Rebuilding Shocks? - Snowmobile World : Your #1 Snowmobile Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Rebuilding Shocks?

I am going off for college next year and I'm looking for some extra cash. It just kind of hit me the other day when I overheard some people complaining about how long it has taken to get their shocks rebuilt and sent back with them. The more I think about it, there isn't anywhere close to me that does rebuild shocks. The two sled shops in town both send there's off somewhere and the turn around time sucks. I have watched a couple of videos on the basics of doing it and it doesn't seem to bad. It is just bench work, which is what I would want especially for when I go away for college.
This is just an idea I had floating around. Is it really that hard to do. The way I look at, if it was easy more people would be doing it, or is it one of those things that no one really considers doing? By no means am I saying I'm looking for something easy, but I am wondering if it would be worth my time to pursue farther. I have rebuild motors of all kinds so I'm mechanically inclined, but just never thought about giving shocks a try. I have some old shocks at home I'm going to experiment with sometime this week. This is just an idea that sparked in my head, any experience with rebuilding shocks, info for me to look into, or opinions would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 07:02 PM
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A lot of the rebuildable shocks are nitrogen filled. It will take some pretty spendy equipment to refill them. And if you don't totally know what you are doing, the shock can come apart catastrophically and take your head off.

I am not sure of the market for the service from someone not established, no certifications, and no experience. You will also be assuming a ton of liability, if something you worked on fails, you're on the hook. Get good insurance.

Good on you for looking at something to do, but there's a reason a qualified mechanic's shop sends the shocks out. Unless you REALLY know what you are doing, you will be doing them again and again and again when they leak. The second and third time will be for free.

The amount of parts you will have to stock to make turn-around less than the local shop will require a substantial investment in inventory, and if it doesn't take off for you, you get to sell all that stuff for pennies on the dollar on ebay.

Lots of negatives. With the right training and the right investment in tools, you could get good at it. Just don't go in without looking at the bad side

Good luck!

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 06:16 PM
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Shock rebuilding is not at all like carb rebuilding. Valving, damping rates, nitrogen versus oil, and a whole host of variables make it part science, part art. As BCDan has already commented, it requires a fair amount of specialized and costly tools. The folks that rebuild shocks don't do it "for fun"... They do it either because they race and have all of the tools to rebuild and re-valve their own shocks and are happy to help out others and make a few bucks, or it's their sole business.

I agree with BCDan that it's admirable to see you wanting to take on some side work to make a little extra cash while helping others out in getting things done. I've taken on some jobs of rebuilding carbs and setting them up for folks, but I don't do it very often because I'd rather be riding.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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I understand that there is a lot of work that goes into it and it's not something I would lean overnight. It would be one those things that takes time to learn properly. My buddy was saying yesterday that there was like an 8 week course on rebuilding shocks, he will be getting me more information on that. I know there will be a lot of investments I will need up front to start but what now days doesn't. As far as profit goes. What do you think we're talking parts are around 10-15ish. Plus your time and what's the going rate to have a pair rebuilt?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 09:22 AM
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The only local shop that does shocks here charges $35 bucks each and won't do gas filled. That shop is an independent shop, not a dealer shop. The two dealers that are local send them off. One used to do them, but found there were too many come back leaking after they are worked on. They find it's easier and cheaper in the long run to send 'em to a place that does hundreds.

Good luck!

2007 RMK 700, 2008 RMK 600, 1995 AC Prowler 2-up, 1980? AC Cheetah
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 04:44 PM
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all the tools can be hand built or bought ,,, the nitrogen can be sourced from any gas store. or you can use paint ball bottles (make custom gage)and refill them at sporting goods store .
shock gas pressures are pretty low.

I made all the tools (out of hardware parts and aluminum epoxy) to do ride fx shocks and fox for my sled,, copying pictures
ride fx had the rebuild info on line,, I couldn't find anything for fox
not all shocks come apart nicely and corrosion, bent rods, etc.
so parts/customer issues will be the biggest problem.
It took about 10 min. each (still working shock) if all goes well.

Last edited by mmgg; 11-22-2014 at 04:51 PM.
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