I am replacing the suspension little by little on my Fiero. I just did the front shocks today and used Gabriel Ultra's that I am told are really good. It was extremely straight forward, 2 bolts at the top, and one at the bottom. Simple!
I really know nothing about suspension, so this has all been new to me. The back 2 wheels takes struts, that much I do know. I am looking at a couple of options, and wanted to get some suggestions, recommendations, reviews of the options.
Option #1 $45.89 Monroe Sensa-Track Probably the most well known manufacturer of suspension parts.
Option #2 $53.79 Ea. AC Delco Gas Charged Struts (Lifetime warranty) Also a well trusted manufacturer, and known for OEM GM products. (And no longer necessarily "Made in the USA")
Option #3 $70.79 Ea. SACHS Super Touring I know nothing about these, are they worth the premium price?
So any advice on what would be better for a daily driver, and no intentions on track or racing use. 99% paved roads, with little to no pot holes.
Is anything special required to change the rear struts? Is there any tension or springs to contend with when removing the bolts under the hood for the strut towers, or down below behind the tires? I do not want to go loosing bolts to have tension from the weight of the car, or from a spring, snap a finger or wrist!
As always, any help is greatly appreciated!
[This message has been edited by JohnWPB (edited 05-19-2014).]
Good choice on the Gabriel - always had good luck with them. Too bad you couldn't get the struts to match. That would be my first recommendation.
I've heard mixed reviews about the Monroes. I've had them and did not like them. I'm sure some guys will chime in on this one.
Since the roads are good where you drive, the AC Delcos might be a pretty good choice. GT-type sporty ride and handling. Here in "hell-A", the roads are waaaayyy too bad for them - the ride would be too rough.
Know nothing about the Sachs.
If you wanna go the best, get adjustable koni's. The struts have 10 levels of adjustment from sport to soft. i have mine on soft and the ride i very nice and smooth.
Don't know much about doing the wrenching, but pretty sure you'll need to compress the springs. You can cheaply rent the compressor tool from AutoZone.
The hardest part (for me) has always been getting a good alignment after the install.
[This message has been edited by PaulJK (edited 05-19-2014).]
Thanks for the reply and info. I was doing a bit of reading tonight, and was really surprised that an alignment was necessary after replacing the struts. It makes no sense to me why the top and bottom of the strut can not have a "fixed" position so the alignment would not change.
I will look into the Koni's, but do not want to spend a whole paycheck on struts at the same time. I also prefer a smoother ride -vs- sporty.
Sure the roads here are in excellent shape, but there are other problems with living in south Florida. I honestly can not think of a single road that has curves in it down here... I am 100% serious, and not kidding! I swear that every road in South Florida was drawn with a ruler on a piece of paper before it was ever constructed!
On top of that, forget finding a hill around here, it is 100% FLAT. I do actually know of one hill, but is about an hour North of here on the Interstate, and through 2 small towns to get to it LOL! Thus the preference for a smoother ride, as there is NOTHING sporty about South Florida
[This message has been edited by JohnWPB (edited 05-19-2014).]
I live in the hills and curvy roads of the Ocala National Forest. I have the Monroe sense trac shocks on my duke and my V6 and they really improved the ride and handling, I am happy with them. I have not replaced the struts on either car as the ones on the cars are fine. Something else that really affects your ride is the size tires that you have on, the oversize tires can make the car ride rougher and steer harder and also make the car more prone to bump caused steering. Some of the aftermarket wheels are pretty heavy too and that means more un-sprung weight which also affects acceleration and handling.
I have Sachs on our 86. They used to be German from what I understand and were quality. Our box said China on it when it came. But so are AC delco now. They ride somewhat firm, but good from what I can tell. I had KYBs on another Fiero and really liked them.
I put Monroes in my Fiero which were a huge improvement to the originals which were probably 25 years old. The reason I didn't use KYBs in it is because mine is an '88 and would require a little work with the angle grinder (on the back side of the knuckle/spindle) to make them fit.
I did however use KYBs on my daily-driver Cobalt and I'm disappointed they wore out so fast. I just picked up some Monroes for it which will be interesting to see the difference if any. The Monroes were made in USA.
Thanks again for all the info! I have added information to the first post for all the varieties and prices for each Strut that people have mentioned. This will make it easier hopefully for someone else searching for this information.
I am leaning towards the Gabriel, so the front and rear match. Also the fact that the price is middle of the ground, not "cheap" and not "crazy expensive". Does anyone have these installed, and if so what is the ride like? I just do not want a really stiff feel. I am soon replacing all upper/lower ball joints, rubber bushings and such with replacement rubber. Poly will never touch this car as long as I own it
My Fiero is stock height, with 17 wheels and low profile tires.
I realize I will get a little more stiffness with the low profiles -vs- the factory balloons tires
I have added information to the first post for all the varieties and prices for each Strut that people have mentioned.
If you can swing it, I'd buy the koni's because (1) they are warranted for as long as you own the car so they should last a looonnng time, (2) they are adjustable so you can change the ride / handling later if you want at no cost and trouble, and (3) they are likely to give you the smoothest ride of Any strut (on the softest setting). You can pick up koni's for the front at any time later because they are easy to change.
Otherwise, I'd get the Gabriels to match the front. I'd be a little worried about mixing different shocks / struts because they all have different handling characteristics.