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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I'm not one to do unnecessary work, that's the only reason I've waited until 95,000 miles to install the Vogtland springs. I wanted to replace most of my suspension components at around 100,000 miles, so I may as well install new springs at that time. I found a deal on an ACDelco front passenger strut for the Buick Regal, so I decided to go with Buick Regal spec suspension all around. Struts are 506-1139/1140 and shocks are 560-846/847. I wanted to pre-assemble the struts, so I ordered KYB SM5872 (mounts) SB103 (bellows) SM5807 (insulators) and GM Genuine 11569637 (lock nuts) 13502405 (washers). Assembly was super easy, I got the lock nut on with my body weight compressing the spring. I also used GM Genuine 90538496 and 13330714 rear spring insulators, Ultra-Power K750660 and API 2700426001 sway bar links, GM Genuine 13281790 rear sway bar bushings, EBC UD1421 front brake pads, and Autoshack ASCA62728 (lower control arms) R65186PR (front rotors) HB613290PR (front wheel hubs).

It was a 3 afternoon job for me, everything was pretty straightforward. I don't recommend anyone to replace the rear sway bar bushings, it was more trouble than it was worth. I may start looking for shorter sway bar end links, if I find some I'll post the part numbers. Front hubs require a good swivel joint, 3/8 drive worked best for me.

I never liked the way the OEM brake pads felt, they gave me a bit of a false sense of security. They had a lot of initial bite, but I couldn't really modulate the pedal, it was sort of like an on/off switch. I overheated them once and after that they were dangerous. I found the EBC Ultimax pads on sale for $22.46 shipped, so I gave them a shot. I love the way they feel, very progressive and I've never had to use all of the pedal (I don't like the feeling of running out of pedal). They do create a lot of dust, but I don't care, I use a spray wax on my wheels every wash and it wipes off easily. I went with off brand rotors and hubs, the fit was fine, nothing good or bad to say.

In my opinion, our suspension is pretty darn good from the factory. I enjoy a spirited drive down a twisty narrow road with many potholes. I keep to my lane, which means I do hit a few potholes mid corner, but the chassis stays planted regardless of the terrain (For reference, this is with 215/60r16 Continental True Contact tires). After installing the Vogtland springs and 225/50r16 Falken Pro G5 Sport A/S, I only had a few chances to drive that backroad, but I noticed almost immediately the increased grip from the tires/suspension. Before the car felt lively, it would move around a bit and I'd have to make small adjustments. Now it just goes where I point with no regard for anything else, I can feel the bumps but they don't phase the chassis. When driving around town or on the freeway it doesn't feel much different than stock, other than occasional bottoming out on speed bumps and sharp inclines/declines. I'll be driving in snow next week, I don't have high hopes with this lack of ground clearance and sipes.
 

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Great review!

I have the same springs paired with the super expensive Bilstein B8 Front struts and B6 Rear shocks. I had them on my 13 LTZ 2.0T (traded in with transmission problems) and swapped to my 15 1LT 2.5.

On my way to work, there is a large hump I drive over every single day that has made other lowered cars I've owned scrape, or bottom out. With this setup on the Malibu, I haven't had a single problem other than scraping my front lower spoiler on my semi-steep driveway. Like you said, it rides exactly like stock in normal driving.

The best part is, the height is enough to look good, but keep the car functional for daily driving. For whatever reason, the 8th gen looks stupid to me excessively lowered.

Here is (was) my 2013 LTZ with the same springs:

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Snow update: Comparing it to our 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander FWD ES on 225/60R18 Nokian WRG4 (All-weather) tires. The Outlander is much taller, but has similar curb weight.
I have pretty much no experience driving in the snow, limited experience on ice in the south, and no experience with winter tires.
In icy conditions, The Outlander has better traction when accelerating/braking, and steering, but it's ice so neither are of much use. The important thing to note is that the Malibu feels way more stable when transitioning from ice back to pavement, so I prefer the Malibu in icy conditions.
On compact snow, The Malibu did ok, compact snow was easier to drive on than ice. I used momentum to get up hills and started in 2nd gear pretty much everywhere. Steering was better than expected, but not as good as the Outlander. Accelerating/braking was a night and day difference, the Outlander blows the Malibu out of the water there.
In fresh deep snow, the Malibu tries to be a snow plow and gets stuck after 3 feet. We had 4-5 inches on the ground in our neighborhood and the Outlander had no issues on the Nokians (had chains with me, but didn't need them). I'm not sure if chains will allow me to make it through deep snow in the Malibu, but I ordered some so we'll find out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quick update on the setup (6K miles since install), we didn't get any more snow and I didn't dare take the Malibu to the the mountain, so I didn't try the snow chains. We got plenty of cold rainy days and I felt comfortable on the road, whatever Falken did with this tire compound works well for the PNW. Now that I've had time to re-learn the car, it sticks like glue through traffic circles and on-ramps, I haven't found the limit during cornering or braking and don't plan to. I did wear through the front tires quickly due to running the Vogtland springs for 3 months before getting an alignment, so I'll probably install some 245/50r16 ZE960s later this year. I also plan on getting another alignment with more negative camber and 0 toe front/rear to help with turn-in, I don't have the specs from the 97k mile alignment but it feels worse than the 57k mile alignment which was -0.75 front camber and -0.5 rear camber with 0 toe. Overall I'm happy with the setup and highly recommend it.
 
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