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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me preface this post by saying I am not intending to vendor bash. I want to share my experience, gain some insight from other's experience, and gather data to help me decide where to go from here.

I decided to upgrade the tires and suspension on my 2019 RZR 570 trail in an attempt to improve the ride quality over the stock set-up. After upgrading tires to Bighorn 26X9X12 on all fours, I purchased a full set of Bandit 46 Series shocks in March of this year. I removed front and rear sway bars and installed my new shocks as soon as I received them. Due to weather and other time commitments I was only able to run with them up and down my driveway for an initial "test". What a difference!

My first opportunity for a real test ride was a vacation that my wife and I took in early July. We visited friends in Utah, and explored an area in Colorado where I had drawn a tag for a November mule deer hunt. On this trip we put roughly 80 miles on my RZR. All riding was typical of what I use my RZR for - slow speed exploring on forest service and BLM roads and trails. My average speed is probably 10MPH with a top speed of 25 - 30 MPH. When I get into rocky conditions I'm in crawl mode. I don't abuse my equipment in anyway, and at 60 years of age, I'm not a speed addict ;-) The ride quality of the new suspension was a huge improvement. I was impressed!

Upon returning home from our vacation I noticed one of my rear shocks had a fairly substantial oil film on the rod, and the other rear had a light oily film. My two fronts were dry. Concerned that I might have bad seals I contacted Bandit to ask them if this was normal. I had an email exchange with Sharon, at Bandit. The first thing she made sure that I understood was that I was beyond the 90 day warranty on the seals, but tried to reassure me that I was probably just seeing residual oil from the shock assembly and that the seals were just fine. She instructed me to just "keep and eye on them".

This e-mail exchange made me very uneasy. I wanted to talk more details with an expert. I needed to rely on my RZR for my upcoming hunting trips and could not afford a breakdown. (My November hunt took 20 yrs to draw!) I've learned on this forum that the owner / main guy at Bandit is a guy named Ted. I requested multiple times of Sharon to put me in touch with Ted, or with any technical expert, where I could have a voice conversation. Sharon refused to do this. Sharon won't talk on the phone, since she is hearing impaired. So, the only contact with Bandit, sales or service, is via e-mail with Sharon. Very frustrating.

Fast forward... I just returned from my two week hunting trip in Colorado. I put roughly 200 miles on my RZR, with the same riding situation that I previously described. The weather was cold, but no snow or mud. The trails were a bit dusty and there was no sand. Overall the condition were quite benign. After the first day of riding, roughly 30 miles, one of my rear shocks started leaking substantially from the main seal. By the end of my trip, both rears were leaking profusely (dripping) from the main seals, and one of the fronts now has a noticeable oily film.

Yesterday, I once again engaged in an email exchange with Sharon. I summarized that I have roughly 300 easy miles on my new shocks, and three out of fours seals have failed. Based on conditions I've ridden in, and the early signs of leakage on my first ride, I'm convinced I'm dealing with a manufacturing / assembly defect. The response I received from Sharon was that I was beyond the warranty period and that my best option is to find someone local who can rebuild my shocks. She informed me that I can purchase rebuild parts kits from Bandit. She also told me the likely source of my problem is the fact I am not running with shock covers and that the trail dust build-up has likely contributed to early seal failure. She also sent me copies of service interval schedules from other major aftermarket shock manufacturers stating that full rebuilds are normally required every 1K miles. I'll not provide any further comment on my frustration at this point.

Here is where I would like help from you guys / gals on the forum. I need to decide my next move. Please provide your perspective from your experience on the following:
1. Are you experiencing this kind of seal / shock service life with your UTVs under riding conditions similar to mine? This is my first UTV, but I've put thousands of miles on my Yamaha Kodiak and Grizzly ATVs in the past 20 years, riding them much harder and in tougher conditions, and have never needed any service to the stock shocks.
2. Are you using shock covers? I've done a lot of research and find mixed feeling on them. I've never seen them on any UTV I've passed on the trail. I've never talked to anyone who uses them. I also feel if they are that critical to protecting aftermarket shocks, that Bandit would stipulate their use as a condition of warranty, and would kit them with the sale of a full set of 4 shocks.
3. Anybody else having the same kind of issue with their Bandit shocks? I don't know if I should throw more money at these and fix the current problems, or just punt and buy another brand. I'll go back to my stock shocks and maybe do a spring upgrade if I'm only going to get 300 - 1K miles service life out of aftermarket shocks. My RZR is not a toy for me. It is a transportation tool that I use on my hunting and fishing trips in remote environments. Reliability is paramount.

