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Old 03-05-2006, 04:17 AM   #1
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Default Time for new suspension parts.

First, I want to thank you for advice on the 16 inch rims. I'm probably going to get them may-june when I have the cash.
I looked at the sticker on the spare tire cover, and saw the numbers. 2 which I recognize, LN3 being the 3800, and FE1 being the soft suspension/soft ride.

Its time for me to get new struts installed on the car. The old ones are not effective at controlling the car at all, making it dangerous on the roads. The only thing keeping me on the road are my sway bars, as they keep the wheels from bouncing excessivly, or what it seems like.
I've posted this question before, but need to ask a whole bunch of questions again.

Are there 2 types of springs avalible? I saw a listing for a set of springs, one for the LE and SE, and another set, for the SSE. Whats the difference, and which should I go with, back and front? Is there another set of springs avalible for the later bonnies?

Monroe sells a Sensatrac, and their regular Monroematic strut. I cannot find a listing for a reflex, for those year bonnie/lesabres. I have no problem buying a sensatrac, but would like to know if there is another strut maker, that is much better, and still has a good warranty? The newer bonnies and lesabres, does monroe sell a reflex that will fit? I just want the best ride and handling, thats all.

The optional rear air ride suspension. Does it use an airbag, or air in the struts? Is there anything outstanding about this suspension that would make me want to switch to rear air?? What parts would I need?

As far as I know, there are only 2 suspension types? The FE1 and F41? FE1 for Lesabre custom and limited, and the f41 for the gran touring. FE1 for bonny LE SE, the the F41 for the SSE?

Lots of info, help, tips appreciated. Again, I want a nice ride, firm, but not like an ox cart.
Thanks again!
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Old 03-05-2006, 11:55 AM   #2
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Not sure about the aftermarket struts other then some do not make different ones for different suspensions, and others only make two. The leveling suspension is in the struts. They are quite spendy and probably not worth changing to IMO.
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Old 03-05-2006, 11:56 AM   #3
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The spring options are a lot more confusing than that... Trust me...

Best bet if you want stiffer springs is to use the SSE springs.. But you may want to add rear air struts as the FE2 suspension was designed to have the Air assist...

The F41 never used ther air assist...( firm Ride and Handling )

There was an FE3 for the H bodies.. Incredibly rare on a Bonneville... This would be the Sport Ride suspension and it too used Air assist in the rear...


If you can find a 91SSE in the yard, you may rip off the springs from it and use Monroe struts... I highly reccomend them.. Monroe Matic Plus or Sensatrac ...

I adapted my 95 to manual rear air and have been happy about it over the last 2.5 years... Makes for a better ride.. Worth every penny...

My 91 LE has shot struts all the way around... It will get the Monroe Matic Plus struts and I will adapt to manual adjust rear air... I think i will keep the original springs as me LE had a great ride when I bought he 6 years ago...

At the extreme least I reccomend new struts all the way around...

On my 95 the Rear air struts are roughly $74 US and I think the fronts were $65 US and the Line adapt kit for manually adjustable rear air struts was $5 US

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Old 03-05-2006, 11:53 PM   #4
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The SSE rear suspension used a level sensor tied to one of the rear lower wishbones that tied into an air valve assembly and the compressor. It automatically adjusted the riear ride height as stuff was added or removed from the trunk.

Very cool and reliable. Only problem I had on one car was when the air chambers in the rear struts failed. Not a real big deal to replace them.

Paul
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:22 AM   #5
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I think I'll use the F41 suspension, and not really bother with the air ride. That can be for a later project. I will get the stiffer springs for the front, the f41, which is the SSE suspension. There should be stiffer springs for the rear too? F41 springs?

Keeping in mind, putting 16 inch wheels on a F41 suspension would make the car better on the road, but would it make it stiff like an ox cart? I'd like the nice lookin wheels, but not have an ox cart ride, thats all. Sorta like a modern refined suspension thats firm, but not punishing on the bumps?
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:42 AM   #6
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I actually had my struts replaced last summer- and I went with the Monroe sensatracs. I would highly recommend them, great ride. I opted out of the air ride, due to the $$$, and I can't say that I really miss it all that much, as it was always making that annoying pump sound, even with the car off. But the new design makes them lighter, there is such a difference in the size of the old versus the new.
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy'* Buick
I think I'll use the F41 suspension, and not really bother with the air ride. That can be for a later project. I will get the stiffer springs for the front, the f41, which is the SSE suspension. There should be stiffer springs for the rear too? F41 springs?

