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Thread: FOA shock review real talk

  1. #1

    FOA shock review real talk

    Ok I've been putting off this for a bit until I got the feel for them and what not. If you read nothing more know that they work fine and have good enough materials(shock shaft chrome is suspect) and design, but there QC sucks and is possibly nonexistent. I went with FOA to save some money and because they are a big KOH supporter.

    The shocks spec'ed for my Kit were custom ordered. This is something FOA openly advertises as available. Really its no big deal cause all the tubes and rods are cut for each shock. A custom one means they just have to slow down and do a one off set of cuts. All the guts are the same. The shocks ordered were speced to be 15" eye to eye compressed. This allows the MCM kit to cycle the upper uni ball to at its set angle and yield the best travel.

    FOA accepted this order and drop shipped me two shocks at 15.5" compressed. Just a half inch off right? Well in this case a half inch meant about a inch and a half less wheel travel. Ok so I luckily notice something is not right and find the defect.

    FOA is contacted and another set is sent out to my door in about 7 days. Props for FOA for getting it fixed in a timely manor right? We'll yes and no since the shocks they sent are now 15.25 inches compressed. These are hard for me to measure so I spend a day in disbelief, but alas they are defective. FOA is contacted and they inform MCM that they can not make a shock shorter then 15.25". I take the shock out and to my surprise they just squeeze out 13" of wheel travel with MCM top hats so I cant be mad. Now truly the more I learn about shocks the more I understand that they can in fact make a 15" shock. There is nothing internal preventing them from cutting the body and shaft shorter. Also the two shocks cant fully compress and are cut visibly different on the bodys. Basically they are a bit more then a 1/16th inch different in length at extension, but in reality thats no big deal(but another process indicator) since the shocks can extend beyond what the uniball can allow.

    I bought some ADS top hats to bring the whole shock up .25 inches and regain the designed up travel since I was not afraid to beat my wheel wells. This ends up bringing the total wheel travel over 13" but i'm done measuring at this point and its time to wheel lol

    next up is getting the shocks charged with nitro. Its not free and costs $15 per shock Right off the bat the suspension guru at a local race shop comes from out back to show me the shocks do not extend all the way on their own and explains whats probably wrong with the shocks and that I can run them but it should be addressed soon. What I've learned is during assembly one of three things happened. The IFP valve was improperly positioned, the shock was never filled with enough oil or the shock was never purged of air. All of these leave you with a glorified "emultion" shock meaning the point of having a resivour is completely nullified although they will still work.

    Theres a couple more issue but ill just list them

    -missing valve cover cap (not a big deal but a process indicator)
    -lower hiem joint C-clips not seated on one shock
    -improper shock length on custom order
    -shocks assembled incorrectly and/or not enough shock fluid
    -leaking pressure seal on one shock (other is fine by the way)
    -loose bottom rod end. It twists about a quarter turn after being on the truck for a month.
    -rusted shaft on one shock and obvious missing crome on the other oil soaked shock. (all after just one month and no I dont live near or have been driving near the ocean) I found this taking them off tonight and have not told FOA about it yet.

    Now on to customer service....
    I fixed the small issues and it was the shock leak that I finnaly contacted FOA about since the truck was really working beyond my needs. I'm not a racer so I did not notice any performance issues. Long story short they offered to fix the leak for me for free. Turns out one of the guys is stuck working this Saturday so I am just going there to have it fixed while I wait. That is pretty damn awesome if you ask me. I'll report back tomorrow with the results of the service visit. I have a feeling they will be reluctant to swap out the shafts for me since they are custom lengh.

    Edit: read below posts...the customer service sucks.
    Last edited by troyboy162; 04-19-2014 at 10:48 PM.

  2. #2
    So do you think it is ultimately worth the extra coin for the more established brands like King? I'm guessing this next service experience will be the deciding moment?

    I'm still really looking forward to seeing it in person. LT has always been on my list, but price of entry is a bit steep.
    2005 Lexus LX470 - Stock for now...

    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 + a bunch of goodies. Lifted, Locked, Illuminated and Armored. Winner,"Best Offroad Truck" - 2010 Pismo Jamboree. It's been upside down and still drives me to work.

  3. #3
    FOA is the shop that burned down a year or two ago right? I remember that they had a lot of satisfied customers but their CS and QC was sub par. It took awhile to get back on their feet after the fire but guys were supportive even though they had paid orders with the company and their return to business was tentative.

    Good to hear they are helping you out. Perhaps the errors are because of communication and the dealings of a small shop trying handle too much.

