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Suspension, Brakes and Tires Discussion, REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; Originally Posted by Telegent "No codes on the OBD. Slight "creek" from the front right strut, no noise front or ...
  1. #91
    growe3's Avatar
    growe3 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Telegent
    "No codes on the OBD. Slight "creek" from the front right strut, no noise front or rear on bumps or rough road, car has a bit more "float" than I like after hitting a slow roller at highway speeds, definitely more than 1 rebound. Washboard roads still feel pretty good. Does any of this indicate new struts and/or shocks are in order? I think I'd replace all 4 at once in any event just to keep the system either active or passive. That being said..."

    Thanks in advance!!

    Mike

    Hi Mike, I hope my somewhat long-winded response will help you.

    The creak that you hear may be just some dry bushings, or joints that are over due for greasing. It could also be the strut, if it has lost its seal (along with the oil) it will creak just like a dry bushing. Remove the wheel, lift up the dustcover on the strut shaft, and look for signs of oil coming out of the top of the strut. If it has been empty for a long time it may not be readily apparent, as water from wet roads will rinse most traces off.

    You can start by a simple test. With the car parked on a level area, kneel on the front right corner of the bumper, push down, and release several times trying to get some good pressure on the bumper. Listen for any rubbing noises and feel for the car to stabilize within one jounce, after you let go.

    Now try the same thing on the right side and compare the differences.

    Have the front end lubed than try it again. If it was dry joints, the feeling will be quite different; it should be quiet and smooth.

    If it is the strut there will be no difference.

    I can personally recommend the Arnott struts and shocks. I would have preferred to replace mine with the factory strut and shocks, but the cost was prohibitive. The passive replacements from Arnott are great substitutes.

    On a side note, I am replacing my left front strut (Arnotts). I called them and explained that after checking out my front end for the creaking sounds, I found oil all over the strut. It had obviously lost its seal and I needed a replacement (they are liftime warrented products).

    No problem, they looked up my original invoice (Feb. 2004), in their records, and a replacement one was shipped to me that day. All at no cost, with a very friendly attitude.

    As it turned out when I removed the wheel, to actually remove the strut; I lifted the dust cover just to take one more look. It turns out that the strut shaft had a couple of scars on the shaft. Examining it carefully it was plain that the strut was not defective, but had gotten scarred during installation somehow. I think some type of channel lock pliers or other jawed tool, was used to hold the shaft still, when tightening the top nut.

    I let them know the situation, and I was fairly charged for the strut and shipping.

    These people went out of their way to help me get the problem solved. If you decide to replace yours I know that you will be well satisfied with their products and there help if it is ever needed.

    -George

  2. #92
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Agreed re: price of original equipment. It's not even a consideration which is why I'm researching these alternatives. Thanks so much for your reply, and here are a few more questions if you don't mind.

    The front end seems to rebound after a single bounce, but when I try the same on the back end it's a good bounce and a half or more. Typically I would conclude that new shocks are in order, but I don't know if the old rules of thumb apply for these "space age" shocks!

    Since we had a 6 hour power outage today I decided to detail the Caddy a bit and noticed something else that is (obviously) new; the right side of the car is sitting a bit higher than the left. I was confident my garage floor was pretty level so I also checked the tire clearance. There is definitely more clearance above the right tire, that side of the car is sitting higher. I plan on taking it on a good hard ride to see if this situation corrects itself, but simpy ran out of time today. I may even head out this evening.

    Glad to hear about the Arnott's customer service, but can you tell me more about the actual ride and handling characteristics? Close to original? Stiffer? Softer? Have you driven an SLS/STS with the Boston Suspension system?

    I'm probably going to be pulling the trigger on a new system in the next couple thousand miles. Based on this entire thread it sounds like I should be happy with either system, which is why I'm trying to figure out the differences, if any, between the two with regard to actual ride and feel.

    Thanks again for your great reply, and thanks to anyone else who can share experiences and opinions!

  3. #93
    growe3's Avatar
    growe3 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    The ride before Arnott was solid (hard), too solid in my opinion for a Cadillac. The car handled great on winding roads and high speeds, just felt the ride was stiffer than it needed to be. (I have owned many high performance full size cars, with which to base my opinion on).

    The eventual wearing out of the struts at around 125k gave me the excuse I needed to replace the shocks and struts with the Arnott system. What a big difference in ride. While the car still handles the winding roads and high speeds just fine, the ride is much nicer; not soft, but firm without the harsh feel. More like I would expect a full size high performance car to ride and handle.

