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Discussion Starter #1
I am at 100K and the car really seems to float around now. I need to refresh the suspension.

I have read that KYB shocks are too stiff. Is that the general consensus?

Maybe I will go with AC Delco stuff then since it did a good job for a while.

I do plan on using Vogtland 955022 lowering springs since I never liked the stock stance. So I will already be getting some extra stiffness there. Any recommendations on parts? Should I refresh anything else? Rear sway bar endlinks seem good. I will check out the fronts later. Will I need strut mounts or anything else, or should I be able to reuse everything from the stock assemblies?
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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I have a Gen7 with V6. In 2015 I lowered it 1/4 inches, but because I could not disassemble the first strut I tried, I bought all of the components except springs. In the process, I decided to get KYB shocks for the front and went up a level or two. KYB offers OE-style shocks, which is just the valving. The increased handling came with a cost for me, which is that I feel every tar strip in the road.

If I had to do it over, I'd get the OE ride from KYB or another quality brand. But it is what it is.

I got my parts from Rock Auto. Great prices!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have a Gen7 with V6. In 2015 I lowered it 1/4 inches, but because I could not disassemble the first strut I tried, I bought all of the components except springs. In the process, I decided to get KYB shocks for the front and went up a level or two. KYB offers OE-style shocks, which is just the valving. The increased handling came with a cost for me, which is that I feel every tar strip in the road.

If I had to do it over, I'd get the OE ride from KYB or another quality brand. But it is what it is.

I got my parts from Rock Auto. Great prices!
So you didn't get excel g? What did you get?
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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I have a Gen7 with V6. In 2015 I lowered it 1/4 inches, but because I could not disassemble the first strut I tried, I bought all of the components except springs. In the process, I decided to get KYB shocks for the front and went up a level or two. KYB offers OE-style shocks, which is just the valving. The increased handling came with a cost for me, which is that I feel every tar strip in the road.

If I had to do it over, I'd get the OE ride from KYB or another quality brand. But it is what it is.

I got my parts from Rock Auto. Great prices!
So you didn't get excel g? What did you get?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah i saw that but didn't know what it meant. Some sort of adjustable strut i take it. I thought you meant you went two lines up to a more performance oriented strut.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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I misunderstood what you were asking. I found the post where I shared what I did to lower it, plus other thoughts, here.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I misunderstood what you were asking. I found the post where I shared what I did to lower it, plus other thoughts, here.
Do you happen to know why there are different struts for different sized wheels? for instance, for my 2013, there are struts for 16" wheels and others for non 16" wheels. Would the 17+ struts also work on cars with 16" wheels but not the opposite because the cars with the larger wheels would rub on the struts?
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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I will take a stab at it, but by no means should you accept this as the reason!

A different shock valving could be indicated for a larger wheel and tire assembly due to the added weight, with the smaller wheel needing a more compliant (softer) setup, and the larger wheels sharing a less compliant setup.

I would further guess that there is no difference in the physical dimensions because the mounting points are all identical since the hub and upper mount don't move when changing wheel sizes. That means that all versions have to mount in the same location.

So, do more research and/or let's see what others say.
 

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also consider that the larger wheels and tire options may be for a slightly different suspension set up say for the cars that have the larger or more powerful engines (V6 for example) as they may also include a different handling expectations...

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #11
also consider that the larger wheels and tire options may be for a slightly different suspension set up say for the cars that have the larger or more powerful engines (V6 for example) as they may also include a different handling expectations...

Bill
Thanks, guys. I think I could have gotten the 2.5L with larger wheels so I don't think it has to do with handling, but I could be wrong. In researching last night, larger wheels give better handling but worse acceleration because they are heavier. Maybe it has something to do with that. Also smaller rims, and hence larger tires, would cushion more naturally, so maybe the 16" struts are actually stiffer? That might not make sense though.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I might have figured out. Our tires get wider as they go up in size, so that could be it. The struts for the bigger wheels could be accommodating for the extra width. See attached.

