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Front Strut replacement


Guest barra

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The front struts in my 1988 are starting to leak. The previous owner gave me a new set when I purchased the car five years ago. There were no top plates with the struts so they will have to be purchased. Does anyone know what price I can expect to pay for the top plates?

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Thank you. I have the car at a garage and the parts chaser reported a price of $350/plate. The owner said he'd check on the price because "there isn't all that much in the plate for it to be that expensive". I hope he's right. I would imagine that, either way, the plates will be "new".

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Guest wally888
What you need are "strut bearings" aka "strut mounts" GM 17999048

aftermarket Gabriel 142298, $51 ea. from AZ

Sounds like someone has a boat payment due.

And don't forget to replace the Jounce Bumpers!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had to replace the front struts in my 1988 reatta and encountered something unexpected. The replacement bearings came packed in a rubber-like substance instead of grease. Every time the wheels turned, the car would "pull" in the direction of the previous turn after being straightened. The repair facility cleaned out the "rubber" and repacked with grease. The tendency to turn is less and they hope that a couple of days of normal driving will "dissolve" the problem The car does stop straight with no pull in either direction, even on wet roads. Has anybody else had this experience when purchasing strut replacement kits?

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It sounds like the bearings were shipped with a hot dip removable coating. It is not intended to be a lubricant. It protects metal parts from rusting during shipment. After removing the coating the bearings need to be packed before installation. This is just a guess as to what happened.

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Thank you for the information. I remember their saying that they put grease in the bearings. I have driven it a couple of days now. The pulling tendency is still there but sometimes seems "better". Are they correct? Will driving eventually stop the turning tendency?

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Thank you for the caution, Mr. Padgett. Yes, an alignment was done and it does stop in a straight line. I'm going back there after work.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My 1988 reatta now "drifts" to the right after a right turn and to the left after a left turn. I took it back to the repair facility that did the work. They removed the top of the bracket and cleaned out the bearings and repacked with grease, got on a hotline web site for any information that would help solve the drifting. Nothing was there except for foot poundage of torque on the top bolt. The owner said that the bolt was flangeless (?) and that continued driving might correct the tendency. I have never had front struts replaced on any previous vehicle and wonder if this is common with any other luxury cars.

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Yes, it was aligned. I have a factory shop manual for the 1988. Would there be specifications in there that are different from what is currently available? I will ask about the

negative caster.

Thank you for the information, Mr. Padgett.

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Guest craig hewitt

Think of caster as a stock motorcycle and a chopper the stock bike will say has neg caster and is easy to turn the chopper on the other hand is hard to turn so if your left wheel is slightly back farther than the rgt it will drift left now on all GM cars that ive worked on ( and i was an alignment tech for 20 plus years at the buick dealer ) the bearing plates with all the small bearings i would say 30 or so were not covered in large amounts of lube they are not sealed and road dirt and grime would ruin them really quick The problem you are talking about is call memory steer and the only way ive been able to fix them is with new plates I have never used aftermarket bearing plates so I cant talk about them the upper strut mounts are just rubber and steel and have no real movement but can make noise when worn out squeek squeek when pushing on fender or hood. if the repair shop told you they lubed (bearing plates) real good you problem will never go away and will get worse the only other thing i can think of is the preload of the steering gear it self. witch is the big nut behind the shaft that conects to intermediate shaft going to the s/wheel that can be adjusted by tighting all the way and backing off one flat if that is to tight you can get memory steer also but if you didnt have it before strut job i doubt it. Anymore questions let me know this is my area .I wrote manuals for GM in the steering group till all the jobs went to india

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I recall a posting here where someone had a problem with the upper bearing/mounting plates ........there was a problem with the instructions or marking on the plates being wrong/reversed and the strut was placed in a bind.

Anyone recall that?

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Thank you Mr. Hewitt. I asked a Buick technician bring up the front end information on their alignment machine. There are slots for setting the caster and directions to drive a hole. I never got a print out of what was done at the alignment. That will be my next question.

I loaned the 1988 SFM to the repair facility and am waiting a respectfull period of time to see if the owner calls. He mentioned the torque on the steering gear and said that they had checked in on an information hotline. He said that there wasn't much available.

I am not a mechanic but have shared information that I have learned from posts on this web site. I believe that they want to do it right.

Again, thank you all for your help. I'll write more as things are done.

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Guest craig hewitt

I would always try to change caster buy moving the cradle forward or back first you can usauly get anough movement to even caster that way sloting the towers just looks bad to me Craig

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Thank you. I've got a "second opinion" appointment on Monday. i do remember the directions on the screen that said to move the wheel for the caster adjustment. Hopefully, the care will be safe to drive again. I'll let you know the results.

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The strut mounts needed to be replaced. The mechanic said that both the "bad" ones that were installed and the "new" ones that he used ( GM parts) looked identical. The bad mounts definately had the memory call that Mr. Hewitt described. I took the bad parts to the original repair facility. He told me that this was the second set that he had gotten from his supplier. I am not sure if the lesson here is to put less trust in "new" parts but the people on this forum were right the first time. Thank you all for your knowledge and help.

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Not being a mechanic, I hope I'm speaking correctly here. Both shops detached the steering gear from the tie rods and pushed the wheels to check for too much resistance. The GM mechanic asked if the steering problem existed before the strut replacement. It hadn't and he concentrated on the strut mounts. So far, it seems to steer properly. I will be carefull and look for any pulling that occurs after right and left turns. The car has 106,000 miles on it. Should I expect the steering gear to need replacing?

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  • 4 years later...
Guest hopair
What you need are "strut bearings" aka "strut mounts" GM 17999048

aftermarket Gabriel 142298, $51 ea. from AZ

Hi. My mechanic has a pair of Gabriel 142298 mounts. I wonder if you've used them and what results you've had. My '91 Struts.."squeak and moan"!

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