Replaced struts make car drive worse?

The service center (Goodyear) where I’ve taken my cars for many years said a couple oil changes ago that my struts were shot. My 2000 Chrysler LHS with 114,000 miles drove nicely, no bouncing at all. But there was a hollow thunk when going over bumps that was getting worse. So two days ago I had them replace all four, including link pins (rusty) and other hardware they said should be done while everything was apart. Close to $2,000. I’ve driven the car twice now, and I swear I can hear and feel every little expansion joint and it sounds like things aren’t tightened down up front. They said to bring it back on Monday, but I don’t know what if anything they can do to fix it. Do new struts make a car ride worse for a while?

Stiffer struts and new bushings can definitely change the ride on a car. If you were floating along down the road on bad struts, it will feel stiff to you now. The good thing is your handling will be much better and your braking distances will be much shorter.

+1 to knfenimore’s comment.

Over the years, as struts or shocks weaken, a mushy ride quality tends to creep up on the owner, so that he/she is frequently not aware of how the ride quality has deteriorated. Then, when properly-functioning struts/shocks are installed, some people think that the car has a harsh ride.

The most important quality of your car’s suspension is to keep the tires in constant contact with the road, and new, stiffer struts will do that.

Does your car have the 2.7 motor that likes to die at 105k miles?

Cavell, the OP came here to get help, not more fear.

To the OP, let us know how you make out Monday. New struts will definitely change the ride, and you’ll feel things like expansion joints that you haven’t felt since the car was new. It’s also true that it takes a bit of time to get used to the new ride.

No one has hit on this point, but the tire pressure should be checked to be sure that the tires are inflated to the proper pressure listed on the inside of the drivers door… Also not that they have replaced the struts, you may need a good alignment.

Yosemite

If the rubber mounts that attach the struts were replaced as well, they will cause the ride to be a bit harder than the factory settings. Replacement struts and mounts are nearly always stiffer than the factory parts to compensate for other things that wear and so the owner can actually feel a difference. They are also designed to cover every option package available. If the car had a “Sport” or “Heavy Duty” option, manufacturers will try to offer only one strut to cover all options with the stiffest one. They will break-in a bit and get smoother but it will take a few hundred miles at least.

As long as those “noises” you hear don’t sound like a bunch of loose boards (known as “loose lumber” noise), there is likely nothing Goodyear can do short of replacing everything with a different brand. And they are not going to do that.

If there IS “loose lumber” noise, Goodyear screwed up and didn’t get things tight or they didn’t replace a failed strut mount.

Thanks for the feedback; and the LHS has the 3.5 motor. I trust the Goodyear guys, but hope they don’t find anymore $$$ needed. I can understand the new struts being a bit stiffer, but the sound of “loose” parts up front is unnerving.

Did you find a cure for the gasoline smell from this car? That was an earlier thread you had.

I did not find a cure, except to not fill the car totally up when going straight from gas station to home, which I did today. I must say that of all the forums I’ve investigated over the years, this one is full of incredibly useful and insightful information. And even though I’m no mechanic, maybe I can help others with the same situations I’ve encountered over 62 years. Thanks!

I think what you should do is take the vehicle back and have them inspect the stabilizer bar bushings for wear.

When the struts are replaced in your vehicle, it’s required that the stabilizer bar end links be removed from the strut. If the links are rusty, it’s nearly impossible to unbolt them from the struts. So they’re usually cut off the strut. That’s why they were replaced.

So now you have new struts, new end links, but the old bushings.

When struts are worn, the other suspension components are put under loads they weren’t meant to see. This causes rapid wear of the components. And two of those components are the sway bar bushings.

I now automatically replace the sway bar bushings whenever I replace the struts/end links. Because the suspension was restored to new except for the bushings, and now there’s a knocking noise from the front of the vehicle.

Besides that, the bushing are cheap and easy to install.

Tester

I think what you should do is take the vehicle back and have them inspect the stabilizer bar bushings for wear.

When the struts are replaced in your vehicle, it’s required that the stabilizer bar end links be removed from the strut. If the links are rusty, it’s nearly impossible to unbolt them from the struts. So they’re usually cut off the strut. That’s why they were replaced.

So now you have new struts, new end links, but the old bushings.

When struts are worn, the other suspension components are put under loads they weren’t meant to see. This causes rapid wear of the components. And two of those components are the sway bar bushings.

I now automatically replace the sway bar bushings whenever I replace the struts/end links. Because the suspension was restored to new except for the bushings, and now there’s a knocking noise from the front of the vehicle.

Besides that, the bushing are cheap and easy to install.

Tester

Stab bar bushings are perhaps the most common source of hollow thunks when going over bumps. The stab bar twists within the bushings that hold the bar to the chassis with every movement of either wheel, and the rubber ends up with large holes in it where the bar goes through.

They may or may not be easy to replace. I wish mine were. The bushings & mounts in the front are on top of the transverse frame member under the engine’s firewall side. It cannot be replaced without dropping the transverse member (H-frame, X-frame, whatever Toyota calls theirs… I’ve forgotten) . I had some years back planned to upgrade both front & rear bars, but when I made that discovery I opted for only replacing the rear… with the TRD upgrade, which is designed as a one-bar replacement.

Some food for thought. If the strut replacements were not Quick Struts and involved a change of struts while reusing the coil springs then maybe the noise is related to the upper strut mounts if those were not replaced.

In the future find a good independent mechanic instead of a chain like Goodyear.
What brand struts did they use? Some are much better than others.

You guys say stabilizer bar bushings are the most common cause of thunks . . .

Are you sure you’re not actually talking about the stabilizer bar links . . . ?!

In my experience, stabilizer bar bushings make a squeak going over bumps, while stabilizer bar links make a thunk, or clunk, if you will

I’m talking about the stabilizer bar bushings.

And I never said they’re the most common cause of suspension noise. But they can cause suspension noise if worn enough.

Tester

@"Tester you’re right about that picture

Going over bumps, the bar will contact the frame, making a clunk

i usually replace sway bar bushings when they make a squeak, well before they look like the ones in your picture

In my experience, sway bar links will clunk long before the sway bar bushings are deteriorated to the condition of the ones in your picture

The receipt doesn’t say what kind of struts, just front and rear strut assembly, about $250 per pair. Also replaced front and rear link pins and did a four-wheel alignment. I’m taking the car back this morning and will have them look at the sway bar parts. Thanks again for the wealth of info here.

just front and rear strut assembly, about $250 per pair.

Sounds like they just did the strut cartridge, And reused everything else.

Also replaced front and rear link pins and did a four-wheel alignment.
Sounding more and more like the upper strut mounts/bearings.