Rear Shocks


frito

New member
I just ordered 4 KYB shocks. I looked in my repair manual for a little installation help but it did not say much about the rear shocks. Excuse my ignorance here but is this a job I can do at home?

Are there any special tools required? This question applies to the other two as well although it has a blurb about them in the manual. I dare not say front since I am in the rear suspension section of the web site :)
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
The rears are a straight bolt-in operation. If you have access to a Type II Bentley, there's a pretty good description in Section 6-10.1 and the process is similar. Place vehicle on jack-stands and remove rear wheel. Most prefer to remove the top bolt first, then bottom. Install new shock in reverse, extending shock until upper bolt lines up. Torque bolts to 65 ft-lb. (Bentley 42.2)
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
I just replaced my rear shocks last week. Compared to my trials & tribulations with the front (see front suspension forum), it was a snap. I used new OEM Boges. The ones I took out had 130K and still had no plenty of life, no air pockets or weak spots, no leaks. But I figured 130K was a fair return, so changed them out anyway.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Rear Shocks

eurotrash_77 Junior Member # 2635 posted 01-21-2002 05:30 PM

77 westy, rear shocks are too short needing about another half to three quarter inch to work properly. Tried Monroes, and the German brand sold by Advance auto. The part number for the Monroe's is 20771.

Have you ever heard of this problem?
what type of shock do you recommend?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Shocks of the wrong length and rating will not be able to operate within the design range. This puts an unnecessary and potentially harmful stress on the torsion bar system and other suspension components. Further, the need to have F & R shock performance match means these substitute shocks can cause other problems, especially handling. Many aftermarket companies list shocks for cars because they "fit", not because they were designed for them. "Fits" does not mean they will work as desired. All shocks begin to deteriorate the day you put them on. How long they will operate within the acceptable peak of their performance curve is the criteria to use. "Guaranteed for life doesn't mean they will work for life -- it means the number they must replace under warranty is within the parameters of the extra cost built into price.

[I once had "lifetime" batteries in a Type II. One or both would go about every 18 months, but I'd have dead batteries and poor performance to put up with before they died to the degree the warranty required.]

The OEM shocks made by Boge, Fitschel & Salks or Bilstien provide good service life & performance for their going price. They are designed to handle the 2½T GVWR of the bus, something most substitute car shocks are not. This can shorten tire life so a cheap price doesn't equate to a bargain. Shocks, like most consumable parts, need to be looked at in a total cost/1,000 miles basis that includes side-effect and labor costs.

There are numerous sources besides VW OE. Some are happy with KYB brand, others not. Since the OEM shocks are already "heavy duty" additional HD ratings or premium/adjustable shocks may not justify their added costs.
 
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eurotrash_77

New member
Capn,
I've given her all The KYB I got and this weekend one blew, it was very loud and caused some distress. Do you have the part number for the Boge or a known brand that will have the correct amount of travel?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Since part numbers are constantly changing with vendors and supercessions, go to your dealer for the current VW number. My ancient parts fich shows P/N 211-413-031P for the fronts & P/N 211-513-033 for the rears (HD). They can plug that number into their computer and get any supercessions.

Bear in mind aftermarket vendors will not necessarily use current VW numbers and the vendor's part number for a given VW part number can also change. See the PARTS forum for other member experiences with aftermarket vendors -- stick with one that has a good reputation and a customer service policy that allows hassle free return/exchange. Shocks are a long-term part -- base your decisions on cost per 1,000 miles, not just purchase price.
 
