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Looking for Strut Recommendations

tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
I recently acquired a 1987 LeSabre with 54K miles.
Typical Little old Lady car since it was
purchased from my Grandmother. However, I like a
more firm ride than the Buick offers. I suspect
the car is still fitted with the factory struts. I
am looking for a recommendation.

For some additional background, I love the
handling that my Ford Contour offers. The Buick is
pretty close to driving a sofa.

So, who 'bout them strut recommendations.
Eventually, I plan to also replace the P205-75R14
tires with some 16" wheels and tires for the
summertime. However, I want to go with the struts
first since they probably already need replacement.

Cheers,

TB

Comments

  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    Try several brands, but for firm ride and crisp handling you would be happiest with a high pressure monotube such as Bilesteine or KYB. An intermediate choice is Monroe sensa tracs, as they split the travel of the piston between stiff and soft with soft in the middle. With monroes the ride is still pretty soft, but the sway on curves and dive on braking much better. The brands that use only velocity controled damping adjustment are too mushy on slow curves for my taste. There are other brand that may be popular depending on where you are, but from what you say, I think you want a monotube unit.

    Harry
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    Let's keep those recommendations flowing...

    TB
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Go with the bilsteins or KYBs. The Monroe senstracs Oldharry mentioned are like he said "soft" and don't provide that much of an improvement. I put 2 sets of sensatracs on Ford Tauruses. They are a medium priced item but weren't much of an improvement over new OEM equipment.
  • psc2psc2 Posts: 7
    I like the Tokico "Blues" shocks put on my t-bird. Good deal from the guys at shox.com. They are better than the KYBs I think, but not as pricey as the Koni or Bilsteins. I got a somewhat firmer ride and much less dive on braking. I do not know what is available for the Buick but a larger diameter sway bar, at least in the rear, will also firm up the ride. In addition to upgrade to the bigger wheels lowering the suspension with some sport springs really brings great handling improvement. I hope you post your results because I am looking to improve the ride on a 98 Lumina that I inherited, but am having trouble finding performance handling parts, where it was no problem for the T-bird.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    to do for enhanced handling, put a set of variable rate springs on at the same time. Heavy duty springs would stiffen it up even more, but with high pressure monotubes, you could get so stiff that you lose traction on bumps.

    Harry
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    Fired off request for info to shox.com tirerack.com and others. Been stuck at the office and spent last weekend out of town, so not much has gotten done yet.

    I've been spending time on the other mechanicals of this beast, changing fluids, plugs, filters etc. On that front, just have the belts, hoses, thermostat and coolant to replace.

    Of course, the tranny fluid was the messiest, couldn't get the pump down the dipstick to pump out all of the old fluid BEFORE I dropped the pan. Darn filter gets in the way.

    Anyway, thanks again for all of the suggestions, and now I'm waiting to see if any of the e-tailers have the bits to firm up the sofa, er I mean the LeSabre.

    Cheers,

    TB
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    I recently addressed the same question, tboner, also on an '87 LeSabre. This car was equipped with with the factory F41 "Grand Touring Suspension'. I prefer a firm suspension and found that the Monroe Sensa-Tracs (~$50/each if you shop around) firmed it up rather well. I cannot disagree with the Koni, Bilstein, etc. suggestions but it seemed to me that the Monroes provided surprisingly good control for the money without any harshness. Good luck.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    bilsteins bilsteins bilsteins.

    hmmm.. any guess at what i'd do? :)

    -Chris
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    Who's got one, Got money in hand ready to order. I've found KYB at shox.com, but haven't seen any part numbers for Bilsteins or Tokico yet. I'll also look for Koni's, but it seems the best choice, if available is the Bilsteins.

    Cheers,

    TB
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    maybe you can find the part number here?

    not sure where else? try surfing a little, only place i'm sure i can find part numbers is from bmw tuners, but then again, that's the only place i look :)

    -Chris
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    So it looks pretty hopeless. Just thought if
    you made a recommendation, you might know something that wasn't published on the web. I've sent them an e-mail as well, but am not holding my breath.

    Cheers,

    TB
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    good luck.

    hmmm... you might have to (horrors!!!) try the old fashioned way and let your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages and call around to a couple speed shops in your area and see if they can get the part number for you...

    -Chris
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    yeah, perhaps tonight. The online speed shops have turned up nothing but Gabriel, Monroe and KYB.

    I really doubt that there are Bilsteins since their online fittement guide only lists shocks for the RWD LeSabre and no struts for the FWD.

    One thing, but I doubt it, they do list other FWD Buicks, but those are smaller cars, so I doubt they will fit. Will do a "cross check" to see what Monroes are suggested for both vehicles. If the same Monroe, it MAY be reasonable to expect the same Bilstein to fit.

    Cheers,

    TB
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    I believe that I'll get more benefits from a plus 2 tire upgrade and replacing sway bar bushings. After studying upgrades done by tire-rack (they sell tires struts and springs) it seems the largest gains in handling were due to good tire selection. Going to a wider/lower profile tire. So, with that plus the fact that I'll need to obtain spring tools from my parts store, I'll probably go with the Monroes then order a 16" wheel and tire combination from the tire-rack.

    So thanks all for the recommendations. I'll let you know how it goes and perhaps post some before and after pics showing the wheel choice.

    Cheers,

    TB
This discussion has been closed.