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Old 03-19-2004, 06:52 PM   #1
Jaseball
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Question Rear Suspension: S series vs. Ion

After driving my S series for just about 12 years I moved to an Ion3 sedan and have been driving my Ion for the past year.

I checked the rear suspension on the Ion and it definately is a downgrade from what was on the S series, however the strange thing is the Ion rides, handles, and feels more solid than my SL2.

Why is that?

Is it because the Delta frame is more rigid, the rear of the Ion is more rigid, the 16 inch wheels?
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Old 03-19-2004, 07:28 PM   #2
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I think the fact that your S-series was 12 years old may have something to do with it...
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Old 03-19-2004, 07:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by bennett9000
I think the fact that your S-series was 12 years old may have something to do with it...

The reason I mention the S series is because I know how it felt and handled through the entire life of the car and the Ion just feels more stable, especially at 70mph and higher and it appears to handle better as well, even with an inferior rear suspension.
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Old 03-19-2004, 08:59 PM   #4
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The art and and science of structure design has come a long way since the S series was designed. That's a big part of the improved feel.
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Old 03-20-2004, 07:45 PM   #5
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Though the semi-independent rear suspension on the Ion is theoretically a less sophisticated system (and even that's somewhat dubious IMHO, no suspension is entirely independent, that's what the stabilizer bar does), it seems pretty well designed, and combined with the rigidity of the chassis it gives pretty good results.

The main advantage of the type of suspension used on the Ion (aside from perhaps cost) is that the trunk space is increased because it doesn't have shock/strut towers protruding into the trunk.
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:54 PM   #6
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I would tend to think that a 12 year old car has something to do with it. Bushings, struts, etc. all wear out over time.

I know my 97 feels a million times better than an ION in the corners, especially in transient handling. If you crank the wheel back and forth real fast in the ION you get some weird lean, and suprising unpredictable oversteer (it will either pick up one tire, or let go entirely).

Daily driving though, the ION is a solid, stable car. Aside from the odd styling quirks, it is one of the best cars on the market.
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Old 03-22-2004, 05:35 PM   #7
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ProDarwin-

How much driving time have you put into the Ion? How much have you put into the S station wagon?

Did you just go on a test drive or something in the Ion?
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Old 03-22-2004, 06:02 PM   #8
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I'd say 16" wheel and wider tires, and also heavy curb-weight to do with that solid feeling.
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Old 03-22-2004, 06:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Qlara
I'd say 16" wheel and wider tires, and also heavy curb-weight to do with that solid feeling.

I think so as well, however I think the non-independant suspension is far more rigid as well and with a very rigid frame that adds to the stability

robh456 also mentions what I have thought about - no suspension is fully independant, that is why they have the links and why some cars add cross supports.

Suspension is great for taking in bumps and smoothing out a ride and I think 4 wheel independant is best, but for rigidity and handling it doesn't matter as much.

Of course I do realize that the MAIN reason for the suspension type and lack of rear wheel discs on the Ion is for stupid GM cost cutting.

If I had to pay $1K or more for disc brakes and independant rear suspension I would have done so, just to cut those two criticisms out and to see if it really would make any sort of positive difference on the Ion.
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jaseball
ProDarwin-

How much driving time have you put into the Ion? How much have you put into the S station wagon?

Did you just go on a test drive or something in the Ion?
Yeah, it was kind of a test drive. But more of a 30 min beating to see what it was capable of. But don't trust my opinion, as the only car I could test drive with a 5 speed manual was an Ion 1 (crappy wheels and tires). I'm betting the ION 3, is much better with those better tires. I got the ION 1 on 3 wheels many times during the test drive, and pushed it to all its limits.

I have no idea how much time I've put into the S - wagon. But I wasnt comparing it to that. I've put more than 50k miles on the wagon, but it has a modified suspension, so its apples vs. oranges. The SC2 is stock.

I also agree with Qlara - a 300lb heavier curb weight has a lot to do with stability.
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Old 03-23-2004, 02:09 AM   #11
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The curb weight is part of it--and so is the rim and tire package. We got an ION3 and it is a horse of a different color when you look at an ION1 or 2.
I personally loved my S-car, but the ION is an excellent daily driver.
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jaseball
Of course I do realize that the MAIN reason for the suspension type and lack of rear wheel discs on the Ion is for stupid GM cost cutting.
I won't pretend that I understand much of what I'm talking about, but Honda has also taken similar criticism, I believe. The Civic's "4-Wheel Double Wishbone" was replaced with "Front MacPherson Strut / Rear Double Wishbone" for '01 models. Don't know what the new Si has for suspension, though I believe it still has 4-wheel discs from what I could tell.

Supposedly, the reason for the new suspension layout was for more front leg room or something like that. I don't see the problem with front leg room in my car but...whatever. Sounds like cost cutting to me.

BTW, I have the same problem with Saturn as I do with Honda with their smaller cars...weight. Gone are the light nimble cars of yesteryear.
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