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Old 05-05-2006, 02:13 PM
kegard kegard is offline
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When to replace shocks?

Hi all!

I have nice 98 V6 coupe with 130K that I recently picked up. Very nice car and ride, suspension very tight for the miles, and just had the tranny flushed at the dealer. My new baby shifts like new!

Anyways, this car does have one major annoyance. When I drive over 65 I feel a vibration throughout the car. I feel it everywhere: seat, dash, I see my satellite radio bouncing on the window (this is the 3rd car it's been in, and never have I seen it bounce around!). It's not just a vibration in the steering wheel, so that leads me to believe it may not be an issue with alignment. And I'm reluctant to spend $70 for an alignment that may not solve the problem.

My question is, when do the shocks need to be typically replaced? I've looked so far at the front two, and don't see any liquid coming out. If not shocks, any other idea what it could be?
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:26 PM
kbd kbd is offline
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Usually a bad strut or shock will not cause a vibration throughout the whole vehicle. You would notice bouncing of the front or rear of the vehicle or a symptom like severe nose diving upon hard braking.

You might want to start this journey of problem solving by looking at your wheels to see if their are wheel weights on all. Chances of a perfectly balanced wheel/tire are vastly remote so that's first.

Second, get your wheels balanced. Alignment really doesn't cause vibration problems.

After this, you might want to look at things like CV joints, tie rod ends, etc.

Good luck solving the issue.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:29 PM
kbd kbd is offline
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Forgot......before you balance the wheels, do a front to rear tire rotation to see if you can move or change the symptoms. If you can, you may have a balance issue, bent wheel issue or a tire issue such as a separated belt.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:30 PM
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First I would try a rotation and balance special at some shop. A place that sells tires would be where I would go. Firestone, Goodyear/Gemini, Tires Plus ect.

Good luck and congrats on the new ride!!!
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Old 05-05-2006, 05:06 PM
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It is quite possible than some suspension components have served their usefull lives. Even so I don't feel that they would cause the "XM Boogie" that you are experiencing.

I agree with rebalancing all tires & rotation but also make sure the runout is checked on each wheel. That will tell you if a wheel is out of round (repaired perhaps?) which in turn will make the tire out of round.....hoppity hoppity hop.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:27 PM
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Yeah, what you are describing could very well be a bent rim or wheel balance problem. I've had both on other cars before and the vibration is pretty bad on the highway. Good luck in your quest to get it resolved.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:55 PM
kegard kegard is offline
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Thanks everyone. I guess I was hoping that it was shocks, because I was hoping to justify the cost to my wife and get a firmer ride.

I think I'll take it to a wheel place this weekend to see about balancing. My last set of alloy wheels gave me fits with vibration. Several times back to the shop to get them balanced, and it ended up being a bad wheel.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:09 PM
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The most noticeable thing when Hondas need the shocks replaced is that they SLAM over small sharp bumps, say expansion joints.

Just did all 4 corners in the '98 EX V6 coupe, including springs, all the hardware and shocks.

Total was $840 for all 4.

All the bumpstops and rubber isolators in the upper perch were shot.

car had 176k on it when I did it.

going from mine, a 26k '04 to the '98 was a shock. I hadn't ridden in it in a while. The slamming was damn near unbearable.

The new springs raised the front and rear nearly 3/4 of an inch, may not be to somebody's liking, but it also brought the camber values back into spec.

The newest project was a new catalyst and 2 o2 (f & r) sensors, as it consistently threw the check engine light and the exhaust smelled like an old nasty carbureted truck, the cat was so dead.
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Old 05-06-2006, 06:00 PM
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I get a nasty smell from mine too when I back into my garage

Is the camber an easy way to check for worn shocks? I think mine rides pretty harsh...I just figured that would be the sign of struts that were still like new Camber was easily in spec last time an alignment was done.
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Old 05-07-2006, 05:31 AM
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Checking the alignment and noting the camber is not an indication of worn shocks. More along the lines of sagged springs. As the springs age the ride height drops, you will not notice this by looking unless you measure it, or compare it directly to a newer car.

As the height lowers the camber goes more negative (tilted in at the top of the tire) this will cause inner edge tire wear.

If you see feathering on the tire, running your hand across it causes your fingers to "catch" on raised edges of rubber, the toe settings are off.

as I said before it takes riding in a lower mileage or new car to notice the difference. The one who normally drives the '98 thought nothing was wrong with the ride in that car. The high speed damping is first to go, high speed meaning how the shocks respond to small to large sharp impacts. Not like slow speed damping, say large spaced frost heaves which make the car rise and fall more gradually.

A high speed impact would be like hitting an expansion joint, or a pothole (not a crater). There will be a noticeable SLAM, as the impact goes through the whole car. It'll feel un isolated.
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Vermilion 1999 SVT F150 Lightning, Sylvania/Visteon Xenarc HID headlamps, '01 L turn/marker lamps, PIAA fogs, '01 up Bilstein shocks, all Pioneer speakers, Clarion subwoofer. All Redline fluids.

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Old 08-07-2011, 09:50 AM
Accord2004 Accord2004 is offline
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Fredsvt,

What would be the tool for measuring the springs? If I have 0.30 for the camber on the left and -0.20 on the right, am I in need of replacement?
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:28 PM
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I would change them at least every 100k. Unless one blows out shocks slowly wear out over time. The process is so gradual that most people don't notice and don't replace them until the car is really bouncy or the ride becomes really harsh. They don't have to show signs of leakage to be worn out. When I recently replaced the shocks on my truck they looked fine but they were worn out to the point that I could compress them with one hand and they would take 3-5 minutes to extend all the way back out. The new shocks required both arms to compress and would extend in less than 30 seconds. Various rubber pieces in the suspension also wear out and most people don't replace them unless they have a serious problem.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:22 AM
Accord2004 Accord2004 is offline
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Fredsvt,

When you're talking about a car slamming over bumps (indicating new struts needed), does that include hitting a bump and really feeling it through out the car? When ever I go over bumps and small cracks in the road, its differently not smooth. Does that mean I need a strut replacement?
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