How do I know if I need new shocks or struts?

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
I have been asking a bunch of questions since I got my 2004 GMC Envoy. Everyone has been so helpful. So...coming from a car how do I know if I need shocks or struts? Its a 2004 and they have never been replaced. The ride feels ok. Its not like I bounce or when I hit a bump its rough. I just want to make it the best ride possible since I am fixing it up. I wish I could ride in another GMC/Chevy to compare. I rode in my friends BMW X5 and the ride is sweet. He was taking turns at 40mph and it felt like nothing. What can I do to even come close to that?? Thanks...
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Well, you drive a GMT, not a BMW, so... :raspberry:

The BMW also isn't a body-on-frame vehicle with a solid rear axle, so that changes its driving dynamics also.

How many miles are on your truck? You're probably close to being due for new shocks.

I would think that new shocks, lower springs, and stiffer swaybars would help improve cornering capability. Just remember the limitations.
 

jrSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
3,950
well to take better corners or "ride on rails" u need to lower the center of gravity so u don't get lots of body roll. Which lowering ur ride will get u this. Norcal SS can help u with that. As for the shocks and struts ....oh yea if they are stock they are worn out. Stock shocks are junk.
 

Voymom

Member
Feb 3, 2012
2,523
It's NOT fun taking one of these trucks at stock height into a corner at 40MPH...trust me I know and luckily I survived :redface: I was testing the limitations on the cornering with the Envoy and let's just say I nearly pissed myself the second I went into the turn lol. These trucks are a lot more top heavy than a car obviously, and even with lowering the truck, you still wouldn't get the cornering ability of a sports car, or any car for that matter. I agree lowering will probably help a little bit, but it's still a top heavy truck compared to a car. 40MPH turns in these trucks for me is just stupid....if you want to drive like that, a second vehicle like a sports car may be a better choice for that type of driving.

And I agree with jrss, if your shocks and struts are factory and have never been changed, I would jump on that like a fly on shit :raspberry:
 

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
It has 135K on it. I feel like the ride is missing something. I wish I had a little more mechanic knowledge. Thankfully the people on this forum have been very helpful. With 135k and 9 years old I assumed it need shocks or struts. How much is this gonna cost around? Any recs where to order from?
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
dvdman said:
I have been asking a bunch of questions since I got my 2004 GMC Envoy. Everyone has been so helpful. So...coming from a car how do I know if I need shocks or struts? Its a 2004 and they have never been replaced. The ride feels ok. Its not like I bounce or when I hit a bump its rough. I just want to make it the best ride possible since I am fixing it up. I wish I could ride in another GMC/Chevy to compare. I rode in my friends BMW X5 and the ride is sweet. He was taking turns at 40mph and it felt like nothing. What can I do to even come close to that?? Thanks...

Trailblazer SS
2 inch lower
Magna Charger

Take the turn at 30mph blast him doing 105 on the straight :rotfl::rotfl:
 

Voymom

Member
Feb 3, 2012
2,523
STLtrailbSS said:
Trailblazer SS
2 inch lower
Magna Charger

Take the turn at 30mph blast him doing 105 on the straight :rotfl::rotfl:

:thumbsup: I couldn't have said it better!

Cost depends on what you put on it. A lot of people use the Bilstein HD's, which is what I will be putting on mine, but waiting for the paint job and lift kit to go on first. I actually think 4 swaybar end links are going to cost me more than shocks and struts using Bilsteins.
 

Lima Tango

Member
Dec 4, 2011
242
Shockwarehouse.com; I spent around $260 for all four Bilstein HD and new mounts. Best money I've spent on the truck, much better ride than she's ever been her whole life. Pull the trigger on this one, you won't regret it!
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
I changed out my new OEM shocks before 10K miles and noticed a huge difference with new Bilstein aftermarket units.
 

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
"Shockwarehouse.com; I spent around $260 for all four Bilstein HD and new mounts."

It sounds like you guys advise Bilstein....I asked a for an installation quote for shocks and struts and he said about $100. Does that sound about right?

Thanks..
 

Lima Tango

Member
Dec 4, 2011
242
dvdman said:
"Shockwarehouse.com; I spent around $260 for all four Bilstein HD and new mounts."

It sounds like you guys advise Bilstein....I asked a for an installation quote for shocks and struts and he said about $100. Does that sound about right?

Thanks..

That's pretty damn good if its for all four and new mounts. The rear are ridiculously easy (30m total, no specialty tools), but the fronts require some specialty tools and a fair amount of work and frustration. You can usually borrow the tools you need from local autoparts stores so youan do it cheaper yourself, just depends on what an afternoon of banging your knuckles is worth to you. I got a quote just for the fronts for $180 which wasn't worth it for me.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
The new Bilstein HD's I had put on solved the pothole "bang" syndrome where the truck felt like it was bottoming out and something seemed loose. Overall stiffness seems similar if not a bit more. Nothing dramatic. Still a good ride but a lot quieter over bumps. I would recommend the HD's if you have the XL because it's heavier and I can't imagine anything less for such a heavy vehicle. Manufacturers recommend changing the struts and shocks every 50K miles but you should be able to go 75K if mainly highway miles. I wouldn't go over 100K on a set of shocks for safety's sake.
 

