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Thread: What to do with my suspension?

  1. #1
    Regular Member jimmyred's Avatar
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    Default What to do with my suspension?

    I have been having usual problems with my suspension, the car is 7 year old 1.8 ls, I'm not sure if any shocks or springs have ever been replaced, so its pretty tired!
    I get a scraping noise going over speed bumps which I assume is drop links and arb bushes, so they will be the first to be done, but not sure what to do next.
    It wallows side to side a bit round corners, jars over potholes, and raised manholes sometimes cause rear wheels to jerk sideways a bit. Sometimes under heavy braking the steering wheel pulls slightly side to side.
    Those are the symptoms i've observed. I'm not after coilovers cos I could only afford the £200 jobs and I'm not that bothered about lowering...would just like a firmer but still comfy ride and better handling.
    So my inclination is to go for B4's and eibach springs. But I would be doing it bit by bit (to avoid shocking the missus!).
    So what I need advice on is: how can I tell which components need replacing first? Am I right in thinking that springs work fine until they break? So that if they ain't broken they will be functioning fully? But shocks can be worn progressively...
    If thats the case I'd be best replacing shocks first, then springs, in terms of whats gonna improve the ride the most?
    Is there a way of easily checking condition of shocks? Presumably I would know about it if a spring broke?
    Any advice would be great....its gonna be an ongoing project over this year, as I can only afford say a pair of shocks at a time.
    like I say, I'm not keen to lower it much as I don't want trouble with speed bumps, its never gonna be a racing car, its a family workhorse, but I want something nice to drive.

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    To be honest mate, the way I would do it would be to do the cheap things first ARB bushs, and drop links and put money aside for the springs and dampers (the B4's and Eibach springs come in around the £300 mark from LMF), and do the 2 together along with the strut top bearings. The main reason being by replacing springs first and then the dampers later your really just making work for yourself as one cant come off without the other.

  3. #3
    Regular Member jimmyred's Avatar
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    You are right of course, if I am gonna be removing the front strut, might as well be replacing both spring and shock.
    What I'm after knowing is can I tell which component of my suspension is most knackered.
    It seems like the jarring comes mostly from rear wheels, the rolling and noise mostly from front.
    If I could get away with leaving springs, doing front and rear drop links and arb bushes, and b4 rear shocks, would this cheaper and easier option be worth doing? Could do all that for not much over 100 quid. We've got a new baby coming, the missus will never let me spend 300+ on a car she thinks is fine...she doesn't drive it just gets chauffuered everywhere.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Das's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Lada

    Trim : Riva

    Engine : 6.0 V12

    Year : 1954

    Default

    Daves right mate. Drop links, arb's first, then if its still bad get the shocks changed. Rears are easy to do front will require a garage, or worse case try to borrow a set of spring compressors. Maybe fellow member down your way could help you out with the fronts too.

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    Regular Member Jezzy's Avatar
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    I think you may have several worn components - so as above do the front drop links and ARB bushes, rear shocks are easy, but I think you'll need to change the rear upper control (banana) arms as well. That's a job best combined with doing the rear springs, but you could leave the springs to later if funds dictate.

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    Regular Member jimmyred's Avatar
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    Well, thats what I was thinking... I could do the easier stuff myself first, then if still not right get a garage to do rest.
    The problems I am describing I am probably exaggerating, the ride is ok like... its not like its bouncing all over the place. The rear wheel twitch i mentioned and the pulling on the steering are barely noticable but I am aware of it. Its kind of like a gentle feedback from road surface to my hands on the wheel, i have never noticed it in any other car i've owned
    My old car was a citroen xantia with absolutely knackered hydraulic suspension. That was like drivin a pogo stick crossed with a matteress!
    MOT is due in may, so I am thinking of taking it in a month early and getting them to look over the suspension, then I've got time to decide what to do. I don't think its a total mot failure or anything, have to see like.
    Its basically I have just got rid of all the engine problems, time to start thinking about ride.
    Last edited by jimmyred; 13th February 2011 at 19:12.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Das's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Lada

    Trim : Riva

    Engine : 6.0 V12

    Year : 1954

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    Rear wheel twitch may be down to the upper control arms. To check put your hands over the top of the rear wheels and grab the back of the tyre. Now pull towards yourself and let go. Do this as hard as you can. If your here a knocking noise the upper control arm(sometimes reffered to as banana arms) bushes are worn.

    Edit, just noticed Jezzy already cover the banana arms

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    Regular Member jimmyred's Avatar
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    Default

    no ta mate thats exactly the kind of advice I'm after, so I can narrow down what parts I need to replace first. In an ideal world I'd get it all done but I don't live in ideal world.
    Thanks for all your advice, I'm getting a clearer idea of what i need to do.
    I suppose I'm kidding myself that I can do it myself on the cheap, I will need services of mechanic at some point. I have only started doing stuff to my car since I found this forum, but its just so satisfying fixing something yourself!
    Been checking out How2's for a bit, I reckon I can have a crack at the drop links and arb bushes and rear shocks to start with

  9. #9
    Regular Member jimmyred's Avatar
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    well just tried this(i take it you mean with wheels on ground) knock knock knock both sides. Looks like you were both right, thats another thing on the list then. Can bushes be replaced or is it whole arm?

  10. #10
    Regular Member Das's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Lada

    Trim : Riva

    Engine : 6.0 V12

    Year : 1954

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyred View Post
    (i take it you mean with wheels on ground)
    Correct

    Whole arm mate, £30 a side of ebay. The bushes on Vec B's were replacable, guess VX found another way to make some more money

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