New struts - Softer ride?

Messages
525
Location
Australia
My struts have 120,000 miles on them. They don't feel horrible given their mileage but I am wondering whether new struts will give a better ride quality. What they feel like: Over small bumps they feel like the tires are over inflated, so little bumps (say road markers) jar the car, but over bigger bumps at higher speed the car is floaty. The "floatiness" isn't that bad, definitely better than I would expect struts this old to be, but what annoys me most is the small bumps that jar the ride. Would new struts offer a more compliant ride? As an example (and I know this is a bad example) new cars feel like they are on a cushion of air yet have tight control. How would I emulate this, if possible?
 
Messages
36,475
Location
ME
Definitely maybe! There are a few valves in struts-- some designed for pebbles, some boulders. One could be blown closed and another open. Also, the rest of your front (rear) end needs to be in good shape, particularly the rubber bushings that isolate stuff. When the rubber wears out, stuff clunks and makes noise and you can feel the jarring. Struts have bushings up top, and it's a great time to get those when the struts are out. "Quick struts" come with 'em.
 
Messages
13,306
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
After 120,000 miles, your rubber bushings are most likely cracked/rotted and in need of complete replacement. This is where the harsh ride is coming from over imperfections. New struts(Only) will keep the tires better planted to the road but, you'll feel more of the imperfections. The floatiness is coming from your springs(which hold up the vehicle) and worn struts. Even if your struts pass the bounce test in your driveway, this doesn't meat the struts can hold up over road imperfections. If you're keeping the vehicle for any length of time, have the whole suspension checked out including ball joints(upper/lower control arms) and tie rods along with the rubber bushings. You won't need to replace everything, but certainly make the vehicle safe to drive.
 
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Messages
413
Location
Pennslyvania
This is one of those touchy subjects where I tell people that sometimes its not all in the shock absorber. If you really like the car, want to keep it for another 120k, you might consider a master bushing kit, and shocks. IMHO, those two items make the largest and most noticeable impact when done together.
 
Messages
7,527
Location
North America
Originally Posted By: Spetz
... but over bigger bumps at higher speed the car is floaty. The "floatiness" isn't that bad,... Would new struts offer a more compliant ride? ...
Time to replace. "Floaty" is a safety/control issue. New shocks will dampen the vibration, so your ride should improve greatly; and when you do replace them your reaction will be "wow".
 
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