Buick Lucerne Super FE4 Struts on Impala SS and other suspension mods. - Chevy Impala Forums
8th Gen Suspension Springs, Shocks and Brakes.

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2018 Thread Starter
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Buick Lucerne Super FE4 Struts on Impala SS and other suspension mods.

My vehicle is a 2009 Impala SS. I'll be changing the struts out this spring.

My goal is to make the suspension slightly stiffer than the stock Impala FE3 suspension GM used on the SS & LTZ.
I also want the variable rate non-linear increasing resistance to body roll that Variable Rate springs provide without changing the ride height.

The above may be a tall order but that's what I want.

The Pontiac GXP and Buick Lacrosse Super with FE4 special sport suspension used Bilstein struts with larger pistons and more aggressive valving when compared to the struts on the Impala SS with FE3 suspension and even the two door Chevy in the W-body lineup, the Monte Carlo, with FE4 suspension.

The Impala SS is one of the heavier W bodies with the portly Buick Super rounding out the top of the curb weight list.
  1. The Gen 8 V6 Impala is 3,555 lbs.
  2. The 2007 LS4 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP is 3,600 lbs.
  3. The 2007 LS4 Monte SS is 3,490 lbs.
  4. The 2009 LS4 Impala SS is 3,711 lbs.
  5. The 2009 LS4 Buick Lacrosse Super is 3,755 lbs.
This rules out the Bilstein struts GM used on the last of the sportier Grand Prix models because my Impala SS is a portly 3,711 lbs curb.
The Buick Lacrosse Super weighs in at 3,755 lbs curb and it came with Bilstein struts and 18" wheels. So it looks like I'm in business...

Buick is a slightly upscale model so I'm hoping the struts are valved slightly looser than the Pontiac placing the ride somewhere between My stock Impala and the GXP chassis. Time will tell.

On to the fun stuff...
The OEM General Motors Bilstein struts.

LS4 V8 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP with very aggressive valving. Good for @ 3,500 lbs Gen 8 W chassis (I'm only listing these to be complete)
  • GM part 505-548 Front
  • GM part 505-549 Rear

LS4 V8 Buick Lacrosse Super Struts slightly less aggressive valving than the Pontiac GXP struts. Good for @ 3,700-3,755 lbs Gen 8 W chassis.
  • GM part 506-682 Front
  • GM part 506-664 Rear

I ordered the

I'm sourcing Moog variable rate stock height springs.

Moog calls for these springs on the lighter Gen 7 Impala Gen 8 Monte and the 04-08 Grand Prix
  • MOOG CC670 Variable Rate Front
Bar Diameter - Inches 0.56
End Type 1 Pigtail
End Type 2 Pigtail
Free Height - Inches 15.75
ID - Inches 5.71
Installation Height - Inches 9.00
Load - lbs 776.00
Spring Rate - lbs per inch 115.00
  • MOOG CC697 Variable Rate Rear
Bar Diameter - Inches 0.56
End Type 1 Pig Tail
End Type 2 Tangential
Free Height - Inches 15.81
ID - Inches 5.42
Installation Height - Inches 9.00
Load - lbs 680.00
Spring Rate - lbs per inch 122.00

2009 Buick Lucerene Super & Impala SS springs...
  • MOOG CC670 Variable Rate Front
Bar Diameter - Inches 0.56
End Type 1 Pigtail
End Type 2 Pigtail
Free Height - Inches 15.75
ID - Inches 5.71
Installation Height - Inches 9.00
Load - lbs 776.00
Spring Rate - lbs per inch 115.00
  • MOOG CC81035 Variable Rate Rear
Bar Diameter - Inches 0.56
End Type 1 Pig Tail
End Type 2 Tangential
Free Height - Inches 15.42
ID - Inches 5.40
Installation Height - Inches 9.50
Load - lbs 740.00
Spring Rate - lbs per inch 125.00

Notice the front springs are the same for the Impala Pontiac and Buick.
The rear spring weight capacity and spring rate is larger on the CC81035 but the the free height is almost 1/2" shorter than the CC697 springs.
The intended installed height is 1/2" longer on the CC81035 springs compared to the CC697 springs. I'll measure the CC81035 springs when they are installed. My guess is they'll be 9" not 9-1/2".

Strut bellows and bump stops...
The Bilsteins do not use bump stops. The stock Bilstein bellows are mostly obsolete now.
Since the bilsteins are much larger in diameter than the everything else struts I asked meself... How is the top cap retained on the stock FE4 bellows?
A picture is worth 1,000 words.

Bilstein strut shield assembly (bellows) Lightweight blue plastic.
  • GM 15859254 Rear with plastic retainer ring and cap OBSOLETE
  • GM 15245597 Front with plastic retainer ring and cap (pictures)
Fully disassembled.

Retaining disc in place.



Impala strut shield assembly (bellows) Heavy black rubber
  • GM 19294307 AC Delco 901084 Rear with bumper and cap
  • GM 19294306 AC Delco 901083 Front with bumper and cap
Disassembled. The bumper fits entirely inside the bellows. The bellows and cap fit the Bilstein struts but the bumper does not.

The retaining discs are the important difference... The caps are specific to the bellows material, the rubber is much thicker than the blue plastic, so don't mix em up.
Inside diameter fits over the strut piston. Outside Diameter is the same as the OD of the top ring on the above bumper to keep the black metal cap in place with friction.


GM uses a special single use M14 x 2mm flange lock nut on the end of the strut piston that are not included with a new strut. They used the same nut on the knuckle bolts. Likely the knuckle bolts are metric property class 10.9.
McMaster Carr 99908A105 M14 x 2mm Thread, High-Strength Steel Nylon-Insert Flange Locknut, Property Class 10, Zinc Yellow-Chromate Plated. Packs of 10 are $8.97 plus $8 shipping... $1.97 each... or you can buy the GM nuts for $7 each. They must be gold plated and hand made at that price.

