Rear ELC air strut replacement and components - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 09-10-2004, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default Rear ELC air strut replacement and components

With a little assistance from jr's3800, I compiled some information after a few phone calls regarding replacing the ELC struts, and what options are available.

Interesting point leading up to this, my struts have slow leaks....I've known this for some time. But they leak FASTER if the weight is off the wheels (back end jacked up). Last night, I pulled my rear wheels and sprayed Snoop leak detector on the rubber boots. The air took less than 20 seconds to completely leak out, but alot longer if the car was resting on the wheels. Why? The strut housing allows the rubber boot to seal against it. Have slow leaks? Try some heavy grease on the lower portion of your struts for awhile. It may help.

I took apart my compressor and cleaned/re-oiled it, and put some oil in the lines in preparation for my new struts (just a LITTLE goes a long way.

Now the strut story:

NAPA:
They will sell you their OEM unit, made by Monroe, painted blue, with a big NAPA sticker. Direct replacement for OEM ELC struts for $67.44 each. These are actually Monroe Sensa-Trac struts, pn 71798. If you ask for the Monroe REFLEX (better performance) #931798, they may try to tell you that the one they have is a 'comparable replacement'. Not true. These are totally different shocks in terms of quality and performance, although BOTH are replacement options for your ELC-equipped car.

Autozone:
They don't do Monroe. They do Gabriel. OEM replacment is the Gabriel Ultra G56903, comparable to the Monroe Sensa-Trac mentioned above, each strut is $54. They don't have a high-performance option.

In a nutshell, if you want economy (while preserving the ELC function), go with the Gabriel G56903 or Monroe 71798, 50-70 buck range (depending on source).

If you want faster valving and damping (while still preserving the ELC function), Go with the Monroe Reflex 931798 (100-120 bucks).

Do NOT be fooled by someone telling you that either is a 'comparable' replacment for the other. Both will fit, both will replace OEM ELC struts, but they are not the same. Think of it as the difference between H and Z rated tires. Both will fit, performance is different.

Gonna sticky this for awhile, then move up to Techinfo.
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Old 09-11-2004, 01:35 PM   #2
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Oh.....nobody cares.

I'm off for a 100mile trip to get my struts. I'll look at all of these while I'm there, and shoot pics of the packaging.
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Old 09-11-2004, 02:02 PM   #3
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Good decision on going for those new Stuts Will.

Now you won't be doing as much bunny hopping when you leap over those tracks.
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Old 09-11-2004, 05:11 PM   #4
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Found out alot more. The guy at the parts warehouse (100 mile round trip away) spent ALOT of time with me answering questions about ELC struts. Monroe actually makes THREE replacements for our cars.

I have pics, tech talk, etc, plus special pricing for Oregon/WA members, but first I gotta rip my car apart and put it back together
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Old 09-11-2004, 05:17 PM   #5
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Go Will Go
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Old 09-11-2004, 07:40 PM   #6
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Nice job Bill, it'* great you actually found a intelligent parts person too.
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Old 09-12-2004, 01:07 AM   #7
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Too tired and busted up to type it all up, but the swap went relatively well, and was WELL worth the time. The gas portion of my OEM struts were SHOT, and the air (ELC) was fading fast. Very much improved now.

This should give my battery a rest, too.
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Old 09-12-2004, 07:37 AM   #8
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Will, were you having any creaking or squeaks from the bad struts as well? I'm having creaking come from Left Rear ELC strut. Also, I think I'm having a poor ground wire connection at the pump (yup, the wire and bolt is corroded) and keep blowing the fuse every couple weeks or so.

In your tech info article, are you going to include any troubleshooting steps as well, just to help verify if one'* struts are on their way out or not? Perhaps a list of some visual inspections, phsyical tests (like pushing down on the rear of the car to see how much jounce and rebound you should have, etc?

Thanks for checking into this problem. It'* nice to have people how go that extra mile just to help others out. Good work.
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Old 09-12-2004, 10:59 AM   #9
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This is a tough one.....there are two modes of failure for the ELC struts. The gas portion and the air portion. The air is easy to troubleshoot. If you think your ELC compressor runs too much, Jack up the back of the car from the frame (not the control arm......I jacked from my receiver hitch, rather than use two jacks, I get the whole back end up). Remove the rear wheels, pull the 2-wire connector in your trunk for the inflator/ELC selector valve, and push the ON button on the inflator. Your struts will inflate now. Spray some mild soapy water on the rubber boots. If they leak, you got the problem, and it'll blow bubbles. I have pics of this I'll be posting.

The gas portion will be indicated by POSSIBLY: Creaking, popping, jouncing, and general ride quality.

Interesting side note, It looks like I need to re-adjust my ELC sensor now. The back end rides higher than before the swap.
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Old 09-12-2004, 11:16 AM   #10
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Cool. Let us know when you get some pics up.
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