Strut suggestions for a cheap car

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So I recently bought a Chevy Cavalier for $1500. It's in pretty good shape, motor and tranny are good, new tires, no dents or rust or anything. I bought it knowing front struts were going to need to be replaced but it wasn't a biggie. I bought it with the intention of driving it til I'm done with college and hopefully have a better paying job so I can buy something newer. With that in mind I don't want to necessarily buy the best part available and pay the price that comes with it, but I don't want total garbage that'll get trashed the first time I hit a pothole either. So I'm trying to find a happy medium between quality and price. I'd prefer to get a loaded assembly to save the hassle of dealing with the coil spring and all that. I've checked out rockauto and read reviews of some of the stuff from the 'economy' offerings, nothing stellar and the only brand I'd heard of was Monroe. Those are $180 for both struts plus shipping. The next step up were Moogs, which I've used before and wouldn't hesitate to use again on a vehicle I intended on keeping for any length of time. But at $100 a pop plus shipping it comes out to nearly $270, I can afford it but as I said, I don't really plan on keeping the car more than a few years. I found another online store (1Aauto) that sells them as a pair for $175 shipped. No brand is indicated but I emailed and asked, I bet they're probably the Monroe economatics. Any brand or store suggestions?
 
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Get the eco matics from amazon. Free shipping. Not the best but not junk they will do the job you need. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/186-0007211-2793569?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=02%20Chevy%20Chevrolet%20Cavalier%20struts
 
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I would just buy the decent Monroe's or Gabriel's and compress the strut spring. The cheap struts are cheap for a reason and Monroe and Gabriel are pretty low already. Get the part numbers and search eBay. I got some new closeout struts there pretty cheap. Also look for KYB just in case someone has a extra set they did not use/sell.
 
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I'd offer up a couple thoughts... Check amazon for Monroe and KYB. both good for the money. KYB's are probably a little higher quality and might be a tad cheaper. I've bought my last 3 sets of struts from Just Suspensions through Amazon. Beware his Package Deals, though. I put a couple in my Amazon cart because they were 50-100 bucks cheaper. A couple months later when i actually had the money together to buy them he had changed the price by $200! So buying all the pieces separate (as opposed to the package deal) was about $100 cheaper. so just check the prices. A spring compressor is about $40. and a cheap electric impact gun will run you about the same. Spend the $80 to get the tools and do them yourself while you have the time to work on your own stuff. Trust me, you have more time to do it now than you will after you get out of school and buy a house/start a family. the other thing i'd offer is, don't plan your repairs for "when you get out of college and make a ton of money" colleges are really good at filling your head full of [censored] about how rosy the world will be when you graduate. The fact is that most of them don't have a clue about anything outside of the university. They did the same to me, you know ... after graduating i spent 2 years just trying to get an entry level job and another 2 trying to get the job i went to school for ..... plan your repairs to last another 5 years past college, because ... well ... you just never know. sometimes things just don't turn out the way you thought they would, you know?
 
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Originally Posted By: suspiciousmind
Look into SENSEN. They're dirt cheap and OEM quality. They may not make 'em for your application though.
No offense but they are far from OEM quality, they are cheap Chinese parts using poor spring steel.
 
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Originally Posted By: Trav
Originally Posted By: suspiciousmind
Look into SENSEN. They're dirt cheap and OEM quality. They may not make 'em for your application though.
No offense but they are far from OEM quality, they are cheap Chinese parts using poor spring steel.
I just stuck a pair on my project neon... time will tell if they hold up. But if he reuses his old springs, that would negate Sensen's junk ones, eh? They were $31 ea shipped; I saved on shipping by shipping to my work. A cavalier is a light enough car that, exercising typical caution, one can do with the $15 HF spring compressor or the free rental tool from AZ/AA. OP could also hit the junkyard for preloaded struts, just look for non-black paint as a sign of already having been replaced with aftermarket.
 
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You picked a good vehicle for your purposes, because parts are plentiful and cheap. Given your situation, pick the assembly that has the best replacement warranty that will get you through college and into a good job. Don't just read-up, call each company, tell them you are doing the work yourself, and how you would go about a replacement claim. If you have to mail a strut back to Amazon or Rock Auto and wait for a determination while your vehicle sits strutless, forget about that brand. If they all work like that, buying locally might be worth a small surcharge.
 
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I say get the Monroe or Gabriel and call it day. They should last the remaining life expectancy of the car or at least until u sell it.
 
