2003 DTS Electronic Struts
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Cadillac DeVille 1985 to 2005 including:
1985-1992 Fleetwood, 1993 Sixty Special, All FWD Forum Discussion, 2003 DTS Electronic Struts in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Last year I was told my 2003 DTS needed new $truts. Before I had the 2003 DTS I had a ...
  1. #1
    pmjarvis is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Last year I was told my 2003 DTS needed new $truts. Before I had the 2003 DTS I had a 2001 Deville and preferred the way it rode over the DTS's firmer suspension. I asked the Cadillac dealership if I could replace the struts with the Deville/DHS struts not only because they were cheaper but because I wanted the softer ride. I was told that I couldn't because the car would think there is something wrong with the suspension. I now realize that a Cadillac dealer is not going to be able to convert your active suspension into a passive suspension with resistors to fool the computer or even admit that such a concept is possible. But at the time without doing much research I impulsively had just the front ones replaced because they were leaking and making noise at a cost of over $2000. I was told the rear were worn but weren't as bad as the front ones. Then six months later after I had spent several thousand dollars on other various problems (LED switches, constant EVAP leaks, motor mounts, wheel hub assemblies, blah blah blah) I really began to regret wasting $2000 on the firm riding front struts. So I decided to put some Monroe passive air struts for a base Deville on the rear. They fit just fine but since they didn't come with any resistors I get the Service Suspension System/ Speed limited to 90 mph message all the time which I already knew would happen. So now I have a firm riding front and a soft riding rear. I really want to put passive struts on the front now but can't bring myself to waste perfectly good very expensive electronic struts. So I was wondering if I simply unplugged the front struts would they then be the same as having passive ones or would they have no damping at all? In other words, are the two struts identical except when the active ones are plugged in they constantly change firmness whenever necessary or are the active struts completely useless if not plugged in?

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
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    Active struts/shocks will always provide damping, even if unplugged. The plug goes to the actuator that moves the valve to vary the damping force.

    You can buy a pack of 4.7K ohm, 1/2 watt resisters at RadioShack for $1.19. That'll take care of the codes and warning messages. How to install them has been gone over many times here.

    Even if you have passive dampers all around, the ride won't be much soft softer than stock. The DTS has stiffer springs and anti roll bars than the base/DHS.

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    pmjarvis is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    I just want the front to be as soft as the rear. When I go over bumps or a dip in the road there is a noticeable difference between the front and the rear to the point where it kind of annoys me. I just want both ends to be in harmony with one another as silly as that sounds.

    I knew I should've looked for a DHS or a Deville when I bought this DTS instead of trying to turn it into something its not. I had an '01 Deville and someone hit me and totaled it. Just two weeks later I was having Cadillac withdrawals and got on the internet and this Black on Black DTS was the only one nearby. I bought it and made them drill into the hood and put my gold hood ornament I kept from my '01 on it. I guess I was under the illusion that putting a hood ornament on it would magically make it a DHS. Well I guess you could say I have a DTS with a touch of H.

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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Since you are stuck with the DTS, going with passive struts and the resistors should go a long in softening the ride, even with the firmer springs. I suppose you could swap the springs as well. I don't think they are terribly expensive.

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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Changing the frt struts to passive with def soften the ride over bumps. I however would be tempted to keep the stiffer springs since you have retained the stock springs in the rear(not sure if they are diff to be honest though).
    Not trying to hijack your thread, but one complaint I have about my base DeVille is nose diving during braking. I am considering stiffer frt springs to help this issue when I change the struts out(maybe even before). Just something to consider is it may change the braking and def will change the handling.

