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  1. #1
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    Default Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    I've finally had a little time to drive the car with Sachs shocks and struts installed, and some time to write about it. So far, I would recommend these for someone looking for a good upgrade from stock or replacement for an SVT--very reasonably priced and likely better quality than a KYB GR2 (On other vehicles I've worn out GR2s in about 30k, while I've seen european cars with OE Sachs dampers still in good shape with around 100k). As for price, I paid $162 with tax for the whole car from a local import parts counter (probably the only place aside from BAT where you will find them).

    As for the rest of the car, it is a '05 zx3 SE, with 18mm front bar, 20mm rear bar, and Fuzion 205/55-15 Zri tires mounted on 6.5" width Contour wheels with a 47.5mm offset. All else is stock excep for the one caveat of this review: I changed to SVT springs at the same time as the dampers, so it is not ideal scientific method--2 changes at once. That said, I have about 10 years of suspension tuning experience on a host of vehicles, so I will try to give impression of what differences are the springs, and which are the dampers.

    First thing I noticed while doing the work, is by hand compression test, the Sachs dampers actually have noticeable lest compression damping than (or possibly stiction) than the stock units. Rebound is hard to judge by hand, so no real comments. No problems with installation, everything fitting like is should.

    Driving: There is definitely less suspension movement than before and the car is closer to neutral (although still a little understeer bias--depending on what I see from the tire wear, I'm fix this with more negative camber--stock now--or a larger rear bar). All this is the springs working as expected. Now for the damper part: while a stiffer ride overall, the chassis is much better composed over ripple bumps and where mid-corner bumps with the suspension already loaded used to really upset the back and, it is dead stable now. The better ripple bump behavior is likely the lower compression damping, and the mid corner bump stability points to better rebound damping.

    While I never had much issue with the stock front end, with the Sachs struts, there does seem to be less initial crash to front bump impacts. Again, less compression damping at work.

    One thing I suspect: while I keep saying: lower compression damping, these have all been low damper speed situations (small bumps). I have managed to avoid the larger impacts so far, but even on slightly bigger ones, there is no sense that the damper will blow through it's travel all at once. I'm guessing there is a good bit of high damper speed compression damping. This would make sense on a unit with sporting pretentions.

    My verdict: I am pleased and would buy them again. If you are looking for a race setup, they are not the best you could get, but I was shopping for a good, sporty street damper with no bad traits, and I don't mind spending less if I can get away with it. For that, these have been ideal. The only thing that might be better is Bilsteins if they ever come through on selling them (the basic shock/struts--yes, I know you can get pss9, but before anyone suggests that, reread the first part of this paragraph) here.

    I hope this might help some people.
    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    I located your article via a Google Search for "Sachs" and thought I'd write. I too am a Focaljet member.

    I have a 2003 Focus 2.0 SPI sedan and was interested on your thoughts about installing the Sachs on this vehicle. Once upon a time I was into the Bilstein stuff with my Rabbit and Jetta but I now have a greater regard for my kidneys. I had put the Koni low pressure adjustable gas on my 1984 Honda CRX (SN 000 000 010) and almost died at anything over the lowest setting; kidneys, again.

    AutoZone offers the Sachs and Gabriel Ultras; Checker offers the Monroes. I'd prefer a bit flatter handling but without the bone-jarring nature of most after-market shocks.

    Can you help?

    John
    Gold Canyon, Arizona (formerly from Wisconsin)
    mhs68@mchsi.com


    Quote Originally Posted by 2020
    I've finally had a little time to drive the car with Sachs shocks and struts installed, and some time to write about it. So far, I would recommend these for someone looking for a good upgrade from stock or replacement for an SVT--very reasonably priced and likely better quality than a KYB GR2 (On other vehicles I've worn out GR2s in about 30k, while I've seen european cars with OE Sachs dampers still in good shape with around 100k). As for price, I paid $162 with tax for the whole car from a local import parts counter (probably the only place aside from BAT where you will find them).

    As for the rest of the car, it is a '05 zx3 SE, with 18mm front bar, 20mm rear bar, and Fuzion 205/55-15 Zri tires mounted on 6.5" width Contour wheels with a 47.5mm offset. All else is stock excep for the one caveat of this review: I changed to SVT springs at the same time as the dampers, so it is not ideal scientific method--2 changes at once. That said, I have about 10 years of suspension tuning experience on a host of vehicles, so I will try to give impression of what differences are the springs, and which are the dampers.

