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Cadillac 2000 DTS & 1999 Lexus LS400
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Discussion Starter #1
I just read through I don't know how many posts for the last couple hours and did not find a complete answer to my questions. I know similar questions have been asked, but...


We took my wife's 2000 DTS on a little trip this past weekend and I noticed the following:

1. Tail sagged after sitting for short while at rest stops (trunk loaded and 4 bikes on hitch bike rack).

2. Rear was very skittish whenever we hit any sharp bumps

3. Car seemed to level out well when trunk was unloaded and bikes/rack were removed. Air compressor would run for < 1 minute after starting car.


I believe the rear air ride shocks/struts are toast. We often haul heavy loads, so I don't want to swap to non-air ride. What do you guys know are my options?

Oh yeah, how do I know if I have a VIN 9 or a VIN Y? Whenever I am looking for parts, that seems to come up. I imagine it is a certain digit on the VIN, but my VIN has a 9 and a Y in it. What digit tells me whether it is a VIN 9 or a VIN Y?

TheeSlowPoke
 

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2010 DTS
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87,544 Posts
Spray the shock boots and lines with soapy water and watch for bubbles. Might not be the shocks.

It's the 8th digit in your VIN. The DTS is a VIN 9.
 

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Cadillac 2000 DTS & 1999 Lexus LS400
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Ranger,

I replaced the air lines and air dryer a couple years ago. Hopefully I didn't route the lines incorrectly - I will check them all out. Another leak may explain why it squats after being shut down. I don't recall hearing anything, but maybe it is a slow leak, or multiple slow leaks.

What explains why it rides like a lumber wagon? It feels like the wheels are not staying in contact with the road, which is causing the back-end to drift one way or the other over rough road. It does this whether loaded, or not.

Thanks for the info on the 9 verses Y, too!
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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What tire pressures do you carry, COLD ? (Never gauge tires warm or hot.) Try 33 psi cold. How much tread is left on the rears ? Can you hide the top of Lincoln's head when you slip a penny, head down, into the center tread pattern ? While you're under there checking for air leaks, check the rear sway bar and bushings. If the rear is "hopping" on rough roads, load or not, the shocks may be at full lift = rough ride and an obvious front rake.

Torque all the lug nuts to 100 ft/lb in a star sequence/pattern.
 

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2011 CTS4 Premium, Saturn Vue XR
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493 Posts
Rough, bumpy ride sounds like the fluid has released in the air shock. These shocks have two components...hydraulic fluid for stability and Air for ride height. Check your shocks if you see any greasy stain on them if you do the fluid has let go. Good pair of replacements can be purchased at the following company.
www.arnottindustries.com
Hope thats your problem...it's an easy fix you can do yourself.
 

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Cadillac 2000 DTS & 1999 Lexus LS400
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Discussion Starter #6
34# all the way around. Torque the lug nuts in the star pattern snug, to 70# and then to 100#.

The car is lower in the rear when loaded and level when not loaded.

I will check for oil when my wife comes back home.

I read in other posts that the replacements from www.arnottindustries.com were not active type and therefore the auto leveling system would no longer work. I like the auto leveling as I do use it to pull my motorcycle trailer and load it pretty good, at times. Does Arnott Industries provide a replacement that will interact with the auto leveling system?
 

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2011 CTS4 Premium, Saturn Vue XR
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Yes. I got mine from Arnott and they are auto-leveling they will run you about $350.00 a pair for your DTS, and they have lifetime warranty.
If your worried about Arnott..which I'm not used their products on three different vehicles and have had no problems...check out this place for OEM parts.
www.newgmparts.com
 

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Cadillac 2000 DTS & 1999 Lexus LS400
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Discussion Starter #8
Yes. I got mine from Arnott and they are auto-leveling they will run you about $350.00 a pair for your DTS, and they have lifetime warranty.
If your worried about Arnott..which I'm not used their products on three different vehicles and have had no problems...check out this place for OEM parts.
www.newgmparts.com
The auto-leveling rear shocks look/sound good. No problems noted by anybody with these?

I don't know if the shocks are the problem, but if I find out they are the problem, I will likely go with Arnott.

Thanks!
 

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Cadillac 2000 DTS & 1999 Lexus LS400
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Discussion Starter #9
What tire pressures do you carry, COLD ? (Never gauge tires warm or hot.) Try 33 psi cold. How much tread is left on the rears ? Can you hide the top of Lincoln's head when you slip a penny, head down, into the center tread pattern ? While you're under there checking for air leaks, check the rear sway bar and bushings. If the rear is "hopping" on rough roads, load or not, the shocks may be at full lift = rough ride and an obvious front rake.

Torque all the lug nuts to 100 ft/lb in a star sequence/pattern.
Quite a bit of tread remaining, ~1/8" above the wear marker (about to Lincoln's forehead). :) As noted in an earlier post; 34# all the way around and properly torqued.

However, the tires "could" still be the problem. I have Continental ContiPremier Contact tires and they are really not a very good tire. The dealer never was able to properly balance them - that is a whole 'nother story.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When I checked, I found the left side rear shock had fluid on the outside. After removing the shock it was clearly no good.

Replaced both rear shocks with the Arnott units. I am very skeptical with the passive design. It's been so long since I drove the car with "good" shocks and working active components that perhaps I won't notice any downfalls. I do expect a considerable improvement in ride quality over the failed stock units. I will drive the car and provide feedback on the ride, later.

TheeSlowPoke
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The swap was easy enough.

The ride is not comparable to when the car was new, but that would be asking a lot. The ride now is about like a new-er Malibu. The auto leveling does not respond very well. Car road 1 1/2 inches lower in the rear when loaded with 250# in trunk than when not loaded. Although the left shock was bad prior to the replacement, the auto leveling still worked fine - the car just didn't handle well over bumps and after shutting down the car would squat down over time.

With the Arnott replacements, it is no longer a handful over the bumps and my wife is satisfied with the ride improvement for the price. So, we will be keeping the Arnott shocks.

If it was MY everyday driver, I think I would pay the extra money and use OEM parts.
 

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2011 CTS4 Premium, Saturn Vue XR
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The swap was easy enough.

The ride is not comparable to when the car was new, but that would be asking a lot. The ride now is about like a new-er Malibu. The auto leveling does not respond very well. Car road 1 1/2 inches lower in the rear when loaded with 250# in trunk than when not loaded.
That doesn't sound right, my Deville rides almost the same, maybe a bit stiffer but the auto-levelling works great. My car does not squat when parked as well. There may be something wrong with your leveller rather than the shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That doesn't sound right, my Deville rides almost the same, maybe a bit stiffer but the auto-levelling works great. My car does not squat when parked as well. There may be something wrong with your leveller rather than the shocks.
The new shocks took care of the poor response over bumps, i.e. it now tracks in a straight line over the road, no matter how rough. I haven't carried a load with it, yet. I was backed into the garage when I took the reading before replacing the shocks and drove in afterwards when I took the reading. May have been as simple as that - should be able to tell when I put a load (small trailer loaded with dirt bikes and riding gear) on it.

The ride is more stiff, for sure. But, as long as that's it and my wife is happy with it, then I am happy, too. Thanks for the input!
TheeSlowPoke
 
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