Keeping in mind, putting 16 inch wheels on a F41 suspension would make the car better on the road, but would it make it stiff like an ox cart? I'd like the nice lookin wheels, but not have an ox cart ride, thats all. Sorta like a modern refined suspension thats firm, but not punishing on the bumps?
good luck finding F41'* they are pretty hard to find
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:39 AM   #8
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FE2 is hard enough. You'll be alot better off in the long run with FE2 and ELC or FE2 and convert the ELC struts to manual like Don did. ELC is a very important integral part of the FE2 suspension that should not be overlooked.
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Keith
Not sure about the aftermarket struts other then some do not make different ones for different suspensions, and others only make two. The leveling suspension is in the struts. They are quite spendy and probably not worth changing to IMO.
Would you happen to know what years of the Buick H Body had the F41 or FE3 suspensions?

Everyone keep in mind that in mid to late 90 there was a change made to the springs and struts, mainly revolving around the spring seat... They may have made that change for the 90 model year.. 91 saw more changes( Minor )...

F41 springs will be hard to find for certain... There are springs listed for an SSE and they have a greater load rating than the LE springs, but not buy much... If memory serves there is a sligh diffrence in the number of coils and coil spacing between the 2 springs...

I aded the Air struts to my 95 Bonneville... Made a good diffrence in the rear... Not bone jarring stiff untill you get to about 35 psi... at 70psi its like a brick.... 20 Psi is about right for ride heigth and ride quality... Sure makes the ride a lot better, and kills off back end sag when the car is loaded down...

I'm liking this thread as I have thought about doing all of this to me 91 LE... It will get 16" alloys soon with some goodyear American eagles( cheapies I know, But for what they were I liked them ) I thought about changing the springs, but for the diffrence in load rating between the springs I may be happy with a good set of Monroe struts up front, and the Monroe Matic Plus air struts in the back... I have noticed that the leakdown rate with these struts is very low... I have gone 2 months and still had an ample amount of air in the rear struts...

Keep in mind that the air struts are still gas charged( Nitrogen I think it is ) with air assist...

Good thoughts and questions from everybody here

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Old 03-06-2006, 01:35 PM   #10
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Ok, now I have a new question. I see a listing for a sensatrac, with an air adapter for the ELC. Can I just put those struts in the back, they'll work just like a regular sensatrac, until I hook the air up? I'd do the air, perhaps in the summertime, but just hook it to the strut.
The rear air suspension sounds like a great thing, and i'll go for it later. I may be using the car later for towing purposes, as well as loading the trunk with heavy things this summer, as well as having 5 of my friends with me for trips. etc.

F41 springs are hard to come by? They are not sold brand new from moog? I was searching on federal mogul'* website on springs and spring specs.
Basically, I found the regular springs for the FE1 suspension, (I think).

1) Inside Diameter-6.340
2) Bar Diameter-0.625
3) Install height-11.0
4) Load pounds-441.0
5) Spring rate-136
6) Free height-14.50

I also found the specifications for a 91 Park Avenue.
1) same
2) same
3) same
4) 519 lbs
5) same
6) 14.81
I would think a park ave springs are stiffer than the lesabres and Bonnys? Enough to make it seem like an f41?

The rear springs are considerably different. One is a listing for regular moog springs, and then there are the listing for variable rate springs.

1) 4.250 Same for VR (variable rate)
2) 0.578 VR-0.640
3) 10.50 VR-10
4) 860 VR-1230 (this is load pounds, and quite a difference, but for what? cargo carrying capacity?)
5) 201.0 VR-357
6) 14.69 VR 13.44


Yikes, so many spring choices.
So, would you go with stock springs in the front, and back? Or go with the park ave springs front, and the VR springs rear?
Thanks, I will probably be leaning towards stock springs, and making my purchases this week.
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