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Old 07-01-2018, 01:22 AM   #1
Deep6
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

So I wanted to let everyone know this past week I replaced all 4 struts on the car.

For the front, Monroe now makes quick struts for our cars, both for the 4 cylinders and the V-6. The part numbers for the 4-cylinder would be:

Left - 171556
Right - 171555

Each fully assembled unit was $111.79 from RockAuto.com. When you price out a separate mount, strut and spring, you find that the cost is comparable. The downside is sourcing a brand new stock spring which, last I checked, were not available even from dealers. These cars are also known for cracking their front springs after 150K-175K miles.

For the rear, quick struts do not exist and I had to disassemble everything the traditional way. So don't toss out those spring compressors yet!

Since the front struts were a OE style damper, I went with the Monroe OE spectrum rear struts.

Part # 71309 and each strut was $37.79. The Monroe mount kit part # 904987 is $21.99 each.

The front installation was basically a dream. I disconnected the hardware, the sway bar end link, the two knuckle bolts and the top hold down bolt. Drop the old assembly out and put the new assembly back in. Put all the bolts back , torque to spec and you are done. One thing I noted was that the top OEM bolt is 18mm and the Monroe top bolt is 19mm. Annoying!

The rears took me all day to do with the help of a neighbor and his cut off wheel. I had to cut those top bolts off as they were rusted right on. I put a dab of anti-seize grease on those top bolts so they will hopefully come off if I ever need to take them off.

I forgot to take pics but I can say that the rear struts were dead and the mounts were worn. The springs had compressed a 1/4" groove into the spring seat. Now that I have everything in, the car appears to be riding higher than before. Maybe before it looked like I had lowering springs on it. Anyway, ride quality is much better. Most little bumps and expansion joints make very little noise but bigger bumps and broken pavement feel about the same as before.

The good news is that If I ever want to upgrade to Monroe sensa-trac struts, I can do it easier now that I have new springs up front and the rear struts should come apart easier.

The whole cost to me was $343.14 plus $28.97 = $372.11. So for just under $400 I was able to get the struts in and I know that this would have cost me double if I had the mechanic do it.

...
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2000 LS1 AT 283K "Served us well since 2000"
1993 SL2 AT 155K "Also Gone but not forgotten"
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:21 AM   #2
soulsurvives
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

When I replaced the struts on the wife's 2002 they didn't have the quick struts. I bought all new mounts and used kyb struts. It rode great after that. Her 2003 now has 132k and in need of struts. I will probably get the quick struts if she keeps the car much longer.

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Old 07-01-2018, 11:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

soulsurvives: The front quick struts are definitely a viable option to keep the stocker going. However, in my case, the struts were never replaced and I have nearly 150K on my car. In your case, for your wife's car, you can lay claim that you have at least changed the struts once already. The parts should come apart much easier than what I had to deal with.

If you feel that you can disassemble things easily, then I would suggest upgrading to the Monroe Sensa-Trac struts. I used those on my LS1 and I noted that the ride quality was excellent after installing them. Much softer over the bumpy stuff, but they held on like a BMW in the curves.

I was really impressed with both the suspension set up on our cars and the ability of the Sensa-Tracs to maximize the stock set up. So if you can pull out those KYB's with ease, try the Sensa-Tracs.


On the other hand, if you just want to 'git er' dun', then the quick struts will take about 1 to 1.5 hours to do the front. In the rear, you are SOL and you are stuck having to spend time to disassemble everything anyway. But if everything will come apart easily, you should be done well before dinnertime.

...
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...need further info

hi saturn sages- havent been on forum in a long time due to computer foulups, but it looks like all is solved . i have two questions for you who have done this front strut job on the saturn L100. i have a 01 saturn L 100 4 cyl. bought new and with 176k miles. about to replace the original front struts with the monroe quick struts. is the full price for each $111 including shipping from rock auto? also although not mentioned in the thread, do you have to align the front wheels or will a white line guiding mark at the top of the lower 2 bolts suffice? btw reason for the job is the left front strut has a strong clunk on a hard bump. the right front strut does not clunk on bumps. also suspect at this mileage springs must be pretty well shot. replaced the rear struts with gabriels about 6 years ago and youre right had to disassemble the whole thing - no quick struts in the back. this is a rare 5 speed model with 3 pedals on the floor. amazingly in 18 years it still gets the original stated mpg of 25 in town and 33 on the highway. looking forward to your answers on this . thanks tons bob fisher

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Old 08-14-2018, 06:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...need further info

