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Old 01-15-2012, 04:01 PM   #1
rs/ltz
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Default strut/shock rattle

Ok, I tried reading thru the sticky posts on front end suspension noises. It is waaayyyy to cluttered with posts to be truly helpful so I am jumping right to the point.

Has anyone purchased aftermarket brand shocks/struts and does that solve the low speed clunking noises when it is cold? Before people start talking about steering rack I am NOT talking about when turning. I drive the car down the road straight and it litterally sounds like the struts are loose in the mounts. The car is a '08 3.6 LTZ with 46K on the clock. The knocking noise is so loud when I first start driving the car I can hear it over the radio at half volume. It quiets down some when you drive for a while.

I am a hydraulic cylinder engineer and designer and I am thinking the GM factory design strut is crap. In the past have heard complaints of cylinders that rattled in cold conditions due to material of the piston and clearance of them in the body tube. Basically many manufactures use aluminum pistons as they are cheap to machine. Where this can cause an issue is the fact the piston is aluminum but the body tube is steel. The expansion rates of these two metals are very different. What is acceptable clearance when warm out, in freezing temps this clearance might open up and allow rattling.

has anyone switched to a different brand and seen this make a difference in cold temps?
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

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Originally Posted by rs/ltz View Post
Has anyone purchased aftermarket brand shocks/struts and does that solve the low speed clunking noises when it is cold? Before people start talking about steering rack I am NOT talking about when turning. I drive the car down the road straight and it litterally sounds like the struts are loose in the mounts. The car is a '08 3.6 LTZ with 46K on the clock. The knocking noise is so loud when I first start driving the car I can hear it over the radio at half volume. It quiets down some when you drive for a while.

has anyone switched to a different brand and seen this make a difference in cold temps?
I have the same issue on my '11 and I didn't hit 4K yet so it's coming apart and I did some research and I, like you, would like any opinions from those that have jumped to aftermarket struts. Mine were noisy from new but I blamed it on the strut mount until today. It was cold (mid teens this morning) and both struts rattled all day, I could feel it in the strut itself and at the mount. It isn't staying this way. Never had a car at any mileage that had so many front end noises. My father's '10 has been great from day 1 and he's headed for 33K. Like others have said here, erratic quality of the components. So, let's hear it, good, bad or otherwise. In my case I'm not lowering the car, nor modifying it from stock in any way. I'm just not putting the same stuff on the car that I'm taking off.

Following is a list of what I found as far as aftermarket struts and strut mounts. Anyone with more choices, please add them for future reference.

Monroe
SensaTrac struts LH 72200
RH 72199

Strut mount LH 905909
RH 905908

Boot 63619
(would need 2 of these, one for each side if your boots are bad)

KYB
Excel G (GR-2) struts LH 339052
RH 339051

Mount LH SM5447
RH SM5471

Boot (2 req'd) SB101

Carquest

OE replacement twin tube strut LH 1919052
RH 1919051


Gabriel
Ultra strut LH G52028
RH G52029

Moog
strut mount LH K160002
RH K160003
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

My suggestion (and worth about what you paid for it, if anything!) - if you're going to replace, go ahead and get Monroe EZ-Struts with new mounts and springs.

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Old 01-16-2012, 07:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

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My suggestion (and worth about what you paid for it, if anything!) - if you're going to replace, go ahead and get Monroe EZ-Struts with new mounts and springs.

RwP
Not available for gen 6 or gen 7 from any manufacturer I've seen. So far looking on other forums, it looks like a split between KYB and Monroe. Gabriel gets little mention. A couple posts I read on other forums about KYB made a reference to production changing from Japan to USA and the quality went down when they were made here. I found one place that had a listing for a Sachs strut as well. I hate to do a job twice, my faith in GM struts is not very good. Whatever was changed the last half dozen years or so, I don't know, but we never used to replace so many struts as we do now. My '91 Century still has the original struts, just replaced the rear shocks last year. The struts are due but that's for the next person that owns the car to worry about. As far as leaking, they don't, but the ride is too soft for me. The Cobalt/HHR struts leaked like crazy, these Z body struts make noise, only other line I ever heard make noise was the early W body in the early 90's. With those you just changed the cartridge, not the whole strut. The KYB's are more expensive by 20 - 30 dollars a piece over the Monroe's. We stock new OE struts. I'm torn between just throwing the OE stuff in and hoping to get a good pair since they're in warranty and taking a gamble and going aftermarket. I was hoping for Bilstein to make something but they stopped with Impala in '07. No listing of Malibu back through '04 start of gen 6. No listing in the ACDelco catalog either, aside from OE stuff we already stock. I know I'm not living with it this way. Today was the icing on the cake. Even had the shop foreman drive it. Went about 200 feet and heard it from both sides. I'm ordering Moog strut mounts. Just made up my mind. If I'm right I'm right, and if I'm wrong, it won't be the first or last time. Now to ponder the struts some more.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

My fear is that either KYB or Monroe is the factory supplier for GM. These two companies are the biggest suppliers for OE shocks for many car makers. GM, ford, Toyota, they don't make shocks/struts. They are an outside sourced part like most of the car which I understand. I just don't want to buy an one of them and turns out they are just a factory version with a brand name on them. Anyone have a strut pulled out of a car? Is there a manufactures name stamped somewhere on it?

