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Newbie needs front strut advice

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by odysseus99, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Apr 18, 2011 at 12:41 PM
    #1
    odysseus99

    odysseus99 [OP] Member

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    I have a 98 4x4 extracab SR5 with 85,000 miles on it, still has stock front and rear shocks/struts. When I got it with 60,000 miles on it, mechanic said the front struts needed replacing, cause the tires were feathering (Pirelli Scorpions on wider allow wheels). Tires are feathered slightly but not a lot. Need new tires, wondering if I should replace the front strut shocks to protect the new tires.

    Think they need replacing? Bilstein 5100s look nice. Will they improve the ride over the stock?

    Do you need some kind of spring caliper/compresser to get the front shocks into the springs?

    Know a good shop in San Jose CA area to work on this?

    thanks JG
     
  2. Apr 18, 2011 at 12:45 PM
    #2
    Namyo

    Namyo -

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    5100s will be a better ride than stock 85k shocks for sure...shouldn't be that hard to do yourself with a rented spring compressor.
     
  3. Apr 18, 2011 at 9:36 PM
    #3
    nvdeserted

    nvdeserted Well-Known Member

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    I'm not necessarily doubting that you might need new shocks but FME feathering isn't directly indicative of bad shocks/struts. Could be: improper tire pressure, alignment, worn ball joints - are the most common tire killers.

    Any chance you took it to BigO? BigO is notorious for misdiagnosing vehicle issues.

    An easy way to check your shock health is to drive over a speed bump at like 3-5 mph, your truck should bounce down after the bump and then return to normal height (maybe a little 'wiggle' too). If it bounces 2 or 3 times you probably need new shocks.

    Struts ain't cheap, I'd probably get a second opinion first. Also check your tire pressure, probably want them in the 30-40 psi range. Tires tend to get overinflated at shops, and can end up underinflated naturally if not checked occasionally.
     
  4. Apr 19, 2011 at 5:05 AM
    #4
    odysseus99

    odysseus99 [OP] Member

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    Did not get this evaluation from Big O, from a mechanic. I'll get a few more opinions and do the speed bump test. Might be time for an alignment, too.

    thanks a lot

    JG
     
  5. Apr 19, 2011 at 6:56 AM
    #5
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    Toe is the biggest cause of feathering. Bad struts do not dampen spring jounce and allow the tire to bounce down the road, and cause uneven wear(not feathering). Bad struts will also cause loss of control in a corner if the road is bumpy.
    Odds are the struts, if original, are trash anyway. The seals are probably shot and leaking. Leak=loss of dampening.
    Speed bump test is good. Pushing down hard on each bumper will have the same effect. It will also isolate front and rear failure.

    If you ever planned on a lift, do it when you replace the struts. You'll have the front end apart anyway.
     
  6. Apr 19, 2011 at 11:01 AM
    #6
    odysseus99

    odysseus99 [OP] Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll probably replace them just to be sure and get the better ride.

    Is replacing the fronts do-able by a garage amateur with a rented spring compressor, or is it a tough job?

    JG
     
  7. Apr 19, 2011 at 5:14 PM
    #7
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Take out the strut assembly and pay to have them swapped. It's faster, easier, and safer than the rental jobbies. If you don't have the manual compressors even, the spring can be set free and take you out.
    I have used them, but hate using them.
     
  8. Apr 20, 2011 at 5:00 AM
    #8
    odysseus99

    odysseus99 [OP] Member

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    Thanks Dave
     
  9. Apr 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM
    #9
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    Any time:)
     
  10. Apr 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    #10
    nvdeserted

    nvdeserted Well-Known Member

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    Good advice ^
     
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