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Shock Assembly or just the Shock Absorber Unit?

 
Old 10-23-2018, 06:30 PM
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Shock Assembly or just the Shock Absorber Unit?

Hey All.
I have a 2007 Acura TL Type S, Automatic Transmission.

I had a few questions on which path you guys would recommend based on your experience with replacing shocks/shock absorbers.
My car has ~140k miles and the front shock absorbers are now spent and leaking so its time to replace them.
As an FYI, I'm not too mechanically inclined nor have the tools, so I will be taking this to a shop.
Luckily here in Tucson AZ, there is a shop who works on only Honda/Acura, very fair priced, and uses Acura/Honda OEM parts.
They only charge $55/hour for labor but the catch is that they will charge you the OEM price for the part.
You can bring in your own OEM part, but the labor rate goes up to $75/hour. In general, this is much more affordable than going to a dealer.

So herein lies my question based on the experience of how long the labor takes for this task of replacing both front shocks.
I did some digging on the PNs btw and found that you can either buy the entire "Shock Absorber Assembly" (P/N 51601-SEP-A42 Front right and 51602-SEP-A42 Front Left; Items 2 and 3 on link) or only replace the Shock Absorber Unit (P/N 51605-SEP-A16; Item 4 on link, Qty. 2)
https://www.acurapartswarehouse.com/...iagram=1174571
So here are my options:
Option 1: The Shop recommends to only replace the Shock Absorber Unit (P/N 51605-SEP-A16, Qty 2), in which the OEM pricing is ~$176 a piece. They would do the labor at $55/hr
Option 2: I would buy the OEM Shock Absorber Assembly (P/N 51601-SEP-A42 Front right and 51602-SEP-A42 Front Left), and I get the part from Acura Parts Warehouse for $~194 a piece. Shop would do the labor at $75/hour

Based on the experience from you guys replacing these yourselves, is there any labor hours saved by replacing the Shock Absorber Entire assembly (Option 2) over just the Shock Absorber unit (Option 1)?
I would appreciate any input or recommendations on this. If there isn't any real advantage on saving labor hours, I may go Option 1 but wanted to see what others have done on this forum.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:06 PM
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When you ask us guys on here who have replaced these ourselves, most of us don't have shop tools that makes things quicker. It took a LOT of time using manual tools in my experience to swap components. I'd say I spent over 30 minutes on each corner to swap components.
Shops will have a machine that compresses the spring and then swap the components. They can probably do the swap in 5 minutes per corner (just a number, real auto mechanics who have experience with this machine can chime in).

Bottom line, for us DIYers, buying the whole assembly saves so much time.
For a shop, I think in your case it'll work out similar in pricing for option 1 and option 2.

say it takes an hour to swap both front assemblies - you pay them 75+ 194*(2 pieces)= $463.
say it takes an hour and 15 minutes to replace just the shock absorber - you pay them 123+176*(2 pieces)= $475

as you can see, similar pricing. not bad for quick maffs

Last edited by guitarplayer16; 10-23-2018 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:16 PM
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When it was time for me to replace the shocks on my Type S at 165K, I purchased 4 shock assemblies. If you plan on keeping your car for a while, that would be my recommendation. For $20 more, you're getting new springs and top hats.

What's odd is their labor rate is higher for replacing the shock assembly vs the shock unit. In order to replace just the unit, time would be spent removing the springs so I'd expect the labor costs to be the reverse of what you have listed. Option 2 should take less time than Option 1.

As an FYI - I mostly use AcuraPartsForLess when ordering from the dealer. You can use 5NSX to get a 5% discount at checkout.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr24v View Post
What's odd is their labor rate is higher for replacing the shock assembly vs the shock unit. In order to replace just the unit, time would be spent removing the springs so I'd expect the labor costs to be the reverse of what you have listed. Option 2 should take less time than Option 1.
Their labor rate is higher when you bring your own OEM part, which is Option 2. Labor rate is lower if you buy the part thru them, but then you have to purchase at OEM pricing.
Hope that helps to clear it up a little.
Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:45 PM
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why aren't you considering going the coilover route?
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Old 10-25-2018, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MyGuti View Post
why aren't you considering going the coilover route?
Never actually looked too much into it to be quite honest. What are the pros/cons? I'm actually pretty unaware of this route.

In general my intent was go OEM and replace with OEM parts as I go along.
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:01 AM
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At age 10 years, If I were going to replace the shocks, I'd replace the entire strut assembly(s).
.
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:42 PM
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Stuff underneath the car lasts forever in the desert.

Its still tough to say what condition the bumpstops are in. Springs are probably ok. But...

It would be nice to have a new spring and bumpstop and all other parts. I would replace the whole assembly.

The labour is higher because your shop charges more. But the necessary time should be SIGNIFICANTLY less than replacing just shocks.

So the labour might end up a wash even though the rate is higher.

It takes me about 30-40 mins to swap both front shock assemblies with stock units. Start to finish. Duno what shop labour will be. Hopefully not more than 2hrs.

If I were swapping over just the shocks on a car from the desert....maybe 2hrs start to finish.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr24v View Post
When it was time for me to replace the shocks on my Type S at 165K, I purchased 4 shock assemblies. If you plan on keeping your car for a while, that would be my recommendation. For $20 more, you're getting new springs and top hats.

What's odd is their labor rate is higher for replacing the shock assembly vs the shock unit. In order to replace just the unit, time would be spent removing the springs so I'd expect the labor costs to be the reverse of what you have listed. Option 2 should take less time than Option 1.

As an FYI - I mostly use AcuraPartsForLess when ordering from the dealer. You can use 5NSX to get a 5% discount at checkout.

how was the difference in ride?
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:07 AM
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get the complete assembly for a few reasons:

1. easier to install
2. Less chance of noises/squeaking
3. Springs can sag over time causing alignment issues (esp in the rear)
4. Worn springs in the future would cost the same amount of labor to replace and could lead to premature shock wear.
5. Buy new endlinks for the sway bars (front and rear) and think about upgrading the rear sway bar at the same time for better handling!
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:36 PM
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. Decided that I'm going to purchase the entire assembly. In the end it's probably going to be a wash anyway because labor rate will be higher, but most likely require less of it and would indeed rather have a new assembly with all new components for that assembly.
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:51 PM
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Yes, changing the unit as a whole is the best way to go, luckily Acura offers that assy at a fairly decent price. I changed mine myself and didn't have a hard time at all. However, it is key that the shock damper fork bolts are torqued with the suspension at normal ride height, otherwise the control arm bushings will twist and it will ride like poo.

Last edited by tpz76; 11-21-2018 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:37 PM
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If you’re going to buy full assemblies you could find a cheaper shop I’m sure. Or even Joe Shmoe. It’s pretty basic lol
hell drive to Phoenix and I’ll knock it out lol
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