Jump to content
CaddyInfo Cadillac Forum

Average Life of a Strut


Recommended Posts

I know that is an open end question due to environment differences, but what is the norm? Is 35,000 miles too few? On my 99, it seems that both front struts are getting tired already and they were replaced around 210k. Everytime I hit a dip (not even a big one) the struts make a loud "thud" like they bottomed out really hard. It's a horrible noise because it sounds as if something is hitting. An accurate description of the noise would be if someone were to go through a dip hard enough to where the front end hits the ground. That's what it sounds like, but the noise is coming from the around the struts...or so I think.

I don't really want to replace them, just to find out that wasn't the problem.

-Dusty-

2006 Cadillac DTS Glacier Gold Tri-Coat with 175,000 miles

1993 Cadillac Sixty Special Gold Mist with 185,000 miles

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I recall having a sound "like something hitting something" in the suspension on my '97 DeVille six years ago, when it had around 100k miles. I would notice it on one side when hitting bumps, especially if turning of breaking so that more weight were put on the strut that I think made the sound. I always avoid bumps as much as I can, and only had the sound very rarely (but anyone driving more like a "normal person", i.e. driving over rather than around minor bumps and so on, would have had the sound frequently). Anyhow, it stopped all by itself after maybe a year, and has not happened again since. The car now has 150k. The struts are obviously not new anymore, but they are also not completely worn out. If I push down on the front, the car will not start to "bounce" when I let it go, so there is still dampening from the shocks (struts). 150k is a lot more than 35k. Did you still have the original ones on yours at 210k, and what brand did you get as replacements?

Could your sound be described as clunking? If so, it could be the stabilizer bar links. Search the forum for old posts on that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard to say what the average life of a strut is but I think 35,000 miles is an infant mortality (premature) failure. I have almost 160,000 miles on my STS and the struts are still fine.

If you're getting a clunk when going over bumps and it is not the stabilizer links, the upper strut mounts could be bad.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recall having a sound "like something hitting something" in the suspension on my '97 DeVille six years ago, when it had around 100k miles. I would notice it on one side when hitting bumps, especially if turning of breaking so that more weight were put on the strut that I think made the sound. I always avoid bumps as much as I can, and only had the sound very rarely (but anyone driving more like a "normal person", i.e. driving over rather than around minor bumps and so on, would have had the sound frequently). Anyhow, it stopped all by itself after maybe a year, and has not happened again since. The car now has 150k. The struts are obviously not new anymore, but they are also not completely worn out. If I push down on the front, the car will not start to "bounce" when I let it go, so there is still dampening from the shocks (struts). 150k is a lot more than 35k. Did you still have the original ones on yours at 210k, and what brand did you get as replacements?

Could your sound be described as clunking? If so, it could be the stabilizer bar links. Search the forum for old posts on that.

Yep, the originals were on until 210,000. I'm not sure what brand was used, I just know what the last guy replaced them due to his accurate history on the car. I would assume AC Delco, because he used AC Delco on everything.

It's definitely a thud, not a clunk. It sounds like someone just dropped the car on the pavement. It won't happen over bumps, just over dips and only when the car is coming out of the dip. It seems as if the strut isn't pushing the front end back up quick enough so then it bottoms out coming out of the dip. I don't usually hear it around town, it's seems to be only on the highway dips (dips as in depressions in the road, not the other drivers ^_^ ).

It doesn't seem to bounce at all after a dip or bump and I can't say whether or not it seems like a squishy ride because I've always owned the "touring" versions of Cadillacs and don't really know how the ride is supposed to be on the non-electronically controlled suspensions.

Jim, how long of a warranty did you have? I thought they were only 4yr/60k?

-Dusty-

2006 Cadillac DTS Glacier Gold Tri-Coat with 175,000 miles

1993 Cadillac Sixty Special Gold Mist with 185,000 miles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides the struts it is important to be sure that the springs are up to the task of supporting the weight of the car, if not, the strut travels so much further.

When i replaced the struts on my 96, I replaced the springs also and it made a big difference. Before that the entire car hit the road on potholes and rises and dips in the highway.

New struts with old springs will wear out the struts much faster

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It doesn't seem to bounce at all after a dip or bump and I can't say whether or not it seems like a squishy ride because I've always owned the "touring" versions of Cadillacs and don't really know how the ride is supposed to be on the non-electronically controlled suspensions.

Jim, how long of a warranty did you have? I thought they were only 4yr/60k?