It is possible the Monroe or KYB branded shock may be better then the factory in that they don't "cheap it up" like they do to be low cost bidder. I just ask to avoid a mistake purchase. It takes up so much of the day getting these things swapped out I don't want to do this over and over.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

i have the same noise and really want to know the cause. driving me nuts!
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

Pulled my new GM ones out of the box. Only identificcation I found was a label, BML15420 on it. I don't mind laying out the money to 'upgrade' but am I really upgrading or just putting in a rebadged strut like the OP said? I used Monroe complete assemblies where you get the whole strut, spring, mount and all but it was older stuff and it seemed okay. Nothing to write home about. Talked to a guy here that put KYB's in his Trans Am and he made nothing of them. Said they were okay and that was it. The Sachs struts were $150 a piece the only place I found them but like the Gabriels, you don't hear much of those brands. They're in the background compared to Monroe and KYB. Could be they're just as good or better than Monroe or KYB but it's a well kept secret. At this point, I might just put the OE ones in and see if I get a better pair. If not, I'll go aftermarket. Definitely putting in the Moog mounts, ordered them last night. Might not be better but at least I can say I tried. Still want to ponder this some more, struts still might go aftermarket. I can't say I've ever heard this kind of noise from an aftermarket strut.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

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Originally Posted by Rodents View Post
Pulled my new GM ones out of the box. Only identificcation I found was a label, BML15420 on it. I don't mind laying out the money to 'upgrade' but am I really upgrading or just putting in a rebadged strut like the OP said? I used Monroe complete assemblies where you get the whole strut, spring, mount and all but it was older stuff and it seemed okay. Nothing to write home about. Talked to a guy here that put KYB's in his Trans Am and he made nothing of them. Said they were okay and that was it. The Sachs struts were $150 a piece the only place I found them but like the Gabriels, you don't hear much of those brands. They're in the background compared to Monroe and KYB. Could be they're just as good or better than Monroe or KYB but it's a well kept secret. At this point, I might just put the OE ones in and see if I get a better pair. If not, I'll go aftermarket. Definitely putting in the Moog mounts, ordered them last night. Might not be better but at least I can say I tried. Still want to ponder this some more, struts still might go aftermarket. I can't say I've ever heard this kind of noise from an aftermarket strut.
looking forward to see if it helps
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

I am curious to see your results as well. I went to the different manufactures sites and on KYB I came accross a product video. If you ignore the terrible acting in the very begining you can see a cutaway of the shock and you see where the concern of piston fit tolerance and the knocking sound may come from. Additionally you will hear them say they make OE shocks and struts on the same line!!!!!!

http://www.kyb.com/parts/products_gr2.php
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: strut/shock rattle

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I am curious to see your results as well. I went to the different manufactures sites and on KYB I came accross a product video. If you ignore the terrible acting in the very begining you can see a cutaway of the shock and you see where the concern of piston fit tolerance and the knocking sound may come from. Additionally you will hear them say they make OE shocks and struts on the same line!!!!!!

http://www.kyb.com/parts/products_gr2.php
Yeah, they tell you they use the same high quality parts for both lines, OE and aftermarket. Would you seriously expect them to say otherwise? Do fisherman advertise the rotten catch of the day? My mounts should be here Friday, maybe I'll throw everything in Saturday since it's not a Saturday I have to work. I can't quite swing myself over to putting out money for struts quite yet. I don't have issues with ride quality, it's what I expect from this type of car. Wouldn't mind a less mushy ride sometimes but I don't normally push the car anywhere close to it's limits now so it wouldn't serve a purpose to really change anything. I know changing struts and mounts should fix this noise, did it a couple weeks ago on a Malibu and the guy is happy, writer called him several times for updates and each time he hasn't complained. We stocked everything at our dealership except one of the nuts for the struts at the top, catalog calls out replacing them when struts are done. Talked to a guy tonight that works in an independent garage and he said they use a lot of KYB. He thought it was okay, better than Monroe by a bit but said they've had a few failures soon after installation. Not very encouraging. Still riding the fence on struts but frankly leaning towards just OE replacements for now. I'll update this when I'm done.
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