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Old 07-20-2003, 05:21 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Unhappy Want softer cushy suspension

I find that my 1994 Euro C180 has quite hard suspension and am looking for possible change to something softer and more comfortable, cushioned, luxury ride. Can this be due to the spring rates or the shock absorbers? I like the floaty feel on the road which is cushioned against the rough surfaces, holes and stones. Can this be installed in my car and the original taken out?
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Old 07-20-2003, 04:38 PM
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About the only change that you can reasonable make are to the shocks, since I'm unaware of "comfort" springs other than the OEM ones. Consider the Bilstein Comforts, but those might be a bit sitffer than the OEM. There are other "softer" shocks like the Monroe and others. Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2003, 05:53 PM
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Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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The softest aftermarket shock/strut is supposed to be the Monroe Sensa-trac. There are many different types of the Monroes, but the Sensa-trac is supposed to offer the smoothest ride. Typically, aftermarket shocks/struts are overly firm, much firmer than ones from the dealer. Perhaps your car is tuned to ride like this and it has firm springs as well. I am not familiar with the Euro models, but I would guess they would have a firmer suspension. I know that a lot of the older Mercedes, such as the 240D and 300D typically have a soft and supple suspension, as well most of the large S-series sedans, especially the 81-91 full-size. I think the later ones may have a firmer suspension, but still comfortable.
I have a similar overly firm and harsh suspension as well on my 1993 Toyota Camry LE V6. I think the struts were replaced with performance struts. My rear struts seem OK and fairly supple, but the front struts are very harsh. Will barely press down when you press down on the front bumper. I have had other Camry's in the past and all had a smooth, soft ride. I have tested other Camrys like mine and most of those also had a soft ride. I was going to install Sensa-tracs, but someone else told me they had them on their Camry before and it was not as supple as the original Toyota struts they replaced them with. Bad news is for my car, is that the original Toyota struts are $150. each, just for the struts. Then probably $100-200 more for installation. My ride is so harsh, I have considered selling the car, instead of spending $500.+ just on the front suspension. Still, my car is still 100% squeak and rattle free on the inside, so one sign that these are very high quality cars. One good thing is that my other three full-size American cars all have a soft and comfortable suspension. Especially the Buick with "Dyna-ride" air suspension. Good luck with your suspension.
1993 Mercedes 400SEL 4dr
2012 Honda Civic LX 4dr
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville 4-dr hardtop sedan
1988 Mercedes 300SEL (was mine, now mothers)
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Old 07-21-2003, 04:46 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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Sometimes worn shocks will give you a very harsh, crashy ride. If yours are worn, replacement may well give you a much better road feel, even thought the initial stiffness may be a little greater.
Cheers, Neil
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Old 07-21-2003, 10:26 AM
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Location: SoCal
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About Sensatracs... my experience with an Acura Integra I used to own. The problem with the design is that they provide stiffer damping beyond a certain range of motion, i.e. the damping is position-sensitive. This as opposed to Bilsteins, which are velocity-sensitive.

The Monroes offer low resistance to motion until the piston passes the 'grooved' portion of the cylinder, at which point they become much stiffer. However, that on rebound allows the momentum to build as the vehicle is launched upward, then puts the brakes on the motion, causing a very unsettling and unsophisticated ride and squirrely handling. By contrast, velocity-sensitive shocks will immediately damp fast suspension movement, preventing the build-up of momentum in the first place. The ride is more controlled yet supple on smooth roads.

This is all aside from the quality differences of the two brands, of which just one factor is the complete lack of slop in the Bilstein valving - not the case with the Sensatracs.

'91 MB 190E 2.3
'08 RAV4 Ltd 3.5
'83 Lazy Daze m'home 5.7
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Old 07-21-2003, 11:35 AM
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Reduce tire pressure
94 E320 58000 Miles
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