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2010 CTS Premium Sedan, RWD/3.6 DI
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Discussion Starter #1
Bought my car with 57k so kind of expected to need shocks before long.
Around 65k I noticed more float to the highway ride.
Also when driving on typical uneven streets, or turning onto side streets, parking lots, etc. I noticed more and more head toss.
The car was really starting to rock back and forth with the smallest changes in the road.
Took the fun out of driving since an aggressive turn into a corner resulted in the car sort of bouncing off the outside front a couple of time before taking a set.
By 70k the ride had really deteriorated very harsh over bumps, expansion strips, etc.
Backing out of the driveway, slow roll over speed bumps and such, the car would bounce 2-3 times before settling.
All pretty good signs the shocks were toast.

So, I purchased and installed new shock a couple of weeks ago.
The harshness over sharp bumps has been resolved.
All other issues remain (maybe a little better)??

I do not remember these traits being an issue the first few month I owned the car.
When I test drove the car, it seemed firm and planted.

Anyone else with FE-2 noticed the head toss, or waddle as I believe GM calls it?
That is the most annoying.
Could anything other than shocks cause this?
Stabilizer bar end links or something?
All the bushings looked good.
The waddle is just one of the symptoms that seem to be due to very soft shocks.
Are the replacement shocks softer than what was installed from the factory?


I ordered the shocks from GMpartsdirect.com; per my VIN.
The notes say they are for FE-1 and FE-2.
Maybe they combined to one part number eliminating the FE-2 specific shock?
As many posts here confirm; good solid data on the springs and shocks used for the different suspension packages across all years is difficult to nail down.

Anyway; very disappointed.
Thinking maybe try the FE-3 shocks for the front. but not sure I want to take the plunge for the rear.

Comments and/or sympathy appreciated.
 

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2014 CTS Coupe 3.6 RWD Perfomance Pkg, TriCoat White Diamond
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1,600 Posts
You should direct this question to Performance forum.
 

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2009 CTS4 Premium & 2012 SRX4 Luxury
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605 Posts
I've got the FE2 also and pretty sure I know what you're talking about "waddle" as I've noticed occasionally a front to rear bounce that is pronounced when going over uneven washboard roads. I've only ever experienced it however when going straight and smooth, like on a freeway. Cornering is really tight and never felt that in mid turn like you describe. Anyway I just attribute that slight pogo feeling to them using a progressive rate spring with a lower dampening shock to try and satisfy both smooth ride yet firm handling. I don't think you mentioned but what tires are you running? I also suspect these MXM4's are providing a bit of harsh feedback, and am curious to how it will ride when it comes time to change.
 

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2010 CTS Premium Sedan, RWD/3.6 DI
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Discussion Starter #4
I've got the FE2 also and pretty sure I know what you're talking about "waddle" as I've noticed occasionally a front to rear bounce that is pronounced when going over uneven washboard roads. I've only ever experienced it however when going straight and smooth, like on a freeway. Cornering is really tight and never felt that in mid turn like you describe. Anyway I just attribute that slight pogo feeling to them using a progressive rate spring with a lower dampening shock to try and satisfy both smooth ride yet firm handling. I don't think you mentioned but what tires are you running? I also suspect these MXM4's are providing a bit of harsh feedback, and am curious to how it will ride when it comes time to change.
The waddle or head toss I describe is more side to side not front/rear. Tires are the original mxm4s which have good tread but are getting old and hard. I intend to replace them soon.
 

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2008 CTS 3.6L DI RWD, GMPP new engine 11/2013
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2,092 Posts
The waddle or head toss I describe is more side to side not front/rear. Tires are the original mxm4s which have good tread but are getting old and hard. I intend to replace them soon.
My 2¢...excessive body roll when cornering or hard turning at speed was mostly eliminated when my original Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 were replaced by nla Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus (best tires I've ever driven, period!); whereas harshness over rough road surfaces, expansion joints, etc. (apparently an inherent character of my FE2 suspension, but certainly not all sport suspensions) mostly remains unchanged.
 

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2008 CTS4
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457 Posts
side to side softness would lead me to look at the sway bars and end links. you may have a broken end link, broken bar or very worn bushings. Really bad tire sidewalls could contribute the effect, so could really low tre pressure but what you describe sounds more serious than that. I have the FE2 suspension on my 08 awd. I have over 90K on it and the original shocks are still very good (knock on wood). Mine still handles every bit as well as it did when I got it at 33k miles.
 

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2008 CTS4
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I'm on my third set since I bought it. Had the stockers for a short time and got a non repairable flat so I bought a set of the continental dws. Nice tire. Wore fast and would flat spot in the garage over night but good grip in all conditions. Now I have Michelin pilot sport A/S 3. Best tire I've had so far. Light snow traction is not quite as good as the conti, but everything else just as good or better.
 

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2010 CTS Premium Sedan, RWD/3.6 DI
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Discussion Starter #9
Tires are on the list to replace soon. Hard to believe that is the cause though I am sure the car will drive better with new tires. Leaning towards something with the suspension. Hopefully easy like end links. I looked everything over when I was changing the shocks. None of the bushings looked bad, ragged out, etc. Didn't check with a pry bar though.
 

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2008 CTS4
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457 Posts
Unless you have a serious tire problem like broken down sidewalls, belt delamination etc, they aren't the cause of your issues.
 

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2010 CTS Premium Sedan, RWD/3.6 DI
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Discussion Starter #12
Update.
Finally replaced the tires with Conti DWS all round.
At least 90% improvement.
Hard to believe the tires were causing most of my issues; but 2 were the original tires at 5yrs/70k+ and the other two were only about a year newer.
I still think the front shocks are too soft, but I could easily live with it the way it is.
It appears that the FE2 specific front shock was discontinued at some point, so now you get FE1 for both.
Rear is still FE2 specific. Since springs are the same for all v6 models; Shocks is about the only thing you can play with.
After all the research I did about shocks, sway bars etc.; I have a good idea what I might try next if I feel the urge.
Maybe go to FE3 shocks and an AWD front bar with V rear bar.
That should stiffen things up nicely and since I am still running the 18" wheels maybe it won't be too harsh.
But, I will probably never get around to it and am much happier now than I was originally.
 

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2011 CTS performance mdl 3.6L FE5
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186 Posts
I have a rear drive with FE2, I have never had any side to side issues but I do think the rear shock rebound is set to light. It sort of feels like the rear end kicks up slightly when going over railroad tracks or other large bumps. Over all I like the FE2 but it can be a bit firm on very long trips.
 

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2011 CTS performance mdl 3.6L FE5
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186 Posts
Procrastinator - Not sure if you are still on this forum as this is a really old thread but I am now experiencing the waddle and its driving me nuts! I cant decide if its my tires, shocks or something else but it sure sounds exactly like what you had going on. I am at 70K now and the tires are getting fairly worn but not down to the replacement markings they have. I also tried doing the bounce test and it seems as if there is way more rebound than I remember it having. I guess the question I have is did you do anything more to track this problem down i.e. any suspension work or did were you satisfied with the new tires? I am thinking its probably a combination of tire and shocks but would love to get you thoughts on it.
 
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