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Tale of Two Shock Absorbers

I now have an 84, 2wd@ 128 K, West-Jetta as they like to call them here in Colorado. 5 years ago and new to the Westy culture, I installed new KYB shocks all around. The Boge & Bilstein parts were out of my budget at the time, as my rebuilding/repair and replacement process was just beginning. Around the same time I replaced the shoulder-less Sumitomo 6 ply with Kirkland 195/75/14 LT truck tires.
I was more than disappointed with the loss of ride quality, which I attributed to the tires. As my education continued and many thanks to this great site, John plus Captain Mike's guidance I made many discoveries on how to care for this great vehicle.
A year ago and after many discussions with our Dali Lama of Westfalias, I ditched the Kirklands in favor of the 185R14r 8 ply Bridgestone 603V's. Alas, no real change in the harshness upon impact of every seam in the road. If you have ever driven I-85 down to Raliegh, NC or Wyoming 189 north out of Rock Springs there are seams every ten feet for a hundred miles. Thump, thump, thump!
I found other odd things about my van. I thought the butt end of the van was drooping until I put rear Syncro springs to compensate for the additional weight of the South African engine hopping to avoid anal retentive packing. After Karl M. and I put in the motor and the springs, lo and behold my vehicle is level and perfect for Forest Service Campgrounds.
Still, I couldn't gain any real change in the harsh ride by adjusting the air pressure in either summer or winter tires and knowing in the long run it would be cheaper to change the shocks than replace all the fillings in my teeth. Last week I replaced the KYBs, as one had conveniently blown while the van was on the shop lift (can we say loss of confidence). Wow, what a different feel on the road! Ladies and gentlemen if you are considering shock replacement this spring please don't follow the arduous path of discovery. Take my word and find the best deal on the Boge for general road Westy-ing. I bought mine from www.auto-parts-wholesale.com/ and the service was a vast improvement from the Bus Despots.
Cheers, Steve
 
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hawaiiwesty

New member
Aloha, I am new to this group so if I screw this up let me appologize in advance.
I have a 1977 westy with a for 2.3L Ford engine conversion.(works great by the way)
My question is...due to the extra weight of the engine I want to install spring over shocks (not air shocks) to keep my rear from riding low. Does anyone know of a bolt on replacement springover shock for my westy?
Thanks, Jason
 

jerepowers

New member
Are all rear 2WD Vanagon shocks interchangeable? (I have a 1984 Westy.)

The reason I ask is I have seen Gabriel Hi-Jacker shocks that are listed for the 1986 Vanagon. But when I look at other OEM or general replacement shocks for the Vanagon, the model numbers are the same for the 1986 as they are for the 1984.

Also, does anyone have any opinions of adding air shocks to the Vanagon. The reason I'm looking at them is I tend to load my Westy up with things like a Zodiac inflatable, outboard motor, etc.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
VW used 3 different shocks, depending on model, market & GVWR. Those numbers were used in all standard Vanagons 1980 - 1991. One part number changed to another at chassis 24E-043-403, but to an existing shock already in use on another version. The Syncros used different shocks and were not interchangeable -- also 3 different ones. Oddly enough, the shocks didn't change between standard and lowered suspension. [Westies did not use the lowered suspension, but most US Vanagon GL's did.]

The 251-513-031G seems to be the most common and supersedes the -031F as mentioned above. -031F is the HD version. I believe you'll find Westies got the HD. Double check w/ your dealer . . . these numbers came from the int'l ETOS CD.
 

patkevin

New member
Which Boge shock to use on rear of Westfalia?

I've just bought a 1989 Westfalia Camper. I believe that all 4 shock absorbers are original. The fronts seem fine but the rears show evidence of oil leakage and do not pass the Capt. Mike shock test found in another posting.

My intentions are therefore to just replace the rear shocks. Since I've seen advice to not mix shocks, I will use Boge's. My local VW dealer advised that the correct part number is 251-513-031G.

Whats confusing me is the different variations of the Boge shock that are available. Some are manufactured in Germany and others in Mexico and Brazil and the prices vary widely and some its hard to tell the country of origin. I'm also not sure how much difference it makes.

Most of them have a "F" as the final letter of the part number rather than "G" which I think is just a revision number and probably doesn't make much difference.

My priority is to put on an appropriate good shock rather than save a few bucks.

Below are the sources I've located:

Bus Depot, $65 - German.
Bus Depot, $80 - German, Heavy Duty - imported by Bus Depot.
GoWesty, $30 - Brazil.
eVWParts, $55 - "G" model, origin unknownn
BusBoys, $76 - "G" model, origin unknown
PartsGeek $104 - Sach's branded.
Van Cafe $69 - OEM, origin unknown

I'd be grateful for any suggestion as to which would be the best choice to be a good match for the existing front shocks or whether I should be replacing all 4 shocks which would then open up the possibility of using Bilstein's or other manufacturers product.

Thanks!
 

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