2009 Impala SS
"Speed never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you." Jeremy Clarkson

Last edited by hatzie; 04-15-2018 at 12:59 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2018 Thread Starter
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This is my assembly parts list for the front struts.
  1. 2 GM 506-682 Bilstein Strut.
  2. 2 Moog K5349 rubber lower spring insulator.
  3. 1 Moog CC670 variable rate spring pair.
  4. 2 GM 19294306 AC Delco 901083 strut bellows (replace bumper with Bilstein plastic friction cap retaining disc)
  5. 2 Moog K80926 rubber upper spring insulator and two piece bearing-seat/spring-seat set.
  6. 2 GM 19294099 AC Delco 901039 strut mount with bearing.
  7. 2 GM 22152030 Strut mount top washer.
  8. 6 McMaster Carr 99908A105 M14 x 2mm Class 10 Flange Locknut (one each strut top and two per strut on the knuckle bolts.

This is my assembly parts list for the rear struts.
  1. 2 Moog K90474 Cam Bolt Kit 1.75° to replace top mounting bolt.
  2. 2 GM 506-664 Bilstein Strut.
  3. 2 Moog K53460 rubber lower spring insulator.
  4. 1 Moog CC81035 variable rate spring pair.
  5. 2 GM 19294307 AC Delco 901084 strut bellows (replace bumper with Bilstein plastic friction cap retaining disc)
  6. 1 GM 19294112 AC Delco 901052 Left strut mount. (US Driver Side)
  7. 1 GM 19294113 AC Delco 901053 Right strut mount. (US Passenger Side)
  8. 2 GM 11609622 Strut mount top washer.
  9. 4 McMaster Carr 99908A105 M14 x 2mm Class 10 Flange Locknut (one each strut top and one per strut on the bottom knuckle bolts.

NOTE:
The GM Rear top mounts are listed as Left and Right so the assemblies will need to be labeled with a wire toe-tag so they don't get installed on the wrong side. I'll transfer the toe-tags to the old struts as I do the R&R.

2009 Impala SS
"Speed never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you." Jeremy Clarkson
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A buddy was liquidating a bankrupt garage and let me look at the goodies... He let a new in the box Brannick 7600 spring compressor fall in my lap for just under $300. List price is around $750-$900 depending on where you find one and I told him so. He thought that was the best he was likely to get it bid up to so I got a kick butt deal.

This one won't break loose and impale me like my old all-thread hook setup I used to use.
Mine on my barn floor...


Here's one in action...
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2009 Impala SS
"Speed never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you." Jeremy Clarkson
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-16-2018
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Hatzie - good call on going with the Bilsteins. I put them onto my 2014 Limited LTZ and have NOT regretted it. As it turns out, I didn't take as complete a homework approach as you did, breaking down the respective vehicle weights, etc. However, as it turns out, according to your homework, I went with the best choice: the Buick struts. (Thank you for the validation!) My choice was driven largely by acquisition cost (for some reason, the Buick struts were way less than the Pontiac ones...?), but I figured either choice would still be a significant improvement over the worn stock units I was replacing.

Flash forward, the car has very nice road manners (in my opinion, what the car SHOULD have had). I would doubt you will be disappointed.

Best of luck on the project!
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Made an account here so hopefully I could learn a bit more about the suspension system on my 06 Grand Prix GXP. my struts are making some noise and the previous owner said they needed replaced when I bought, didn't think to much of it. But since then I've learned that the GXP is far more special in terms of suspension than I ever gave it credit for.

So in searching for options and what do and trying to learn.

Can the PPV package struts from you impala guys bolt onto the gxp? Mine is the 18" wheel model so. That seems to be the biggest hurdle in getting affordable struts.

Any help would be appreciated, thoughts. trying to keep cost reasonable.
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The 9C1 9C3 cop struts are nowhere near the valving of your original Bilstein struts. The spring seat is lower than the GXP struts so they are not compatible with the 18" GXP or SS wheels either.
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2009 Impala SS
"Speed never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you." Jeremy Clarkson
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I'm curious if you would be interested in joining our GXP facebook group? We're a small group and we're just sharing our experiences with the cars. Currently have a discussion going about the suspension. And to be honest your knowledge puts ours to shame and several of us are active techs. And your help would be greatly appreciated.

I've added a link to the group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2162499407336677/

What I'm hopeful we can do is get a set of parts numbers put together so that we know what to get and what not to get for the GXP's in the group. And any other W-body cars we might also have.
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Can anyone comment on how these Struts are compared to the KYB struts. Are these KYB firmer than the FE3, but not as good as the MOOG

STURTS
COMPLETE ASSEMBLY FRONT
KYB SR4089

COMPLETE ASSEMBLY REAR
KYB SR4103 & SR4104
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 2 Hours Ago Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Grassley View Post
I'm curious if you would be interested in joining our GXP facebook group? We're a small group and we're just sharing our experiences with the cars. Currently have a discussion going about the suspension. And to be honest your knowledge puts ours to shame and several of us are active techs. And your help would be greatly appreciated.

I've added a link to the group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2162499407336677/

What I'm hopeful we can do is get a set of parts numbers put together so that we know what to get and what not to get for the GXP's in the group. And any other W-body cars we might also have.
This is one of the other Bilstein strut threads.
https://www.impalaforums.com/8th-gen...mited-ltz.html

The KYB strut thread has a lot of info as well. It applies to the lighter GXP as well.
https://www.impalaforums.com/8th-gen...n-impalas.html

2009 Impala SS
"Speed never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you." Jeremy Clarkson
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