Front Shock Compatibility

Front Shock Compatibility

Postby youngjohn [OP] » March 13th 2011, 2:30pm

Hi all,
I've been reading the older posts on front suspension parts, especially the bit about swapping in springs from a G30 van. I'm not looking to swap out the springs, but I do want to replace my shock absorbers. I've noticed that Bilsteins for a 1980s G30 go for 60 bucks right now from an online Canadian supplier, while Bilsteins for my 96' Astro are 150 each. There is a slight size difference between the two, with the G30s listed as being slightly thicker and shorter than the Astro models. Does anyone know if I could use these shocks with my stock springs? I'm okay with a bit of stiffer ride, and am mostly wondering if the G30 shocks will fit inside the stock springs so as to save money and still get a good Bilstein part. There was an exchange about this very thing in the above-mentioned topic, but the issue didn't seem to resolve either way. If anyone who has changed their shocks can remember how much space there is inside the coils, that might tell me if the somewhat shorter and fatter shocks might work. Conversely, if anyone knows of other models/year shocks that would fit a 96' Astro, advice would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks!
DIrty Old Town: '96 Astro with extra rear leaf, overload springs all over, LT235/75/15s and 250 000 km. Regularly used to haul 1500-2000 lbs of renovation waste for short periods of time.
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby redfury » March 13th 2011, 2:52pm

I can't say for certain since the AWD vans front shocks are SUPER EASY to R&R unlike the 2wd counterpart, but from the front shocks I've done on other cars, I think the only problem you will have with the short shocks is going to be suspension travel DOWN, which would probably only problematic to the shocks when servicing the vehicle or if you end up hitting a bump that throws the front end up enough to reach the travel limits of the shock...all which could lead to a broken shock in the worst case scenario.

That's if the bore of the shock will physically fit up into the shock hole.
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby alexalexanders » March 14th 2011, 2:26am

I would go to a parts store and compare a g30 shock to a astro shock. They will probably let you take them out of the boxes to look at them. :2: :2:
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby JaxSPL » March 14th 2011, 4:05am

I got an '89 astro so this may not be relevant . I looked at the G30 shock compared to the Astro shocks on O'reilly's website. Each one cost $102.99, but model numbers were different. What I did notice is the Astro has bar mount. The G30 did not.

I got Gabriel Guardian shocks. Doubt they'll be any good. hehe
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby youngjohn [OP] » March 15th 2011, 4:10am

Comparing them in-store is a good idea, even if I end up ordering the part online. Even better would be to get the two shocks, and an Astro spring, to see how they fit inside...
Dang, maybe I should just buy the Ranchos for 65.00 and forget about the Bilsteins. Anything has to be better than what's on there now.
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby WoodButcher » March 15th 2011, 5:22am

youngjohn wrote:Comparing them in-store is a good idea, even if I end up ordering the part online. Even better would be to get the two shocks, and an Astro spring, to see how they fit inside...
Dang, maybe I should just buy the Ranchos for 65.00 and forget about the Bilsteins. Anything has to be better than what's on there now.

It is the hole at the bottom that they need to fit through that is the *****.
BTW, Rancho doesn't make a replacment shock for the front of my van anymore, '97 RWD, I had the RS 5000 in front and called to warranty them. No soap..... :evil: I bought them for the ride and "great" warranty,,, :blah: :blah: :blah:
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby youngjohn [OP] » March 15th 2011, 8:21pm

I found some Bilsteins for my model year from the main Canadian supplier (Essex in BC) for just under 100.00 each. That's still around 50 more than KYBs or Ranchos - do you guys think it's worth the money for the Bilsteins? I regularly haul a ton of weight, and I have an extra leaf on the back, so I figured that better quality front end parts would be good.
DIrty Old Town: '96 Astro with extra rear leaf, overload springs all over, LT235/75/15s and 250 000 km. Regularly used to haul 1500-2000 lbs of renovation waste for short periods of time.
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby WoodButcher » March 15th 2011, 11:58pm

I am unfamiliar with the Bilstein brand but I too drive a loaded nan 99% of the time, this is another reason I paid more and went with Rancho gas shock. If the van is heavily laden you want the heavier shock, no doubt. Get the best you can find and don't sweat a few extra dollars spent.

When my rancho broke I needed replacement immediadly and bought the best Monroe brand gas shock they had in stock and they are not as good as the rancho were. Rancho needed the numbers stamped into the shock cylinder for warranty replacement. (lifetime warranty) I could not read the number without removing them so I was in a catch 22 as I needed to drive the truck daily. When the front broke I replaced them all and called on the warranty, I got the rears but sadly the don't make the front any more. :screaming:
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby youngjohn [OP] » March 16th 2011, 1:20pm

That's a bummer about the warranty. I guess maybe if I don't do the Bilsteins, I'll get the KYBs, to avoid the same problem. I imagine the '96 and '97 front ends are the same. I was wondering too if anyone knows or can tell me what the stock height is for the front wheel well from the ground. I'm pretty sure mine has been sagging since I bought it, so I'd like to know what stock height is.
DIrty Old Town: '96 Astro with extra rear leaf, overload springs all over, LT235/75/15s and 250 000 km. Regularly used to haul 1500-2000 lbs of renovation waste for short periods of time.
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Re: Front Shock Compatibility

Postby Leeann_93 » March 17th 2011, 2:09am

Bilstein is a very good shock. A little stiff for most people, but if you're hauling a lot of stuff, I'd go for stiff.

GM used them stock on the Blazers/Jimmys/Bravadas.
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