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
hi saturn sages- havent been on forum in a long time due to computer foulups, but it looks like all is solved . i have two questions for you who have done this front strut job on the saturn L100. i have a 01 saturn L 100 4 cyl. bought new and with 176k miles. about to replace the original front struts with the monroe quick struts. is the full price for each $111 including shipping from rock auto? also although not mentioned in the thread, do you have to align the front wheels or will a white line guiding mark at the top of the lower 2 bolts suffice? btw reason for the job is the left front strut has a strong clunk on a hard bump. the right front strut does not clunk on bumps. also suspect at this mileage springs must be pretty well shot. replaced the rear struts with gabriels about 6 years ago and youre right had to disassemble the whole thing - no quick struts in the back. this is a rare 5 speed model with 3 pedals on the floor. amazingly in 18 years it still gets the original stated mpg of 25 in town and 33 on the highway. looking forward to your answers on this . thanks tons bob fisher
Shipping is always an extra charge from rock auto. Also a front end clunk could be a ball joint or sway bar links and bushings. These l cars seem to go thru a lot of those LOL.

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Old 06-19-2019, 05:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Just bought a "new" 2003 Saturn L200 that needed struts. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that they made quick struts now. I have never been able to torque the strut mount with any confidence and I've screwed up the "half moon" configuration. But with the new bushings and links, the car rides like a dream. Maybe its my imagination but it seems to ride smoother than my 2004 Saturn L (that I bought new).

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Old 06-19-2019, 05:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...need further info

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
also although not mentioned in the thread, do you have to align the front wheels or will a white line guiding mark at the top of the lower 2 bolts suffice?
I would like to know this also as I am about to do this job next month.

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Old 06-19-2019, 11:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

You can replace the struts without an alignment. The top two bolts fit tightly in the knuckle. Do not spin the bolt with an impact. Remove the nuts and hit the bolt with a hammer to remove, they have some splines to lock in the knuckle.

...
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

As far as I can tell, a new front end alignment after the strut replacement is not necessary. The bolt holes on the steering knuckles are not oblong shaped. Camber adjustment doesn't occur there I think.

The tie rod end is also connected to an ear on the wheel hub, not to the strut itself. You will need to detach the top bolt on the sway bar end link. If those are giving you trouble, you may want to consider replacing both of those. They are relatively inexpensive. The old ones may prove difficult to get out with frozen bolts though.

It's been approximately 1 year and 20k miles on these quick struts. I have to say that the cars ride and handling have degraded noticeably. Not so much as actual worn out struts but enough where it tells me that these units are not super-high-quality stuff.

For example, I can start to feel cross winds again and if they are strong enough can push the car around in the lane. This didn't happen when the quick struts were new. I am particularly sensitive to this because the wagons are affected more than the sedans. I am due for new tires but even so, the ride just isn't as controlled as when the units were new.

Another oddity, to my eye the front end appears to sit 1" higher. My neighbors noted it too asking me if I put a "lift kit" on the car because I was pretending to be a Subaru Outback.

Since new OEM springs cannot be found anywhere and I, like an idiot, tossed out the old OEM springs with the clapped out 149K struts last year, it looks like my next strut job will involve having to use those springs.


I have to say that I am seriously considering replacing the struts again this summer with the Monroe Sensa-Trac. I had a lot of luck with them with my LS Sedan. The quick struts are quick as the name implies but unless you are looking to sell the car quickly to a dealer or college kid, you can only reasonably expect 1 decent year out of them before they feel flinty and cheap.

...
2002 LW200 MT 170K "Rare 5-speed"
2000 LS1 AT 283K "Served us well since 2000"
1993 SL2 AT 155K "Also Gone but not forgotten"
2012 Honda CBR 250R 4.7K "She can't take this from me"

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Old 06-20-2019, 01:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

It's painful to learn of your poor experience with the Quick Struts. Many moons ago I'd replaced the factory installed front struts on my '84 Dodge 600 with a pair of Gabriels. After they were installed I noticed the front end was elevated. Long story short: Gabriel had over-pressurized their gas charged shocks resulting in elevating the front end. I'd purchased a dealer service warranty and it was still in force when it finally dawned on me that I could get a new pair of Mopar struts installed and simply pay the $100.00 deductible. So that's what I did and, voila, the front end height was restored to normal. Of course, it looked much better, too!

I must say that my Sensa-Trac struts (front and rear) which were installed on my LS1 in 2010 are still doing fine. I just wish that I could find some springs which aren't quite as strong as my factory originals. IMO, the ride is still a bit too stiff and harsh because of them. Oh well...I suppose it works out okay. Two weeks ago I was traveleing on state highways 330 and 18 in the San Bernardino Mountains. While I hadn't driven on them in several years the "mighty" L-Series car still handled tightly on those twisty, winding highways.

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Old 06-20-2019, 06:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Great to hear about the alignment. I do not think my struts are bad but I do have a bad spring and the bearings at the top of the right front moan and complain when I turn.
As for the 1 inch of lift I welcome it because my driveway is dirt and stone, with all this rain we have and I am getting a hump in the middle of where I drive in and out and noticed scrapes on the trans pan so a lift will help until I can get a dozer in to fix my road.

