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Front struts, 2002 DGC Sport

Discussion in 'Minivans · Pacifica' started by Mile011, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    I've done both depending on the car.
    On my Neon and the EEK based cars, I bought new strut cartridges and the associated hardware and reused the original springs.
    On my 99 minivan I used the strut assemblies with new springs.
    I was going to do the whole assembly on my 2008 Dakota, but I got a good offer and sold it instead.
     
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  2. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    From what I've seen on posts or friends vehicles, with the aftermarket pre-assembled Struts where you get a new spring, some no difference, some there is a noticeable difference....

    I'll grant a couple of in-lbs difference between the OEM spring and the aftermarket spring is probably not going to create any noticeable difference at all.....

    But in some cases, the different configurations (e.g. different Engines, Options, etc) creates a need for a different rate spring if you want all the configurations to have the same ride height.......... ...Many vehicles have a different spring left and right, because the weight distribution is not perfectly symmetrical and thus the springs slightly different so the vehicle sits perfectly level.... ....this is why you see the OEM Parts catalog has dozens of different parts numbers for springs, the actual springs on your vehicle OEM, are chosen from those dozens of different spring options to perfectly match the configuration of your particular vehicle.... ....the aftermarket, if they even offer a spring, is just one for both sides and all configurations......

    This is why you see some folks get the result of the vehicle sitting lower or not level when they use pre-assembled struts.....

    Another factor, the cost of labor, its gotten to the point its cheaper to buy assemblies with parts you don't need to replace, then to pay a mechanic the extra time to take the original assembly off, take it apart to recover the still good parts and then re-assemble it...... ....this is why you see a local mechanic to tell you to just get the Pre-Assembled Struts, if you don't he's going to charge twice as much in labor to do the job....

    You see entire control arms pre-assembled for sale now, that used to never be done, why would throw away a perfectly good control that doesn't wear out? You buy new bushings and ball joints and use an arbor press to remove and install the new parts, it only takes a couple of hours.... ...but today, those couple of hours of labor for most shops costs a lot more than the control arm, so you just buy a new control arm and have the shop replace it quick....
     
  3. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    When I had the entire assembly replaced, I noticed that the driver's and passenger's side springs were labeled and had different spring rates. So the aftermarket guys are attuned to this.
    I found zero difference in height, handling, ride in the aftermarket assemblies in my 92 Daytona.
     
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  4. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    The mini-vans are tough on their swaybar bushings and end-links, especially the 4th Generation. If they wear out, they create a ton of noise, the more the more worn they get....

    I suspect the bushings in the front lower control arm causes a lot of noise if they wear out, especially the rear bushing of that arm.... ...you can find lots of YouTube videos of people replacing just that bushing or the entire control arm, showing that rear bushing just coming apart and crumbling in their hands......

    Finally the strut mount can create a lot of noise and poor ride and handling if its worn out, especially if torn. I suspect you always replace the strut mount with the strut, but a warning for those that don't understand that, you need to replace the strut mount with the strut. There have been plenty of folks that didn't know this, figured rubber last forever, and re-used their old strut mount and then their new struts still made noise and had the same ride and handling as the old struts. They buy the $20 strut mount later, and find out it will cost the same in labor as replacing struts to install them.... ....you basically have to do the whole job of changing struts all over again to replace just the strut mount.... ...always get new strut mounts with new struts....
     
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  5. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    Which Brand?

    Cause I've noticed a huge difference in Brands of aftermarket parts? And there are some brands that are not attuned to anything that costs more to get it right, at all..... ....you get very different results with some brands.... ....so I wouldn't chalk up one good experience with a particular brand as a guarantee of the same result for the entire industry.....

    I'm perfectly willing to believe that some brands are making the effort to make sure you get a proper spring that leaves the vehicle sitting perfectly level, and might not perfectly match the OEM spring, but its going to be close enough to have the vehicle sit level and provide good ride and handling.....

    But I'm skeptical you're going to get the same result with every brand out there, with every vehicle in all of its different configurations....

    On this thread alone you've got a guy that posted a photo comparing his two DGC of the same generation, one with OEM struts/springs and the other with aftermarket Pre-Assembled Strut/Springs and the one with the aftermarket is nose down a very noticeable amount......
     
  6. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    It was KYB. And yes, not all are equal. Gabriel struts were defective, so I wouldn't trust their product.
     
