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96 SLS
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160 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is there an easy way to tell if my struts have gone bad without taking them off the car? I replaced in Aug 2006 but I am starting to get a rattle/knocking noise similar to before I replaced the struts. When I removed the old struts the rod had no resistance and fell straight down. The car would bottom out on small bumps. Car does not currently bottom put but rattles like crazy on bumpy New Orleans streets. Replaced with Arnotts and contacted them regarding replacement. Person I spoke said once I verify struts are bad to contact them and they would send out replacements with return labels for old ones. I just want to verify the strut are the problem before taking car apart.
 

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2008 SRX
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403 Posts
Sounds like stabilizer links. Very common. Easiest way to verify is as folows.......drive at 5 mph and rock the steering wheel from 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock in such a way that the car rocks like a boat inbetween waves. Don't swerve or jerk the wheel, just make the car ROCK. Worn or loose links will go knock...knock...knock...knock...knock...knock...for as long as you rock the boat........good luck.
 

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2001 ETC Sequoia
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878 Posts
If the struts are "clunking" you can often prove it easily. Remove the top cap and place your palm on the top of the strut. Move the front of the car up and down. If the struts are clunking, you'll feel it through your hand.

Regards,
Warren
 

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96 SLS
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160 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I replaced the links at the same time I replaced the struts. I tried rocked the boat and heard a knock only when rocking to the right from the drivers side. Noise was not constant. I have not tried hand on top of strut yet but that will be next. As always, thanks. Any other suggestions?
 

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1997 SLS
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4 Posts
Thanks for the information on this matter. I have a 97' SLS that I bought off the proverbial little old lady. The car had 54K miles on it when I brought it up from Miami in January of 06' to the Chicago area. What has been driving me insane is the rattle coming from the passenger side wheel well. The struts are in excellent shape with no bounce but the rattling is really loud and it is over the small bumps that it is the worst. I have just ordered the stabilizer links and will try your suggestions as the struts definitely do not need to be replaced. I have wrenched for years but this one had really baffled me until your comments. I let you know the outcome. Thanks Again!!!
 

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1997 SLS
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4 Posts
The Stabilizer Links arrived but the plastic bushings were not included. I have check with three local retailers and I am being told that the plastic bushings are a GM part only. Is this true? Also, I have not started the work on the replacement of the links yet but it does appear that the bushings will need to be replaced at the very least on the right front. If this is only a GM part, does anyone have the part number?
I would go to the local Cadillac dealer but I do not trust them. I tried to order one oxygen sensor back in February and was told that they came in sets of 12 and the PARTS MANAGER told me that I had to order the whole set for over $1000.00. I have worked on cars for years and could not believe they tried to pull this. Thus, the lack of trust. If anyone can help, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks!
 

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1997 SLS
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4 Posts
Re: Replacing Struts...

Thank You all for your suggestions. I replaced the stabilizer links yesterday and the difference is night and day. Everything is quiet. The only concern now is that it appears that I have a small leak in the right front shock. I suspect it is starting to go bad but the car drives fine for now.

I did out of curiousity price out struts and was in for a very nasty shock. For non-adjustable shocks on the SLS, I was quoted $2067.00 installed just for the front. That is the out the door price. Since I have changed struts out before I thought I would simply purchase the struts and was informed that by the service manager that they will not sell them unless they install them so therefore the price was irrelvant. I have call a local tire place here and am trying to find out if they can do the work any cheaper, at least for the labor...

Lastly and most importantly, I have found a company called Strut Master who will sell me the pair of struts for $399 plus shipping and they come pre-loaded. I am also seriously considering doing this despite being uncomfortable with the aftermarket... Being pre-loaded, I could do this in my garage in an afternoon with no spring compressor or guide necessary.

I would welcome any comments anyone had regarding this; especially before I finalize anything.
Thanks,
Tim
 

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1995 ETC
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31 Posts
Arnott makes aftermarket struts and shocks for our cars. I paid $600 for the whole set (4) With Eibach springs not only the handles batter it looks much better as well. Definatelly consider Arnott. BTW their rear shock IS self leveling.
 

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96 SLS
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160 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I replaced all four with the Arnotts as well as the strut mounts and links. The original struts were definitely bad. No resistance at all once removed. The noise the front end made went away for a while and has now returned. i did not believe the noise my car was making could be the struts since they were only 7 months old. A friend told me the noise was the struts and I should change both front struts again. What do you guys think. The drivers side rattles and the passeger side bounces. I plan to call Arnott for replacements. Any suggestions regarding the mounts and links?
 
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