I have the GMPP Extended warranty.

It is good till 104,000 miles or until December 24th 2011... (this year)

I have a little over 93,000 on it now.

Not much warranty left... :) :)

Posted Image
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recall having a sound "like something hitting something" in the suspension on my '97 DeVille six years ago, when it had around 100k miles. I would notice it on one side when hitting bumps, especially if turning of breaking so that more weight were put on the strut that I think made the sound. I always avoid bumps as much as I can, and only had the sound very rarely (but anyone driving more like a "normal person", i.e. driving over rather than around minor bumps and so on, would have had the sound frequently). Anyhow, it stopped all by itself after maybe a year, and has not happened again since. The car now has 150k. The struts are obviously not new anymore, but they are also not completely worn out. If I push down on the front, the car will not start to "bounce" when I let it go, so there is still dampening from the shocks (struts). 150k is a lot more than 35k. Did you still have the original ones on yours at 210k, and what brand did you get as replacements?

Could your sound be described as clunking? If so, it could be the stabilizer bar links. Search the forum for old posts on that.

It's definitely a thud, not a clunk. It sounds like someone just dropped the car on the pavement. It won't happen over bumps, just over dips and only when the car is coming out of the dip. It seems as if the strut isn't pushing the front end back up quick enough so then it bottoms out coming out of the dip. I don't usually hear it around town, it's seems to be only on the highway dips (dips as in depressions in the road, not the other drivers happy.gif ).

Read my post above,

What you say here is a misconception that a lot of people believe. Struts DO NOT push the car back up, springs do, SPRINGS SUPPORT THE CAR'S WEIGHT. Struts DAMPEN or CONTROL the wheel assembly movement, that is all. Those dips or rises and dips you are talking about KILLED my car, on the Southern State Parkway here in New York. It was my first trip and with my family and luggage, the whole undercarriage hit the ground at highway speed.

It is the SPRINGS that were the cause as they were unable to hold the car up, I had 56,000 miles at the time. You probably also can not drive into curb cuts without the front end bottoming out also.

Replace the springs and the car rides beautiful NO MORE bottoming out

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just had the upper strut mounts replaced on my car at 93,500 miles.

They weren't REAL BAD..but I wanted it done while still under warranty. :)

Jim,

Did your car make a clumk sound when going over small bumps due to the bad strut mounts?

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just had the upper strut mounts replaced on my car at 93,500 miles.

They weren't REAL BAD..but I wanted it done while still under warranty. :)

Jim,

Did your car make a clumk sound when going over small bumps due to the bad strut mounts?

Yes...but not real loud and not all the time.

It was almost like the sound you get when you have a loose tailpipe and it hite the underside of the car... but it wasn't near that loud...and of course, it was from the front.

I was actually surprised that the dealer replaced both front strut bearings, because it was so hard to "MAKE" it do it.

There was one speed bump close to my house, where it would do it most often.

Posted Image
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just had the upper strut mounts replaced on my car at 93,500 miles.

They weren't REAL BAD..but I wanted it done while still under warranty. :)

Jim,

Did your car make a clumk sound when going over small bumps due to the bad strut mounts?

Yes...but not real loud and not all the time.

It was almost like the sound you get when you have a loose tailpipe and it hite the underside of the car... but it wasn't near that loud...and of course, it was from the front.

I was actually surprised that the dealer replaced both front strut bearings, because it was so hard to "MAKE" it do it.

There was one speed bump close to my house, where it would do it most often.

That sounds like what is going on with my STS - it makes a clunking sound and it is coming from the front of the car - the right front to be specific. I can also hear the strut bearing groan when turning the wheel. It's not the stabilizer links as they are tight. I'd like to be able to duplicate the noise in my garage so I could pinpoint it as not to replace good parts but I can't.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Mike nailed it. I never even thought of springs. It makes a lot more sense than struts.

Where would be the best place to look purchasing springs, rock auto? Can I get away with just replacing the front or should I probably do the back too?

Jim, a warranty can be a blessings or a pain. I usually buy vehicles out of warranty, but I have had two vehicles with a warranty and it's extremely nice to have someone do the work for me. On the other hand, it can be a real pain for the little things such as the problem you were having. You'll usually get the line, "We can't recreate the problem..." or something similar.

-Dusty-

2006 Cadillac DTS Glacier Gold Tri-Coat with 175,000 miles

1993 Cadillac Sixty Special Gold Mist with 185,000 miles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....I'd like to be able to duplicate the noise in my garage so I could pinpoint it as not to replace good parts but I can't.

