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ETC suspension


Manny

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My 2001 ETC has just a tic over 102,000 miles. As the original suspension components begin to fail, I've been replacing them. I love this car and want to keep it riding just like the day I picked it up.

I've replaced the rear knuckle bushings that were worn and made the rear end "step out" when she runs over expansion joints. I've come across the "green grease" on the subframe, and realized my halfshafts were going south and replaced them, and while I was down there, I replaced the outer tie rod ends. But something has me baffled.

I've tested the ball joints based on what the FSM shows, and I don't feel any play, and I've tried the bounce test for my struts and they seem ok.

But with the raggedy Chicago streets, it still seems like she just doesn't feel quite like she used to. At highway speed certain bumps still give just the slightest feeling of "float" and the need to correct my steering. I've checked my rack and pinion to see if it was loose, and all seems to be ok.

I know at 100,000 miles, my ball joints and front struts are on borrowed time. I am of the mind set to replace them, but don't want to if it's not necessary. Am I just being paranoid? :unsure:

Resistance is futile.

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Not sure on the ball joints, although they have been mentioned as a definite wear item.

I would say for the struts and shocks, the ones you have "don't owe you a dime", as they say in Michigan.

I think new struts/shocks would be a good change that may give very noticeable benefit. The shock companies suggest changing every 50K, which seems a bit often to me, but certainly after 100K I think they are due.

Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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Holy Smokes! :blink:

Just looked at the shipping on those active struts for that ETC. I knew OEM struts would set me back, but the shipping is over $100.00 for each strut and $35.00 for the lower control arm (no separate ball joints).

:wacko:

Resistance is futile.

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I've been pondering the same thing with my '97 ETC. I'm almost at 120k miles, and I'm all original with the suspension. The only replacements I've made are the sway-bar links and bushings, and tie-rod ends. The ride quality has degraded slightly, but I still don't feel any bouncing or dangerous levels of float. I grease the ball-joints anytime the car is up on the lift, and they seem to be holding up well.

And as you've found out... the OEM active suspension costs into the 4-figure range. At this point, and with the current state of the economy, I'm reluctant to put that much money into a car thats over a decade old. While I have every intention of driving this car for as long as possible (I'd love to have a mini-restoration done on it, and keep it as a 2nd car in the future!), I'd probably talk myself into the passive system if replacement became 'required' in the near future.

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Looking at RockAuto is a little better.

For those of you who have gone from active to passive struts - is there a big difference? (I thought about Arnott)

Has anyone tried Monroe's version of active shocks? Are they as good as the OEM?

Searching RockAuto, I see there is indeed a replacement for our ball joints, without having to purchase the entire lower control arm. Whew. I know GMPartsDirect is cheaper than the dealer, but it still seems like they're trying to bend you over the table.

In reading the boards on here, I think part of the noise I'm hearing (sounds like bad calipers on a bumpy road) is from my end links.

So:

Ball Joints

End links

sway bar bushings

Struts (with the struts, should I also replace the Strut mount, and the upper and lower insulator?)

One last goofy question (I feel silly cause usually I'm pretty good at these things) - where is or what is the strut rod bushing?

Resistance is futile.

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Bruce, BostonETC;

Thanks for the advice. Doing my homework, troubleshooting and such, it's just time to bite the bullet and replace a few things to put her back where she belongs:

Front Struts

Rear shocks

Stabilizer links

Stabilizer bar bushings

Strut mounts (I may as well while I have them out then to have to pull them again in a few thousand miles)

Ball joints.

Resistance is futile.

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If you are feeling a directional stability problem, you should check your Strut Rod Bushings, assuming that your year has them (not sure). Mike

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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Before you R&R the entire suspension system... what are you running for tires? I only ask this because several years ago I made the mistake of putting some really cheapo tires on the car, which caused a floaty 'yaw' type of feeling. Once I replaced them with Bridgestones, and raised the tire pressure from 29 to 34, the car was tight, and free of float/sway/yaw issues.

The rubbery clunking I assumed to be the front struts was eliminated by replacing the sway-bar endlinks/bushing and the tie-rod ends. Currently, there's no bounce, harsh ride, or pogo issues. The struts seem to be holding up well enough, even with the pot-hole lined roads of Massachusetts!

On a side note... did you decide to go with the active or passive system?

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BBF - I've actually been searching to see if the ETC has those - I looked in the FSM and online parts viewer on GMPartsDirect. Neither seems to show strut rod bushings for that car. Only upper and lower insulators, and the bumper back.

Boston - For the colder, snowy months, I have a set of Pirelli P5's. Not quite sure where those rank. I don't get much float, just certain bumps. I'm afraid to not do it all now, and create more of an issue later.

As far as active or passive, I had chosen active, I was going to try the monroe version of active struts, hoping that the choice didn't come back to bite me later. However, after I made the order, there were some "issues" with the the RockAuto order process. So for now I'm kind of stuck in limbo.