  7. DC-93

    DC-93 Well-Known Member

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    As mentioned above, the computer chooses the spring rates for each vehicle, depending on option load.
    There are also various valving changes in struts and shocks.

    I bought my rear shocks for my 13 caravan from the dealer because they plugged in the vin and got me the correct rate, from the 3 available, for the rear of an SE package. They were around $50. for the pair. Did it in my driveway. HUGE difference in ride and handling quality!

    My front struts are still fine with almost 100K on the van.
    When it comes to changing them I'll be 100% sure to retain the correct springs and not settle for aftermarket crap.
     
  8. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    If they have the same part number for a pre-assembled front strut for left and right, I'd be very suspicious....
    Many vehicles have the same front strut for both left/right side, but many vehicles have a different spring for left/right sides....
    Some vehicle do have different front struts for the left/right side, and some vehicle have the same spring for front left/right sides....
    You work out the probabilities, its very unlikely you have a vehicle that has the same strut and spring for both front sides of the vehicle....

    Especially if you compare brands and find different part numbers for a well regarded brand, but the same part number for a lesser known brand....

    I'm tempted to get the $8.99 clearance sale Gabriel Strut at RockAuto for my beater DGC, I just need it to last a year or two..... ....but, they've slashed the price of a strut to $8.99? Seriously, just how bad are these struts? Not to mention, they have FCS strut for half the price of Monroe Monro-Matic Struts.... ...Tempting, but who's ever heard of FCS and how can they build a Machpherson strut for half the price?....

    Monroe's lowest tier strut/shocks are usually below my tolerance for quality for aftermarket parts.... ...but for a beater that I'm only uncomfortable with the suspension clunks and rattles, for safety reasons, that I'm only expecting to last another year or two, I think the bottom tier Monroe will do what I expect.... ....my only bad experience with Monroe is likely because I purchased their lowest tier, I really can't remember, it was that long ago, and it wasn't a bad strut, it just didn't last as long as I expected it too, I could tell the ride was degrading sooner than the OEM struts....
     
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  9. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    What Computer is that?

    Are you talking about the Dealer Part System, that now uses the VIN# to do a Corporate Records Database look-up to determine the configuration of the vehicle and thus assure the part number is correct for your specific vehicle, because the options codes have become so complex, as well owners not even knowing what options they have, a lot of errors were being made and people getting the wrong parts?

    This is what I was getting at about the OEM Parts catalog having dozens of different springs listed in it. And even more frustrating, not enough options/sales codes corresponding with them to determine which spring part number is the right one to use for you're particular vehicle.

    When you're running an assembly line, no problem, you have the economy of scale to have dozens of different springs and you pick from them what is perfect for a particular combination of options and equipment you're doing a production run of, you order extras and they are in the part system....

    All of this info is put in a database, and tracked by the VIN#.....

    What the dealer is doing with the VIN# is looking up from the database, exactly what part was put on your vehicle on the assembly line and returning that part number so you get the exact same part on the assembly line. If the process returns multiple part numbers then likely there are multiple parts that are the exact same and equivalent, they may only differ in who supplied them or some inconsequential improvement done along the way.....

    The aftermarket doesn't have this computer..... ...or more accurately, the access to the Database, nor are they willing to market dozens of different versions of their product with supplies of the dozens of different springs, they have a couple of springs that will be close enough.....
     
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  10. DC-93

    DC-93 Well-Known Member

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    First - The computer that calculates the correct spring number to build the car at the plant.
    There is a spring rate program that chooses the right combination for each vehicle that FCA builds. As you stated, there are many variables and complex!

    Later, at a Mopar dealer, they take the VIN and can get you the correct part for your application by finding out exactly what the vehicle requires.

    The aftermarket does not do this, so you get the generic part. And that means you can get poor ride quality, a low or high sitting vehicle, etc.

    Before I retired from Chrysler Engineering, I worked in Chassis, building prototype vehicles. It was not uncommon to have 20 different spring rates for the front of a vehicle. Differences in engine, trans, a/c, wheelbase, etc. all influenced the choices.
    In fact, this was when the spring programs were tested and certified for production use.
     
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  11. Mile011

    Mile011 Well-Known Member

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    Wow
    So many good responses about struts and springs.
    Thank you all for chiming inn.

