Recommended suspension improvement

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by theclarinetguy32, May 30, 2017.

  1. theclarinetguy32

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    Looking for some input on what folks can recommend for suspension improvement on a 07 @ 130k.
    From what I've seen this is almost baby miles in comparison to what I've seen other posts mention.

    But... my wife has some bladder issues to put it in an overall sense and to her my car rides like a haywagon unless we're on perfection grade pavement. Doesn't exactly make the most pleasant of atmosphere when she's feeling sensitive in the first place and we're going over roads that have varying levels of bumps. I've become fairly accustomed to the feel of the ride over the years but it's certainly noticeable when I focus on it.

    Considering there are plenty of miles left on this car, I'm hoping to find some options for what to replace the current suspension with to continue making this car being an option for longer haul trips. And of course what is cost effective.

    Any recommendations would be great!
    Thanks
     
  2. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    When was the last time you changed your suspension? They tend to lose their absorption over time so you don't notice them until they get really bad.
     
  3. theclarinetguy32

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    It's never been changed. For my purposes it's a bit rough and gotten more so over the years. but I'm used it to and as my daily commuter it's still perfectly fine. I figured there was a degradation factor over time with suspension but since it's just me for the most part I hadn't really looked into what the options are.
    We just got back from a 900 mile trip and although we had some really decent stretches of pavement, there were enough stretches that she wasn't the happiest camper. So here the question is posted hoping I can make things a bit easier for her without breaking the bank!
     
  4. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    How many miles does the car have?
     
  5. theclarinetguy32

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    just under 136k
     
  6. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    Yea other buying the struts yourself off of rockauto (about $250 shipped for the OEM set (KYB) and then paying someone $150-200 to install them there isn't much you can do. Mine had terrible wobbles are 110k. They are meant to only last 70k miles. I ordered the parts, and had a local installer do it my first time, cost under $500 for all.
     
  7. theclarinetguy32

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    Argh...
    Would you say the struts you purchased made a significant enough difference?
    I can probably spring for $250 in parts without a problem. Seen some videos of people replacing their own struts; have the tools needed so assuming I don't muck something up I might be able to tackle the install myself.
     
  8. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    I'd suggest stay with OEM. Except for high end performance stuff, every aftermarket shock I've tried for my other vehicles has been worse than stock. My belief is to costs low they just make standard valving for most every length and application and call it day.

    Back when I had my 2010, I test drove some used gen2's that to meet my shopping price range all had over 100k miles. It was truly night and day going back and forth on the test drives between mine with only 30k miles and those.
     
  9. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    I agree with the comments about replacing struts. They only hold their performance for 100k or so generally, after that they get bad. Most aftermarket kits are for tightening the suspension and/or lowering, so I would stick to stock. However if you can find a kit that raises the suspension on the Prius, you can likely make the suspension softer.

    Another thing that's important and easy to overlook is the tires. I'd look on tirerack.com for the tire with the highest ride quality (under comfort performance). Also lower tire pressures will absorb bumps more, but I wouldn't run more than a few psi below stock recommended as low tire pressures can cause tires to overheat and blowout and also a lot of additional wear (lower psi will also reduce fuel economy). Also you can step up the tire size from stock 185/65R15 to slightly larger 195/65R15 which will roll more easily over bumps and increase the amount of cushion from the tires due to increased sidewall size (will also correct the speedometer from over-rating the speed by a few percent). Don't do this if you use snow chains however. The 195/65R15 size tires will "use up" the space that was otherwise left for snow chains.
     
  10. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    I did it myself for my own prius. It'll take somewhere between 7-9 hours just due to learning curve. I used these to change the springs made it more simple to do.

    Did the trick and was more or less safe. Also used in conjunction with this:
    .
     
  11. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Your wife is right.