    One other point in Arnott’s favor is the electrical connections. The are dummy solenoids to match the factory ones, so you will not get any computer error codes from the suspension monitoring devices.

    Regarding the rear ride height; it could be a number of things, including nothing is really wrong. Sometimes the car will lower slightly on one side or the other after sitting awhile, due to some slight air leakage from a shock. Upon start-up it should reset the ride height with about 20 seconds. If so I would not worry about it.

    It is also possible that the ride height sensor has been damaged, and needs some adjustment to be able to adjust the ride height (not that likely but it has happened).

    It could also be a completely failed shock (the air suspension part). If both sides were bad it would likely be an air compressor problem (failed or blown fuse). It might also be damage to one, or both of the air lines to the shocks.

    One bad shock/strut will definitely upset the cars balance. A car with soft suspension will allow a bad shock/strut go unnoticed. In a car with firm suspension, the weak corner bouncing will be very noticeable.

    Be sure to check the fuses under the hood, on the left fender well, and in the trunk, on the left side. I would check ALL of the fuses, if you have not already done so, and replace any bad one with the correct size fuse.

    You also need to check the dashboard diagnostics to see what, if any, error codes have been generated.

    -George

  4. #94
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Well, I've taken it on a couple of spirited rides and nothing has changed. The right side is definitely sitting a bit higher than the left. Fuses look good. I'm taking it to the local tire/suspension center tomorrow for them to have a look. These folks are a client of mine and rarely charge me unless they actually have to make a repair of some sort. I looked more closely tonight and can't find any sign of leakage. Hopefully more news to come tomorrow.

    Since this car used to be my father-in-law's I did drive it in its younger days. I'd be lying if I said I had vivid memories, but I never recall it being stiff or harsh. I'm not sure I'd want a replacement system to be much softer. I actually thought the Arnott's or Boston's would actually stiffen the ride if anything. On the other hand, I'm in the process of selling my '90 Corvette and '96 Sunfire, so it's safe to say I'm used to a bit of a stiff and harsh ride! The local Pontiac/Buick dealer, for whom I have NO use, has a 2002(3?) STS for sale and I'm tempted to take it for a spin just for comparison. I also have a friend with a '95 Eldorado (not sure if it's the base model or ETC), and I've been trying to hook up with him for a test drive in that as well. It has under 50K miles and still has original suspension.

    In any event, this thing is still a blast to drive!

  5. #95
    growe3's Avatar
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    There is one more simple thing to try.
    One of the air shock exhaust valves my be stuck in the closed position.

    Disconnect the shock air lines and release the air.

    1. Lie on the ground, reach up from the rear of the car to the air connection on the shock.

    2. Rotate the "hair clip" clockwise 1/4 turn and pull the air line off.

    3. With you finger nail or small pick release the air from the shock. The car will settle slightly, but not far enough to hurt you.

    4. Turn the "hair clip back 1/4 turn and plug bac into the shock.

    Repeat on other side.

    Whe you turn the key on, the air compressor will start within 20 seconds or so, and reset the ride height.

    -George

    In attached image locked "hair clip" is on the left, unlocked is on the right.

  6. #96
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    I took a quick look for the air lines you spoke of but couldn't see anything that had such a clip on it. Does the car need to be on a lift or floor jack? A lift I don't have, a floor jack I do have access to.

    There are no codes coming up on the computer now, but I did something that maybe wasn't that intelligent. A few weeks ago I ran through the OBDs and there was an RS044; Lift/Dive Signal Fault and it was listed as Current. I cleared that code and it has not come back. Should I not have done this? Any idea what it may have meant?

    I didn't get my car into the shop today, but it's all set for Monday. I simply ended up working too late last night and couldn't get my butt ready when my wife was leaving the house at 8:00 this morning. On top of that, the Pearl STS that I was planning a test drive on at the local dealer was being loaded onto a car carrier today. Apparently they found an out-of-town home for it. Now I'm down to checking out my friend's Eldo for ride comparison.

    Thanks for the cointinuing support on this. I hope other readers are learning as much as I am!!

  7. #97
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    How much does installation of all 4 cost? US of course...


  8. #98
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Consensus seems to be that it's about a 4 hour job, 5 if you run into rusted parts that require some torch action. Either side of $300 for installation would be a fairly accurate estimate for labor here in New York's Mid Hudson Valley.

