The Truth About Cars » strut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:31:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » strut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Being On The Level With One’s Self http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-being-on-the-level-with-one%e2%80%99s-self/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-being-on-the-level-with-one%e2%80%99s-self/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2011 15:41:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416995

 

TTAC commenter jems86 writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I need your help again. I live in Colombia and, as you already know, I am the owner of a 2000 Subaru Forester (the 2.0 EDM model). This particular model has rear self leveling struts and recently they went bust. My dealership is asking 4 million pesos (about 2235 USD) for the replacements. I really think it’s a little bit steep so I’ve been searching online but haven’t been able to find the OEM parts. I read on a forum (http://www.subaruforester.org/) that you can put the non-self leveling struts. Is this a good idea? How much would the driving characteristics of my car change? If I go this way, what other components of the suspension should I replace? Thanks in advance for your help.

Sajeev Answers:

Oh yes! This is the age-old query of removing a factory self-leveling system for something more mundane, quite affordable and probably adequate for anyone’s needs. In theory, these systems are entirely interchangeable with a conventional damper, as the self-leveling feature only comes into play when the rear of the vehicle is loaded down. In practice, there might be a different spring to go with the unique strut.

That said, don’t always trust what you read on the Internet. Look up the part numbers to make sure there aren’t two different springs for the Forester. Once that’s cleared up, go ahead and eliminate the self-leveling feature: while a great idea when new, it loses a lot of luster once the miles rack up, the complicated bits wear out and the vehicle depreciates to the point where spending thousands on a repair simply makes no sense.
And this isn’t a unique situation: people have eliminated air suspension systems for decades on depreciated iron. Switch using OEM Subaru parts and you will be just fine. Or maybe the correct Subaru spring with a new set of four aftermarket dampers from a sportier vendor like Bilstein, Koni, etc. Unless your roads are pretty rough, then stick with the stock shocks for minimum abuse over potholes.

And your wallet will appreciate it, with little to no detriment to the Forester’s performance. Perhaps the ride will gain a little harshness, but I have my doubts: fully-air suspended cars are more susceptible to this.  I would have no concerns whatsoever with this swap.

Unless you are a chronic “overloader” of rear storage compartments…then you might want to buy the self-leveling bits online and find a local mechanic to install them for you.

So now you know, good luck with your decision.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Piston Slap: Strut ‘yo Stuff or Make A Wish? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-strut-yo-stuff-or-make-a-wish/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-strut-yo-stuff-or-make-a-wish/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2011 14:16:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=415809

When you wish...

TTAC Commentator Seminole 95 writes:

Sajeev,

I enjoyed reading the responses on my NVH question.

Here’s another question for you. How significant is that Honda uses a double wishbone suspension on their family sedan (the Accord) whereas the Toyota Camry, Chevy Impala, and Hyundai Sonata use the cheaper MacPherson strut? Does the DW suspension make handling better in the turns? Does it last longer than a strut suspension, thereby giving you better ride quality as the car ages? Is the DW something that a car buyer should favor, or is it more complicated than that? I remember that many fans complained when Honda switched the Civic from DW to strut.

It looks like the Ford Fusion might use the DW suspension, but I am not sure. Interestingly, it also looks like the BMW 3 series uses a strut suspension, so maybe the DW is not necessary.

Sajeev Answers:

I think BMW signed a Deal with the Devil to make such an enlightened driving experience, as many of their famous machines run such illogical items like steering boxes (not rack and pinions) and the aforementioned MacPherson Strut design. Just kidding.  Except not…the E39 M5 shouldn’t do what it does with such boneheaded bones. And yet it did!  And still does!

Well, then!

Fact is, the suspension design (by itself) isn’t a big issue for most passenger cars. This excludes killer F1-like race vehicles, if you missed that. Odds are there’s more low-hanging fruit in one’s choice of geometry/alignment, spring, shock, sway bar and tire compound than there ever will be in a MacPherson vs. Wishbone quandary.

When it comes to automotive suspensions, I am a big fan of less is more. Which is laughable, considering the multilink design and air bladders in my Lincoln Mark VIII, one of the finest riding/handling cars out there (once you neutral out the handling with Addco sway bars). But my car needed tons of replacement parts after 10+ years and 120,000+ miles, parts which either do not exist or are far cheaper/easier to replace on a normal MacPherson setup. So maybe my point is still valid. Possibly.

I wager this issue is a red herring, the bigger problem is what I mentioned before: spring rates, shock valving and tire quality. Hell, tires are the most important part of this equation! Best and Brightest, off to you!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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