Firmer shocks? Increased performance?

I have a 1983 Buick Park Avenue DIESEL that I recently purchased to do a vegetable oil conversion on. It has a set of NEW shocks on it, but they are WAY TOO SOFT for my tastes. I realize that these cars were originally designed to be floaty old boats, that felt like the wheels were attached with mashmallows and bungie cords, but surely there are some other shocks out there that are of similar dimensions with greater jounce/rebound valving? I am accustomed to driving a European sports sedan, so this car is a real challenge for me. I am convinced that there has to be a way of finding firmer dampers for this application. Any suggestions? I am truly having fun with this car, and doing my part to be GREEN and reduce our dependance on foreign oil.

Are you sure it is the shock absorbers? If the shocks are new, there could be other worn suspension components, like maybe the springs?

See if jc whitney has what you want. What might give you a firmer ride is coil springs over the shock absorders; maybe, replacement springs. Try
An automotive performance parts store is another possibility…check yer yeller pages.

Wow, where did you find one of those?

To answer your question, they should help but they are not going to turn it into a sports sedan. I have Bilstein HD shocks on a couple of cars. They are fairly stiff, but not too harsh like the cheap ones. They are a tad expensive (about $150 each, retail without installation). If you order them and install them yourself, you can probably find them for around $100 each.

I had a 1980 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with the F41 handling package. It included HD springs and shocks, sway bars and tighter bushings. This car handled much better than my colleague’s standard Olds. I think you should have new HD springs installed front and rear, and HD shocks, You can also get HD sway bars for front and rear for flatter cornering. I equipped an 1980s I equipped an 1980s Chev Impala that way; all this stuff is what police cars have and most taxis. It makes a world of difference in the handling and the rides does not get too firm; more European.

Sounds like a good idea, but that’s probably a few $1000 worth of work, I just paid almost $1000 for 4 shocks and a tie rod end (installed). I would be interested to hear the OPs budget, I suspect this is not a restoration project if he/she is going to run it on WVO.

With GM vehicles it’s ALWAYS been easy to upgrade the suspension with a simple shock/strut replacement. In 83…are they even gas shocks??? If not then just going to a decent gas shock should yield much better results. I replaced the shocks on my 84 S-15 with gas shocks when they wore out in 2 years…Major improvement over the OEM ride.

The shocks I bought were relatively cheap HD Monroes. The secret was in the springs $200 for 4 plus installation, and the HD sway bars, $235 each installed.

Yup, it really depends on the budget. Personally, i don’t put up with cheap shocks because the ride is too harsh.