Ted, if you are reading this, please talk with Sharon. She has my contact information. I would really like to have a rational, technical discussion with you. Email is not the proper communication medium when dealing with this kind of topic. I always seek to do business with smaller / family owned businesses. Part of the reason is the personal connection and usually top notch customer service. This is totally lost when you can't have a voice conversation with someone.
 

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Seems there have been a few of these threads about Bandit shocks lately. If your shocks are having sealing issues in less than 300 miles the seals were damaged on installation or there’s a manufacturing defect. My dad has a Teryx and was asking about shock upgrades and I told him not Bandits just from what I’ve read on this and other forums, Bandit is losing potential customers.

It’s complete BS they won’t let you talk to someone over the phone. I have called Walker Evans multiple times and every single time I get thru to a tech and they’re more than willing to help. Same with Red Dog Suspension.

And lastly, when a company sells a product, then wants nothing to do with support after the sale except sell parts then that tells me they are selling parts they know will have issues. If Bandit refuses to do anything I certainly wouldn’t send them back. I would send them to anyone that specializes in shock rebuilds, shocks aren’t magic inside, there’s a got to be a seal issue or possible machining issues on seal head or wiper cap if they use one. I’m not a shock expert by any means but there should be a wiper that keeps the shaft clean and then a seal head with internal and external seals.
 

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NBChance,
Glad to help. I am speech impaired which is why we are emails only. I have been in charge of the office as well as customer service for a few years now. We have the absolute best customer service as well as our shocks are built extremely strong and last for years. We sell thousands of shocks and have tons of happy customers the past 12 years of business around the world. As I told you in the multiple emails that I have responded to you within minutes each time. We have a 90 day warranty on manufacturer defects. If a defective component or seal was present a issue would be known within the first use of the shocks. And not 11 months later.

Your shocks are almost 1 year old and have been used without shock covers as we highly recommend to keep shafts and seals clean and protected from debris or harm to shafts which may cause damage to seals. Seals are available on our website parts page and can also be provided by outside shock technicians if needed.

All of our components are machined by the same companies that Elka uses as well as our seals including wiper seals and a series of internal seals in our seal head are from a main seal supplier who also supplies the majority of shocks on the market.

I have been extremely helpful to you. And have explained to you that all 570 RZR oe shocks have shafts facing upward and out of harms way from debris. All aftermarket brands of shocks have shafts downward which are more susceptible to debris. We highly recommend using shock covers especially on dirt and gravel roads and rock areas which you have let us known several times that you ride on.

Once you threatened us in your previous email how you would blast our company on the forum is pretty much when you will not get any support from us. We are a small family owned business with excellent quality products and customer service. Also Ted is away currently testing with one of the manufacturers. Have a great holiday

Sincerely
Sharron Clark
Bandit UTV Suspension
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Like I said in my introduction to this post, I was not setting out to bash Bandit, and especially not to focus any attention on any of Bandit's representatives. I was simply trying to get input from others experienced with UTV aftermarket shocks, and to understand whether or not my expectations for seal life were correct. Sharon's response pretty much illustrates what I have been getting in the way of "customer service". Sharon mentioned me "threatening to bash their company on the forum". I don't think she understood the text of my e-mails. I was asking her very specifically to forward my message thread to Ted, and asking that he call me. She continued to ignore this request. I told her that I have seen Ted respond to this forum in the past, and that my next step would be to reach out on the forum for advice, and to directly ask Ted to look into my issue and to contact me. I really did not intend to be threatening. That's not in my DNA. I'm simply a frustrated customer at this point.
Regarding the amount of use I have put my new shocks through, I have provided Bandit with much more detail than what I wrote in my already lengthy initial post, trying to point out the obvious. I am dealing with factory defects. I have not put almost 1 year of use on these shocks. I received them in early March of this year. Due to schedule constraints I've only been able to use my RZR on two trips this year, one in July, and the most recent this month. It has been driven a total of 13 days, with an estimated total mileage of less than 300 miles. As I previously described, the environment was very "equipment friendly". I am very disappointed that according to Bandit, the failure of these shocks is being attributed to a high amount of use / abuse I have put them through .