    First thing I noticed while doing the work, is by hand compression test, the Sachs dampers actually have noticeable lest compression damping than (or possibly stiction) than the stock units. Rebound is hard to judge by hand, so no real comments. No problems with installation, everything fitting like is should.

    Driving: There is definitely less suspension movement than before and the car is closer to neutral (although still a little understeer bias--depending on what I see from the tire wear, I'm fix this with more negative camber--stock now--or a larger rear bar). All this is the springs working as expected. Now for the damper part: while a stiffer ride overall, the chassis is much better composed over ripple bumps and where mid-corner bumps with the suspension already loaded used to really upset the back and, it is dead stable now. The better ripple bump behavior is likely the lower compression damping, and the mid corner bump stability points to better rebound damping.

    While I never had much issue with the stock front end, with the Sachs struts, there does seem to be less initial crash to front bump impacts. Again, less compression damping at work.

    One thing I suspect: while I keep saying: lower compression damping, these have all been low damper speed situations (small bumps). I have managed to avoid the larger impacts so far, but even on slightly bigger ones, there is no sense that the damper will blow through it's travel all at once. I'm guessing there is a good bit of high damper speed compression damping. This would make sense on a unit with sporting pretentions.

    My verdict: I am pleased and would buy them again. If you are looking for a race setup, they are not the best you could get, but I was shopping for a good, sporty street damper with no bad traits, and I don't mind spending less if I can get away with it. For that, these have been ideal. The only thing that might be better is Bilsteins if they ever come through on selling them (the basic shock/struts--yes, I know you can get pss9, but before anyone suggests that, reread the first part of this paragraph) here.

    I hope this might help some people.
    Cheers.

  3. #3
    Official [FJ] Distinguished Advisor Z63R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    First of all, I can't believe that I haven't seen 2020's fine post and that it has been overlooked for over two years...





    AutoZone offers the Sachs and Gabriel Ultras; Checker offers the Monroes. I'd prefer a bit flatter handling but without the bone-jarring nature of most after-market shocks.
    Of the three you've listed, I'd think the Sachs would be the best choice.

    Sachs has enjoyed an untarnished reputation for quality, and based on 2020's comparison with the satisfactory rep of the GR-2, the Sachs' seem like a good buy.
    .
    "Wine tasting isn't bad, but given the choice, I'd rather drink left-over beer and replace brake pads." - OmniFocus

    2.3 Duratec ZX3 + some bits

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    Thank you for your input!

    AutoZone's prices on the Sachs are 1) $33.99 for either the R or L front strut and 2) $43.99 for each rear shock. Both the front struts and rear shocks carry lifetime warranties.

    I prefer a flatter ride in the corners so I would like a strut/shock combination that will assist in producing this affect along with the fact that I have always run my tires at max cold air pressure...44psi. A hard, unforgiving ride is not what I seek. I've learned this jarring lesson with the VW's after-market Bilsteins and the Konis on the 1984 CRX.

    I understand these cars and their after-market equipment were installed upwards of 28 years ago so have, hopefully, things improved? Should I be looking at other products? How long will the factory springs be viable?

    Thanks again...

    John

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    I'm not sure those are the same as the Sachs he was reviewing. I think those are listed here. I could be wrong.
    http://64.202.180.37/files/fsusp.pdf
    Quote Originally Posted by OmniFocus View Post
    If I have to punch everybody in the balls until they wake up from this delusional coma, I'll do it.
    2001 Silver Focus ZX3

  6. #6
    Official [FJ] Distinguished Advisor Z63R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    John Howard

    Thank you for your input!

    I prefer a flatter ride in the corners so I would like a strut/shock combination that will assist in producing this affect along with the fact that I have always run my tires at max cold air pressure...44psi. A hard, unforgiving ride is not what I seek.
    You're welcome.

    If you don't want a hard, unforgiving ride, the first thing you might wish to consider are your tire pressures.

    Take, for examply, my ZX3's OE tire fitment of 205/50-16 and the recommended cold inflation pressures of 34 psi front and rear... I still run this size tire and these pressures (but 32 rear instead), and I use adjustable KYB AGX dampers set on the firm side.

