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Old 26th August 2006, 22:53   #1
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Default Esteem Right Rear corner bottoming out

This year's "special edition" potholes have finally caught up with my ride! :(

While Driving thru Mumbra (or was it the moon?!) last week, my Esteem's already sagging suspension (82Kkm) threw in the towel and the right rear corner started bottoming out on every tiny crack in the tarmac!

I showed it to a MASS in Thane, and they promptly estimated a whopping 30K bill telling me to change everything (but the car)! I showed it to another mechanic and he estimated a 11K bill telling me to change the rear shock absorbers and all rubber parts including the front strut kits... the job would take 2 days and it was already Sunday (I needed to drive back to Pune Monday morning) so I chose to drive carefully to Pune and get the job done at a local nearby MASS.

When everything was opened up, they told me that the shock absorbers were ok (I saw that they "looked" and "felt" fine) and showed me 2 large rubber bushes on the tops of the shock absorbers that had hardened and cracked. They repalaced those (Rs. 150 each) and refitted everything... but my original problem persists! Now the "thump" emitted when the right rear corner bottoms out is much more muffled, but the abnormal bottoming out is still there. I am begining suspect that the rear of the car is "down" leaving very little suspension travel... as if the springs have become compressed... (The Esteem has struts in front and coil springs + shock absorbers at the rear end)

I'm going to take the car back to the MASS on Sunday... was wondering:

1. How can I tell if the shock absorbers are really ok?
2. Would replacing the "Coil Pads" help?
3. Is there a way to stretch the coil springs back if they have become compressed / how much to replace them?
4. Any other suggestions?

I'm reluctant to spend a bomb on the car right now because I may need to sell the car soon (possible long term assignment abroad) and also because after a spirited 82Kkm, she may be getting close to retirement!

- T u r b o C -

Last edited by turbo_c : 26th August 2006 at 22:56.
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Old 26th August 2006, 23:55   #2
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.. Maybe its nothing but the rear suspension had not settled back into its perfect position when the MASS tightened it... but later it moved to a more convenient position and started rattling... because it is lose.

Something like this happened to my wagon R's font suspension after it was overhauled/ replaced.... but the MASS readjusted it... and its OK now.

This is a big MAYBE b'coz your's is bottoming out and not rattling.
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Old 27th August 2006, 19:57   #3
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springs dont wear out, shocks do.

press down on the car above the culprit wheel and see if the car bounces or settles down quickly. If its bouncy, the shocks are shot. Also check if the jounce bumpers are OK.

You can do the same to another Esteem for reference.
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Old 27th August 2006, 21:36   #4
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Default Got the suspension opened up today...

Got the suspension opened up today...

I tried the "bounce test" several times... the car reacts normally, no bounciness; but, when the suspension was opened up and I tested the shocks individually, they hardly give any resistance when compressed although they do have some resistance when they are stretched. The right rear shock feels as if it has lost some oil because if it is compressed after being fully stretched, it just "falls" in 50% of the way before some damping effect is felt.

Pretty safe to say: Rear shocks need to be replaced pronto!

Now, since I am going to be spending roughly 5k on the suspension, I'm thinking that I should just go the whole hog and replace all 4 shocks + coil springs + rubber parts. Surprisingly, the front struts are cheaper at Rs. 1500/- each... and I know that they are already weak and are bond to fail soon... so, I'm thinking, "spend now and enjoy a nice tight ride all around for the next 20 - 40Kkm". Planning to replace 2 x rear shocks (Rs. 1598 each) + 2 x coil pads (negligible cost) + 2 x front strut kits. (Rs. 450 each) Also thinking about replacing: 2 x front struts (Rs. 1500 each) + 2 / 4 x coil springs (Rs. 400 each).

I will be driving the car at least for 2 - 3 months more; at least 5000Km... or, as much as 1 - 2 years more, 20000Km... after that I would either sell it (if I get what I think it is worth) or replace our battered '96 Esteem back in Thane. She has done 82Kkm now and after the suspension work, I expect her to run without any major expenditure for at least 30Kkm.

The garage has to order the parts because they are out of stock right now and they will be available by Wednesday, 30 Aug 2006... so I need to make a couple of decisions before then:

1. Should I replace the front struts now or wait for them to fail? (2 x Rs. 1500)

2. Should I replace the coil springs? (Rs.400 each, not sure if the front struts come with fixed springs or the old spring needs to be retained, so either 2 or 4 coil springs needed)

- T u r b o C -
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Old 27th August 2006, 22:03   #5
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IMO - all 4. you can enjoy a smoother ride as long as you have the car with you.
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Old 28th August 2006, 10:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor
IMO - all 4. you can enjoy a smoother ride as long as you have the car with you.
Yup, that's what I'm thinking too, all 4 shock absorbers... what about the coil springs? Do struts come with the coil springs fixed or would I need to get separate coil springs for the front struts?

- T u r b o C -
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Old 30th August 2006, 12:27   #7
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If u get a stock suspension overhaul, the bodyroll/softness will stay.
Alternative sports suspension systems cost a bomb which will cost a bomb.
My suggestion is to slightly mod the stock setup by adding strut braces.
Also, talk with 'viper' and get it done by him.
Im sure he'll give u what u need.
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Old 30th August 2006, 12:39   #8
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Update: Parts have not arrived yet, so the car is still with me for now... but they are expected to arrive by afternoon / evening so I'll be dropping off the car then,

here are the final quotations for the parts...

All OEM parts, fitting being done at a MASS:

1. I HAVE to replace the rear dampers, that's Rs. 1958 each

2. Front dampers Rs. 1500 each + strut kit Rs. 480 ... will check the dampers but I think they need to be replaced too... Rs. 2500 for full strut assembly (including coil spring + strut kit)

3. Coil pad Rs. 40 each; rear strut mount Rs. 250 each; will be changing these.

4. Rear coil springs cost Rs. 700 each... do I need to change them?

Suspension experts, please comment!

- T u r b o C -
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Old 6th September 2006, 00:58   #9
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Problem resolved!

Parts replaced:

Rear dampers x 2 @ Rs. 1300 a piece (the earlier quote was a goof up because of a stale database!)

Rear coil pads x 2 @ Rs. 40 a piece

Wheel Alignment @ Rs. 250 ... (Absolute waste... they screwed it up again!)

The front end was opened up too, but they found the struts and strut kits to be in a satisfactory condition, so didn't replace them...

BUT (there's always a "but" huh? )

I noticed that the right axile boot was cracked... Rs. 170 + labour
Front right wheel bearing was making grinding noises... Rs. 800 + labour
Re-Alignment at a "professional" alignment shop Rs. 300

5k bill, but at least she's running sweetly now

- T u r b o C -
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