Also @DrivenDaily I am still not clear if you have excel g or another type of kyb shocks installed.

69003

69004
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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I might have figured out. Our tires get wider as they go up in size, so that could be it. The struts for the bigger wheels could be accommodating for the extra width. See attached.

Also @DrivenDaily I am still not clear if you have excel g or another type of kyb shocks installed.
A buddy who owns the Explorer in the background was there and I really appreciated his help! He knows a road out in the Boonies that would make a good shake-down run. Even as the passenger he said it felt like the car was more controlled. He's been in the car in stock form before lowering. I, too, felt like it was more responsive. As time goes by I'll see how it feels in daily use.

Two weeks ago I attempted to take the right front apart and failed so I ordered new KYB Excel-G struts and all the parts to put them together with my lowering springs. Thursday evening I assembled both front struts, then lowered it on Saturday.

I noticed immediately just walking up to the car that I can see across the top of the car like I'm taller now! Getting out is a little more effort. Driving down the road didn't immediately seem all that different from the seat looking across the hood, just slightly as I kept driving and trying to recall it before.

Cruising down a boulevard on the way to the Boonies I was moving the steering wheel back and forth a bit and noticed that it seemed more responsive. It could be the stock struts were 83K miles old and were softer when new than the new KYBs I chose to purchase. It could also be that I now have METAL sway bar struts instead of PLASTIC! (Plastic - WTF?!?!?)

As I drove over small tar strips in the road they seemed to be a bit more noticeable. My buddy mentioned that even on the stock struts the car was not as smooth-riding as his 1995 Explorer. On the new struts the irregularities seem a little more obvious. Once I start commuting to work I think I'll be able to make a better judgment. For now it is all just first impressions.

Overall, I'm very happy with the look and the improved response when changing directions.
 

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the point I failed to make is that the 3LT (and corresponding LTZ version) with 2.0 Turbo should have slightly different shock/strut tuning as well as steering tuning and larger brake rotors...you may be able to have ordered larger wheels and tires on lower LTs and LSs but I don't think you could get the different parts I mention above...whether the shocks and struts are a different size or not I don't know


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #15
the point I failed to make is that the 3LT (and corresponding LTZ version) with 2.0 Turbo should have slightly different shock/strut tuning as well as steering tuning and larger brake rotors...you may be able to have ordered larger wheels and tires on lower LTs and LSs but I don't think you could get the different parts I mention above...whether the shocks and struts are a different size or not I don't know


Bill
I think you are spot on. Take a look. Struts for 17"+ are on the left, and for 16" wheels are on the right. The lengths of the poles (is there a diff term?) are different I will not run these two mismatched.
69032
 

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I wonder if the longer rod allows for more suspension travel since the wheels are smaller, and shorter for the taller wheels?
 

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the struts are different between the 16" and 17" wheel Malibus too???...the Turbo comes with 18" or 19" wheels but I am unaware of any differences between those two wheel sizes...furthermore, you could get the 18" wheels on non Turbo versions but you didn't get the Turbo's suspension settings nor brake upgrade...

still...stranger things happen and your pic appears to show that...

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #19
the struts are different between the 16" and 17" wheel Malibus too???...the Turbo comes with 18" or 19" wheels but I am unaware of any differences between those two wheel sizes...furthermore, you could get the 18" wheels on non Turbo versions but you didn't get the Turbo's suspension settings nor brake upgrade...

still...stranger things happen and your pic appears to show that...

Bill
I think you are right. This is so hard to follow. I have 7BC. I checked in the trunks spare wheel well. So I should likely use the top one. But LTZ is also listed for both. And it does mention LS model with qw0 wheel with the bottom strut. Meanwhile thats only a 16" wheel. What a mess.
69047
 

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the bottom strut includes information for the QW0 wheel...that shows 16" by 6.5 wheel...is that the wheel your car came with???...

the top one shows your 7BC suspension with the R1U wheel that is a 17" by 8 wheel...can you see any number markings on your actual strut???

Bill
 
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