Resistance is futile.

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Pirelli's rate pretty high up there on the tire quality chart! I was running a VERY cheap set of Kuhmo's, so cheap that the areas of the tread started peeling OFF the tires in under 15k miles. I didn't even bother with a warranty claim (if that shows how cheap they were!), I just got them replaced FAST! I think I paid about $35 a tire for them... and that was obviously before Kuhmo stepped up their quality! I know they're not #1 by any means now, but I don't think they're total junk anymore.

I think you're making a great investment with the active system! I'd love to hear a before & after report!

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My Parts from Rockauto have begun to arrive! I'm getting excited! I love the feel of new parts! (I confess, I'm a gearhead.)

One thing I don't understand though. The FSM shows using a 24mm wrench and a torx to remove the top nut from the strut mount. Are they for real? There is no way, a wrench is going to fit down in that recess. I have a 24mm impact socket, that I used to use on that same type of nut for my Chevy Euro, with strut cartridges.

...But those were relatively cheap cartridges - I didn't have any real fear of ruining a cartridge with my impact gun. These active struts however, my pocket is not feeling so optimistic. Has anyone created a DIY tool that they've used to access that nut? I was thinking of a 24mm socket with a steel bar welded to one side- that would leave me enough room to reach the strut rod with the torx.

I went to autozone to see if they actually had a tool for this - they had no clue what I was talking about - the only tool they had for rent is the GM W-Body strut tool - I already have that. They kept asking me if the car had strut cartridges.

Any ideas?

edit - never mind - strut rod nut socket. _ remember having one of those - though I don't know what I did with it.

Resistance is futile.

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I've used 1/2 inch drive spark plug sockets and put a 3/8 drive torx wrench through it with an extension to hold the strut piston and then used a wrench to turn the socket. Just loosen the Strut nut on the car. It's alot easier then doing it on the bench after the strut is out.

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Update:

I compared the Monroe struts and Shocks with the OEM - If I didn't know better, I'd say Monroe was the OEM vendor.

The rears are exactly the same - even down to the tape:

DSCF0042.jpg

DSCF0043.jpg

Front struts:

DSCF0044.jpg

DSCF0045.jpg

I haven't had it on the highway yet, but from what I can tell so far, she's back on her feet.

I think I found the float I was feeling. After I got the struts out, I pushed down on one to see if it would come back up like the new ones did. Nope. It was time. The rears weren't too bad, but I could push down on them and collapse the bag pretty easily. Even though I checked my ball joints before, once I got the lower control arm off, the ball was kind of loose in the socket. The sway bar end links were almost non-existent. Not sure who said it, but they were right when they said you can't tell that your sway bushings are bad until you pull them off. Rubber was real loose and flimsy.

I found out something about my car during this process. She has a twisted since of humor. I went through the rear shocks and the right strut so fast it was unbelivable. The Eldo held the carrot in front of my nose, and snatched it away when I got to the left front. Everything was fine. Until the last end link. The right side was fairly easy. The left side was a nightmare. No matter what I did, the left bottom would not come out. I hit the end nut with a BFH. I used heat. I used a small two jaw puller. That bottom link would not press out.

I was afraid I would have to drop the cradle to get at the sway bar, but I disconnected the left strut from the knuckle, and that gave me enough room to fish the sway bar out. I ended up clamping it in a vise, and drilling the end link halfway, then hit it with a punch.

Resistance is futile.

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Nice before/after photos of the new parts. Yes, I like new stuff for the Cadillac as well.

Everything was fine. Until the last end link.

Thank goodness that happened with the last step and not the first step. At least this way you KNEW you were doing the right thing and it was not supposed to be that hard.

Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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The saga continues...

I figured I may as well replace the rear stabilizer end links and the stabilizer bushings, since the front went so well and rides sooooo much better. Rock Auto doesn't list the rear stabilzer bushings for my car and GM Parts Direct wanted about $16.00 shipping for an $8.00 part, I figured by the time it adds up, I'll be paying retail.

The rear end links for that car are between $10-12.00 online - about $25.00 retail.

So I visted my local Cadillac Parts counter.

O. M. G!! :blink:

I knew there is a mark-up, but geez! For the same $8.00 AC Delco bushing, they quoted $44.## (I didn't hear the cents, my mind had gelled over by then)

For each rear end link? $134.## (more gelling)

That is an 1100% mark up on the price of the end link, and 550% on the bushings

Wow!

Resistance is futile.

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Which is exactly why I avoid the dealer at ALL costs. I understand everybody likes to make a profit, but they're just fleecing their customers. I've yet to find a 'good' or even 'ok' GM dealer in my general vicinity. They're all out for blood, and filled to the brim with incompetence. I truly wonder how they can even stay in business, or if the 500% markup is the sole reason they're skimming by...

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The saga continues...

