shocks/struts/inner tie rod, lower ball joints replacement, how to check, where/what to buy, etc.

mostsmooth

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Hi all,
95 gt
getting some tires today at a national chain, they called me with the 'you really need xyz'.
the xyz was shocks and struts.
the shocks and struts are original. the car has 143,000 miles or so.
I would believe they could be needed. the guy said they were leaking. i dont know much about shocks and struts.

driving the car, I don't seem to notice any weird noises, also i do hear occasionally something that sounds like air puffs if i get a little bump, which i did kinda assume was related to the shocks. going over big bumps in my honda and my mustang, i dont notice any difference in sounds or feel. they both make the same type of nosies (but then maybe my honda needs some suspension work too??)

I suppose I will drop off at my regular mechanic and he can take a look, unless you guys tell me this is something I can check confidently on my own?

also, lets say my mechanic confirms the need for shocks and struts. is this something i can do fairly easily on my own in my driveway with standard tools and maybe a rental tool from autozone? things i have done on my own to give you an idea if i may be capable: replaced my cam, replaced spider gears, replaced fuel pump and tank, replaced brake calipers.

lastly, looks like theres several options out there. i would imagine stock model or similar should be fine, but are there any recommendations for a decent upgrade? car is typically just driven around town and back roads for fun. i get on it hard often, but i dont take it to the track. i dont know if shocks and struts impact traction, but if they do, i wouldnt mind going for something that would help me with traction. this is not my daily driver, so i could afford to give up some comfort for traction, if that is what it would do.

Thanks
 
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RaggedGT

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It’s a pretty simple process, that only requires basic tools and a jack, just be mindful of the front coil springs. KYB and all the big names have plenty of shock/strut upgrades, When I went through all my suspension parts-I cheaper out and bought Gabriel struts and motorcraft shocks-but I did upgrade all my front and rear bushings to Polyurethane
 

Potomus Pete

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If you can do cam you can do shocks and struts. I cheaped out with Gabriel. That way I could buy other small stuff like ragged. U Tube and the auto parts store. If you sign up at Advanced you can get 20% off. They are cheap to buy so you can get the extra's. Mechanics must love doing shocks and struts because they can do it in an hour and make a few hundred bucks.
 

jozsefsz

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The 95GT struts are as easy as it gets - no spring to deal with. Just jack up under the control arm when you're changing them (to keep the spring compressed) and don't put the weight of the car on jack-stands (unless under the control arm) or you'll be in for a really bad time. An impact wrench makes it a lot easier to get off the top-nut without the frustration of having it spin. On the rear keep in mind you'll be dealing with 4 of them.

The bounce-test can tell you if they're really far gone (push all the way down on each corner of the car, let up, one bounce good, more bounces bad). Hearing air coming out of a gas-charged shock or strut when you compress it can mean the seal is blown so yes you might need them.

Changed mine out a few years ago, I think I used Monroe's. They get a bad rap but they've been fine for me, and they handle pretty much like the originals.
 
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mostsmooth

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I updated the title of the thread.

after i got the tires today, i dropped the car off at goodyear for alignment. i told him about what the tire place said about needing shocks and struts. he said they could still do the alignment if it wasnt too bad. i mentioned to him that i would like replace the stuff myself if they were actually bad.
when i went to pick the car up he said they didnt do the alignment because I need an inner tie rod and a front lower ball joint replaced and it would be a waste to do the alignment until after they are fixed. they had the car for an hour or two and didnt charge me anything, so seems like they werent making things up.

i asked him about the shocks and struts, he said they didnt notice anything other than they were old. he said the car doesnt have struts though, which makes me a bit nervous cause i thought they did, but i could be totally wrong. i look up struts on american muscle for 95 gt and they have them listed.


i think im just going to have my mechanic give it a look over and make me a list of things i need to replace, but tie rods and a lower ball joint, these things seem like an easy fix, right? and there's no real performance upgrades for these either, yes? i can just get something from autozone and be done with it?

thanks
 

jozsefsz

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Tie rods are easy unless the inners are worn, that's a bit more work. Ball joints are a pain (dealing with the springs, need special press tools to get them in and out) so may be worth having someone do for you if you're not super-confident. They do sell the whole lower-control-arm but that costs quite a bit more. I mostly don't like AZ parts (at least get the Duralast and not the ValueCraft :) ) but I do like their warranties, though unless you DIY the labor costs more than the part. You won't see any performance improvement with those so the longevity is more important.

