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92GrandPrixCho

Where can I get the front strut assembly?

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Just got a 92 Grand Prix 4 door grandma car.  It's in good shape overall, but it does need suspension work at all four corners. 

It seems that rear strut assemblies are plentiful.  However, I have been searching and I cannot find a front assembly. 

The front struts show significant rusting where the bottom of the spring sits.  It is not reusable.

I have checked Monroe, Gabriel, KYB, Rockauto, Autozone, Advance Auto, NAPA, Ebay.  No one seems to sell an assembly. 

So, does anyone know where I can get them? 

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Is the strut housing rusted through where the spring seat sits or is it just the spring seat? The seats are replaceable. If it is the strut body that you're needing, you're probably going to have to visit a junkyard to grab one, buy one from someone here, or have someone here visit a jy to grab you one.

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As  asked....

 

do you need this?.......these new are extremely rare & pricey

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or do you need this?......

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the seat rots out more often than the knuckle assembly does, the seat is fastened to the knuckle. 

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Yeah you can buy those spring seats.  They're cheap, I think I paid like $10 a piece for the Monroe branded ones, I see 'em at Rockauto for $4 a piece (get the ones with the bearings included!).  AFAIK, they're all the same, whether you get Monroe, KYB, etc.  Just a stamped plate of metal and a FAG bearing in the middle.  The job is a huge PITA though.  When you remove the whole strut tower/steering knuckle assembly, make sure you very meticulously mark the locations of every component in the upper spring assembly.  Because getting it back together reasonably lined up is critical.  

Get yourself the Harbor Freight ball joint tool for $20 or so.  It works on the tie rods too.  

The factory spring seats on the 1992's (and probably earlier) unfortunately seem to be powder coated, which is horrible once water and salt inevitably get under the powder.    On the junkyard cars, once they moved away from the powder coating for those components, they rarely show much if any rust in my experience.  

Quote

do you need this?.......these new are extremely rare & pricey

Just be aware -- there's 2 versions of those steering/strut knuckles.  One version is for the smaller front brake rotors, one for the large.  You're almost certainly on the small rotor setup, so getting a knuckle that fits would require you to find a car with the 'smaller' rotors at the junkyard.

But needing to replace such is extremely rare.  But if you need to, they're not too hard to pull from the junkyard with hand tools (and that Harbor Freight ball joint separator tool).  I pulled one last weekend for my car to upgrade to the bigger brake setup.  You'll need a T60 socket (get a 1/2" one) and a big breaker bar to remove the caliper brackets.  And of course you'll need the tools associated with a front strut change on those cars.

Ask me anything about the job (just got done doing it today for the 3rd time), but you will need some pretty advanced skills to do it, and access to a proper shop-grade spring compressor.  Those el-cheapo spring compressors, while possible to do the job with such (I did it twice), are a giant PITA and you're much better off having a shop do the actual compression portion of the job.  While you're in there, check the ball joints, if they need replacing its far easier to drill/grind the rivets off the car, then on.

 

edit:  if you're just replacing the spring seats, then the rotors/calipers don't need to come off.  But if you have to swap everything to a new knuckle, which is what I had the displeasure of doing today, then it all has to come apart...  

edit:  BTW, welcome to the forum.   Great bunch of people here...  I admit, I practically stole a mint condition Honda a few months ago, but the economics of driving my 1992 W-body still can't be beat..  

edit:  pictures attached are what happens in northern Montana in the middle of nowhere when those spring seats catastrophically fail due to corrosion-induced weakening.  I was coming back from DC, so it was at the tail end of a very long drive...  Note the GM powder coating.  Newer parts are painted.  

edit:  Where I live, they rarely use salt on the roads and there's almost no rust on the rest of the car...  So corrosion of those parts can definitely occur prior to the rest of the car being a rustbucket.  Standard DoT/DMV inspections most likely will not detect the problem.  My car went through inspection multiple times with nobody ever saying anything to me.

edit:  no alignment required after all of this....  As you're not altering any alignable components.

 

 

 

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Edited by pitzel

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Well, upon further inspection, it seems that the strut hoursing is rusted through.  There appears to be a rubber cup at the bottom of the spring.  The metal housing in which that sits, is rusted.  I will see about a pic or two, but I'm thinking a junkyard trip is in the future.

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And this is the left.

 

I very much appreciate the warm welcome and words of advice.  Actually, this is a family member's car, although I will have occasion to drive it periodically.  I was asked to put brakes on it, which I did, and realized hey wait a minute! 

 

So, this is actually salvageable, then?  Okay, good to know. 

On Rockauto, I am looking at Monroe 902995 and 902994.  I buy those, and new gas struts, right?  Anything else?  (I mostly work on my B body Delta 88s; this strut stuff is new to me :))

 

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3 hours ago, 92GrandPrixCho said:

 And this is the left.

 

I very much appreciate the warm welcome and words of advice.  Actually, this is a family member's car, although I will have occasion to drive it periodically.  I was asked to put brakes on it, which I did, and realized hey wait a minute! 

 

So, this is actually salvageable, then?  Okay, good to know. 

On Rockauto, I am looking at Monroe 902995 and 902994.  I buy those, and new gas struts, right?  Anything else?  (I mostly work on my B body Delta 88s; this strut stuff is new to me :))

Ick!  Check the ball joints.  You'll have to pop 'em out to remove the knuckle.  If they're loose or the boots damaged, use the opportunity with the knuckles/strut/spring assembly off the car to grind out the rivets and install new ones.  

MEVOTECH MK6632

MEVOTECH MK6633

Are the same thing and are half the price of the Monroe's on Rockauto.  

Most posters here favour the KYB (made in Japan) cartridges on the front on their own cars, but Monroe's are okay.

As you've correctly surmised, replacing the spring seats are mandatory lest you end up in the situation identical to mine which is imminent.  I'm surprised the vehicle was even driveable to your place.  Argh, stupid GM powder coating...  

 

BTW, level of complexity of this job is dramatically above that of brakes...    An impact is very useful on that axle nut, the shaft hopefully not being too horribly frozen in place.  

 

 

Edited by pitzel

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That's some serious rusting. I've not seen that before even at the jy in Canada. You should take a look at the sub frame mounts while your up on jackstands

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7 minutes ago, GTP091 said:

That's some serious rusting. I've not seen that before even at the jy in Canada. You should take a look at the sub frame mounts while your up on jackstands

Subframe mounts were/are in perfect rust-free shape on my car.  And very little rust otherwise.  Yet the spring seat failed due to rust.   GM powder coating the spring seats was a giant mistake, and the component is unique in that water collects in it like a cup.  

Most of the cars in the junkyards these days are in the post-powder-coat era at least as far as that part goes.  

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Be double sure to check the Sub Frame mounts,,, REAL GOOD!!! On My 93Z34 the mounts appeared to be in good shape,,, on the outside... However when I removed them they were trash,,, rusted and in pieces on the inside... I was battling weird steering issues for years!!! Sometimes it would pull to one side or the other under acceleration or braking... When I did my engine swap I got new ones because I wanted to replace anything that could wear out on the car... Wheel bearings,,, Engine/tranny mounts and any other mounts and basically anything that could cause trouble... Fixed the steering issues!!!

Good luck,,,

Tom B...

Edited by walterdude

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