I'd like to attempt to take this thread in a more positive and useful direction, and look for solutions to my problem. I appreciate the input from SNWMBL. You further endorse my position that I should not be seeing these kinds of failures with so little use. Most likely my next move will be to seek out a local technician who is capable of working on these shocks, and see how much it will cost me to get them serviceable. I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern CA. If anyone knows of a good shock technician in my area, please forward their contact info. I'd also be interested in talking to a shock technician (no matter where they are located) who is familiar with working on Bandit shocks, who could give me an honest, independent assessment as to whether or not they are worth the expense of rebuilding. I hate to throw good money after bad and need to be open to the possibility of going with a different aftermarket shock.

I'd also like further input on my other initial questions, most notably regarding the use of shock covers.

Thanks guys and gals!
 

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I feel your pain. The first set of bandits i had were great. 8000 miles no issues. Next set not so good. One arrived with the rebound adjuster not working. I contacted them. They immediately got very defensive and said not broke needs an adjustment. They did take care of the problem. Of course I lost 2 weeks shipping back and forth. Next problem with less than 100 miles on shock started leaking just as you described. They said probably coming from some where else on machine. They said not there fault because they buy there seals from somebody else. They did warranty it, I had to pay freight to them and of course wait 2 weeks. I think there shocks are decent. I have a problem when they say there customer service is the best and you can not talk to anyone only email. I did have seals replaced by independent shop. Oh and I was running there shock covers so they couldn't use that excuse.
 

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Sorry you are dealing with this bud. Same exact experience I had, but on a General 100. I too was out of the 90 day warranty period. Although I had about 60 miles of use when my front shocks began leaking. Got the same nonsense about shock covers. But, they did not have any to sell me when I asked and was told to just measure my shock when I asked for sizing. I hate that I spent $1600 with the company. And I really don’t want to read another snarky comment from their customer service person because service is not her strong suit.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for sharing your experience, Spud and SmokeEater. Sorry you both have had similar experiences with your Bandits. There is some comfort in knowing I'm not alone in this mess. I too noticed Bandit no longer has shock covers on their website, even though Sharon said they sell them. I asked her specifically to send me a link to them and she ignored my request. I also asked which of the two listed parts kits fits my specific shocks, in case I decided to order the rebuild kits from them. She told me how to measure them, and I could figure it out myself. Hmm, would think they would know since they just sold me the shocks and know my specific application.
 

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NBChance,
Glad to help. I am speech impaired which is why we are emails only. I have been in charge of the office as well as customer service for a few years now.
We have the absolute best customer service as well as our shocks are built extremely strong and last for years. We sell thousands of shocks and have tons of happy customers the past 12 years of business around the world.<snip>

Sincerely
Sharron Clark
Bandit UTV Suspension
Quite honestly, the inherent contradiction in this post (saying this into the teeth of multiple posts detailing issues and no support) made me snort my morning coffee onto the keyboard.....

All the best, James
 

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Below is the link to what I read previously.. The person who was unhappy with his Bandit Shocks at that time was csacsa.. Replies from Bandit were are very similar to replies above.. Comments made by Barndog Fab was one of the reasons why I was steering myself to want to buy Fox Shocks.. And in the end so glad I did.. Even though I have not used them yet.. Cheers 🙂
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Wild how Bandit pushes the use of shock covers on something that is supposed to be "better than OEM", yet OEM stuff can go 2000+ miles without any type of shock cover of any kind and not show any signs of issues. And here you are a few hundred miles in with scrap metal bolted to your buggy.

If your whole story isnt a massive red flag to never do buisness with Bandit, im not sure what other people would need to read/hear in order to spend their money else where.

I wish you the best of luck..
 