  9. #99
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    I got the car out to the Tire/Suspension shop today, but didn't get too much info. They said there is a "Leveler" between the 2 rear shocks and perhaps this unit was bad. In speaking with the tech he said he hadn't seen the air lines mentioned above. Both techs who checked out the car were very honest is saying that the Northstar suspension was a specialty item and neither had real expertise with it. The one was quite familiar with the Lincoln and Buick auto leveling system, but said this was quite different from both. They suggested I find a good Caddy dealer/mechanic in the area, a conclusion I'd already reached on my own. We don't have a local Caddy dealer, so I'll have to do some research with other owners. Hopefully when I find said mechanic I'll also get a more definitive answer as to whether or not it's time to install new struts/shocks. I should also be able to count on that person to install the new system, be it Boston or Arnott.

    How about that RSS044 code I mentioned above. Should I not have cleared it? Why hasn't it come back? Can I assume it's not really a problem since it hasn't reappeared? Thanks one and all!!

  10. #100
    blunted is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    I'd probably go with Arnott. I bought Bostons rear air kit for my 94 Eldorado, and although it works good, it sets off codes.. which it was not supposed to do. I'm about to replace my fronts as well and am thinking about going with Arnott for those since they wont set off any additonal codes.

  11. #101
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Hey blunted, thanks for the input. Do me (and others?) a favor though, go into a bit more detail about how/why it "works good". Any difference in ride or handling from the original setup? I mean when the original setup was working correctly of course. George talked about the differences with the Arnott system, so you talking about the Bostons could be really helpful to lots of folks I'll bet!! Thanks in advance.

  12. #102
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Thanks for sharing blunted! When you say the Boston system "works good", could you be a bit more descriptive. How does it compare to the original with regard to ride and handling, particularly when the original system was working correctly? George shared some thoughts about the Arnott performance, so I'm thinking your words about the Boston's characteristics might be valuable to many faced with this same decision! Thanks in advance.

  13. #103
    Telegent is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Hey blunted, thanks for sharing! One more favor though; when you say it "works good" what do you mean? How are the ride and handling characteristics compared to the original, particularly when the original was working properly. George shared his thoughts on the Arnott vs. Northstar, so I think your input on the Bostons would be helpful to many of us in the same spot. Thanks in advance.

    I'm leaning toward the Arnotts, but if I do have a bad leveler that will still need to be addressed independently...correct?

  14. #104
    ion
    ion is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan101
    Just got a set of Passive front struts for my 94 STS with 100k
    from ARNOTT INDUSTRIES $299.00 US. Here is the link take a look
    http://www.arnottindustries.com/prod...modelYearId=32
    received them very quickly and really knowlegible people on the phone to talk too.They have kits for LINCOLN and FORD as well,will post as soon as they are installed.

    Cheers
    I haven't looked forward to view your results, but I had bought front passive struts from these people and had a LOUSY experience and lousy parts! First off, they shipped me one dead strut. One would think they'd do a Q.C. on parts BEFORE they shipped them out! Once they were installed, they rode like a hard-tail Harley! Talk about RIGID!...GEEZ! In short, do not buy Arnott passive struts, you WILL feel every grain of sand and dead bug in the road!!!

  15. #105
    ion
    ion is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: REVIEWS - Strutmaster Passive Replacement Shocks

    Quote Originally Posted by 51magnum
    Sorry but I have to post a VERY, VERY negative post about ARNOTT. I ordered a set of struts for the front of my 94 STS. After about 1 week of driving I noticed a loud clunking noise coming from the front. To make a long story short I found leaking fluid from the left front strut. So I talked with ARNOTT and they made me pay $150 for a new strut and they told me they would credit me when they tested the old strut. Well they tested it and determined the hydraulics failed. That was two weeks ago and I am still waiting for my $150 credit.

    This is not the BAD part. I asked about some type of compensation on an alignment and the lady got really mad at me and hung up the phone. I know we can all get upset but I honestly was being really nice and was not trying to offend anyone. I called back to talk to someone and got her husband who also hung up on me. I also tried to talk to them about the 90 day money back guarantee. Both people told me the 90 days were up and they would not give me my money back. Of course it was passed 90 days but I contacted them about the leaking strut within the 90 day time table.

    To be totally fair I just received two new struts from ARNOTT (which are made in China). I guess I just have to live with the new struts.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say stay away from ARNOTT their customer service is horrible and I feel I got screwed.
    DITTO! I had to deal with the same RUDE female at Arnott after receiving a BAD strut from them and had to deal with the same return policy. BTW...these were front passive struts for my '94 ETC.

    DO NOT BUY ARNOTT!!! You WILL be sorry!

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