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· Registered
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I normally don?t post much on specialstage, but I feel this matter needs the attention of the USA rally community. This post is very long. I feel that I must share with you all the details in order to be fair to the company. As many of you are familiar with, my team competed and won the national drivers championship in the SCCA production class last season. We campaigned the silver #72 VW Golf TDI. It was a great season! Like many National competitors, my team when possible supported the contingency sponsors. When it came to suspension, my three major choices were: VW Motorsport, DMS, and Bilstein/Eibach. We were very successful in 2001 using the Bilstein/Eibach combination on my early Gti. The cost between the VWMS and DMS was pretty similar. I choose the DMS since they were a contingency sponsor and heard many good things about their performance on this list.

Initial cost was $2500 and I received them from Dave Clark Motorsports. Dave was very helpful and we received the suspension just after SnoDrift. We were looking to improve over the Koni suspension we ran there. The suspension looked great, fit well and felt well during testing. We dialed the car in and prepared for Cherokee Trails. Performance from the start was excellent. You can really feel the DMS work under the car. An annoying ?creak? from the RR suspension plagued our confidence until on stage 7 the upper shock mount gave way and we lost the RR spring and ended up bending the shaft on the DMS shock. Post mortem found what seemed to be a over stressed upper shock mount. After discussing the problem with Dave Clark he suggested we fabricate an axle limiter to solve the problem that occurred. Fair enough I paid to have the shock rebuilt and for a new spring. Cost to me $435

Unfortunately the shock had to be rebuilt in Australia so we would not have it for RIM. I called up Bilstein and had them re-valve some new rear shocks to my specs. Cost to me $300 for the pair these rear shocks worked excellent in conjunction with the DMS springs. I liked them so much the stayed on for RIM, STPR, Maine, and Ojibwe.

After each rally we removed and evaluated the suspension for damage and then reassembled. Things looked great until Ojibwe Forest. The last stage on the first day was a decently long stage. At approximately 8 miles to the end we smelled intense burnt rubber. Of course flat tire comes to mind. We pull over very dumbfounded since Michelin ZE?s don?t normally puncture especially since we had no offs and the road was no all that rough. We changed the flat and forged on. Not more than 1.5 miles later, the same thing! We had to limp the remaining stage miles and then to service. Service found that the DMS strut housing was cracked circumferentially around the weld. We were totally amazed. With the strut housing cracked the car had random camber, most of which was very negative to the point where the tire rubbed the spring. We made it back to headquarters very late and in last place. We immediately handed the strut to a very surprised Dave Clark. We explained the case to him and a dozen or so other teams congregated around the scoring table. Dave assured us that this would be taken care of since it was so blatantly a manufacturing failure. What is unsettling about the incident is that because of our poor performance at Ojibwe Ken fell way behind in the co-driver points where he could not catch first.

We were very lucky to have Mad Mike at the event and he very thankfully loaned us a new DMS front strut to finish the event.

Wild West was our next event and only three week away. We still had Mikes front loaner since we were unable to get the front back from DMS. We put the rear DMS shocks back on for this event since we heard the rocks could be a challenge. We ended up in first place at the end of the weekend and enough points for me to win the drivers championship. Post mortem of the suspension found the LR shock this time had failed and was leaking fluid badly.

Dave Clark informed me at this event that Jamie Drummond was not going to replace the front strut even after Dave expressed the events leading up to the failure and that it was obvious manufacture defect. This went on with occasional phone conversation between Dave and myself until February of this year. I felt time enough had gone by and I am trying to prep the car for it?s next event. I contacted Jamie Dummond myself. The call lasted almost 18 min and cost me $52 in long distance. I explained how his product served us well to a drivers championship but also lost us the codrivers championship. I told him the conditions over again. He said the shaft in the strut was bent. We both agreed this was caused by us driving 10+ miles with a broken housing. There was no other damage to the car, tire or wheel to have caused the bent shaft before the housing gave way. I told him I can care less about my contingency money I won that I still haven?t received for winning two events. All I wanted form him and his company is to make the situation right! He agreed and told me he would warranty the strut. I thanked him and contacted Dave Clark several days later. Dave stated that what Jamie told him was that he would warranty the housing but would still cost me more that $425 to get my shock back. I was shocked! I let the situation go again.

