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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How important are the strut bellows? I would tend to think they're rather important being that the bumpstop is attached at the top. I've just noticed that the ones on my rear struts which were replaced a few months back are not in good shape. The bellow part appears to be torn and the bumpstop assembly can ride up and down the strut shaft.

What affect would this have on handling?

Please assist - I've replaced all 4 struts, had alignment done, front end checked for damage, same with rear. Nothing's wrong but the ride is quirky, wants to dart to the right. Can this simply be bushing wear???

 

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Uh, can't be that important because I haven't had them on my car since I changed my struts almost two years ago. I have noticed nothing other than the improvement the new struts gave me. Like you they were wrecked anyways, so out with the struts they went 8O

Matt 8)
 

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If you had an alignment done, your suspension checked and your car still darts to the right i bet you have a bad tire. You should try swaping sides with your front tires and if i pulls to the left then you have a bad tire and 90% of the time the side the car pulls to is the side the bad tire is on. Just replace the tire or rotate it to the back and you should be good to go, unless you have another bad tire. Also even if they are fairly new tires one of them could cause a pull, i know because i work at a Ford dealership doing front end work. :D
 

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Could be a number of things I'd say. But the "bellows" you speak of would not cause any handling issues if it were bad or missing. Granted, the bumpstop and strut boot is an important part of the strut assembly if you wish to prolong the longevity of the struts, but should not cause adverse driving conditions.
Seems odd that you have a problem even after having all that work done at a shop. Normally a tire shop cant perform an allignment if there are worn parts, but some places are pretty shady these days, so you might have it checked again and be sure to tell them that there is definitely a problem with the handling.
Improper camber on the front end can cause some serious wander on the road and make a car hard to handle....especially in the rain. Worn tie-rod ends can cause the car to veer one direction or the other ( mainly during acceleration or deceleration), but thats easy to check by wiggling the wheel while the car is raised.
My car exhibits a strange problem with steering. I installed new struts 6 months ago and also installed new thrust bearings at the top of the front strut towers. The new bearings were a metal needle-roller style bearing and looked like they should be much better than the stock units, but after a short time the front end became terribly hard to hold in a straight line and an audible "popping" noise was heard in hard corners. If I turn the wheel hard left and straighten it out, the car will pull hard to the left untill I turn right. If I make a hard right turn, the car will pull to the right untill I turn left. The problem is the thrust bearings in the top of the strut towers binding up. Maybe those need to be greased before installation, but no documentation says to do that. Anyway, I need to pull them out and chuck 'em and start over. I've also had the car aligned in the past, but the last time I went to have it checked, the tech told me he couldnt align it due to the camber being out too far. I had to purchase camber kits for the front end before he could align it.
Just beware of other people who do you a service. Get a second opinion or check it yourself if you can. Dont worry about the strut boots unless you drive in dirty conditions, otherwise replace them for peace of mind knowing they may last a bit longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
DirtyJim said:
but after a short time the front end became terribly hard to hold in a straight line and an audible "popping" noise was heard in hard corners. If I turn the wheel hard left and straighten it out, the car will pull hard to the left untill I turn right. If I make a hard right turn, the car will pull to the right untill I turn left. The problem is the thrust bearings in the top of the strut towers binding up. Maybe those need to be greased before installation, but no documentation says to do that.
Jim, this is very interesting because I changed my front struts and re-used the old thrust bearings because they appeared to be in pretty good shape. Perhaps grease IS required?! Thanks for mentioning - it hadn't occurred to me.

Mine is a task just trying to drive straight down the road. In hard corners I get the pop/creak sound though I just assumed it was body flex (I have no strut braces anymore). In hard corners, car wants to continue in that direction until I re-center the wheel or turn in opposite direction.

Sounds like we have a similar problem.

My problem is that I've thrown money at the car and am not seeing a return on my investment. Due to time constraints I had local shop install the rear struts and use the cheap Gabriel Ryders back there. They were listed as spec for the EGT so I assume they're not the problem. I do get the pogo-stick effect on undulating surfaces but it's such a minor issue.

I've spent over $1000 on 4 new struts and 4 new Kumho's. Not to mention 3 alignments. The car isn't wrecked, already had it in the frame shop so I'm not crab-crawling.

Maybe I ought to just get the universal bushing set for the GT and replace the thrust bearings as well.

Heck, it's just money....
 

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I reused my thrust bearings and haven't had any trouble over the last 7 months.. and she just turned over 188k mi. I've driven a car with worn ones.. the popping is loud when cornering.

When you re-installed the strut mounts, did you align them correctly? There's a rubber 'nub' on one side when viewed from the top.. this indicates the bias. You see.. the strut mount isn't perfectly semetrical.. you can adjust front camber by rotating the strut mount. Fortunately the shop where I got my alignment noticed this and turned one of them 180deg around for me. I'd had negative camber on one side and positive on the other.. and I was having similar problems with the steering not returning to center and the occasional dive towards the ditch 8O

I also had a worn inner tie-rod that they discovered, but that was causing all sorts of steering problems on and off throttle.

Did they give you a print-out of your car's alignment specs before and after adjustment? They may have deemed your front camber un-adjustable and left it screwy if your strut mounts weren't oriented correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When I installed the front struts, both nubs were pointing inward to the engine bay, as per the Haynes manual. Upon alignment by Merchants Tire, the driver's side nub was facing 180' in the opposite direction, away from the engine. This was done to bring the car into alignment. I have just had an alignment done by Sears Auto and they indicated that camber and caster were fine, but driver's tire was toed-in and passenger was toed-out. This was also fixed and car does drive better. However, the oddity in handling persists.

Tie-rods, ball joints, etc are in good shape. That's what's driving me nuts trying to track this down. I can't find anything necessarily 'wrong' with the car.
 
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