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TAF
01-05-2004, 01:10 PM
Brad,

I sent this to you in a PM, as well. On the KB site...it states in regards to...


Chassis / Suspension

The new front suspension is sweet. Lots of cast aluminum and pretty decent geometry. At the back the parallel 4 trailing arms and Watts Link returns with new rear shock location to help reduce that little hop at the back when you hit a small bump in a turn.

All I really needed to do to get our Marauder program going was to lower the car about 1.5 to bring the center of gravity down to improve handling, then re-tune and tweak the suspension a bit. I have spoken to both Koni and Bilstein and we should have a performance shock upgrade for Marauder in the future for those committed to continually improving their performance package.

Don't get me wrong...I like the firmness of the ride with my Eibach springs...just wondered if you guys had any progress on this.

SergntMac
01-06-2004, 04:09 AM
Thanks for bringing this up Todd, I've been frustrated at every turn.

My shocks are shot, and I've been searching for decent replacements since my visit to ATL. I didn't realize how soft they had become until you and Tom (Marauderman) put my girl through some twisty turns. Being a spectator changes your perception on this kind of stuff. When I got home, I took a serious look at my "wear and tear" stuff, and my shock absorbers have paid their dues.

I haven't had the luck you have in getting cooperation from the major name companies. I kept hitting that "not enough consumers in the market" wall. My only option is QA 1, but I'm not prepared to explore a custom build right now.

I ordered replacements from my dealer. The 3W3Z-18125-AA front shocks were 70 bucks each, and the 3W3Z18124-AA rear shocks were 72 bucks each. Once I got them in hand, I feel differently about their quaility. Tokico did a pretty decent job on the OEM build. These will have to do for now, if they can be improved upon, please keep us posted?

Hey...E-me a phone number I can use, eh? I miss talking with you.

TAF
01-06-2004, 07:19 AM
Mac...I'm going to give you a call today, when I get the chance (Tuesdays are still good, right?)

I had a long talk with someone in charge of Tech Services at Tokico yesterday. He was a great guy and he got on the board here with me while we were on the phone. BTW...he was SHOCKED (pun intended) to see this board, the level of interest and enthusiasm in this car and the depth of issues discussed here. I learned a couple of things from him in our hour+ conversation:

1) The OE shocks that were supplied by Tokico were made specifically for the Marauder, exclusively for Mercury.

2) Roughly...the cost on these to Mercury were about $9 each (not to make you feel TOO bad for the $70+ purchase you made recently)

3) The technology used in creating our OE shocks is right-on with their top-of-the-line products. In other words...we got good quality shocks OE.

4) When the Marauder is lowered (either via KB's "spring-snip" or via Eibach springs) it's actually a GOOD thing for our OE front shocks. Say for example, our OE "travel" on the stock shocks with the front at the stock height is 3". When we lower the front the 1.2" - 1.5" via spring change/cut...we actually cut the travel in half. However...this is good to much respect as this automatically "pre-loads" the shock for quicker performance in "spirited driving". (which you and I do) The gases are "pre-loaded" and compresses with the lowering which is actually (according to this Tokico shock expert) is an EXCELLENT thing for the performance minded.

5) The "life-expectancy" of our OE shocks are "25K-85K" according to this Tokico expert. I know...that's a BIG window...but that's what I was told. And keep in mind...OE shocks are NOT generally covered under warranty (whether you have lowered your car or not) they fall under "normaly wear & tear parts" like brakepads. AND...if we can identify an aftermarket shock from Tokico for our cars...they come with a LIFETIME Warranty whether you have lowered the car or not!!!

6) Tokico actually worked with Paul's Performance on their SEMA car that Dennis showed us pics of in THIS THREAD (http://www.mercurymarauder.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5992&highlight=sema) The guy at Tokico (I don't want to give his name...but he was going to sign on as a member here) said that through some research...they were able to supply Paul's with an "aftermarket shock" other than the OE design. This was not something they designed specifically for Paul's car...but...something that they had "off-the-shelf" that worked. He was going to take a look to see what Part# that ended up being and see if that is something that can work for us. I'll let everyone here know as soon as I know.

ALSO...

I did get a response back from Brad here via PM. KB has not gone much further with this than the statement above that I pulled from their website. They have contacted Koni & Bilstein but "their is nothing being developed for the Panther platform at this time."

Now...sorry to do this in KB's forum...because those guys have been great with me on all my purchases with them...and I understand "business partnerships"...but, apparently KB is "partnered" most specifically with Koni due to Tokico's "partnership" with Steeda. Just wanted to point that out as to why I am attempting to accomplish identification of an upgraded shock on my own.

I feel that once (and IF) an aftermarket shock is identified...it can help address 2 things:

1) making sure that those of us who have lowered frontends have the correct combination of shocks for the front assemblies to maximize handling performance.

and 2) to arrive at a frontend combination that will complement the lowering (either by KB's cut or Eibach springs) that will make the decision for those that have been on the fence with this mod, take the step to enjoy the improved handling that those of us that have already done this enjoy.

Although, I still want to state that the improved handling and firmness may not be to everyone's taste...I can tell you that right now, my car handles "small" like a 911 I used to drive and I could not be happier with the handling performance. The real reason for this search is to make sure we have the correct combination to maximize the performance of the shock portion of the suspension.

O.K. I'm done. I hope this was at least a little helpful to someone here.