Strutts & failed PA car inspection

vidclipvidclip Member Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in Subaru
I guess I finally have to give up on my Suburu Legacy '90. It has served me well. I am not in a position to purchase a new car and it failed PA inspection because of rust and it needs strutts. Well I've got 10 days to find a new car or be without a car. I need a few more months to search for a car and determine financing.
My car drives fine, I didn't notice anything unusual about the ride or cornering. What is the story with strutts??? The body rust is minor and I can resolve that, but the strutts are $340. I don't want to invest that into a car that has 190,000 miles on it..but 10 days is a little short to come up with the money for a car and to search for a used car I'd be happy with..I might ask around and see if I can find someone who does a shabby inspection...but if it comprises my saftely.....absolutely not. I only need the car a few months beyond inspection date....any suggestions, advice, whatever...HELP!!!


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Could be that the rust and struts are connected...literally I that the rust is attacking the support points for where the struts attach. That could definitely be dangerous.

    Otherwise, I'm not sure how a shop "tests" the struts without removing them...unless they have seen fluid leaks.

    If there's no record of your failure, sure, try again somewhere else. If the rust is structurally dangerous, you'd want to know that.
  • carnut30carnut30 Member Posts: 51
    ....on your 1990 legacy fail? If it was leaking, struts from a wrecking yard should work at 1/3 of the new price. To Mr. Shiftright: As was true 50 years ago, one can judge dampers fairly well by bouncing the car without removing the dampers.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,284
    (late 80s-early 90s) were notorious for subframe rot, and rust in general. I think Shifty hit the mark when he said your strut towers are probably about to collapse in on themselves. Hey, if it's 11 years old with 190,000 miles on it, I'd say you got your money's worth. Unless you just bought it, that is.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I don't think jumping on your car is a very fair assessment for a state inspection. I hope it's more scientific than that in PA! Besides, struts don't bounce as easily as a straight shock might.
  • timadamstimadams Member Posts: 294
    vidclip, you can ask around among your friends and easily find out about a garage that will be very lenient in its inspection regarding the struts. My brother gets his 79 Toyota pickup inspected by a buddy every year. I'd do this only for a temporary reprieve, however, particularly if the rusting is where the struts are mounted.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If the strut mounts are really badly rusted, I wouldn't even drive the car myself. I saw one car hit a bump some years ago, and the strut punched up through the sheet metal, into the hood, dislodging it at high speed and pushing it into the windshield. (old BMW).
  • carnut30carnut30 Member Posts: 51
    I agree that cars with weak strut towers, or any other suspension mounting areas, should not be driven. A lenient inspection should not be sought.

    Your comment about struts being harder to move than tube shocks calls for a real rant. In the old days a shock absorber (better called a damper) failed by going soft as the internal valves failed or the fluid leaked out. One of the most annoying features of the miserable invention called the McPherson strut is that they fail often by going hard. As nearly as I can make out, the body of what would have been just the damper with old-style dampers, gets bent by impacts from the wheel, since this part does double duty as a wheel locator. The bent strut tends to bind at the normal ride height, at best. My 1990 Voyager had a bad case of this with the original Monroe struts that went hard during 19,000 miles. The replacment KYBs lasted 7,000 miles. Still later Monroes did better.
    The best struts ever are the upside-down ones from Bilstein that appear to have a 4 cm diameter piston rod, rather than the 17 mm rod that is so common. Second best are KONIs that are built conventionally, but of harder materials.
    Bilstein invented digressive valving. That is, small bumps are damped, but large bumps are damped very little more. This gives some of the best luxury car rides available since 1985. KONI and others have adopted this style of damping. One result is that it is hard to move the vehicle up and down by hand. However, conventional dampers with this style of damping are equally hard to move by hand, so it is NOT a property of struts.
  • vidclipvidclip Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for all the feedback.....I am now looking for a new car. Can't risk the struts. I certainly got my money out of the car. Suburu Legacy's are great...thanks again
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