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Like I said in my introduction to this post, I was not setting out to bash Bandit, and especially not to focus any attention on any of Bandit's representatives. I was simply trying to get input from others experienced with UTV aftermarket shocks, and to understand whether or not my expectations for seal life were correct. Sharon's response pretty much illustrates what I have been getting in the way of "customer service". Sharon mentioned me "threatening to bash their company on the forum". I don't think she understood the text of my e-mails. I was asking her very specifically to forward my message thread to Ted, and asking that he call me. She continued to ignore this request. I told her that I have seen Ted respond to this forum in the past, and that my next step would be to reach out on the forum for advice, and to directly ask Ted to look into my issue and to contact me. I really did not intend to be threatening. That's not in my DNA. I'm simply a frustrated customer at this point.
Regarding the amount of use I have put my new shocks through, I have provided Bandit with much more detail than what I wrote in my already lengthy initial post, trying to point out the obvious. I am dealing with factory defects. I have not put almost 1 year of use on these shocks. I received them in early March of this year. Due to schedule constraints I've only been able to use my RZR on two trips this year, one in July, and the most recent this month. It has been driven a total of 13 days, with an estimated total mileage of less than 300 miles. As I previously described, the environment was very "equipment friendly". I am very disappointed that according to Bandit, the failure of these shocks is being attributed to a high amount of use / abuse I have put them through .

I'd like to attempt to take this thread in a more positive and useful direction, and look for solutions to my problem. I appreciate the input from SNWMBL. You further endorse my position that I should not be seeing these kinds of failures with so little use. Most likely my next move will be to seek out a local technician who is capable of working on these shocks, and see how much it will cost me to get them serviceable. I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern CA. If anyone knows of a good shock technician in my area, please forward their contact info. I'd also be interested in talking to a shock technician (no matter where they are located) who is familiar with working on Bandit shocks, who could give me an honest, independent assessment as to whether or not they are worth the expense of rebuilding. I hate to throw good money after bad and need to be open to the possibility of going with a different aftermarket shock.

I'd also like further input on my other initial questions, most notably regarding the use of shock covers.

Thanks guys and gals!
Like I said in my introduction to this post, I was not setting out to bash Bandit, and especially not to focus any attention on any of Bandit's representatives. I was simply trying to get input from others experienced with UTV aftermarket shocks, and to understand whether or not my expectations for seal life were correct. Sharon's response pretty much illustrates what I have been getting in the way of "customer service". Sharon mentioned me "threatening to bash their company on the forum". I don't think she understood the text of my e-mails. I was asking her very specifically to forward my message thread to Ted, and asking that he call me. She continued to ignore this request. I told her that I have seen Ted respond to this forum in the past, and that my next step would be to reach out on the forum for advice, and to directly ask Ted to look into my issue and to contact me. I really did not intend to be threatening. That's not in my DNA. I'm simply a frustrated customer at this point.
Regarding the amount of use I have put my new shocks through, I have provided Bandit with much more detail than what I wrote in my already lengthy initial post, trying to point out the obvious. I am dealing with factory defects. I have not put almost 1 year of use on these shocks. I received them in early March of this year. Due to schedule constraints I've only been able to use my RZR on two trips this year, one in July, and the most recent this month. It has been driven a total of 13 days, with an estimated total mileage of less than 300 miles. As I previously described, the environment was very "equipment friendly". I am very disappointed that according to Bandit, the failure of these shocks is being attributed to a high amount of use / abuse I have put them through .

I'd like to attempt to take this thread in a more positive and useful direction, and look for solutions to my problem. I appreciate the input from SNWMBL. You further endorse my position that I should not be seeing these kinds of failures with so little use. Most likely my next move will be to seek out a local technician who is capable of working on these shocks, and see how much it will cost me to get them serviceable. I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern CA. If anyone knows of a good shock technician in my area, please forward their contact info. I'd also be interested in talking to a shock technician (no matter where they are located) who is familiar with working on Bandit shocks, who could give me an honest, independent assessment as to whether or not they are worth the expense of rebuilding. I hate to throw good money after bad and need to be open to the possibility of going with a different aftermarket shock.

I'd also like further input on my other initial questions, most notably regarding the use of shock covers.

Thanks guys and gals!
NBchance,

Yes our shocks are worth servicing. All of our components come from the same machining companies as all main brands including our seals. We actually have the strongest shocks on the market with the strongest bodies and shafts.