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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    not sure if it was clear but when you unplug the active/electronic struts they do not become passive struts
    you will need to swap out the active for passive struts to get the soft ride you're looking for
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    I agree with Chris -
    simply unplugging your ACTIVE struts
    isn't going to give you what you want -

    but here is something to consider -

    sell your active struts as a complete assembly -
    include the rear springs -

    and install the Monroe 171685 strut assembly -

    the best price today is $106.40 - each - with free shipping -
    http://www.amazon.com/Monroe-171685-...ype=automotive

    and also replace the rear springs -
    here is the ACDelco rear spring - 45H2127
    $102.12 - for the pair - with free shipping -
    http://www.amazon.com/ACDelco-45H212.../dp/B0031I86K4

    or the MOOG - 81011 -
    $64.27 - for the pair - with free shipping -
    http://www.amazon.com/Moog-81011-Coi.../dp/B002M2MF98

    those parts - along with 4 resistors -
    should give you the DHS ride - and no DIC messages -

    I assume you used the Monroe MA822 rear shocks - correct?

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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Or he could get those arnotts with the resistors to bypass the system

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    Which are priced way higher because they each have a $.25 resistor in them. The shocks/struts alone won't make much of a difference. basscatt is suggesting switching out the springs as well.
    basscatt and basscatt like this.

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    White Lightning is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Quote Originally Posted by MoistCabbage View Post
    The DTS has stiffer springs and anti roll bars than the base/DHS.
    By the way Deville/DHS/DTS all have the same sway bars, SLS/STS are different, and the deville uses the smaller SLS ones. Makes no sense to me, especially since its a bigger car.

  12. #11
    pmjarvis is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    I just went to GMPartsDirect.com and looked up springs and they just had one spring for all models of the 2003 Deville. The struts are the only component that indicated whether its for sport suspension or non sport suspension. So before I swap out the front struts again I still for curiosity want to find out what the "default" damping rate is if you unplug the electonic struts. I know the damping would not fluctuate anymore because it wouldn't be receiving information from the computer but I still want to know how much damping the struts would do on their own. Would they be too stiff all the time, too soft all the time, etc. It would be nice if you had an electronic suspension where you could change it from "sport mode" to "comfort mode" with a push of a button. As for rear I don't remember the exact part number of the Monroe struts I have, but they were for a base Deville and had the air valve for the self leveling function.

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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    there's definitely two sets of springs in 2003 (three if you count the HD/limo springs)
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  14. #13
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Quote Originally Posted by pmjarvis View Post
    I still want to know how much damping the struts would do on their own. Would they be too stiff all the time, too soft all the time, etc.
    Good question though. My GUESS would be that with no current, they would default to soft.


    As for rear I don't remember the exact part number of the Monroe struts I have, but they were for a base Deville and had the air valve for the self leveling function.
    Sounds like they are the MA822's.

  15. #14
    SGWORLDWIDE's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Quote Originally Posted by MoistCabbage View Post
    Which are priced way higher because they each have a $.25 resistor in them. The shocks/struts alone won't make much of a difference. basscatt is suggesting switching out the springs as well.
    True but all depends if he has the time to make the home made resistors or knows how, convenience is always priced higher

  16. #15
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    Re: 2003 DTS Electronic Struts

    Quote Originally Posted by SGWORLDWIDE View Post
    True but all depends if he has the time to make the home made resistors or knows how, convenience is always priced higher
    ------------------------
    that's a DESPERATE ATTEMPT at covering up -
    for a less-than-stellar suggestion -

    you don't MAKE home-made resistors -

    you go to RadioShack - ask the nice counter person for
    4 - 4.7 ohm - 1/2 watt resistors - then hand over around $2 -

    then you stick the wires on each side of the resistor
    into the socket of the original struts - and tape it up -

    convenience is always priced higher

    Arnott - AS-2121 - rear shock conversion -
    to convert ACTIVE to PASSIVE - $345.00 - PLUS $21 shipping = $366 -

    Monroe MA822 - $56.36 - with free shipping - PLUS $1 resistors = $57.36

    that's a difference of $308 - just for the rears -
    ------------

    arnott - SK-2186 - front strut conversion kit -
    to convert ACTIVE to PASSIVE - $316.05 - PLUS $22.20 shipping = $338.25

    Monroe 71685 - $60 each with free shipping - PLUS $1 resistors = $121

    that's a difference of $217.25 -

    -----------------------

    total difference - for "convenience" - $525 - WOW

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