    I can notice just 2 psi difference in ride quality: 36 psi cold inflation is just too harsh! for everyday use. At 34 front /32 rear with my spring, damper and bar setup, the ride is firm and comfortable... not at all harsh, unless it's below 50 outside (where the dampers remain a bit stiff).

    If you want the car to have a flatter attitude in the corners, think about uprating tthe car's rear swaybar to begin with. If you know you're going to stay with the stock springs, you can try Eibach's front and rear swaybar upgrade for flatter handling, but you must consider reinforcing the car's rear lower control arms to run that package's 25 mm rear bar.
    .
    "Wine tasting isn't bad, but given the choice, I'd rather drink left-over beer and replace brake pads." - OmniFocus

    2.3 Duratec ZX3 + some bits

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    [LEFT]Thanks again for the input!

    I've always used the recommended 185x65x14s on the Focus. Yup, that's all the LX sedan carries along with Ford's vaunted 2.0 liter SPI SOHC. If you haven't had the intake values on #4 fall out onto the piston then you jus' ain't living. $4300 later it was back on the road with a used bottom end and the intake valves staked to the head. When this occurred in the Spring of 2008, Bailey Machine & Engine in Mesa, Arizona had already repaired more than 75 heads where the valves on #4 had dropped. Too bad Ford didn't let the owners of this fine engine know of its problem all the way back to the 1.9 liter SOHC Escort. Sorry, sometimes I become sidetracked. In Arizona we've already hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit...it was on April 20th...and I prefer to run the max cold pressure 44psi. This pressure allows less rolling resistance, a stiffer sidewall and less heat build up. The factory recommended 32psi brings to mind rolling on Gummi Bears.

    At this time, I believe I'll try the Sachs from AutoZone. If they should prove unsatisfactory, I'll just return them. Thanks again.

    For Genuine Ford parts I receive jobber rates from Sam Tocquigny (say "toe-keen-knee") at stocquigny@bobutterford.com in Texas.[/LEFT]

  8. #8
    Official [FJ] Distinguished Advisor Z63R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    ^ Copied from a post of yours on another forum? I feel cheated...

    At least edit out the [/LEFT]s...
    .
    "Wine tasting isn't bad, but given the choice, I'd rather drink left-over beer and replace brake pads." - OmniFocus

    2.3 Duratec ZX3 + some bits

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    "At least edit out the [/LEFT]s..."

    I made a number of attempts to submit my text without error. I believed it was clean when I sent it... Then I checked the output and saw that on which you commented.

    The comments on the 2.0 SPI is a continuing boil over on Ford's inability to address a problem that has existed for years. One of my Focaljet friends indicated that the single port delivered a leaner mixture of fuel to #4, due to its design, and hence the overheating and valve drops. He'd indicated that he'd modified a SPI system to allow an equal distribution of fuel across all 4 cylinders. Staking the valve seats to the head also appears to work albeit after the fact of the design error. To this day Ford has not done anything with to notify SPI owners of this problem. You can add the miserable automatic transmission strapped to this engine as well. Buyer beware...

    Again, "Thank you!" for your assistance. Once I get around the engine & transmission combo...and all the other parts which seem to give up the ghosts at 70,000 to 75,000 miles (like clockwork) it is a nice car.

    However, far and away the best part of the Focus is the Focaljet people because they make it all fun and bearable...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sachs Advantage shocks & struts (review)

    "I prefer a flatter ride in the corners so I would like a strut/shock combination that will assist in producing this affect along with the fact that I have always run my tires at max cold air pressure...44psi. A hard, unforgiving ride is not what I seek. I've learned this jarring lesson with the VW's after-market Bilsteins and the Konis on the 1984 CRX."


    Try running your tires at the recommended 32 ft/29 rr. Running at full cold psi won't let the tire flex as much (and with the short sidewalls, there isn't much flex to begin with). The tire is part of your suspension, too.
    - If you've run out of mods, it's time to buy something new -
    2004 Sonic Blue ZX5 SVT; FS Cool-Flo, FR Plug Wires, VF Rear Mount, FR Short Throw shifter, fog light mod, Centric rotors, Hawk HPS, Russell SS lines.


 

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