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 Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ?

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Chris 96 Riv
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Name : Chris 96 Riv
Joined : 2021-03-15
Post Count : 2
Merit : 0

Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? Empty
PostSubject: Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ?   Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? EmptyWed Mar 24, 2021 9:28 am

My '96 has the FE1 Soft Ride suspension. I love the ride but my wife says it makes her car sick. I need to firm up the suspension a little. The shock and strut manufacturers don't give enough information.

The car has the Auto-leveling rear suspension (air shocks) and it actually still works, so I'd like to retain it since we plan to load it up with luggage and do some cross-country touring.

What parts would be required to upgrade to the FE3 Sport suspension?



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LARRY70GS
Aficionado
LARRY70GS

Name : Larry
Age : 64
Location : Oakland Gardens, NY
Joined : 2007-01-23
Post Count : 1980
Merit : 129

Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ?   Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? EmptyWed Mar 24, 2021 12:08 pm

Your struts are probably worn out which will cause the suspension to bounce or oscillate. I have Gabriel struts in the front of my 98, and am very happy with them. The KYB struts are stiffer, you may want to try them.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/buick,1996,riviera,3.8l+v6+supercharged,1022038,suspension,strut,7584

The Monroe shocks (MA822) for the rear are excellent,

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/buick,1996,riviera,3.8l+v6+supercharged,1022038,suspension,shock+absorber,7556

Addco sway bars are a huge improvement.

_________________
98 Riviera SC3800  All stock except gutted air box.
1970 Buick GS455 Stage1, TSP built 470BBB, 602HP/589TQ
Best MPH, 116.06 MPH, Best ET, 11.54
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHCda-t_Jls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfT2tEO4XcU
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albertj
Master
albertj

Name :
Location : Finger Lakes of New York State
Joined : 2007-05-31
Post Count : 8097
Merit : 168

Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ?   Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? EmptyWed Mar 24, 2021 3:51 pm

Chris 96 Riv wrote:
My '96 has the FE1 Soft Ride suspension.    I love the ride but my wife says it makes her car sick.  I need to firm up the suspension a little.  The shock and strut manufacturers don't give enough information.  

The car has the  Auto-leveling rear suspension (air shocks) and it actually still works, so I'd like to retain it since we plan to load it up with luggage and do some cross-country touring.

What parts would be required to upgrade to the FE3 Sport suspension?  




I am not aware of a formal specification for the FE3 front end on a '95 Riv, or on the '98 Riv for that matter.

However, I had the *same* problem (like, 20 years ago when I first got the car)

In my experience with my '98 - I tried replacing the OE struts with OEMs. That didn't' help at all. Then I put on Monroe's (Sensatrac line). Helped a bit but the ride was jiggly, I sold those to another list member who likes Monroes. I hear their OESpectrums for this application are better. However, then I put on Gabriels. Problem Solved. I think it is because Gabriel uses unique valving, they call it 'velocity sensitive.' Then, when one end on my sway bar broke, my GM dealer installed an FE3 front sway bar and brackets (I think they were spec'd for a Bonneville or STS I forget which) and I put on KYB front struts. Things were still good. I kept the stock springs, at the time. After snapping sway bar links I put on Moog links. Lately I put on a new set of Gabriels, the quickstruts this time. Funny, but they looked *just* like the stock units, in my case, down to the dust boots. Except the springs, they are a little thinner and maybe 1 or 2 fewer turns. If I replace those springs I am getting the Delco variable rate units. Of the different struts I've used, I am happiest with the Gabriels (quickstrut or bare) , KYBs are a close second. Either one gets rid of the car's tendency to 'porpoise' like a bass boat. I didn't like the OEs nor did I like the Monroes. Bilsteins are not available AFAIK;

If I were you I would get the Gabriel Ultra, or the KYB struts, a mount kit that includes the plastic bearings (in case your old mounts are wack), and if you're not re-using springs, the Delco variable rate front springs 45H0354. If your experience is like mine, these changes should substantially fix the problem.
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Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ?   Upgrade from Soft Ride (FE1) to Sport (FE3) ? Empty

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