Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Project #14--Four new shock absorbers

I've changed shocks on a Zuki before.  It's not too big of a deal but you have to be able to get into the wheel wells and the vehicle has to be elevated.  Meanwhile, it really helps to have air tools, too.  The only time I swapped shocks in a Zuki was in Gilbert, Arizona maybe 6-7 years ago.  Some guy started a business with the idea of renting out service bays to "do-it-yourselfers."  He had all the tools and he was an ace mechanic himself.  So, he collected fees for renting the bay and the lift and then fees for various tools and then fees for himself if he was needed.  it was a pretty good business model actually.  He called it The Gearhead Garage.  I went there a lot and gave him a lot of money and got a lot done on that particular Zuki.

One project was the shocks.  Even though they look like a pretty straight forward type of a job--there's a lot that can go wrong because of the inherent corrosion that takes place under any given set of wheels wells.  Nuts can be frozen, stems can be slightly bent.  it can get to be a real knock down, drag out tussle with shocks.  That's what happened on my previous shock project.  Luckily, the owner of The Gearhead Garage was able to save my bacon and together we successfully swapped out the shocks.  But I learned my lesson.
I realized just how much time and energy it took for me to do that job and how vital were the roles of the various specialized tools, especially air tools.

So, when I realized the shocks on this Zuki were most likely 23 years old, I thought, "Hum....I wonder how we're going to do the shocks?"  As noted below, we took the Zuki out to Sears with our little $15 coupon in hand for a free brake inspection.  Not only was the brake inspection a smokin' deal in and of itself, but the Service Writer casually mentioned I could get a screamin' deal on shocks, too.  How screamin'? I asked.

Well, the Monroe shock company is running some weird special called "Shocktober," wherein you buy 3 shocks and get one free.  (The free one is actually via a rebate.)  Sears priced out a shock job at $139, including sales tax--that's the out the door price.  So, I did the math and realized the net cost for me would be $106 and the rebate.  Then I priced out the same shocks at the cheapest place I could find them--Amazon dot com.  They are $21 each there with free shipping so that $84. (Local sources of the same shock were equal to or higher than the Sears unit price.) OK, the MAXIMUM I could save by doing this job myself would then be $22, or roughly $5.50 per shock.

Would it be worth it to wrassle those shocks off and on for a mere $5.50 per wheel?  I figure each shock would have probably taken me close to an hour, barring unforeseen problems.  Uh...I don't think so!  So, I was delighted to pay the Sears Guys my money yesterday.  It was a pleasant experience, the Zuki rides noticeably better and life is good!  THANKS, Sears!

PS--The Monroe company must have a somewhat warped sense of humor.  They are promoting their shocks right now in the context of Saving Squirrels.   No kidding.  Click here to see it and believe it!

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