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Rear Shock Absorber Query

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I'm trying to trace all the clunks and bangs in the drivetrain on my 97 300TDi 130.

I've got a strange subtle 'pop' noise when pulling away from a standstill. I am 80% sure its coming from the rear.

I've been through everything I can think of now including:

Transfer box input shaft (good)

Drive flanges (good)

Half shafts (rear are good but not stripped far enough for the front)

CV joints (no issues when wheels are at full lock so I'll assume these are good)

Props are new Gwyn Lewis supplied and all good

Handbrake was clonking but now that's been stripped and adjusted its fine

Brakes are all good, not loose callipers, discs and pads in good condition.

Wheels bearings stripped, greased and rebuilt

A frame ball joint replaced and new upper A frame arm bushes


SO, today I moved onto the suspension and have found some free play in the rear shock absorber shafts. You can grab hold of it at the joint between the shaft and main body on both sides and feel noticeable movement between them.

The bushes are fine. I did a similar test on my 90 which has Koni Heavy Tracks which have no play whatsoever.

The 130 has Extreme 4x4 supplied dampers and are approx 5000 miles old. The vehicle is a camper, weighing 3200kgs fully loaded.

So my question: is there any allowable play in this joint?

If not, what should I replace them with? 

I've noticed Fox now make dampers for the Defender and are fairly well regarded in other circles.


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Sounds wrong to me, I'd put standard (genuine) Pulse Ambulance shocks on as a starter - I'm very suspicious of aftermarket stuff especially anything "extreme", most of it is nowhere near the quality of genuine parts designed for 100,000 miles / 10+ years.

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Thanks for the replies.

I hear what you’re saying about being suspicious of aftermarket stuff. Normally I feel the same but originally this thing was downright dangerous to drive, like a sailing dinghy! But after I fitted the Extreme kit, it was truly outstanding for such a big vehicle. Just a shame the dampers haven’t stood the test of time 😩.

I’m convinced enough to get a new set of dampers.

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