Monroe Econo-matics on '07 RAV4 - horrible

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As the title says, 16k miles ago with little forewarning I had my shocks/struts replaced on my 07 RAV4 2.4L with I believe Monroe Econo-matics, including stabilizer bar, end links, etc. At least that's what they said they installed, I can't see a label or model name on the shocks themselves. Due to my time crunch at the time I didn't research properly beforehand, I trusted the indy as they are a reputable outfit. Anyway, right from the start I didn't like them, front or rear, but stuck with them thinking maybe it was just me. They seemed simultaneously too harsh and too soft; harsh on sharp bumps but soft, wallowy, and bouncy overall. 16k later, and all those tendencies have only gotten worse. They suck. My question is, are these just junk to begin with? And also, I'm debating if I want to stick with them for another 3 years when I plan on replacing the car, or replace them soon and enjoy my remaining time with the vehicle. I otherwise like this SUV, great shape with 116k on the odometer. These crappy shocks/struts just take the fun out of it. I regret getting these, wondering what I should have used instead. Maybe just OEM.
 
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OEM or KYB. Did the indie shop use quick struts to save time? If so, you're looking at an expensive(all OEM parts) or not as expensive but not as long lasting(Monroe OE Spectrum or KYB) repair to get rid of those cheap shocks. OEM Toyota shocks do last a pretty long time, I've heard of aftermarket KYBs leaking down.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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I'm not sure on the quick struts. I forgot to add in my post, I really don't know much at all about car suspension, so I'm a newb in that regard.
 
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Usually Monroe/ other cheaper shocks/struts are used for those interested in dumping a vehicle early. I made that mistake on a 97 Escort. Thought I'd enjoy it just as much as the stock setup, but I was sadly mistaken. Given the cost to replace everything AGAIN, I simply chose to unload the car on someone else. Too much hassle for the value of the vehicle. On my 07 Focus I was much wiser and chose the Focus SVT kit directly from Ford. Sure, the suspension and handling were AMAZING after that project was complete, but it just made the powertrain and braking seem sub-par (which they were, when compared to the suspension). I also unloaded that vehicle shortly thereafter. coffee
 
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Originally Posted by MoreCowbellAz
I'm not sure on the quick struts. I forgot to add in my post, I really don't know much at all about car suspension, so I'm a newb in that regard.
You don't need more suspension knowledge, you need the fever [Linked Image] Sorry for no help. I LOVE the cowbell.
 
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Yes, Monroes are normally some of the softest, least controlled shocks and struts you can buy. I would only use them for a highway cruiser purpose. They have the Rancho brand for more control, but I don't know if available for a RAV4. KYB monotubes are a great budget choice for more control or their budget line is still firmer than Monroe. I try to avoid products with "Econo" in the name. wink On a side note, were you a plaintiff on Judge Judy about this issue? Maybe I'm just remembering the episode wrong.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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I always loved Don't Fear the Reaper.............now all I can hear is the cowbell in the background. It's the fever. Anyway back to topic.....................Dave - I don't know what you're talking about with the Judge Judy thing, or what the issue was (never seen the show). Someone brought suit because they didn't like how their car rode or something? Sounds about right these days................
 
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I got 50,000 miles and 7 years out of my Venza OE struts. They were leaking badly and the car was crashing over bumps. Replaced them with OE and the ride returned to normal.
 
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Econo-Matic is Monroe's cheaper line. They rarely last more than 30k, and they have no warranty. Monroe's premium struts are called "Quick Strut", although the term quick strut is also used as a generic term for these complete assemblies.
 
