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Registered
1994 DeVille Sedan 4.9L
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

my car:
1994 Cadillac DeVille with the 4.9L V8 (not Northstar) with 152,000 miles on it. Runs very well and is my daily driver.

I bought this about a year ago from an older family that doesn’t drive any longer and thus got the deal of a lifetime on it. Where else can you get a reliable and dare I say gorgeous daily driver that costs roughly the same as 2 car payments!? I’ll stop and get down to the question.

I am mechanically inclined and have most general tools and access to specialty tools.

I’ve noticed that the previous owner must have replaced the stock air-ride suspension with a strut-master type kit. The compressor still works, and oddly enough, when I insert the key when entering the car and delay starting for a few seconds I can hear the compressor kick on.

My complaint is that the overall ride quality seems to be too harsh. Too harsh for a 90’s land yacht, that is. Cadillacs I’ve been in from this era should remove the driver in nearly every way from the experience of driving. This is what I am hoping is possible for me to correct. I have no idea what components of the suspension (on this car or any car) control that aspect of driving characteristics. I know the general terms of shocks, struts, air-bags, and whatnot but couldn’t honestly accurately explain what each controls.

Based on my observations, I’m positive the previous owner replaced all 4 corners with these new strut setups and they’re performing well. They give the DeVille a driving profile more akin to a modern luxury/sport sedan- a bit stiff which is nice for certain applications of driving, but I would prefer a way to maximize the cushiness. I want to drive on a Novocain cloud of numbed bliss. Is this a pipe dream?

Mind you, I just moved to a more urban area so any modifications here on out are going to be ones that are easily accomplished in one session and will have to be performed while the car is curb-side.

Specific questions:

1) Can struts be “tweaked” or modified in any way? Maybe I could adjust the ones I have installed?

2) Since the compressor for the factory air-ride system seems to be operational, is that something that is easily restored? Anyone do this to theirs?

3) if the previous two questions produced negative responses, would there be an advisable brand or model of shocks/struts/etc that would offer a more cushioned ride?

Thank you for reading this long post, I never intend on writing such long winded posts when I do, but it always seems to happen. I have been really impressed with the wealth of information I’ve harvested from this great forum, and for that I thank you!
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Super Moderator
White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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86,579 Posts
Can struts be “tweaked” or modified in any way? Maybe I could adjust the ones I have installed?
No

Since the compressor for the factory air-ride system seems to be operational, is that something that is easily restored?
Yes, just replace the rear shocks with the correct ones. Monroe 40046 shocks should do it.

P.S.
Your car has air assisted rear shocks, not "air ride".
 

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Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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67,924 Posts
Others who have more experience with your particular year/model will have to chime in on "softer suspension" methods.

You can't "adjust" struts and shocks - if the suspension system is passive what's on there is it. If the system is active ("performance suspension") then the car's monitoring and control systems adjust ride stiffness for current driving conditions.

You don't have "air ride"
. Most of our cars use Electronic Level Control (ELC) to compensate for extra weight in the trunk or rear seat - it's a height only adjustment - nothing is done to shock stiffness or rear spring rates.

I would guess that your Deville uses standard front struts, rear shocks (with ELC), and standard coil springs on all 4 corners. SO ........ a mushy ride could be obtained by going to softer aftermarket struts and shocks. Given the car's age, the springs may be sagged, so you're in for some suspension work. same for the sway bar and control arm bushings - worn out.

basscatt is the resident Deville suspension guru - he may have some ideas.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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19,059 Posts
YUP - strutmasters units SUCK - harsh riding struts and shocks and stiff springs -
everything you DON'T want in a Cadillac ride -

the ONLY way to get that Cadillac ride back will be to replace the struts - shocks - and springs -
BUT - this is not something that you're going to do "curb-side"

I prefer MONROE struts and shocks - and MOOG springs -
 

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2004 Deville base
'05 SRX N*/AWD, Vetts/Birds/Trucks
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424 Posts
You can go with Monroe products and get as close to OEM performance as possible, some will even say better...at a very reasonable price.
Or with OEM GM/Delco, at a higher cost. Many of their components are made by Gabriel/others.
Not sure if one can change enough, cheap/easy, to do much else.

$300-$400 approx. springs and all DIY, $800-$1000+ from shops good at CaddyxWallet math.

You will likely need fasteners/etc that are not supplied, best get them before you have it sitting in the street.

 

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Registered
1994 DeVille Sedan 4.9L
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
YUP - strutmasters units SUCK - harsh riding struts and shocks and stiff springs -
everything you DON'T want in a Cadillac ride -

the ONLY way to get that Cadillac ride back will be to replace the struts - shocks - and springs -
BUT - this is not something that you're going to do "curb-side"

I prefer MONROE struts and shocks - and MOOG springs -
Thank you. I intend on looking into the two you mentioned liking when I replace mine in a few weeks.
 

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Registered
1994 DeVille Sedan 4.9L
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hello did u solve your supension problem.
Hello there,

With it being in the thick of winter in Upstate NY and I do my work on the car outside in the street, I am waiting til nicer weather and perhaps a generous friend to offer a garage for an afternoon or two to get my suspension tackled. It’s in no way broken or dangerous at this time, only a little rougher than I would imagine it should be. Take that with a grain of salt.

I appreciate the help from those that responded to my questions. Apologies for my being new to this and asking elementary questions. Saves me a lot of frustration figuring it out on my own.
 

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Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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67,924 Posts
I appreciate the help from those that responded to my questions. Apologies for my being new to this and asking elementary questions. Saves me a lot of frustration figuring it out on my own.
No problem - that's why there are a slew of gearheads in here who volunteer to offer advice. It's fun and passes experience down the line.
 

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Registered
1994 DeVille Sedan 4.9L
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
No problem - that's why there are a slew of gearheads in here who volunteer to offer advice. It's fun and passes experience down the line.
Of which is of great value to me. I’m happy to have learned a lot from my father who was a mechanic and a mechanical whiz before he died last year, but now I find myself wishing I asked or learned more from that man before all his skills were buried along with him.
 
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