how long do truck front springs last?

Joined
Apr 30, 2003
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austin, texas
..and what do the front shocks do versus what the springs do? I ask this because another member posted his story about changing the front shocks on his toyota tundra. when removed, the could easily move the shocks with his hands - in other words they were totally shot and doing nothing at all - the springs were doing all the work. so i started wondering, how can you tell when your shots are fading? do any of you actually replace them? and if the front springs can do all the work, what do the shocks actually do?
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
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I can move new shocks with my hands, just slowly. You can hear the oil oozing through the valves, makes a viscous sucking sound. Springs hold the vehicle up. Shocks keep the bouncing down. It would probably be 4x as hard to move a shock 2x as fast. Shocks go bad so slowly there is no definitive time to replace them. But new ones are usually a night and day difference! Might be "fun" to get new ones about halfway through your expected ownership cycle, eg at 100k miles if you plan to go 200k.
 
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Feb 1, 2009
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Texas
 Originally Posted By: mikeinaustin
when removed, the could easily move the shocks with his hands - in other words they were totally shot and doing nothing at all - the springs were doing all the work.
Springs and shocks do completely different jobs. The springs hold up the weight of the vehicle, and allow the axle (or independent suspension) to move relative to the body. The shocks provide resistance to the movement of the suspension, so that the vehicle won't just bounce up and down endlessly, or the wheels won't bounce off the road. Springs last a really long time unless they're overloaded. Shocks start wearing out the minute you start using them. They pump oil around through a series of internal valves to provide calibrated resistance to movement, and as the piston and valves wear, the resistance goes away. Also the oil can leak out of the seal goes bad. Shocks can last up to 100k miles, but it really depends on how the vehicle is used. A 4x4 that actually goes offroad will wear them much faster than a truck that just goes to the mall.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
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..and what do the front shocks do versus what the springs do? Shock absorbers don't really absorb shock as the name implies. The springs are the ones that absorb the shock and it's the job of the shocks to stabilize the spring. When you see a vehicle that continually bounces after a hitting a bump that's a good indication that it needs new shocks. Generally your vehicle should oscillate 1-1/2 cycles after pushing down on either the front or back. In other words if you push down on the front it should bounce up past center and go back to rest. As far as springs go they absorb the up and down movement of the wheels.
 
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Feb 11, 2006
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Watkins Glen, NY USA
Maybe this will help. In two Ford Ranger 2wd 4cyl manuals - one short bed and one long bed -both ~3100 lbs: I went through shocks driving interstates about every 20-30k mi. these were the Monroe cheapo yellow ones. Soft riding, comfy junk. Don't want a lounge chair on wheels. (~$80/set). Switched to Gabriel double valved shocks (~$200/set) and they lasted 50k and it handled far better. Cornered like a sports car and drove it as such. A relatively lightweight truck - cheap shocks driven easy don't last and good shocks driven hard 2.5x life.
 
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
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Tennessee
Like the others have said springs last a long time without gross overloading. I replaced my OEM nissan shocks on a 97 4x4 at 75k miles. I used bilstine(sp) and it was like a completely new truck. If you notice your truck bouncing more and more it may be time to change. My old shocks were shot, They would go in and out quickly with just finger pressure. PS spray your shock mount bolts with break-free daily the the week prior and they will come right off.
 
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Jan 29, 2009
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Nissan OEM shocks last roughly 20-30k miles. 1st gen xterra owners including myself have reported OE shocks dying quite quickly. Mine were dead when I bought the truck used. Replaced the fronts at 33k, the rears at 37k due to money issues. Replaced em with Bilsteins which are rated for 60-80k miles. Took the OEM shocks off and hand compressed em without any real effort, they never came undone. The rears were much the same, the ride was overly soft causing a pogo effect in my truck. After the replacement the shocks keep my wheels planted to the ground, no more screeching tires around a turn at slow speeds(due to bumps), turns etc feel more stable. Usually around 70k is when shocks should be changed or inspected(bounce the ront/rear of your vehicle), if it takes more than 1 up/down motion to stop the bounce and its not to hard to bounce it then you might need to replace em. With my new shocks the truck barely bounces 1 time and it takes some effort to even get it to it.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
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Location
Iowa
 Originally Posted By: Warstud
..and what do the front shocks do versus what the springs do? Shock absorbers don't really absorb shock as the name implies. The springs are the ones that absorb the shock and it's the job of the shocks to stabilize the spring. When you see a vehicle that continually bounces after a hitting a bump that's a good indication that it needs new shocks. Generally your vehicle should oscillate 1-1/2 cycles after pushing down on either the front or back. In other words if you push down on the front it should bounce up past center and go back to rest. As far as springs go they absorb the up and down movement of the wheels.
Actually they do absorb shock (energy)just like the name implies. The linear motion is turned into thermal energy.
 
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Jan 20, 2003
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East of IGO
 Originally Posted By: Junior
 Originally Posted By: Warstud
..and what do the front shocks do versus what the springs do? Shock absorbers don't really absorb shock as the name implies. The springs are the ones that absorb the shock and it's the job of the shocks to stabilize the spring. When you see a vehicle that continually bounces after a hitting a bump that's a good indication that it needs new shocks. Generally your vehicle should oscillate 1-1/2 cycles after pushing down on either the front or back. In other words if you push down on the front it should bounce up past center and go back to rest. As far as springs go they absorb the up and down movement of the wheels.
Actually they do absorb shock (energy)just like the name implies. The linear motion is turned into thermal energy.
Truly, they dampen the oscillation of the springs.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
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756
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Northern California
i replaced the shocks on my 2000 nissan frontier as soon as i could get a set of kyb. when i pulled off the oem shocks there was very little pressure. there was an immediate improvement in ride quality. we'are talking less than 5000 miles at the time.
 
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