This past week I contacted Lance who in now the new DMS distributor out of Texas. Lance talked with Jamie Drummond and got the same answer Dave Clark did. I called DMS against my better judgment this after noon and talked with Avon Drummond, Jamie was unavailable. I explained to her my teams dedication to their product and the very high failure rate?three failures in six events?Bilstein none. I told her how frustrated and disappointed I was with their commitment to me the customer. I told her that if this is how they handle customer service that there company will go to hell in the USA. She hung up on me. I called back and she was very offensive with me. I told here I have had no problem owning up to repair and replacement of shocks and parts that I somehow could have caused damage too. I told her I don?t care about the contingency money that hasn?t been paid. I just want the company to make their error right. What upsets me the most in this case is how I have been treated! I had to contact the owner himself, spending $52 on 1 phone call, to have him tell me he will send me a replacement shock because It was probably manufacturing defect. Then not to own up to his promise! I have wasted an unbelievable amount of time and money and I am left feeling frustrated.

I share this information with you the rally community not to drag DMS through the mud, but to inform you how poorly I have been treated as a loyal customer. I have been very happy with the USA support DMS provides?just extremely dissatisfied with the manufacture and owner. I hope for the company?s sake my case is very unique and unusual. I hope you consider what I have been through when you are deciding which suspension to choose for your car. Good luck, I will see you on the Stages!

Jon Hamilton
2002 SCCA ProRally Production Champion Driver
#72 2000 VW Golf TDI

· don't cut
2,539 Posts
According to Jamie Drummond, my car is "bent". Actually it's equally bent front and back, and on both the left and right sides. That's why none of my four shocks bolted up. "Happens all the time" to cars in Australia. Funny, my car has never been to Australia. I was able to fabricate some stuff to make the fronts work, but the rears still hit the brakes, which means I have to double pump the brake pedal after every jump.

I will say this though, fitment issues aside, the shocks have performed marvolously. Great ride, handling, and fairly durable. US support has been good,and contingency is always appreciated. In the end, we got what we paid for, and in the world of rally suspensions we didn't pay very much.

Dennis Martin
[email protected]

· Registered
933 Posts
Thank you. As someone building up a car on a limited budget I cannot afford $2500 experiments. I considered DMS but budgeting and other opinions suggested to me that Bilstein Group A shocks with coilover mods and Blue Coil springs was a pretty good setup and a less expensive initial investment, even if the rebuilds could add up to more later.

From your report it appears the Bilsteins will also be cheaper to keep.

By the way, they fit perfectly in my A2 GTI. No shims, cutting or welding required.

· L6 500 R6
208 Posts
Sorry to hear this. I am a new club rallist and spent my last dime purchasing DMS for my RX7. Im happy with the performance but I bought them because of recommendations from this site. They are supposed to be very durable and the support I've received from Dave Clark has been great but now Im more than a little concerned about what will happen if they fail due to any reason. I may have been better off with Bilstiens. Time will tell.

· Registered
3,391 Posts
I've had the DMS on my Impreza for 3+ years. I have no issues or problems with them. Now that Lachute will be able to do total rebuilds without sending them back to Australia service should be better. I don't regret the decision.

· Registered
442 Posts
Moriss customer service is no better than DMS based on what I have experienced. My Neon setup (standard Moriss spec) was over 8 months to initial delivery and required being returned after that for more "attention". When it was all said and done it was almost 1 year before I had working struts. My Moriss strut tops were never delivered despite multiple promises that they were "almost done". I can't comment on the performance of the Moriss as we just bought a house and the rallycar project is on temporary hold....

I had considered selling it and getting DMS, but after the nightmares on this board and on www.nasioc.com I'll take my chances with what I already have. I wish a reputable US company would step up and offer a similar level of suspension with quick delivery and service. I would pay more just to have the piece of mind.

EDIT- What about http://www.kwsuspensions.com/ I talked to some guys at STPR running these on their Neon. Wonder how they hold up and what the service is like.....


· Registered
683 Posts
I'm running Hot Bits. I like them. They're (relatively) inexpensive and I've had no problems since buying them over a year ago despite bending other components in my suspension on a few occasions. In another post I stated that the insert diam was 41mm - this is incorrect. I removed the tube cap the other day and mic'd the insert - 45mm

I know of two competitors who switched to Hot Bits from Morriss

http://www.motorsport-dist.com (Brampton, ON)


· Registered
1,043 Posts
I fitted DMS to the Evo before Bighorn last month and drove the snot out of the car. We took seven stage wins, Tom McGeer took seven, and we tied another. On one stage - the fastest with deep ruts and big rocks, we won over Tom and Pat Richard (before he went out) with an average speed of 127.8 km/h. At 186 km/h the car just floated over the ruts with no problem at all. I personally took them apart after the rally and although the subframe was broken and the new rear links looked like they had been through a war, the shocks were all fine. The car handled beautifully with the settings that Jamie gave us - and they felt better than my old proflex (although those were getting worn). We didn't bottom out the skidplate once - a first for us.

So no complaints here. Of course this is just one rally, but I don't foresee any problems.