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Primechoiceautoparts.com $102 for a pair of strut assemblies with free delivery. I know someone who says they are fine. Similar to low end Monroe. I have replaced just the strut itself on two separate occasions. Not worth the time in my opinion. Buy strut assemblies or quick struts.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Originally Posted By: Trav
Originally Posted By: suspiciousmind
Look into SENSEN. They're dirt cheap and OEM quality. They may not make 'em for your application though.
No offense but they are far from OEM quality, they are cheap Chinese parts using poor spring steel.
I just stuck a pair on my project neon... time will tell if they hold up. But if he reuses his old springs, that would negate Sensen's junk ones, eh? They were $31 ea shipped; I saved on shipping by shipping to my work. A cavalier is a light enough car that, exercising typical caution, one can do with the $15 HF spring compressor or the free rental tool from AZ/AA. OP could also hit the junkyard for preloaded struts, just look for non-black paint as a sign of already having been replaced with aftermarket.
I am just going by what he said..
Originally Posted By: OP
I'd prefer to get a loaded assembly to save the hassle of dealing with the coil spring and all that
When you start throwing strut mounts and bearing into the price it starts going up. For $260 for all 4 the econo matic complete strut units are not a bad deal. Obviously they are not the best strut going, the quick strut or the ones from KYB or Gabriel would be a better choice but the price starts going up. As far as using the old springs go, they are 12 years old. Not something i would really want to reuse. I see quite a few broken springs this vintage (i don't know about cavaliers).
 
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Just how bad are the struts? I think Monroe typically offers a rebate in the spring and fall. I think you just missed their fall one which ended Oct 31st. Usually something like $60 back on a pair of quick struts. I can't remember when the rebates started, either February or March.
 
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I looked up '02 Cavalier on RockAuto and saw they have the Monroe OESpectrum struts for $53 each. I just put a pair of those on the front of my 2003 Saab and am very pleased. The OESpectrum is designed to work like OEM struts but at a cheaper price. Time will tell if they last as long as my original Sachs struts. If you just need something to get by for a year or two the OESpectrum struts should work well.
 
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Originally Posted By: Joel_MD
I looked up '02 Cavalier on RockAuto and saw they have the Monroe OESpectrum struts for $53 each. I just put a pair of those on the front of my 2003 Saab and am very pleased. The OESpectrum is designed to work like OEM struts but at a cheaper price. Time will tell if they last as long as my original Sachs struts. If you just need something to get by for a year or two the OESpectrum struts should work well.
That's just a strut, not a preloaded spring/strut assembly as requested. While the OP could rent a spring tool, it's a lot more work.
 
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don't fall for those cheepie sensen or leacree, or similar, for you'll ended up spending more down the road (they tend to fail in relatively short order) due to the RE&RE cost that strut manufacturers don't cover for their products. Q.
 

slowdime

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Originally Posted By: meborder
I'd offer up a couple thoughts... Check amazon for Monroe and KYB. both good for the money. KYB's are probably a little higher quality and might be a tad cheaper. I've bought my last 3 sets of struts from Just Suspensions through Amazon. Beware his Package Deals, though. I put a couple in my Amazon cart because they were 50-100 bucks cheaper. A couple months later when i actually had the money together to buy them he had changed the price by $200! So buying all the pieces separate (as opposed to the package deal) was about $100 cheaper. so just check the prices. A spring compressor is about $40. and a cheap electric impact gun will run you about the same. Spend the $80 to get the tools and do them yourself while you have the time to work on your own stuff. Trust me, you have more time to do it now than you will after you get out of school and buy a house/start a family. the other thing i'd offer is, don't plan your repairs for "when you get out of college and make a ton of money" colleges are really good at filling your head full of [censored] about how rosy the world will be when you graduate. The fact is that most of them don't have a clue about anything outside of the university. They did the same to me, you know ... after graduating i spent 2 years just trying to get an entry level job and another 2 trying to get the job i went to school for ..... plan your repairs to last another 5 years past college, because ... well ... you just never know. sometimes things just don't turn out the way you thought they would, you know?
Sage advice regarding job prospects post college. I have a decent enough job now but once student loans enter repayment there wont be much money to spend on auto parts. My reason for preferring an assembly is that I'll have to do the work in my apartment parking lot in the cold rainy Oregon winter, I'd really like to not play around getting the old strut out, using the compressor and all that jazz.
Originally Posted By: Trav
Get the eco matics from amazon. Free shipping. Not the best but not junk they will do the job you need. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/186-0007211-2793569?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=02%20Chevy%20Chevrolet%20Cavalier%20struts
I've read a number of your posts and I trust what you have to say. I like the price of those and if you think they'll hold up for 2 or 3 years then they look like a winner to me.
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
Just how bad are the struts? I think Monroe typically offers a rebate in the spring and fall. I think you just missed their fall one which ended Oct 31st. Usually something like $60 back on a pair of quick struts. I can't remember when the rebates started, either February or March.
They're effectively toast. They bottom out on speed bumps no matter how slow I go, pushing down and releasing the front corners has a lot of up and down motion after I let go. They COULD wait but I'd rather get them taken care of sooner rather than later.
 

slowdime

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I guess what I'm getting at with this thread is that I do in fact have plenty of money saved up to buy quality shocks, but seeing as I bought the vehicle with the intention of it being a cheap, low maintenance school/work commuter, is it even worth it putting more expensive suspension components on it?
 
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If you're bottoming out, totally get the preloaded. Your springs are shot too. Look on ebay or amazon; I think students get a version of amazon prime for cheap or free.
 
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