softer ride. But where I live the roads are bad so I like that in a strut. For most people Monroes should be their #1 choice. For most car enthusiasts, something stiffer is preferred. At least the Monroe's are made in USA.
 

01rangerxl

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Monroe's Gas Matic / Gas Magnum shocks (yellow) and Monro-Matic shocks (blue) are exceptionally low quality parts. I don't know of a worse shock you can buy. The upside is they do have a lifetime warranty, so it's a one time purchase if you save your receipts and don't mind the hassle of replacing shocks frequently if you care at all about ride quality and/or handling. I put some Gas Matics on my truck. They rode okay for maybe a week, but quickly degraded. Part of the reason why is they were DRIPPING oil. I had seen shocks with a film of oil before this, but never an actual drip. That was a first. You are mostly paying for the Monroe name and some bright paint. The rest is scrap metal. I would only use these shocks on a vehicle I was selling. At least if you put these on, you can honestly say the vehicle has new shocks, and someone who doesn't know any better will think it must be a fancy shock because it's bright yellow, though OE shocks with 100K+ miles may ride and handle better. Sensa-Tracs on up are fine. Monroe can and does build good quality shocks, just not in the two cheaper lines. They are considerably cheaper than Sensa-Tracs for a reason. Personally, I will never waste my time and money on them again. The AC Delcos you are looking at may very well be Monroes. AC Delco doesn't manufacture shocks, or much of anything. If you need a cheaper shock, look at Gabriel and KYB. I believe Napa's shocks are relabeled Gabriels. If you want Monroe, stick to Sensa-Tracs, Reflex, OESpectrum, etc.
 
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The Gas Matic and Monro-Matic shocks do NOT have a warranty! Only the Sensa-Trac, OESpectrum, Reflex, and quick struts have a lifetime warranty. Napa's shocks are Monroe. I like Monroe Reflex and Gabriel Max Control
 

01rangerxl

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Some retailers list the Gas-Matic as having a limited lifetime warranty, but maybe that's extended by the retailer and not Monroe themselves. I am fairly certain the ones I bought fell under a lifetime warranty, but I didn't pursue it because there was no way I would put that junk back on my truck, and the amount of money involved wasn't much relative to the hassle. I put KYB Excel Gs in the rear, and Motorcrafts up front. That combo has worked out well for the last 25K miles or so. It does look like the Monro-Matic is so bad nobody will warranty it beyond 30 days.
 
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