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Yeah, basically the cheap econo-matic struts are no good. I think they only come with a one year warranty. Their regular quick struts have the lifetime warranty. Would have been worth it to pay a little more for the regular quick struts, not the extra cheap ones. As others said, you only put those on when you're just about to sell the car and you want something cheap.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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I usually research things to death before I pull the trigger, didn't this time because it was on the fly in a bit of a crisis, and I regret it now. I miss my original ride, and as I said I'm thinking I have this car for 3 more years. It's not that I can't afford a new car, but I want to get my use out of the money I've already sunk into it over the past 6 months (good tires, alternator, and a timing gasket fix). All normal wear and tear items, except maybe the timing gasket. I'm frugal that way, which is also why I take good care of it. Anyway, the engine and everything is good, but if something else major does goes wrong I won't be spending any more money on it, I've pretty much drawn the line in the sand, with the possible exception of new shocks of course. So poor choice on my part on the shocks, it's what I get for making a snap and uninformed decision I suppose. That's good to know at least, I probably can't expect much more from these crappers so no sense in fighting that battle. I guess now I just need to get a ballpark price on what it would cost to upgrade to something that would resemble a good ride, then I can decide if it's worth it to me or not.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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Originally Posted by Wolf359
Would have been worth it to pay a little more for the regular quick struts, not the extra cheap ones. As others said, you only put those on when you're just about to sell the car and you want something cheap.
I hear you, the frustrating thing is that I actually asked when I dropped of the car "you guys are putting on something decent, right?", which he said oh yeah no worries. I was in a rush and didn't ask further, which I should have. I trusted, I got burned, so obviously won't be going back there.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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BTW is there a way to tell for sure those are the actual struts on there? I looked them up online and the look the same from what I can tell, but I don't see any other markings on them that say for sure what they are. For all I know there's other models that kind of look the same but are different inside.
 
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Originally Posted by MoreCowbellAz
I hear you, the frustrating thing is that I actually asked when I dropped of the car "you guys are putting on something decent, right?", which he said oh yeah no worries. I was in a rush and didn't ask further, which I should have. I trusted, I got burned, so obviously won't be going back there.
I don't think you can fault the shop for their recommendation. I mean, you got exactly what you asked for given your budget and make/model of vehicle. It's not like they put broken/worn parts on your vehicle and charged you for new stuff. You wanted "econo-matics" and you got em. The fact that the name "economy" was in the title should have clued you into the fact that there's probably things the manufacturer did to keep the price down. Can't fault the shop for giving you what you wanted.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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I get your point, but just to clarify I didn't want or ask for bottom of the line shocks, in fact I specifically said I wanted some that rode decent since I was planning on keeping the car for awhile and therefore willing to spend the money in the first place. I didn't know they were econo whatever until after the fact, and even then was trying to convince myself they weren't as bad as they really were. My fault for not being specific up front. It wasn't even a budget issue, they didn't offer anything else so I assumed they were at least mid tier since they knew I wasn't pinching pennies. My guess is they assumed I wanted bottom of the line given a 11 year old car (at the time), and I didn't nail it down in advance of the work. Anyway, I do think the shop has some fault here but so do I so it's not worth fighting over. The reason for my post was really about me trying to decide what to do from here.
 
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Like others have mentioned, the good Monroes are Quick Strut, OE Spectrum, or (for trucks/SUVs) Reflex.
 
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Even the lamest shops have some kind of satisfaction guarantee, might only be 30 days though. I would give them a chance - one chance - to make it right, and do over with better struts. I would only pay the price difference in the hardware, not for the labor, not the full price for new struts. If they won't do that, then sure, be done with them.
 
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Originally Posted by doitmyself
Originally Posted by MoreCowbellAz
I'm not sure on the quick struts. I forgot to add in my post, I really don't know much at all about car suspension, so I'm a newb in that regard.
You don't need more suspension knowledge, you need the fever [Linked Image] Sorry for no help. I LOVE the cowbell.
I need more cowbell !!!
 
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Originally Posted by MoreCowbellAz
BTW is there a way to tell for sure those are the actual struts on there? I looked them up online and the look the same from what I can tell, but I don't see any other markings on them that say for sure what they are. For all I know there's other models that kind of look the same but are different inside.
Where the strut bolts onto the steering knuckle with 2 bolts on the front of the car, or where it connects to the lower control arm on the back, look for some stampings or laser engravings. You should see something like MONROE, TENNECO, the part number and the country of origin(USA, CHINA, MEXICO, ARGENTINA) on the lower end of the shock/strut. Sometimes the marks will be midway on the shock body, and what Monroe loves to do is put the part label facing inwards.
 
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