Recommendation for front struts

gmcman

Original poster
Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,658
Definately need to replace the stockers......yeah, 160K and should have been replaced long ago, prob twice by now.

I have the Bilstein HD on the rear but have heard that the HD's for the front may give a harsher ride. Are the Sensatracs a happy medium over the stockers and the HD's? I just don't want the mild washboard effect over small bumps that I have heard the HD's provide.....correct me if i'm wrong.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Hundreds, if not thousands, of owners have installed Bilstein aftermarket units with very little issues. After 160K on OEM shocks that were relatively crappy on Day 1, you could install a caulking gun filled with marshmallow Fluff (tm) and it would appear harsh.

Seriously, only you know how your butt is calibrated, but harshness is a combination of shocks, spring rate, what cargo your vehicle is loaded with, and there's a HUGE and sometimes ignored component of tire stiffness especially the sidewall. Load range C or D are a lot less stiff than load range E, that many of us run for towing or offroading.

I think you'll be so impressed by ANY shocks actually doing the job they were designed for that you will think you bought a new vehicle.

On a related note, there isn't any other deferred maintenance you should be thinking about, like fluids (especially the transfer case) and plugs?
 

Wyle

Member
Dec 4, 2011
200
the roadie said:
Hundreds, if not thousands, of owners have installed Bilstein aftermarket units with very little issues. After 160K on OEM shocks that were relatively crappy on Day 1, you could install a caulking gun filled with marshmallow Fluff (tm) and it would appear harsh.

:crackup:
 

gmcman

Original poster
Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,658
the roadie said:
After 160K on OEM shocks that were relatively crappy on Day 1, you could install a caulking gun filled with marshmallow Fluff (tm) and it would appear harsh.

Yeah...that made me LOL.

The front suspension is really the only area neglected, fluids are good as well. Honestly the ride hasn't changed much in the front except for some more body roll...again, chalk one up for crappy struts to begin with, I agree with you there but no wheel hop yet.

I remember ScarabEpic going with the Eibach springs so hopefully he will give a long-term update. I don't mind a stiffer ride, just don't want the washboard effect over every little ripple in the road. Providing the HD's don't do this but just make a firmer ride then I will go that route.

Planning now on springs, struts, and the Hotchkis bar.
 

Slimtv

Member
Dec 5, 2011
5
I just replaced all four stockers with Bilstien HD's about 3-4 weeks ago. My wife and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. 03 Envoy with 110K. I wish I would have done this sooner. The ride is much more "confident", even over the stocks when the vehicle was new(from what my pea brain can recall).
 
Dec 4, 2011
520
Slimtv said:
I just replaced all four stockers with Bilstien HD's about 3-4 weeks ago. My wife and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. 03 Envoy with 110K. I wish I would have done this sooner. The ride is much more "confident", even over the stocks when the vehicle was new(from what my pea brain can recall).

I agree, we did ours about 4 weeks ago. Immediately noticed an improvement in bump handling capabilities. By the way we are only at 60000 miles or so but one shock was leaking and the bumps were very noticeable. Was also planning on taking the struts to a shop to have the shocks replaced but Princess Auto (Your Harbour Freight) put the spring compressors on for 15.00 bucks so I had to buy a set and try it myself. No Problem just be careful. Here is a web site that provides very concise instructions for both front and rear shock replacement. Can't believe how easy it was. I set aside a day to do it and was done in about 3 hours. Anyway good luck.

Strut and Shock Install - Truck Test Digest.
 
Dec 4, 2011
520
gmcman said:
Allright, Bilstein it is. Thanks for the link Red.

Your welcome. Don't believe you will be disappointed.
 

ScarabEpic22

Member
Nov 20, 2011
728
Im on my 2nd set of Bilstein HDs on the front of my 02, put them on in mid-August around 124k. Had them on the rears too, they were shot after being lowered for a few years and ~55-60k. Would not recommend Bilstein HD+rear drop kit, horrible ride.

Bilstein HD up front ftw, its the best replacement option available to us. For the rear we can run lots of shocks with a little modification (aka spacers to keep the ends in one place), but the front we're not as lucky. Lowered or lifted, they're hands down the best replacement shock available. If you want to get serious about the ride up front and lower it, get either the Belltech drop struts Tony mentioned or KBee coilovers.

Side note, I didnt know Belltech made those drop struts, that is another option for guys looking to lower their trucks. Wonder what it does to the spring length at ride height?
 

gmcman

Original poster
Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,658
Little update here, I think i'm going to tackle this finally in a couple weeks. With the struts out, what else can I replace at this time that involves the labor of pulling the strut?

Also, does the top of the strut have a replaceable cushion or bearing of some sort?
 

fadyasha

Member
Dec 21, 2011
1,134
the roadie said:
OEM shocks that were relatively crappy on Day 1, you could install a caulking gun filled with marshmallow Fluff (tm) and it would appear harsh.

:rotfl::rotfl:

I got the sensatric which are pretty decent, they're stiffer than the stocks thats for sure. I'll be switching to Bilstein HD as soon as I get my hands on some. No local dealers here yet :mad:
 
Dec 4, 2011
520
gmcman said:
Little update here, I think i'm going to tackle this finally in a couple weeks. With the struts out, what else can I replace at this time that involves the labor of pulling the strut?

Also, does the top of the strut have a replaceable cushion or bearing of some sort?

I would suggest replacing the rubber mount cushion that goes on the top of the spring at the same time. I believe these parts were of the MOOG variety when I did mine.

fadyasha said:
:rotfl::rotfl:

I got the sensatric which are pretty decent, they're stiffer than the stocks thats for sure. I'll be switching to Bilstein HD as soon as I get my hands on some. No local dealers here yet :mad:

You should try ShockWarehouse on line. They have excellent prices and ship is very quick. See above and order the upper rubber mounts the same time.
 

fadyasha

Member
Dec 21, 2011
1,134
RedEnvoyDenal said:
I would suggest replacing the rubber mount cushion that goes on the top of the spring at the same time. I believe these parts were of the MOOG variety when I did mine.



You should try ShockWarehouse on line. They have excellent prices and ship is very quick. See above and order the upper rubber mounts the same time.

They don't do international shipping :no:
 

Dad-O-Matic

Member
Dec 5, 2011
228
RedEnvoyDenal said:
Here is a web site that provides very concise instructions for both front and rear shock replacement.
Strut and Shock Install - Truck Test Digest.

That link is great, answers a lot of questions. Can you or one of the moderators submit this link to Ghoster to add to the FAQ thread?

I could do it, but I didn't want to take credit for finding it.
 
Dec 4, 2011
520
fadyasha said:
They don't do international shipping :no:

My apologies :redface: it was early this AM and I didn't notice where you were. I can relate since we have trouble getting stuff to Canada and we are only miles away.
 

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