    KYB has different part number for left and right (so does Monro).
    My car is not daily driver commute; I am driving this one less then 200 miles a week; for 9 months a drove almost 7,000 miles.
    I am hopping I should be OK with KYB assemblies.
     
  12. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    The rear shocks for my long gone '00 T&C Ltd were the Nivomat shocks that cost $400+/each from the dealer. I found them at a regional auto parts dealer in northern VA for half that plus $50 shipping. Paid another $65 to have them installed by a local shop. I had no choice but to replace them as both were leaking badly and the rear was bouncing all over the place.
     
  13. DC-93

    DC-93 Well-Known Member

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    I never liked Nivomat shocks.
     
  14. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Though the were expensive to replace they were good at leveling out the vehicle as you drove. You could load it up and it would squat at first but once you drove a few miles you couldn't tell you had a load. The Odyssey's and Sienna's tended to squat when really loaded it. The T&C with Nivomats didn't.
     
  15. blackstratus

    blackstratus Well-Known Member

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    I always liked my Niovomats. It appears they are not offered on the Pacifica though? I agree with Doug- They leveled out the loads really well on my 1998 T&C. That van did its fair share of heavy loads and towing probably more than it should have over its 18 yrs we had it. The only issue was when they failed around 180K miles, they could have been expensive to replace. But I found a pair of used ones on Ebay and they were perfect until the van died at 309K from a transmission failure (original transmission) . I am a broken record regarding that van but If it wasn't for the rust, that van would be still in my possession today.
     
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  16. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    I'm confused? Are you saying they design and build a custom springs for every car on the production line? I highly doubt that, no possible way they could mass produce cars practically if it has to stop on the line and wait for its own custom spring to be designed, made and then installed.....

    Are you talking about computers being used to design the car? In fact any engine would laugh if you said they needed a computer to calculate the spring they need? Spring are about the easiest thing on a vehicle to calculate......

    You're really loosing me on a Computer is required to find out what spring to put on your vehicle?

    The vehicle has dozens of options, that comes out to dozens of vehicle variants, they likely have a set of springs for each variant, so that every vehicle, despite its options, sits level and has the same ride height..... ....sure computers are involved in tracking all this during the assembly line...

    What it comes down, a VIN# can be used to pull your vehicles record in the database, the springs put on it at the factory, would be the springs you want, because when they did the production run of your vehicle, they had all that figured out, what options going on it and what springs would be needed for those options..... ...that stuff was all figured out at the design phase....
     
  17. DC-93

    DC-93 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry this is confusing to you.... Read post 30 again.
     
  18. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    I understand springs, how to calculate spring rates and compression and why there are dozens of options in the parts catalog, that is very simple.

    I'm confused by what your telling us, what does a computer have to do with it, apparently somewhere along the line?
     
  19. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    The computer tracks options by VIN, so whether it is on the assembly line or when you go to the dealer for parts, they will look up the VIN to determine he proper replacement part.

    Used to be parts in the catalog were serviced by description, now it's computerized and the proper part is selected by VIN.
     
    #39 valiant67, Feb 15, 2020 at 7:54 AM
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020 at 10:10 AM
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  20. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, at the Dealer Parts department they look up your vehicle's records from a big database by the VIN# and can find exactly what options/configuration it was built with and the exact parts that were put on it on the Assembly Line. No more fowl ups because the owner doesn't remember or know the options he has on his vehicle or the parts counter guy doesn't understand the difference.... I've already explained this....

    But apparently that is not what computer is needed for springs?.... ....I suspect the person posting that is just trying to get across the dozens of different springs were created/selected in the design/development phase, a computer was used to speed up the calculations... ...the point is it was design choices for different configurations, not that you can't pick a different spring because you don't have the special computer chrysler has....

    We both agree, the aftermarket you're getting a generic spring that May or May NOT match the characteristics of your particular OEM spring.... ....just in this thread you find examples of no difference and a very noticeable difference between OEM and aftermarket springs...

    The end result is still the same, but it's because FCA hasn't documented, or at least made public the information, of how the dozens of different springs available in the parts catalog differ or even the specs on the springs in your vehicle..... ....you're simply suppose to be happy with the springs that came with your vehicle and if they need replaced...... ....we'll FCA can tell you what springs came with your vehicle, all those other options were for other vehicles, what else more do you need to know, why would you want a different spring?
     
    #40 Rick Anderson, Feb 15, 2020 at 10:11 AM
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020 at 10:26 AM

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