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
Lima Tango said:
That's pretty damn good if its for all four and new mounts. The rear are ridiculously easy (30m total, no specialty tools), but the fronts require some specialty tools and a fair amount of work and frustration. You can usually borrow the tools you need from local autoparts stores so youan do it cheaper yourself, just depends on what an afternoon of banging your knuckles is worth to you. I got a quote just for the fronts for $180 which wasn't worth it for me.

So I had a mechanic gonna do the shocks for $100 but he he doing it on the side like in his garage not where he works. Now I called my mechanic at a shop that did some work on my envoy before and he wants $285. How is that price?
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Shop around. I got my front struts done for about $130. But you live near Chicago so prices might be different. If you have tools I would do the rear shocks myself like I did to help keep costs down.
 

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
CaptainXL said:
Shop around. I got my front struts done for about $130. But you live near Chicago so prices might be different. If you tools I would do the rear shocks myself like I did to help keep costs down.


I would do it myself but I dont have anything reliable to lift the car. I wouldn't trust the little jacks I have to work on a project like this.
 

tblazerdude

Member
Dec 4, 2011
321
its not that cold. We can do them in my driveway, or maybe ill clean out enough room in my garage to do them there. Garage is not insulated so it wont help much, but it would cut the wind. If none of that sounds workable I'll call a trusted mechanic friend and get you a quote. His shop is in Naperville off of Ogden.
 

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
tblazerdude said:
its not that cold. We can do them in my driveway, or maybe ill clean out enough room in my garage to do them there. Garage is not insulated so it wont help much, but it would cut the wind. If none of that sounds workable I'll call a trusted mechanic friend and get you a quote. His shop is in Naperville off of Ogden.


That would be great. I'll check around on prices.
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
If you want road holding and street performance a 9-7x or an SS would have done the trick. Depending on the year of the X5, the Skid Pad numbers for the 9-7 are better than some years and well below the newest years. The few published numbers I've seen has the 9-7 outperforming the SS ever so slightly. Skid pad numbers are dubious of course but I can 90 degree corner in the 9-7 at amazingly high speeds that I'd never attempt with our identically equipped same year Rainier. My point is that clearly the lower stance of the 9-7 makes a huge difference. I've noticed recently as my 9-7 tires are breathing their last breaths the high speed cornering isn't as smooth.
 

dvdman

Original poster
Member
Oct 28, 2012
60
I called a Bilstein supplier/service shop by my house and it was Firestone. He told me that Bilsteins are for Porches and high performance vehicles. He recommended Monroes. Then he recommended I get some sort of package. It was like shock, struts, and something else but it would cost about $950 installed for all 4 wheels. He seemed knowledgeable and trustworthy but I was looking to spend around $500-600 tops. Can someone recommend exactly what to order online under $500-600 that will make my ride a little more enjoyable? Do I get Bilsteins shock and mounts only? I need to add labor cost into the equation. Someone said they paid about $260. Also, my steering wheel has a lot of play. What would you suggest to minimize this or would shocks do the trick? One again I do appreciate all the help. I need to post the make over pictures so you guys can see why I asked so many questions.
.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Listen to what people have to say here and dont go by what a firestone salesman has to say. A lot of us get the bilstein hd's. :twocents: They are not made only for Porches. Lol. They come from the factory on gm vehicles. Sounds like he is trying to push some low quality monroes on ya. Dont buy em.

Go to shockwarehouse and price the four shocks you need. Add about $250 for labor. I had my fronts done for about one hours shop time. $120. You can do the rear shocks with minimal tools. You dont need a lift for either front struts or rear shocks.

My guess is the shocks will be about $500 shipped. So you will save a couple hundred over having the shady firestone guy put on inferior monroes.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
dvdman said:
I called a Bilstein supplier/service shop by my house and it was Firestone. He told me that Bilsteins are for Porches and high performance vehicles. He recommended Monroes.
My reply would be: "Sir, your trousers are ablaze." But then I'd never be caught dead in a Firestone or other chain store.
Also, my steering wheel has a lot of play.
That's something more serious. Shocks cannot cause looseness like that. Worn outer tie rod ends, ball joints, or control arm bushings are the usual causes. Less likely is a steering rack problem or inner tie rod ends. Whenever you had an alignment done, the technician should have inspected those items, because you can't put a vehicle into good alignment if there's looseness that won't give an accurate measurement on the rack. If you've never had it aligned, it's time to budget more for the upgrade, because it's not worth putting on new shocks alone if you have this other issue. Find a reputable shop, even an independent mechanic instead of a chain, by asking all your friends and if your town uses Yelp - run a search for mechanics on yelp.com
 

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