If a seal is leaking after almost one year it can easily be replaced. A leaking shock weather it be a Fox, Elka, Walker or Bandit doesn't mean that the shocks are bad. It is mearly a seal. In most cases one o ring may have been torn by one grain of sand or debris on the shaft. And yes shock covers do save seals and protect shafts from rocks, debris and dents which technically will cause seals to prematurely wear out. O

Some customers service their own shocks in just about a hour with no special tools required. That goes for any brand. Any and all brands of shocks need to be serviced regularly which is typically overlooked by the majority. Typically nitrogen pressure needs to be re charged every 500 mile as well as complete seals and oil change to be done annually or each 1000 to 1500 miles. This goes for Fox, Elka and all other brands as well.

We actually do have great customer service. We have been in business for 12 years and have thousands of happy customers around the world. Our shocks are high quality. We also offer the best and longest warranty. Our manufacturer defect warranty is 90 days. If a defective part is found it will be known within the first use and not almost one year later. Our structural warranty is 2 years on all hard parts.

If you can not find a local shock technician in your area you may schedule a appointment with one of our technicians by emailing us during business hours. Also I have been in charge of our office for a few years now. I am speech impaired which is why we are emails only.

Sincerely
Sharron Clark
Bandit UTV Suspension
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sharron, Thanks for pointing out that I might be able to service my prematurely failing shocks myself. I do all my own wrenching on my vehicles and am pretty mechanically inclined, but was under the impression there were a number of specialty tools involved in servicing nitrogen charged UTV shocks. I did a bit of research and found a good video describing the service of a Walker Evans shock -
. There are some unique tools required and some specifications regarding torque and linear measurements for the Walker Evans. Do you guys have any rebuild instructions specific to your shocks that you could forward? Will the same Walker Evans tools work on your shocks? It also appears I'd need to invest in a nitrogen charge kit, which would most likely set me back at least $200. I'm not sure this additional investment is warranted, but still entertaining all options before I just write off my $1200 Bandit shock purchase as one of my worst buying decisions ever.
 

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Hope this helps.. At the bottom is a link to the complete thread.. Good luck and cheers 🙂
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Sharron, Thanks for pointing out that I might be able to service my prematurely failing shocks myself. I do all my own wrenching on my vehicles and am pretty mechanically inclined, but was under the impression there were a number of specialty tools involved in servicing nitrogen charged UTV shocks. I did a bit of research and found a good video describing the service of a Walker Evans shock -
. There are some unique tools required and some specifications regarding torque and linear measurements for the Walker Evans. Do you guys have any rebuild instructions specific to your shocks that you could forward? Will the same Walker Evans tools work on your shocks? It also appears I'd need to invest in a nitrogen charge kit, which would most likely set me back at least $200. I'm not sure this additional investment is warranted, but still entertaining all options before I just write off my $1200 Bandit shock purchase as one of my worst buying decisions ever.
Hello NBChance, glad to help. Specialty tools are not necessary. However, we do have certain things here that make it easier for our technicians. In all we do not offer detailed instructions on how to service shocks. However, we will give all information necessary to IFP depth, nitrogen pressure etc. In some cases guys will find a local technician or dealer to recharge nitrogen.

As said before...our shocks are built structurally stronger than any other brand on the market. We use the same manufacturing companies for seals as the majority of companies. We have been in business for over 12 years now. We have the absolute best customer service period. We have thousands of happy customers around the world with just as many positive reviews. We also sell more 570, 800, 900 50 inch model shocks than any other brand.

We can not warranty a shock that has been used for almost 1 year. If your shocks had a manufacturer defect it would have been known within the first use and not almost one year later. It is more than likely that debris and or rocks have prematurely worn out a shaft seal or damaged a shaft. It can and does happen with all brands of shocks. We see it every day.

We absolutely stand behind our products. We have the best, longest warranty on our products as well as a lifetime warranty on springs. You simply need a seal changed. Shaft seal kits are $21.00. We see every brand of shocks every day needing new seals. It is not uncommon for any brand.

We can not determine the issue of your shocks or even how many miles you really have on them unless we actually have the shocks in our possession. If you wish to schedule a appointment for a service you may email us at our office. We are terribly sorry but we cannot warranty shocks past the warranty periods. This is the case with any brand of shocks.

Sincerely
Sharron Clark
Bandit UTV Suspension
 
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