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Okay, I need help, again! I had new GR-2 struts installed all around, with 4-wheel alignment on my 2000 ES. Everything is stock on this car. Tires are Bridgestone Turanza LSH with about 50% tread left.

I'm not happy with the KYB's. They seem too soft and allow too much body lean in corners. Soft ride, but I think too soft. the crisp and solid feel that my trep had (at least for a full size american sedan) is gone, and replaced by tons of understeer and more torque steer than before, even on worn factory struts. it just doesn't feel stable and solid on the road anymore.

Anyone else had this happen? do I need to go with Mopar (outrageously priced!!) struts to get it right? what about Monroes?

thanks.
 

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GR-2's are softer than your stock struts? Wow....first time I've ever heard that. I used to run the GR-2's on my TBirds simply for the fact that they were more stiff than the OEM struts/shocks, but not so stiff they jar ya to death! My TBirds with GR-2's were by far the best handling cars I've owned..wayyyy better then the Trep could ever dream of when it comes to hard cornering and canyon carving!
 

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not an expert by any means(but I have spent a number of years short track racing, so i have a basic understanding of roll center, caster, camber etc.)
Understeer could have something to do w/ the after installation alignment or it could be due to the body roll that you are referring to. I'm thinking the body roll has much more to do with swaybar size than strut stiffness. Not knowing how your cars handiling before and after firsthand makes it difficult to say exactly whats going on. One thing to try before you spend too much more is having the alignment checked by another shop to verify the accuracy of the first shops work. Have them give you a printout of the before and after specs. another thing to keep in mind is that modern suspensions are pretty thouroughly engineered and changing one component in the direction of performance may actually have the opposite effect(not saying that is the case here esp. cause many members have been very happy w/ the KYB's). Good luck w/ it and hopefully its something simple like a worn swaybar bushing or broken endlink
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey, everybody, thanks for all the advice! I now have more information to base my decisions about this on.

Yes, they are GR-2's, well, at least those are the struts I bought from the tire rack and took to the Goodyear store to have installed. Wow, I would be absolutely pissed beyond belief if somehow they switched them out on me and perhaps put Gabriels in there?? I think that is their stock replacement shock at the Goodyear store. I doubt that happened, sort of a conspiracy theory but man if it did, it would not be a good year for our friends down there!

I also bought new strut mounts and had them installed at the same time. I haven't gotten under yet to check things out, though I did look and from what I can see they did install the new parts. I should have asked for the old parts back. REally wish now that I had.

It may be worn sway bar end links that with the worn struts went unoticed and with things tight in the strut department now, are noticable. I actually have new end lings and lower control arms with bushings and ball joints that I haven't installed yet.

What I'll do is install those new parts then have a different shop check the alignment. The understeer could definitely be an alignment issue.

I too am wondering if better tires could help. I have been happy overall with my tires (BS Turanza LSH) but they are not a high performance tire. However, I still don't want a stiff, jarring ride. In that respect the GR-2's are pretty good.

I dunno, it just wasn't quite the effect I had hoped for. My car doesn't feel composed anymore. It could very well be that the new, stiffer struts have accentuated the wear of the other front end components so they need to be replaced, too. I'll post to let you know how that works out.

My brother had a T-bird once, I drove it and it was a nice car but it drove me crazy on the freeway - I had to constantly correct the steering wheel, it just wouldn't track well. Of course, that could have been the tires. what year is your bird? I think his was an '84 so it was older.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
hey, '98 ES'r, I just noticed on your list of mods you have reflex struts. How do you like them? Are they stiff? Do you notice tar strips and pavement **** more that usual? Do you have any friends with GR-2 to compare the Monroes to?

maybe I should buy another trep, and put stiff struts on it. That way, on the days I want to play race car driver I can drive it, and on the days I don't, cruise in my ES! the local SAturn dealer has a 2001 R/T with roof for sale and I've been resisting the urge to test drive it. It has the same miles as my ES, but has roof, leather and 3.5 instead of the 3.2 that I have. I bet it drives sweet. it is black, which is a great color on a trep but I hate (to take care of) black cars.
 

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Just a note there's a few online dealer sites that offer the R/T PHP struts for around $95 each. Don't know what shipping is...and of course you'd need the correct springs to go with them. I can't see stock ES struts being more than the R/T ones..but you never know. Just thought I'd throw that into the mix.
 

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I like the Monroes, got them for 1/2 the installed price of the GR-2s. Pretty nice ride, I've also got new-ish tired (Goodyear Assurance TripleTred) and have keep my tie rod ends, suspension bushings, and sway bar links in good condition, replacing as necessary.

Real good handling, I'm very happy in high speed turns (highway cloverleafs) as well as scootin' around city corners and streets.

Couldn't say much about the GR-2. When I bought my Monroes there was only one approved KYB dealer in town that handled any thing bigger than a Civic. Sure, everyone could **get** the struts but no one had any expertise in working on large cars. So I went with the stiffest major brand I could find and have been happy.

There is no stiff suspension that will eliminate the feeling of tar strips, concrete joints, etc. The point of struts/shocks is to really keep your wheels in good contact with the road when you do hit bumps or ripples. The Monroes do that very well in conjunction with my tires and other suspensiopn components.

A word of advice: The suspension is a **system**. If you have a (literally) weak link, the whole car will be affected. Bad linkages, screwed up tires (hidden damage from pot holes or low on air) or worn/weak struts will all make your car handle like crap. You've really got to look at every component including alignment and make sure that they are up to snuff before spending $500 on struts and another $600 on tires. It could be that a $50 sway bar link is all you need.
 

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Ya I'm surprised to hear they were soft. It's the opposite for me, they felt very much stiffer. I don't mind though, I like the rougher ride. I don't think it's your tires causing the problem. I've had cheapo ass tires on my car until this spring and I still felt a big change going from stock struts to the GR-2's.
 
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