New PRG Aluminum Coilovers - Buyer Beware

CoyoteThistle

Adventurer
I realize this post would be more appropriate on clubfrontier or thenewx, but I'm not on those forums so I'll post here and maybe others can pass along the following experience to a broader Nissan audience.

I installed the new PRG Aluminum Coilovers a couple weeks before leaving on a multi week trip with the camper. About 800 miles into the trip, after a fair amount of gravel and dirt roads, I heard a clunking coming from the suspension. It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I saw that the shaft at the top of the damper on the driver side was no longer attached to the top of the coilover. Luckily, we were only a few miles out a dirt road (Steens Mountain Loop) and had cell service. A 70 mile tow into Burns, OR and got dropped off at Yekels Repair. Stu pulled things apart and found that the nut(s) that hold the top of the damper shaft were gone - they had backed out. He checked the other side to find a nut still in place, but about 2/3rds of the way backed off. He suggested I share some very colorful words for whoever sold me these things without proper locking nuts. He also of course pointed out how lucky we were that the failure occurred while we were going 20mph along a straight road instead of, well, most any other situation. Stu put things back together and used jam nuts on both coilovers. They held together for the rest of the trip, but I checked daily and don't have a lot of confidence in these units anymore. An expensive tow and a $150 repair bill because these things were not built right.

I called Greg at PRG of course, left messages multiple times, and never got a call back. I'm going to try to get a refund, as I have no faith in these things now. Seems unlikely I'll ever hear back from Greg though.
Anyway, when I got home, I found a picture I took when I received the coilovers.


There is a jam nut on there, but for what ever reason, both sides failed in relatively quick order. Bad design? Poorly assembled? I don't know.
So, if you or someone you know has these, please check the nuts on top of the strut shaft regularly. If you're thinking of buying these, I'd think again.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Seems like the root issue is the mechanic who assembled the coil overs failed to use a locking or jamb nut, lock washer and/or Loctite? Normally on 5100s (or similar shocks) you'll see at least a nyloc nut at that position.

The shocks appear to be standard Bilstein so as long as the shafts weren't damaged once a proper approach to retaining the nut is done there's no reason necessarily to mistrust that they'll be fine now.

That nut is a good thing to have on your list during pre- and post-trip inspections although it's not normally something you see backing off. It is a critical fastener.

Good luck and be safe!
 
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SRN

Adventurer
Often time kits like this get shipped with everything lose so that the end user can make final adjustments before install. Before you installed them did you check to see if the nut was properly tightened and that the jamb nut was also locked into place?
 
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SnowedIn

Observer
I've usually marked mine with paint pen to speed along inspections. Along with quite a few other fasteners.
 

Alloy

Well-known member
Seems like the root issue is the mechanic who assembled the coil overs failed to use a locking or jamb nut, lock washer and/or Loctite? Normally on 5100s (or similar shocks) you'll see at least a nyloc nut at that position.

The shocks appear to be standard Bilstein so as long as the shafts weren't damaged once a proper approach to retaining the nut is done there's no reason necessarily to mistrust that they'll be fine now.

That nut is a good thing to have your list during pre- and post-trip inspections although it's not normally something you see backing off. It is a critical fastener.

Good luck and be safe!
Definitely a place for red Loctite.
 

CoyoteThistle

Adventurer
So, after some back and forth, Greg at PRG reluctantly agreed to send me replacement units. His last words being "...the nut simply backed off, the shock didnt actually fall apart or fail in any way." Hmm.

Anyway, that was almost two months ago. No word from him. No replies to messages. Of course, no acknowledgement that I already paid $150 to get the fix on the road. Now I have to pay for install again, go through the pain of readjusting the ride height, and then pay for another alignment. Maybe I'm better off with what I have and hope that no damage was done. I'd like to get the proper washers to replace the ones that were lost on the driver's side, but even that seems unlikely.

Definitely a place for red Loctite.
I'm thinking of using a nylock nut for the jam nut if there is enough thread. Will do the loctite if that doesn't work.

I've usually marked mine with paint pen to speed along inspections. Along with quite a few other fasteners.
Good idea!

Often time kits like this get shipped with everything lose so that the end user can make final adjustments before install. Before you installed them did you check to see if the nut was properly tightened and that the jamb nut was also locked into place?
I didn't check to see how tight they were, but they weren't obviously loose. Either way, Greg said they should be tight and ready to install when he sends them out, so that's not the case with these.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
Fun to hear that Greg is still terrible about accepting calls and responding to emails. I found that to be unbearably annoying, so I avoided buying from him unless I absolutely had to. Ridiculous that he's still running his business this way.

In his defense, this is NOT a failure of the shock or the coilover design. It actually looks like a solid design. It's a failure of the hardware. In YOUR defense, there's absolutely zero reason why this had regular nuts used instead of nylocks or at minimum lock washers. I have no idea why anybody would think that's a good way to put it together. If it were me, I'd take the shock to Ace and find a nylock or all-metal lock nut for the shaft, figure out a washer combo, maybe add a lock washer, and be done with it. I'd trust the shocks fully, but they need a locking nut of some fashion to be safe.

Best of luck.
 

CoyoteThistle

Adventurer
Fun to hear that Greg is still terrible about accepting calls and responding to emails. I found that to be unbearably annoying, so I avoided buying from him unless I absolutely had to. Ridiculous that he's still running his business this way.

In his defense, this is NOT a failure of the shock or the coilover design. It actually looks like a solid design. It's a failure of the hardware. In YOUR defense, there's absolutely zero reason why this had regular nuts used instead of nylocks or at minimum lock washers. I have no idea why anybody would think that's a good way to put it together. If it were me, I'd take the shock to Ace and find a nylock or all-metal lock nut for the shaft, figure out a washer combo, maybe add a lock washer, and be done with it. I'd trust the shocks fully, but they need a locking nut of some fashion to be safe.

Best of luck.
All good points on the coilovers. One side has a regular nut and a nylock. If I can make that fit on the other side (currently two regular nuts), I guess I'll go with that.

And yeah, I liked the idea of supporting a small business that takes the time to develop stuff for our trucks so I ignored the bad communication early on, but man, I'll never go back to PRG again.
 

CoyoteThistle

Adventurer
Well, looks like others are having even bigger problems with these coilovers:
https://www.thenewx.org/threads/review-prg-aluminum-frontier-xterra-coilovers-as-a-package.279671/

Long story short, it seems there is nothing on the upper spring perch to keep the spring centered. As a result, the spring can hit the shock shaft (actually a washer-like disk on the shaft). In one guys case, it caused the shaft to rip out of the shock. In another, the shock body unscrewed itself (I think we can call those catastrophic failures). I looked at my springs the other day and sure enough, the powdercoat on the inside of the spring has been rubbed away in at least one spot. That means I'm getting spring/shaft contact too. Ticking time bomb. Greg at PRG knows about these failures. I have zero trust in these things now.

The title of this thread should be changed from "buyer beware" to "don't even think about buying these things" (if this wasn't a rated PG forum I'd add some other words...)

Will update if this gets resolved
 
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