Front Struts & Rear Shocks - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Front Struts & Rear Shocks

I have over 120,000 on a 2005 GTO. I am a little concerned about the front Struts and rear shocks. I have a good knowledge of car mechanics, done brake jobs, replaced shocks, replaced a clutch, etc on other cars. I have no experience with struts. I do not know when they need to be replaced or with what. The struts show no signs of distress or need for replacement, but with the high mileage, that is a concern. The ride is good with no excessive body roll or unusual tire wear. Is this a Do It Yourself kind of job? I have done several searches and come up dry. As always, I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
I have seen a lot of discussion about bushings and the like. How do I check that and what do I look for? Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 01:58 PM
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Do the #2 pencil test (if you are using 17" tires) If the pencil passes between the sidewall and the strut the strut is still within proper alignment. If its not leaking and everything is in order why replace them? Take a look at the bushing in the engine bay and see if there is any signs of cracking or compressing. If they need replaced it should be a doable job for someone mechanically astute.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 04:17 PM
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the shocks and struts on this car aren't that good when they are brand new. You'll be amazed at the difference changing them. What you think isn't bad may be because you're used to boats . The fronts and backs are also two different types of "dampers" so they aren't even matched (gas and oil filled). There are several good brands Lovells, Monroe, Pedders and Koni come to mind. They are very easy to change also. Another part almost guaranteed to be worn out is the strut bushing. When changing the strut and bushing you almost always change the strut bearing and Lovells strut bushings come as a kit with the bearing included. Springs are a good idea to do at the same time just because you're in there, the stock rears are very, very prone to sag and the fronts are. . . well look. . . stock vs Lovells


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
 
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the shocks and struts on this car aren't that good when they are brand new. You'll be amazed at the difference changing them. What you think isn't bad may be because you're used to boats . The fronts and backs are also two different types of "dampers" so they aren't even matched (gas and oil filled). There are several good brands Lovells, Monroe, Pedders and Koni come to mind. They are very easy to change also. Another part almost guaranteed to be worn out is the strut bushing. When changing the strut and bushing you almost always change the strut bearing and Lovells strut bushings come as a kit with the bearing included. Springs are a good idea to do at the same time just because you're in there, the stock rears are very, very prone to sag and the fronts are. . . well look. . . stock vs Lovells

Thanks for the info. I know you are right. How about a spring compressor. Those are essential. It is also the most dangerous part of the changes in suspension. Any recommendations?
Thanks again.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone done the KONI strut inserts for the front. It looks interesting to add an adjustable strut along with adjustable rear shock. I just have to find the rest, mounts, bearings, etc. Probably new springs would not hurt either.
Just a thought.
Thanks in advance.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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If you need a spring compressor you should be able to get one your local autoparts store. Some participate in a Loan A Tool program, so you can "barrow" tools.



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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 08:19 PM
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Thanks for the info. I know you are right. How about a spring compressor. Those are essential. It is also the most dangerous part of the changes in suspension. Any recommendations?
Thanks again.
I got one for about $12 at Harbor Freight. The Auto Zone "free" one is bulkier and harder to get in. You'll only need it on the fronts.

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Has anyone done the KONI strut inserts for the front. It looks interesting to add an adjustable strut along with adjustable rear shock. I just have to find the rest, mounts, bearings, etc. Probably new springs would not hurt either.
Just a thought.
Thanks in advance.
My car has Konis all around. I like them. I was a little intimidated by the "insert" idea but actually it's not hard to do and makes sense when you see it. Basically it just uses the stock housing for the attachment bracket. On full stiff you'll think you're in a buckboard cart. I run full soft on the street. The rear shocks are so weak you'll be amazed. I could compress and expand them by hand with ease and they only had 25,000 miles.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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The Lovell package from Kollar's looks pretty good. Did any of you find it a complete kit with bearings, etc?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 02:54 AM
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Monroe of Au, who makes your struts, says they have a max life of 50K. I would think, knowing what I know, they are being rather optimistic. But the issues are not just related to the struts. More seriously, the upper Oe strut bushings, bearings, and bump stops have to be serioiusly shot at 120k.

To be honest, at 120k, there is not a lot of OE suspension components that I would trust on the GTO

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-13-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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Thanks for the info. I know you are right. How about a spring compressor. Those are essential. It is also the most dangerous part of the changes in suspension. Any recommendations?
Thanks again.
Spring compressors are safe, as long as you are using 3 of them (usually 2 hooks & long threaded rod w/nut) and compress & decompress the spring evenly, you should have no safety issues. I was worried at first when I did it, but once the compressors were on there, you could have kicked it around the shop like a football and it wouldn't pop open. Never hurts to still wear safety glasses too.

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