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2003 Cadillac CTS
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an '03 CTS with 123k on it. I need to replace both of my front struts and mounts. After searching online some, I came across an aftermarket complete strut assembly, made by Unity Automotive. Both sides can be purchased for $300 total.

http://www.completestruts.com/2007/cadillac/cts/6cyl-2-8l/2-11703-11704-001-2003-2007-cadillac-cts-front-quick-complete-struts-coil-spring-assembly-pair/

I was wondering if anyone has went this route, and what their experience was. So far, I have found mixed reviews on this brand. I am leery.

Other alternative, would be to buy a used OEM strut assembly in good shape, with 50K on them for the same price, $300.

These options save money, and also the extra hassle of install, compressing springs, etc.

Or, I go GM Direct and buy OEM mounts and struts and spend ~$650-700. The OEM mounts come with the upper control arms, which I don't necessarily need to replace but would be an added bonus.

Any advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

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04 CTS 91 Aristo
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446 Posts
In my experience, you don't want to go cheap for the struts. It has a big effect on ride quality and handling. You can get AC Delco front struts for $83 a piece on Rock Auto and then rent a coil spring compressor tool from the auto parts store to change the struts. I guess that would give you OE ride quality. Sachs and Monroe also have an offering that are actually more than OE but I'm not sure if they'd actually be better. That'd be an interesting comparison. There's also parts under "strut" as well as "shock absorber" but both for the front. I'm not sure why it has both categories and different products in each.

I don't know if you've factored this in but the springs are very heavy and normally last forever. Unless you have some reason, why pay the extra for the springs and pay the freight charge for them?

As for the strut mounts, they're $13.90 a piece on Rock Auto.

Long story short, I'd just buy those pieces. It's cheaper and going to be higher quality. The hardest part is really getting the struts out, not compressing the springs so you aren't really saving any time or money by getting a whole strut assembly.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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Discussion Starter #3
I appreciate the quick reply.

If I went that route, I agree - I wouldn't replace the springs.

I may not be referring to the part correctly as a 'mount'. I am referring to part 9 in the picture below. Both right and left run about $223 each (part # 25752929 right, 25752924 left). Then I was factoring in roughly $100 for each of the struts, which was getting me to the $650-700 estimate.

Strut Assembly.JPG
 

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04 CTS 91 Aristo
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I don't think you'd have to replace that. It's just a piece of cast aluminum. Are you looking to change the ball joints or control arm bushings?
 

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'05 CTS-V
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7,960 Posts
I would agree with Mandrake - those Unity bits are suspect. Can't say I've ever heard of that brand, and a complete strut/spring/mount assembly for under $130 seems too good to be true.

I also agree that #9 probably doesn't need to be replaced. There is a rubber bushing/cushion in the center of it (where the shaft of the strut passes through), and I assume that's what the $13.90 Gabriel part on rockauto.com is supposed to replace, but I'm not sure how. (I have a couple #9s sitting out in my garage and just went to take a look. I'm not sure I understand how that Gabriel part gets installed in place of the stock part.) Basically, if that upper rubber bushing thing is intact, there's probably no need to mess with it. (I say "probably" because I do remember reading one thread by a guy with a particularly high mileage car that had a strut lock up and the strut shaft started to eat through that center rubber bushing. That seems to be an exceptionally rare occurrence, though, so you shouldn't have to worry about it.)
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I've done a little more digging and found this other thread that references the Gabriel mount...

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-cts-first-generation-forum-2003/189423-2004-cts-strut-mounting-kits.html

It appears that piece is really a replacement for the upper spring seat.

I don't think that I need to actually replace the ball joints or upper control arm bushings. They still appear to be fine. But if the bushing/cushion in the center of the upper control arm mounts need to be replaced, I think I am stuck replacing the entire mount (#9) anyway. They don't make a replacement bushing/cushion.

This guy ran into that problem..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyhWqAPudTk

On my driver side, the top of the strut is actually poking through the strut tower 1/4" or so. Which makes me think I may need to replace that, at least on the driver side.

Strut.jpg
 

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04 CTS 91 Aristo
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Ok I understand. I'll check my strut towers the next time I'm under the hood and see if mine protrude like that.
 

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'05 CTS-V
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I agree with drknt03, that strut shaft sticking up that high isn't right. I'm curious to see what you find when you pull things apart. I wonder if the $14 Gabriel part is the fix you need; that would certainly be a helluva lot better than spending $230ish for a new part #9.

Actually, if you need a part #9, let me know, as I have spares sitting in my garage. (I scavenged a complete set of front control arms off a junkyard car a few months back so I could install poly bushings in them and then swap them with the stock arms on the car.) I don't know what mileage was on the car I took the parts from, but they appear to be in good shape.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I took it into the local dealer a couple weeks ago to have it evaluated. I'm not sure how much digging they actually did, but they came up with an estimate of ~$1660.

Part #'s
25760096 - $397.30
25760100 - $397.30
88952518 x 2 - $178 X 2 = $356

Pretty much $1,150 in parts, and then a little over $500 for labor and an alignment.

They did offer to let me purchase the parts myself, which accounting for shipping, would cut the parts down to ~$700.

