Hi, newbie here so please go easy . I know a 'bit' about cars but I'm no expert so hopefully you more knowledgeable folk on here will be able to help me decide what to do for the best.... any sugestions and advice would be really welcome...
My Vectra's 5th annual service was done at a pukka VX dealership today where they tell me the OSF spring is broken. Yep, it certainly looks it but it's only the last 4.5 inches off the bottom where it sits in the tray.. in fact they handed it to me . The car sits and drives OK and I couldn't tell it was faulty ! They advise me to replace both front springs as it's possible in the meantime the spring may pop out and shred the tyre. I've read that can happen so I am looking to get them done.
I suspect the breakage may be down to the powder coating peeling off and then the metal rusting away as it sits in the bottom of the tray. The car is these days only used as a round town runabout (appx 3,500 miles a year) by my wife and never really gets up to any great speed to blow away any water that may have gathered (unless I take it out for a drive ).
The dealership has quoted me £321 inc VAT & fitting to replace both front springs which seems a lot... ?
I'm considering asking an experienced car mechanic friend to do them for me to save a few quid (even more if I can help him fit them ) but thought about taking the opportunity to go for a better brand and even lowering the car...
It's a 2.2 (NON-direct) Petrol, Elegance Hatch, Sep 2002 so one of the first of the Vectra Cs - just under 36k on the clock and I've owned it since it was 9 months old with 4k on it. I intend to keep it another 2 years approx.
I've a few questions about what to do next...
In the end I either want to simply replace just both front springs with standard ones to shave loads off the price VX quoted me or possibly spend around the same to have all 4 done with lowered ones.. Maybe even doing all 4 would be cheaper if they don't take too long to fit ! I'm finding it a difficult choice as I've no experience of lowering or the benefits (or disadvantages ??) it may bring..
- Most of the spring kits I've seen seem to be there to lower the car. Are there other (non-OEM) standard spring kits available and just for the front ?
- If I did go for lowering, I'd only go to 30mm. Does lowering the car this REALLY make THAT much difference to handling ? See, told you I was a newbie
- As I don't want to spend any more than I have to, are my existing shocks OK to work with this amount of lowering without also needing to replace them ? I've seen references to 40mm or greater requiring new shocks but is that really the case ? If I don't replace them are they likely to wear out quicker due to the extra load ?
- Will any part of the car need adjusting afterwards ? My mechanic friend does have a laser tracking gadget so should be able to retrack if required.
- I've noticed the rear wheels have noticeable negative camber and whilst I gather this is normal for Vectras generally, will this be more pronounced if I lower it ? I've already replaced a set of rear tyres which in my view were prematurely worn (a good 3-4mm on the outside and down to 0mm on the inside !) and I don't want to make it worse.
- Is it quicker / longer / about the same to fit front and rear springs or does one take (substantially) longer than the other ? How long does it take with the right tools & skills ?
- Any recommendations on brands etc..
- Anything else I may not have thought about ?
Grateful for any advice and keep up the good work on this forum, it's a great source of info.. !