...
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Pierrot,

That is a good suggestion and possibility. I didn't think that it is possible the quick struts' shock absorber unit would be overcharged with gas? I had assumed that it was the springs and or mounts that were manufactured with "closenuff" manufacturing tolerances.

The ride quality isn't horrible, like it would be with a set of clapped out struts, but for the last few thousand miles I can really tell that the ride has deteriorated.

This summer, if I get the chance I'll try and go back to the sense-trac. I too had them on my 2000 LS1 and they helped that car ride decent over just about everything except for the really jiggly stuff. Also keep in mind that the 2000's have slightly stiffer springs compared to the later models. If it is possible to find a set of replacement springs, see if you can find a set from a later model. That being said, the 2000 LS1 with the sensa-tracs seemed to handle quite well. Oh, did I also mention that I had about 0.7 of negative camber up front and 0.3 negative camber in back.

According to my mechanic, these were at the outer limit of the alignment specs but the extra edge I got out of the 205 series rubber made a huge difference. Like I said in other posts; definitely gave the BMW 3-series drivers reason to raise an eyebrow.

Dsaturn,

When you do your struts, whether you use the quick struts or you choose the traditional method, make sure you get new strut mounts front and rear. And try to see if you can get good quality mounts too, like MOOG. Long time ago I used the Monroe mounts up front and the bearing kept on going bad making a noise whenever I would pull into my driveway, sort of sounded like muffled marbles in a can.

When I pulled the rear springs/struts apart I noted that the old mounts had a 1/4" groove really worn into them. I'm sure that caused a slight rear sagging situation.

As for lifting the car up? I've seen those spring expanders you can place in between spring coils to raise the height, but I wouldn't trust those and you could crack these delicate springs in the process.

...
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2000 LS1 AT 283K "Served us well since 2000"
1993 SL2 AT 155K "Also Gone but not forgotten"
2012 Honda CBR 250R 4.7K "She can't take this from me"

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Old 06-24-2019, 10:00 AM   #13
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Just a quick 5 cents contribution. Reminder that the L series is basically an Opel Vectra B underneath. Whilst spares for the L series may be getting thinner and thinner in the US, there is a really good after market parts supply for the Vectra B in Europe.

I just did a simple Google of "Vectra B coil springs" and this was just one of what came up. The prices are no more costly than ordering (or trying to order) in the US. I got all my son's replacement rear bushes and special tool from the UK. I would have struggled in the US.

https://www.ebay.com/i/332892637378?chn=ps

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Old 07-11-2019, 10:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Changed my front struts with a set of quick struts. Job was pretty easy except for when I went to tighten the top mount bolt. I put one wrench on the big nut and a smaller wrench on the strut piston top and tightened as best I could but the nut is not down on the threads as far as the old one was. I have two questions, How are you suppose to torque the big nut, Crows foot wrench on big nut and Torque wrench? Also now the top mounts that sit on top of strut tower have a small Gap between the cap and body, Is this normal?
Anyone have pics of the top of their strut tower under the hood so I can compare mine to it?

...
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Does this help?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 6051664cb7_1024.jpg (157.8 KB, 11 views)

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Old 07-11-2019, 02:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

I can see by that pic that the rubber under the top mount has a small gap as does mine so I guess that is normal. I can not get my top bolt down that far on the strut shaft. I probably put close to 100 pounds of torque on it but it is bottomed out. Here is a pic of mine.That is as far as I can get that nut on.

...
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Last edited by Dsaturn; 07-11-2019 at 02:16 PM..

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Old 07-11-2019, 03:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

What brand top strut mounts did you use? Apparently there has been some issues with aftermarket top strut mounts. Many say to use the GM mount only.

Have you driven the vehicle yet? If so, Any rattles? or movement of that strut that you can determine?

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Old 07-11-2019, 04:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

I used the ultra power. I did not change the mounts because I am on budget. I think that the reason the nut will not go any further is the nut on the shaft that holds the mount and bearings onto the springs is not on as far as the stock ones. I am going to replace the top mounts with OEM when I get the money. The car dries great. There are a couple of squeaks but I am sure after some use they will go away.

...
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:03 PM   #19
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Default Re: Replaced Struts, used front Quick Struts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsaturn View Post
The car dries great. There are a couple of squeaks but I am sure after some use they will go away.
^^^ 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

Maybe shoot some silicone up on that top mount from the wheel well to see if you can tone that squeak down. Then try the same on the top in the engine compartment under that metal disc. Flood that rubber bushing well.

Armour all with that great trigger sprayer might just be the ticket here. You probably will have to do this several times until the mount "Nests"

Keep us posted. Inquiring minds want to know!

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2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 3.0

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