  4. #4
    Yes it really all depends on the service I get tomorrow. The upgraded shocks offered for my kit were from ADS and that was an extra $600. Today I'd of paid the extra 600 lol. I have no doubt they would be worry free and time on the trail and less wrenching is worth alot to me. To be honest though I'd have never went LT at a $3200 price tag. $2600 was hard enough for me to swallow.

    figure in that I've had two sets of shocks charged up ($60), I'll need to charge these shocks again ($30), and I'm driving to vegas so I dont miss the MR trip($50 gas)...I'll be $140 into these shocks in just dealing with them. If I have to buy new shafts soon then its +$40 each.

    Oh and I'm pretty sure you are right about the shop burning down. I know they are flooded. I mean they are less then half the price of most coilovers.
    Last edited by troyboy162; 03-07-2014 at 09:45 PM.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    just got back from my trip to FOA. The place is impressive and they have a good amount of stock. The racks are lined with Viper springs and shock components fill another room. I saw the internal parts piled up in crates near the building table and I can say the days of rough machining and casts are over. All the parts looked very well finished.

    JD (FOA not our JD) was a stand up guy and took me on a really nice tour. He told me about how the company was founded by seeing the need for a cheaper shock for the average guy. He also touched on some of the challenges they have overcome along the way to where they are now and showed me the next generation shocks that will phase in soon. The real change is going to the traditional threaded bodies and anodized shock ends for a better cosmetic look. Oh and he also echoed that they can not make the shock shorter then 15.25". I'm still not sure what the reason is but I could tell he wasn't BSing me.

    So long story short lol the shocks will be fixed up new shafts and all. The schedule of things has fast forwarded my getting a nitrogen set up. Thats a unexpected expense thats worth mentioning on LT. Regardless of shock brand they will require fills during maintenance and occasional nitrogen top offs. Its $15 per fill so all 4 corners adds up fast enough to warrant buying the setup.

    some pics from FOA:
    Small army of CNC machines

    Prototype test rig

    Shocks for days lol

    The new hotness
    Last edited by troyboy162; 03-08-2014 at 07:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Awesome! Glad to see you will be joining us afterall.

    Looks like a great shop. I would totally do business with them after your experience.
    2005 Lexus LX470 - Stock for now...

    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 + a bunch of goodies. Lifted, Locked, Illuminated and Armored. Winner,"Best Offroad Truck" - 2010 Pismo Jamboree. It's been upside down and still drives me to work.

  8. #8
    Its kinda a shame that the shocks dont get enough QC, but still hard to not look at FOA when they are half or less then the competition. I was bummed he couldn't cut some new shafts today but his machine was already dialed in for a run of shock bodies they needed. The shocks are gonna be shipped back to me this week. Most likely by Thursday, but I may be a day late to the trail if they dont make it in time. Either way by Afton canyon I should know if I've got some solid shocks or not lol.

  9. #9
    Yep, it's a pretty good test for a shock. Some low speed articulation, medium speed runs, and nasty rocky, slow speed stuff.
    2005 Lexus LX470 - Stock for now...

    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 + a bunch of goodies. Lifted, Locked, Illuminated and Armored. Winner,"Best Offroad Truck" - 2010 Pismo Jamboree. It's been upside down and still drives me to work.

  10. #10
    So just updating this as I feel its worth getting a warning out there. I am having a hard time getting the shocks back. Its been over a 5 weeks now on shocks that were expected to take less then a week and i still dont have them.

    Three separate times over those 5 weeks I have been told the shocks will "ship tomorrow". Its pretty obvious that JD (not our JD) is better at getting the customer off the phone then getting shocks completed in a timely manor. We all get it,..they are swamped but this type on dealing with customers is shady at best. I really dont get it since obviously I'm a burned customer at this point in a product market where word of mouth is everything. This post currently comes up on the first page of googling "FOA shock review".

    I've now been told the shocks "have shipped" but that was noon on Thursday and believe it or not vegas to wrightwood is overnight shipping due to the UPS main hubs. I asked for a tracking number yesterday and today (I was told he was to be at work today) but have been blown off.

    You can get good shocks from this company and you can get good customer service. Great reviews are all over the net on both accounts, but my personal experience is about as crappy as I can imagine. I really dont want them on my truck anymore as I feel the free advertising is nothing I owe them. I dread the next time I need to get parts or, god forbid, service out of this company.

    Also the 2.0 smooth bodys I bought do not extend all the way on there own. That is 6 total FOA shocks Ive had in my hands will the same symptoms. I would hazard a guess that all FOA shocks are made with this defect. Its easy to fix but just 2 minutes more then they are willing to put into the assembly. A non racer wouldn't notice and a racer would fix this on the first tuning day so I guess thats what they are banking on.

    I wanted to love this company but it looks like F.O.A does equal F#cked On Arrival like Ive seen in all the negative reviews.
    Last edited by troyboy162; 04-19-2014 at 10:31 PM.

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