The car does have front struts - they are part of the suspension and steering so they're not plain shocks. They just don't have a spring on them which confuses some folks, they're still technically a strut.
 
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Potomus Pete

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Just get prices...Parts for our cars are cheap. You already got the word on the shocks and struts being not that bad. Do the ball joints, and tie rods. Just don't get ripped. Glad my car isn't my main car so I can do it....I would cry like a baby for a three or four hundred dollar hit on some ball joints.
 

mostsmooth

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The 95GT struts are as easy as it gets - no spring to deal with. Just jack up under the control arm when you're changing them (to keep the spring compressed) and don't put the weight of the car on jack-stands (unless under the control arm) or you'll be in for a really bad time. An impact wrench makes it a lot easier to get off the top-nut without the frustration of having it spin. On the rear keep in mind you'll be dealing with 4 of them.

The bounce-test can tell you if they're really far gone (push all the way down on each corner of the car, let up, one bounce good, more bounces bad). Hearing air coming out of a gas-charged shock or strut when you compress it can mean the seal is blown so yes you might need them.

Changed mine out a few years ago, I think I used Monroe's. They get a bad rap but they've been fine for me, and they handle pretty much like the originals.
this kit will do the trick? 6 pieces total will do the whole car?

also, it seems they are adjustable, thats just a feel thing or are their measurements involved?

thanks
 

mostsmooth

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Those are non adjustable-but would be more than fine for an upgrade/replacement
holy cow youre right. i was looking at other options learning stuff like they can be adjustable, and then i saw these 'gas-a-just' and jumped to the reasonable conclusion they were adjustable. seems like a little bit of misleading advertising imo.
 
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revhead347

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They KYB adjustables are awesome. Probably the best shock and strut set for the street I have seen. The only thing that's a hassle is the ball joint. Everything else is pretty straight forward.

Kurt
 

mostsmooth

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They KYB adjustables are awesome. Probably the best shock and strut set for the street I have seen. The only thing that's a hassle is the ball joint. Everything else is pretty straight forward.

Kurt
how much more awesome are they than the non-adjustable you think? i was just taking a look at adjustable and they dont ship for at least a month
 

revhead347

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how much more awesome are they than the non-adjustable you think? i was just taking a look at adjustable and they dont ship for at least a month
I never used the non adjustables. From my experience with KYBs in general, I would recommend them. KYB makes good stuff. I put those adjustables in my friends car years ago, and hands down they were better than my Tokicos in every way, and the Tokicos cost twice as much.

Kurt
 

95GTS2

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With that mileage, it's not uncommon for the entire front suspension to be in need of a rebuild. More than likely your control arm bushings are dry rotted and not doing what they are supposed to.

It's gonna take a while to finish, but you may as well do it yourself if you have the time and tools. I recommend at the least, an impact gun, beyond the basic hand tools. Check your brakes before you get started, you will need to remove the brake caliper to replace the struts, if your brakes are in need of replacement, might as well do it all in one go.

As far as options for shocks and struts,.I spent the better part of a day looking at all the various options from stock to aftermarket, and I went with Koni STR.T shocks and struts. The set for all 4 corners was $350 from tirerack. That's less than $100 a corner for a decent brand. While I'm sure these shocks/struts aren't as good as their coilovers and adjustable stuff, they are definitely better than the stock stuff. I had a knock in The front end from a bad strut with a little over 100k, so 140k is definitely pushing their service life.

If you need ball joints, I suggest just getting a new control arms so you don't have to mess with pressing out and in new ball joints into a control arm that likely needs new bushings anyway. While you are in there, do your swaybar bushings and end links.
 
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