Flirting with the laws of physics.

· Registered
29 Posts
I feel compelled to post my DMS experience here as well.
First off, Dave Clark was very helpful with my DMS
correspondence. He answered all my questions satisfactorily
with no problems. He was invaluable.
However, DMS in Australia was a different story. I don't
know if a warranty means something else when you cross the
Pacific, but I've rarely seen anyone try to shirk blame
as much as DMS ('cept mebbe car dealers). DMS has to understand
they must follow their warranty...I don't care if a meteor
hit the strut.
If I had known the cost & expense of routine maintenance these
units require, I would have gone a different route. On stage
they perform very well...the bad news seems to be when you
get the car home.
In short, before you buy DMS, talk to as many DMS owners as
you possibly can (this goes with any product)...I wish I had.
Anyone curious about my personal experience can email me
directly at [email protected]

Dave LaFavor

· Registered
196 Posts
Moriss Dampers, uh NO!!!!

I don't have time to elaborate, but if anyone wants my opinion on why you shouldn't buy from Evan, email me.

Gabe Pari - $2700 poorer and my car still has stock Autozone struts x(
'93 Sentra #398

But hey, those $2700 paperweights look good sittin' in the garage :'(

· Registered
683 Posts
RE: Moriss Dampers, uh NO!!!!

>I don't have time to elaborate, but if anyone wants my
>opinion on why you shouldn't buy from Evan, email me.
>Gabe Pari - $2700 poorer and my car still has stock Autozone
>struts x(
>'93 Sentra #398
>But hey, those $2700 paperweights look good sittin' in the
>garage :'(


I paid around $2K CDN for the Hot Bits, with springs, but no pillow ball mounts - they make fitment for your car (same as mine, I think)


· Registered
26 Posts
I had considered selling it and getting DMS, but after the
>nightmares on this board and on www.nasioc.com I'll take my
>chances with what I already have. I wish a reputable US
>company would step up and offer a similar level of
>suspension with quick delivery and service. I would pay
>more just to have the piece of mind.


On NASIOC.com (subaru message board), the biggest complaint weren't the DMS rally struts (50mm) but the 40mm street struts.... Subaru Lachute has been fixing them.


· 3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
4,247 Posts
>maybe when i finally get him his peltor headset back,
>and he gets me my scanner back, then his strut will come
>back, i think theres an episode of M A S H that starts like
> Jtree


Had you made it to STPR you would have your scanner by now!! We put batteries in it and let the service crew play with it last weekend - so it still works, at least. Wanna email me a snail mail addy so I can ship the thing your direction? No rush on the Peltor - I have spares still ...

Halley ...
Owner/Driver ProRally #86 - world's first New Beetle Rally Car
RealAutoSport, LLC

· Registered
42 Posts
There are usually two sides to a story. Here is the response from Yvonne at DMS reprinted with their permission.

Thank you for your email,
Please name one customer that has not received warranty when it is a true warranty issue.
I know who is doing the complaining and this guy must think we are stupid because he has threatened us both personally and against DMS. The true facts are that this one person tried to black mail DMS into
The Suspension has been repaired and has been sitting here for 9 months.
It is unfare to assume that DMS does not honor its warranty because of one guy. DMS has set procedures to check if a product has a true warranty claim and the strut that was sent to DMS head Office 9 months ago was not a warranty claim.
DMS will not be black mailed by this customer, he threatened to destroy DMS in the USA because he didn't receive warranty.


· Registered
343 Posts
Aftermarket in General


This is from being in the OEM direct supplier world since college.

ANYTHING AFTERMARKET.......ANYTHING.........is generally junk in some form or another.

You typically have a small shop that starts and makes a niche product.

MILLIONS of dollars in developement doesn't take place......you don't have 50 guys sitting around running models, making parts, testing parts, etc.....

Generally, ALL OF THE AFTERMARKET, makes a part, hope it fits and sells it.

That's how it works.

Generally, THERE IS NO WARRANTY! and you're really lucky if it even fits.

Aftermarket "performance" waterpumps typically never fit flush...you torque them flush with the studs.

Exhaust headers and exhaust systems are a LAREGE miracle if they don't hit the starter, frame rail, rear axle.....ETC.

Suspension is no different. If the OEM company decides to make "aftermarket" stuff, it will probably fit better, which is why Bilstein stuff most likely fits and why SACHS stuff typically fits (hmmm, who is my employer?)......

Everyone else gets a car and measures an actual car for fitment. They're not getting 3-D models and/or drawings that have actually been stacked up with correct tolerances.

I have had DMS on my last two cars and am happy. Did they fit perfectly? NO, but with aftermarket stuff I generally am shocked if it's even close.

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