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Monarch + RC3, "STUCK DOWN"

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3/30/2020 6:48 AM

Morning all,

I just was the lucky recipient this weekend of the dreaded "Stuck Down" Monarch shock on my Intense Tracer. The bike probably has about no more than 25+ hrs of ride time. The bike is pampered to say the least and due to my lack of ability (SO FAR) has NOT been abused. The shock gets a few drops of "Wet Seal" oil after every cleaning religiously. Why in the world am I seeing this already? 25 hrs of ride time on a 500.00+ shock. This is crazy. Are you Fox owners susceptible to the same thing? Is this an air shock thing? Is this stuck down dilemma a symptom of increased maintenance needed or a shortcoming of the shock. Jesus, 25hrs of mild trail riding, not acceptable in my book.

Time to look at FOX?

Thanks for any input.



3/31/2020 2:50 AM


I had the same thing happen to me with that shock on my '17 Spec Enduro, only 2 times though in two years, probably about a year apart. Both times I was out on rides and a long way from any help. This happens when too much air gets trapped in the negative spring side of the air chamber and usually some kind of foreign object is blocking the equalisation port, or so i'm told. both times on the trail I was able to site on the rear tire and push my saddle up and forward enough to allow the shock to re- equalise the chambers and return to normal operation. After both instances I did an air can service being extra careful with lint free rags on the dining room table to make sure nothing got in there and also I never found the culprit. i wouldn't beat yourself up on your maintenance regime as it sounds like you're trying to do the right thing although I personally use slick honey / Sram butter on stanchions / shock bodies as that is what the seal is meant to be lubed with when assembled. Keep in mind i wipe any excess off after compressing the unit.

Is it acceptable, no not really. But for me in terms of all the other bike maintenance i'm doing now that i'm in the UK it is pretty manageable. I know on much earlier Fox shocks there was a stuck down issue but not heard of those in a while and I've not had this problem on any of the the other fox, Rock Shox or Cane Creek rear shocks that I've had.

Good luck with this and i'd be curious to know if you find any definitive cause.



3/31/2020 10:10 AM

Did you ride in cold weather? I've seen the issue a few times, it could be what Ryan mentioned above, but two of my customers had it happen due to weather. Both went out in 32-40 deg weather. The first time it happened I called RS and they said their seals are rated to 32 deg Fahrenheit. If you take your bike out and drive to the trail with the bike outside your car even in 40 deg weather, it'll chill on the drive and if you get right into it after that, the inner seal can shrink and you can blow air past it into the negative chamber.

The first time the customer did 13+ miles on it stuck down, he bulged the damper body. I replaced it, did a full service, no issue again. The other customer brought it in immediately after it happened. My co-worker called rs and they offered to replace the air can for free, but mentioned it really shouldn't make a difference. They just wanted to offer our customer peace of mind. Did an air can service and threw on the new can and he never had another issue.

It shouldn't happen, it's very inconvenient, but whether it's cold weather or a blocked equalization port, I think the monarch is a good shock. An air can service with a good clean and new seals should end the problem. If it happens again I'd take it to a shop. Rs is really good at taking care of their product. I can't deal with fox just because of their customer service. All that being said I run full cane creek suspension where I can, and Rock Shox anywhere else (my dirt jumpers).

Also I second slick honey. Shit is magic.


3/31/2020 5:13 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Temperature has been in the 80's and was closer to 90 this past weekend. Bike has never see colder than 50F probably. I have a seal kit coming with some RS dynamic seal grease. I'll hopefully get what I need this weekend.
I'm going to try to dis-assemble, clean, and re-grease and see if that fixes it. This equilization port you guys speak of, where is it?
I'll let you guys know what I find.
Thanks for replying guys. Oh yeah one more thing. The guy at RS told me they recommend AGAINST putting any additional oil on the shock body or stanchion. They said that what the oil on the inside is for. The only thing oil on the outside does is attract and let dust accumulate. They said wipe it down with a lint free cloth and ride. NO oil.

Funny, you'd think other wise.

Stay healthy guys.



3/31/2020 8:34 PM

Be careful with disassembly. When there is excess pressure trapped in the negative air chamber (which is the cause of air shocks getting 'stuck down'), the air sleeve may launch off of the shock body once unscrewed. Doesn't happen every time, but it's worth being cautious--protect your hands, eyes, etc. Some of the stuck-down shocks I've serviced have had a depressurization loud enough to startle an entire shop. (X-Fusion was the loudest!) If you've done an air can service before and feel confident in that procedure, you should be OK; if you're at all uncertain I suggest taking it to a qualified shop (who can also help you assess whether there's any damage to the air sleeve, main piston, etc that might have contributed to the seal failure).

And yes, no oil on the outside. The seals keep oil in, which means they also keep oil out, and any oil you put on the outside is unlikely to significantly aid in reducing friction and is more likely to trap grit.

Good luck!


4/1/2020 5:07 PM

Thanks for the advice guys and safety tips. Still waiting on the kit and grease. Hopefully tomorrow or Friday, latest Saturday. Then in I go. Good tip on the "qualified pro", at least for the first time. I need to learn sooner or later. But perhaps not this first time.

I'll let you all know how it goes.



4/1/2020 5:32 PM

I just had this same issue on my ‘17 enduro elite. First time found it was the aircan, somehow the wiper seal are got bent. Upgraded to the debonair can, and found that putting too much grease and over stretching the volume bands will allow them to slip out of place. This blocks the transfer port so under heavy prolonged loads, air will get trapped in the negative side. Simply taking off the air sleeve and wiping it down will help. I’ll upload a picture of the old aircan I had later.
To answer a previous question, the equalizer port is just a little hole near the bottom of the negative side, and the top of the positive side. This is where air goes in and out of the volume adjustment chamber.


Snoopin around lookin for the best trails and sketchiest lines