    At 136K the struts front and rear gave up participating about 65K ago. Its like there not even there. Even with new suspension your wife will not be that happy as the car hits hard. At 136K with oem suspension it will go over bad bumps like a sledge hammer. The car rides like a stage coach. If you drive it everyday and the only car you own you may not even notice how bad its is but if you own other cars and bounce back and forth btween them like I do you will be kinda horrified how bad it rides.

    Listen to Foto buy the oem parts only. And especially get the top strut bearing also for the fronts as there shot too. You will notice much less steering effort with new bearings. I had the fronts and rears replaced with all new oem all rubber parts and bearings had them replaced at a tire store was around $800 all in. And drop the tire pressure a little too like to 32 lbs. That helps alot.
     
  12. theclarinetguy32

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    Excellent, thanks for the pointers!

    We bought a 2016 Hyundai Elantra last year which she uses as her primary commuter so right there is the comparison of night and day.
    I don't have any experience with that car line so I don't know how long the car will/should last, but with prior experience in Toyota vehicles I know it *can* go many more years. Of course whether it will or not is another question.
    I'm all for trying to do what I can myself for repairs, but I suppose with any other car that is now 10+ years old, if anything else needs to be fixed then the total cost may be creeping up on the cost effective tipping point.

    I'll start some searching to see what costs I'd be looking at for current availability.
     
  13. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    Honestly when it comes to the other rubber parts such as the strut mounts.. I reused mine. They were all perfectly fine. The rear one was like new even at 170k miles... so i'd save money on those and don't bother. The $11 strut boot you can order at rock auto. For the front strut mount, you can reuse the original, and if it's no good, it'll take a few minutes to switch it out or you can get these cheaper after market ones from ebay:
    New Pair OE Quality Strut Mount Kit Toyota Front SMK1006 | eBay

    From my own experience I only really needed the boots(with the rubber stops that they come with) and the front struts.
     
  14. theclarinetguy32

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    good to know, thanks
     
  15. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    Tough call with your wife's ride compliance issues.
    Yes could use new shocks...yet may not alieve wife's complaints.
    Inspect all the suspension bushings, maybe one or more is damaged.

    My take, tires and tire pressures.
    Look for a tire with softer side walls hence a softer ride and/or try a softer tire pressure with your current tires first.

    Cost effective? Maybe some pillows or sheep skin/ thick fluffy seat covers.

    Hay-wagon ride? Not sure on that description and nothing may work, yet good luck.
     
  16. jessiejosco

    jessiejosco Member

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    I would not agree that the front struts last only 70k miles in all cases. I replaced the struts on my 06 Prius at around 100k miles because I thought the passenger one was responsible for a clunking noise. Both a mechanic and I thought it was the most likely suspect since all other suspension components were tight. I did the job myself and was pretty disappointed when I found that the original shocks were still working as well as the new ones I installed. There was no improvement in ride whatsoever with the new struts. My 08 Prius is at 130k miles and its struts are still fine. Plus if anything firm new struts will just make the ride more harsh.
    The noise ended up being play in an aftermarket control arm bushing.

    Not sure what size rims your car has, but the biggest improvement in ride I made to my 08 Prius Touring was to dump the 16 inch rims and tires. I went back to 15 inch rims with a higher sidewall tire and the ride is way less harsh. I got brand new15 inch rims from a dealer in California for 25 bucks each because everyone there was upgrading to bigger rims.
     
  17. jm98

    jm98 Member

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    Another vote for KYB. I have my 06 Prius with new front KYB for a bout month and see improvement in ride and comfort. It will not be a Lexus ride but much improved ride from old struts.
     
  18. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    A clunking noise is almost never the struts, and always the bushings or some bolt not properly tightened down. With that said it really does depend on your driving habits.
     
  19. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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  20. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    When my wife and went on vacation last month we rented a brand new Elantra. Very nice little car ran great and perfect for around town.
    A Prius feels so much more solid and heavier though. The Elantra felt like a very light car but seemed to have no bad habits.

    The Elantra and sonata are Thee most popular car here. Best selling car for sure in my zip code,
     
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