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Old 06-21-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
BBL200
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Default My L200 needs suspension work and I need advice (please :)

I haven't posted in years, mainly because I drive so little these days. My 2002 L200M hasn't been garaged or driven much the past few years as I have moved to a house near the the metro and take it to work every day. Plus, my GF has a newer car and we tend to use that for our errands / trips.

Anyway, this past December (when it was very cold here, ~10F), I needed to drive in to work and noticed the front suspension knocking on bumps and drifting a bit. Now, my car is 8 years old, but only has 28,000 miles on it. I realized that, since July 2009, I've only driven 325 miles. Anyway, no other problems and since I drive so infrequently, I put off taking it in.

So, I just brought it in to have the suspension looked at and my mechanic told me that all 4 shocks & struts are needing replacement. He quoted me $1600 to replace all four. I will soon need new tires, too, so I'm looking at $2k all told. Normally, I'd do it, but times are tough for me and I don't want to spend the $$ if I don't have to.

I'm thinking of putting the car in my GF's mother's garage (she doesn't have a car) and wait until I can afford to do the work.

Mainly I wanted to know if the estimate sounds reasonable, what a reason for having this happen with so few miles could be, and are there certain products I should consider in lieu of factory if I had the work done?

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:58 PM   #2
cavalier
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Default Re: My L200 needs suspension work and I need advice (please :)

Wow, only 28,000 miles and the suspension is shot already?

I've got a 2000 LS1 with just shy of 204,000 miles on the clock and it's still riding on the original suspension, so I really question the mechanic telling you that the suspension is gone.

In fact just this morning I loaded up the trunk with 800 pounds of topsoil (40 20lb. bags) and had no issues, so again I bet it's not your shocks/struts.

What you are likely hearing is noise generated as a result of the deterioration of the infamous sway bar bushings, which is a common problem on the L series cars.

With your mileage as low as it is, it's likely the rubber bushings simply dried up and are shot, which can cause a "clunking" type sounds when you ride over bumps.

Does this sound like the noise you're hearing?

As for the drifting, has the car ever had a four-wheel alignment since you owned it? If not, that could likely be the cause of that problem.

The sway bar bushings are a relatively cheap fix and the alignment usually runs around $60-80 depending on where you go.

I'd seriously say it's worth the time taking the car to a different shop and just telling them you hear a noise over bumps and leave it at that for them to come up with their own conclusion....no use mentioning the other mechanic's opinion lest it cause the new place checking it out to reach the same conclusion.

Is there a Saturn dealer near you or at least an authorized Saturn repair facility (check Saturn.com for a list) you could take it to since they'd know more about the car than anyone?
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:25 PM   #3
okubricko
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: My L200 needs suspension work and I need advice (please :)

I'd have to agree with Cavilier. I changed my sway arms stabilizers around 50,000 miles and they probably need it again at 122k. They are a cheap part and installation is easy, even at the dealership it should be way south of 2k. I would take it to a dealership if possible.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:31 PM   #4
BBL200
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Default Re: My L200 needs suspension work and I need advice (please :)

Thanks you guys for the advice. Now that you mention it, I remember the sway bar issue from way back when I read the boards more often. It would definitely be a huge load off to find out that I'd be looking at $200 repair vs $2000.

I think I remember Saturn sending me a notice where my local service is now. It is farther away than is convenient for me, but I think it's worth taking it there.

Thanks again!
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:18 PM   #5
lsnut
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Default Re: My L200 needs suspension work and I need advice (please :)

My 2000 LS has about 75K, and I do not have the issue with the sway bars.
Changed my shocks with Monroe Sensatracs @ 60K. The rears were leaking a little, and above all the car was not stable on some of the undulations on the road. The cost of shocks after rebate was about $160, and installation was $100. I also paid $50 for alignment after installation.

I believe Monroe Sensatrac for L series is made in Spain by Tenneco. These days Tenneco is OEM for many large manufacturers including Mercedes Benz. There shocks are valved such that they are very comfortable on rough roads as well as high speed etc. My 2000 has stiffer springs and when I bought it, I had to enter my car model as 2002 and later which have softer springs. You may have a slightly different experience with the same shocks. I do not believe OEM shocks can last 10 years/200,000 miles even if they were Bilstein.-)

New shocks are definetely worth it. I probably could afford Koni, KYB, or Sachs, but wanted to check out Monroe Sensatrac. I will likely change them again in about 5-10 years, but free thanks to lifetime warranty.-)

LSNUT

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBL200 View Post
Thanks you guys for the advice. Now that you mention it, I remember the sway bar issue from way back when I read the boards more often. It would definitely be a huge load off to find out that I'd be looking at $200 repair vs $2000.

I think I remember Saturn sending me a notice where my local service is now. It is farther away than is convenient for me, but I think it's worth taking it there.

Thanks again!
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