I have the luxury sport edition, and apparently there are 2 different designs for the upper control arm & bracket (#9) - I have design #1, and I'm not sure how much different they really are. The #'s for design #2 are 25752924 and 2575292. Do you know which ones you have AAIIIC and if either would really work?

I'm going to get stuff ordered here and hopefully knock it out next Saturday morning. Even though the Unity brand strut assemblies would be less than half the cost (bracket doesn’t have upper control arms & ball joint though), and I wouldn’t have to deal with compressing springs, I’m leaning towards getting OEM parts and not trying to cut corners. I’m pretty confident that I do in fact need to replace #9 on the driver side, but I’m not sure it’s necessary on the passenger side. They may have just recommended that to do them in pairs. However, if I am going to keep the car for a while, I am thinking I might as well spend the extra $225 and just take care of it while I am at it. It won’t really create any extra work.

I am just hoping that all I need is new struts and #9’s. I don’t want to get things apart and find out I need something else that I would have to order. Any other suggestions? I don’t think I could just go somewhere local quick and pick the other pieces up. Like I mentioned earlier, I am not sure how definitive of an answer the dealer gave me.

I am looking at either putting on KYB gas strut, or going OEM. I can get either of them for roughly the same price. Any recommendation there?

After doing some more reading on here, I think I may also look at knocking out my sway bar bushings/links.

Thanks for all your time and help, everyone!
 

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'05 CTS-V
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7,960 Posts
I have the luxury sport edition, and apparently there are 2 different designs for the upper control arm & bracket (#9) - I have design #1, and I'm not sure how much different they really are. The #'s for design #2 are 25752924 and 2575292. Do you know which ones you have AAIIIC and if either would really work?
Not sure what I've got. (I'm away from home now, so I can't look.) My guess is that the actual cast aluminum parts are the same, and that the difference in the part numbers is due to different bushing designs / firmness. But I suppose it's possible that GM changed the hard parts in some way - according to the parts link above, only the 2003 has the first design, so maybe they tweaked the design of the top mount after the first model year? Now I'm curious! :)

I'm going to get stuff ordered here and hopefully knock it out next Saturday morning. Even though the Unity brand strut assemblies would be less than half the cost (bracket doesn’t have upper control arms & ball joint though), and I wouldn’t have to deal with compressing springs, I’m leaning towards getting OEM parts and not trying to cut corners. I’m pretty confident that I do in fact need to replace #9 on the driver side, but I’m not sure it’s necessary on the passenger side. They may have just recommended that to do them in pairs. However, if I am going to keep the car for a while, I am thinking I might as well spend the extra $225 and just take care of it while I am at it. It won’t really create any extra work.

I am just hoping that all I need is new struts and #9’s. I don’t want to get things apart and find out I need something else that I would have to order. Any other suggestions? I don’t think I could just go somewhere local quick and pick the other pieces up. Like I mentioned earlier, I am not sure how definitive of an answer the dealer gave me.
If you're just doing the front, I can't think of anything else you would need other than the sway bar bushings and end links, which you've already mentioned.

Rockauto sell your front shocks ACdelco $86.79 per shock.
Amazon will do even better than that - $71 each for ACDelco 540-168 (which is 88952518) with free shipping.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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Discussion Starter #13
It seems like you guys would recommend getting the ACDelco's rather than spend a little bit more on the KYB Gas-A-Just @ $100?
 

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04 CTS 91 Aristo
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Its a toss up with AC Delco. Normally, OE is the highest quality but with AC Delco, it's pretty miserable quality sometimes. I don't trust KYB either though. I trust Bilstein, Ohlins and Koni.
 

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2006 3.6L CTS, Hotchkis Sway Bars, FE2
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526 Posts
Not trying to blow up an old thread but I just purchased these for my car after the mod I made in this thread ended up blowing out the struts.

The rubber bushing in the upper strut mounts have to be replaced when bad. You can either press them out (pain in the ass, but cheap and effective) or just purchase new strut mounts. Only problem is new strut mounts are obviously expensive ($200+ a pop). If you don't replace them, it'll just wear out other components and you'll constantly be disappointed with how the car rides and handles. That's been me for the past year.

Also the monroe upper control arms are trash so do yourself a favor and don't buy them. I have gone through two sets already since I made those posts in the thread I linked above. If the unity all in ones end up being pieces of junk, i'll let you all know so you can avoid buying them. My biggest concern with these unity complete struts is not knowing what the spring rates are however they are advertised to replicate FE1 soft ride. They also appear to be american made for those that care. Hopefully the quality is good.

Will post an update this weekend.
 

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2006 3.6L CTS, Hotchkis Sway Bars, FE2
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Quick update. Got the new strut assemblies installed. Parts felt of high quality. Drove about 100 miles so the new springs could settle. Got it aligned. So far no issues. No noises. Feels just like the day I bought the car. If you need new strut mounts and struts, and you're tight on money. Complete strut assemblies might be what you're looking for.
 

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1996 Deville
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9 Posts
Quick update. Got the new strut assemblies installed. Parts felt of high quality. Drove about 100 miles so the new springs could settle. Got it aligned. So far no issues. No noises. Feels just like the day I bought the car. If you need new strut mounts and struts, and you're tight on money. Complete strut assemblies might be what you're looking for.
are those unity struts? How are they holding up.
 
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