Try this.

Park the front wheels on something that will reduce the friction between the rubber and the road. Engine idling, have someone slowly crank the steering wheel from lock to lock while you hold your hands on top of the strut towers. A failed strut mount (thrust bearing) should produce some vibration.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I replaced all four and it made a big difference. The rear however is 'held up' by air shocks, so its not as critical, plus all of the weight is located in the front. You could replace the fronts and see how it rides, then make a decision about the rear springs. I bought my springs from www.gmotors.com they were OEM. I considered using the Concours springs but used direct replacement

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BodyByFischer: I would suppose that if the springs were weak, the car would also sit lower while parked (front only in the case of rear air suspension with leveling). Did you notice anything such before you replaced your springs?

/Jonas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BodyByFischer: I would suppose that if the springs were weak, the car would also sit lower while parked (front only in the case of rear air suspension with leveling). Did you notice anything such before you replaced your springs?

/Jonas

I never measured it, but it did sit lower. But worse than that, they were unable to control the downward movement of the car.

Rises and dips in the road at highway speeds put the cars frame on the ground, smashing down.

I know what you are getting at, you are thinking that the struts slow the downward movement of the body. I had long discussions with the members here on the board about this. I only know this, with 4 new struts and springs, the car was firmer, never ever bottomed out regardless of how much weight was in the car.

I really dont think that struts alone would have solved the problem, it was really soft before

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....I'd like to be able to duplicate the noise in my garage so I could pinpoint it as not to replace good parts but I can't.

Try this.

Park the front wheels on something that will reduce the friction between the rubber and the road. Engine idling, have someone slowly crank the steering wheel from lock to lock while you hold your hands on top of the strut towers. A failed strut mount (thrust bearing) should produce some vibration.

Jim,

Thanks for the tip - I am pretty sure the right front strut mount is shot because there is a growling noise when I turn the steering wheel and it is coming from the right front of the car. I just can't duplicate the clunking that I swore was stabilizer links. I will probably replace both strut mounts since the other one can't be too far behind.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I replaced all four and it made a big difference. The rear however is 'held up' by air shocks, so its not as critical, plus all of the weight is located in the front. You could replace the fronts and see how it rides, then make a decision about the rear springs. I bought my springs from www.gmotors.com they were OEM. I considered using the Concours springs but used direct replacement

Were you able to replace them yourself or did you have someone do it for you?

-Dusty-

2006 Cadillac DTS Glacier Gold Tri-Coat with 175,000 miles

1993 Cadillac Sixty Special Gold Mist with 185,000 miles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took the new strut assembly, spring and seat to an alignment shop along with the page from the service manual that showed proper orientation to them and had them assembly the assembly then put the assembly in myself.

I did the rear, but its quite challenging, I used a floor jack, but if I did it again, I might use an "all thread" and steel stock to remove the spring.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you decide to install new strut mounts I have front strut mounts and end links I bought from Rockauto for the '97 Eldorado I once owned.

Contact me off-line for part numbers, pics and I'll make you a very atrractive offer (including two volume service manual).

I never installed these parts. They're brand new and I just want to get them out of my garage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MrEldo just reminded me, I replaced my strut mounts also at the time I did springs and struts, it is important to replace them also

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BodyByFischer: I would suppose that if the springs were weak, the car would also sit lower while parked (front only in the case of rear air suspension with leveling). Did you notice anything such before you replaced your springs?

/Jonas

I never measured it, but it did sit lower. But worse than that, they were unable to control the downward movement of the car.

Rises and dips in the road at highway speeds put the cars frame on the ground, smashing down.

I know what you are getting at, you are thinking that the struts slow the downward movement of the body. I had long discussions with the members here on the board about this. I only know this, with 4 new struts and springs, the car was firmer, never ever bottomed out regardless of how much weight was in the car.

I really dont think that struts alone would have solved the problem, it was really soft before

I was just curious if the lowering was noticeable. I have seen a small car where one of the springs had actually broken, so that it became slightly shorter than it was supposed to, and it was hard to actually see this (I probably would not have noticed if I would not have been told).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is actually a spec or ride height, but visually the car did not appear low, I think the springs held the car to ride height but were unable to hold the weight of the vehicle beyond that.

Struts may help, but my Deville rode like a new car with strut springs and strut mounts, no more bottoming out, tight handling and no body roll

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...