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Old 11-13-2008, 12:09 AM   #1
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Suspension problems?

Well I'll start this out short with a bit of an intro leading up to the situation.

I've got an '02 ZX3, nearly approaching 59k.

Around 37k I was turning out of a subdivision and heard a large POP sound, found out my front right spring had broken and in turn broke the front strut.

Got it replaced, which then failed again around 43k, with another strut breaking.

At 46k I had both front struts replaced and at 48k I found out Ford would replace the springs for free since they had never been rust coated, got an alignment and seemed to not have any more suspension problems.

The problem now is the brakes. I replaced the brake pads and rotors in the Springtime at about 53-54k, and now I'm feeling some shaking in the front end when I brake, due to the rotors unevenly wearing.

With all the suspension problems I had, I'm wondering if the braking problem could be due to the suspension? I'm obviously not too knowledgable in the suspension area, but I'm close to the edge on completely replacing the garbage stock Ford suspension with the Eibach Pro kit, and finding a place to install it correctly.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated on how I could go about looking to diagnose the situation.


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Old 11-13-2008, 09:48 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by letoutpuissant View Post
With all the suspension problems I had, I'm wondering if the braking problem could be due to the suspension? I'm obviously not too knowledgable in the suspension area, but I'm close to the edge on completely replacing the garbage stock Ford suspension with the Eibach Pro kit, and finding a place to install it correctly.
Its unlikely your brake and suspension problems are associated. Yes Ford released a batch of bad springs AS WELL AS some bad rotors. I was hopping by now those were out of the system.

The Eibach pro-system would be and excellent replacement. I have it and like it a lot. For less money a SVT kit would be an excellent replacement as well. There have been no reported spring failures with SVT kits that I'm aware of. The SVT kit is less than 300.00 for springs, shocks and a larger rear sway (there's reports that the rear sway has been dripped from the kit but several vendors still advertise them with the sway included).

From a brake standpoint invest in some quality rotors. Two very popular ones are the Centric or Brembo solid rotors. With some careful shopping you can find them for less than original equipment replacement parts. The most popular brake pad is the Hawk HPS. Also good is the Mintex AF. I use the Mintex because they have a matching rear shoe (for rear drums if you have them).
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:07 AM   #3
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Ugh, I would tend to steer people away from the pro kit. I have it, it is my 4th suspension on my car and I cannot stand it. I USE my car. It is not uncommon to have a few hundred lbs of tools in the back when going over to my dads to do some work, along with parts and the such. I have 30-40k on my suspension, and it is soft, I don't have the control like I used to with this kit, it just sucks plain and simple.

For reference of my previous suspensions I have had:
Stock
Progress springs and SVT struts
Progress KYB AGX
H&R Coilovers
Pro kit
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:20 AM   #4
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Ugh, I would tend to steer people away from the pro kit. I have it, it is my 4th suspension on my car and I cannot stand it. I USE my car. It is not uncommon to have a few hundred lbs of tools in the back when going over to my dads to do some work, along with parts and the such. I have 30-40k on my suspension, and it is soft, I don't have the control like I used to with this kit, it just sucks plain and simple.

For reference of my previous suspensions I have had:
Stock
Progress springs and SVT struts
Progress KYB AGX
H&R Coilovers
Pro kit
Each to his own as they say. I've had our kit for over 50K miles now (car is approaching 90k) and still love it. Just the right amount of drop, firm but not overly so and a significant handling improvement over stock. Both my wife and I are old farts now and won't tolerate cars that beat you to death. We both look forward to driving the Focus when we can pry it from my sons fingers. Having driven or ridden in a number of Foci with differing suspensions I give a thumbs up to the Eibach Pro system as the best all around does everything well choice with the SVT stock suspension being a chose second. Either will provide significant handling improvements without punishing you or the car. The Eibach adds a little visual improvement being a bit lower.
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

First, I've heard amazing things about the Eibach Pro system, and this is my first negative of it. What would you recommend then instead of that system? I was interested in it because of the overall drop is larger than the SVT.

Secondly, if these problems are unrelated, what could possibly be causing the brake/rotor problems? I'll check into those rotors and pads you recommended.

Apologies for all the questions, I'd just like to diagnose the problems myself because I haven't had much luck taking it to mechanics around here as they try to haggle you into fixing things that don't need fixed.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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It really depends on what you are looking at, if you just drive your car and don't have anything substantial in the back, then the prokit should be fine.

If i had the money to I would be switching to Progress Springs and KYB AGX suspension again. I love that drop (1.7", more like 2" even) and handles amazing with the adjustable dampers.

But then you have people who hate mixing and matching systems to get the desired outcome.

I highly suggest when you do it, Get all new hardware up front, spring perch, and the strut bearings.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letoutpuissant View Post
Secondly, if these problems are unrelated, what could possibly be causing the brake/rotor problems? I'll check into those rotors and pads you recommended.

Before we talk brakes there's a chance you tires could be out of balance and causing the vibration like feeling. If those are ok go to step two.

If its only during braking then it could be one (or more) of several bake related issues. So not knowing what kind of replacement rotors or pads you used I'm just going to take a guess. The first possibility is that the rotors you got were of poor metallurgical quality (not unusual) and the pad material did not bed evenly. The rotor has hard and soft sports instead of being of uniform consistency. The pad material beds more in the softer portion. As a result you can get a "catchy" brake feeling or vibration. Not a lot you can do about it except replace the rotors with some good ones like those previously mentioned.

The other possibility is that you did not bed them properly. Sometimes driving aggressively with new brakes and then not letting them cool down will cause very similar conditions. Too many of us go out and stomp or play with new brakes to convince ourselves they're truly are better than before. This can actually have a negative impact. Its actually better to treat new brakes (typical street compounds) conservatively by just braking normally and trying not to heat them up too much. Do this for several days and everything should be OK.

A performance street pad often has specific bedding instructions that come with them. Sometimes these need to be intentionally heated up by aggressive use but then cooled slowly as well (a long drive minimizing use of brakes). If you have rear discs, one of the worse things you can do is set the parking brake while they're cooling as it results in uneven cooling and the possibility of the catchy feeling and a worse wrapping of the rotor (rare).
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:11 PM   #8
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Well I've seemed to realize now that the problem is also occuring when I'm not braking. It's very subtle, but you can feel the car slightly shake. It isn't any worse at higher speeds, but you can feel it. Tomorrow I'm going to go have the tires rotated and balanced.
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