I figured I may as well replace the rear stabilizer end links and the stabilizer bushings, since the front went so well and rides sooooo much better. Rock Auto doesn't list the rear stabilzer bushings for my car and GM Parts Direct wanted about $16.00 shipping for an $8.00 part, I figured by the time it adds up, I'll be paying retail.

The rear end links for that car are between $10-12.00 online - about $25.00 retail.

So I visted my local Cadillac Parts counter.

O. M. G!! :blink:

I knew there is a mark-up, but geez! For the same $8.00 AC Delco bushing, they quoted $44.## (I didn't hear the cents, my mind had gelled over by then)

For each rear end link? $134.## (more gelling)

That is an 1100% mark up on the price of the end link, and 550% on the bushings

Wow!

I needed two steering rack boot clamps for my '97 STS and couldn't find them at any parts store so I called the dealer. I should say "stealer"... They wanted $42 and change EACH for a 50 cent metal ear clamp. I told him he was out of his rabid a$$ mind if he thought I was going to pay $42+ for basically a narrow hose clamp. I used a nylon zip tie. That kind of robbery is ridiculous.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arrrgh! This is so aggravating! I didn't know GM Parts direct was only going to send ONE actual rear stabilizer bushing! I thought they were sending a set. Moog came in a set. It's my fault, what was I thinking. Can't I get these from anywhere else?

Resistance is futile.

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I'm trying to get stabilizer links and bushings for my 1997 ETC and have a shopping cart going on RockAuto right now. The stabilizer links are OK, front and rear (I opted for the Spicer/Raybestos link kits, and am ordering two front, two rear). However, they list sway bar diameters of 19 mm, 21 mm, 29 mm, and 31 mm, and I see no rear stabilizer bushings listed. What it looks like to me is that both the Eldorado and ETC links, front and rear are in the list, and that my correct bushings are 31 mm front, 21 mm rear. Anyone? Please?

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I'm trying to get stabilizer links and bushings for my 1997 ETC and have a shopping cart going on RockAuto right now. The stabilizer links are OK, front and rear (I opted for the Spicer/Raybestos link kits, and am ordering two front, two rear). However, they list sway bar diameters of 19 mm, 21 mm, 29 mm, and 31 mm, and I see no rear stabilizer bushings listed. What it looks like to me is that both the Eldorado and ETC links, front and rear are in the list, and that my correct bushings are 31 mm front, 21 mm rear. Anyone? Please?

I ordered the same stuff from rock auto, the raybestoes front links and moog rears, good quality and made things much better. My bushings look OK but I wanted to do them for the heck of it but (same here) I am not sure of the size and no site breaks it out into front and back?? Would like to know also.

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My FSM is no help in the matter, that I could find. I'm unwilling to crawl under the car because there is no room in the garage, and backing it out and jacking it up just to try to measure the stabilizer bar diameters is a bit much. The numbers 31 mm and 21 mm seem to be familiar, but 12 years is a long time to remember stabilizer bar diameters.

I've browsed around the other GM OEM parts people that are referenced here -- Brasington, GM Parts Direct, etc. and no joy. The best is GM Parts Direct, but it lists only one bushing, for the "soft ride suspension" -- which I don't have, and no diameter is specified.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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My FSM is no help in the matter, that I could find. I'm unwilling to crawl under the car because there is no room in the garage, and backing it out and jacking it up just to try to measure the stabilizer bar diameters is a bit much. The numbers 31 mm and 21 mm seem to be familiar, but 12 years is a long time to remember stabilizer bar diameters.

I've browsed around the other GM OEM parts people that are referenced here -- Brasington, GM Parts Direct, etc. and no joy. The best is GM Parts Direct, but it lists only one bushing, for the "soft ride suspension" -- which I don't have, and no diameter is specified.

I'm not sure if they changed the ETC suspension specs after '97 or the FE3 specs. My ETC has FE3 suspension which is 21mm for the front stabilizer bushings - I ordered the MOOG from Rock Auto. As for the rear - I didn't measure the rear, but the only site I see that offers the rear bushings is GM Parts Direct, and they don't specify measurements. the only difference there is sport or w/o sport. ETC's have sport suspension. I haven't installed my rear bushings yet though. (one bushing is here.. waiting for the other to arrive).

Resistance is futile.

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Arrrgh. I need an ordering facility that uses my VIN, I guess. Perhaps I should get the links from Rock Auto and the bushings from the dealer.

The diameter of the stabilizer bar isn't the whole story, and a larger diameter doesn't necessarily indicate a stiffer anti-sway total resistance. The length and shape of the arms to the links, the alloy, and the resilience of the bushings are factors. Thus it is possible that there is more than one anti-sway bar diameter for the 1997 ETC.

Or, perhaps I'll just crawl under the car after all. In point of fact, I may poke at the bushings with a screwdriver and see if they really need replacing at all. The links, I can hear.

Anyone have any advice on polyurethane bushings? All I really need are stabilizer link bushings.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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