Suspension overhaul time?

I just hit 205k. I bought it at 190k. I have paper work that shows the rear suspension as far as shocks and springs was done around I believe 130k however there is a clunk and it really doesn’t ride that well. According to all my findings it came with the premium smooth ride suspension but it was converted to conventional in the rear in 2016. I replaced the lower trailing arms and the rear sway bar end links. Usually I would go with bilstein no doubt. However, I was wondering the best shock that’s a little bit more affordable for the rear? It does clunk over bumps. I want a firm ride but smooth. I want a ride that’s firm like a truck ride but not so firm that it’s intolerable. I want to keep it stock height. What’s everyone’s suggestion for front struts and rear shocks?
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
I have used KYB in my recent suspension rebuild, and no complaints.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Sounds like there'll be no heavy load carrying or towing going on, so no need for any type of HD shock.

I've purchased Monroe Reflex for a couple of trucks, and been fairly happy with them, for what they are / cost (I've gotten mine from Rock). You could go with these in the front and rear. They're cheap enough so that if you hate them, you won't feel too bad about spending coin later to replace them with something better. If you like them, Monroe and Rock back them with a lifetime warranty. They'll handle better than the stockers with 200K on them; what I can't tell you is how long the Reflex themselves will last.

If you want cheaper than that, Detroit Axle will have a cheaper solution (they often have entire front suspension kits for a couple hundred bucks). Some people like them; some have had issues. But I can't think of a cheaper solution, if you decide you want to R&R the entire front end, but money's tight at the moment.

BTW... your front suspension isn't 'strut', it's a shock inside coil spring (or 'coilover', if you prefer). If price is a concern, you could keep the stock springs, get a new mount kit for about $20, the cost of the shocks, and 'rent' the tools you'll need from your local retail auto parts store. The 'quick struts' run about $200, last I checked (I'm sure they're more, now), so you can see the cost savings here, for a bit of work on your part. Suspension ain't that hard, and there's plenty of references online, here and elsewhere.

Because you're going to be pulling off the front knuckles, rotors, etc., to get to the springs / shocks, you may want to evaluate whether any other new parts would be worthwhile, up front (ball joints, brakes, etc.) Plus the swaybar bushings & end links that the last poster mentioned, which are cheap and pretty easy to do.

You mentioned replacing the rear sway links & trailing arms, so you're not a complete novice. Look over what's required, online; do your homework and get a feeling for if your mechanic skill level is up to the tasks. Then plan your work and work your plan. 🛠️:thumbsup:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
What about ACDelco? I think somebody here used those and was quite happy. I had a pair on the back of my Avalanche. I liked them but I swapped them out for ACDelco air shocks for towing. I'm also quite happy with those as well ACDelco ain't bad.

For the clunking, shocks typically don't cause that unless a bolt is loose. Recheck your suspension.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
And the bolts on those can get loose.
 

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
Before I went the blue/yellow Bilsteins on mine, I was looking at the rear shocks used on the TB SS. The ACDelco 540347 shocks are firm, but softer then the Bilsteins.

My experience so far;

Monroe OESpectrums; About equal to the factory ride quality, soft but a tiny bit firmer. They're pretty cheap $20 for the rears, and $60 for the strut. They aren't bad, I had them on my Envoy for roughly 30k until I went with the Bilsteins.

KYB Gas-a-Just; Very firm, it got softer with a load in the rear. Now that my rear Bilsteins are broken in, I'd say they're firmer then the KYBs.

KYB Excel-G; Had them on my Trailblazer EXT. I actually liked them over the factory ACDelco shocks/Monroe's, near identical softness/ride quality but it was a tad bit firmer so it wasn't "floaty" going over bumps. They also sell a preassembled strut for $150 (part # SR4073). Lifetime warranty if I recall as well.

Bilstein HD; I wanted a more sporty/truck ride and these fit the bill. Downside is yeah, you do feel a bit more bumps in the road but it handles them with no problems. Surprisingly smooth while driving down the highway, so I can't complain. If you live in a city full of pot holes, or bad surfaces you'll hate them.

Moog: Honestly forgot they made a shock/strut for this truck. I remember having them on my first Envoy, after redoing the entire suspension front to back. Pretty much identical to the premium ride option.
 

aaserv

Well-Known Member
If you really search around the Bilsteins can be found for not that much more than any other premium brand. I have the yellow/blue all the way around and with all due respect for Mikes opinion we have some of the worst roads in the country and My LWB Envoy rides like a Lincoln Continental ......it wont with elcheapo tires thats for sure. Tires make as big a difference in ride quality as shocks do (IMO).. I couldnt be happier with the ride Im getting. Bilstein shocks, Premium tires, front end aligned and no worn bushings and if my doors didnt still have a slight rattle now and again Id put my car against anything out there. Id love to put a blindfolded person in mine and drive them around and see how close they can come to guessing they are in a 17yr old car with 205K on it.......
Granted I did catch both front and back on sale on different websites but I saved maybe $80 total off regular pricing. For the ride Im getting even at regular price I would still feel like I stole them..
 

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