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Recommendations for car suspension work?

By ant - 8 March 2009 32

I’m sorry to post one of those evil “where’s the best dandelions in Canberra” topics, but this one has got me stumped.  Car suspension is a black art, evidently. I’ve been given a monster quote for suspension work allegedly needed on my hitherto cheap to run car, and I am not sure who to go to to investigate options.

To backtrack. The Vitara has been carefully serviced since it landed on our shores in 94.  Its only consumption has been some windscreens, it’s almost through its second set of tyres (another imminent expense), and it used to like batteries a lot. And that’s it, besides servicing and less petrol than most cars on the road. Even the brakes are the originals (it’s coming up to 266,000 ks). I do love my weird little car.

A few services ago, the service bloke mentioned the suspension was (insert rude word mechanics use), and my CD player agrees. So at a recent service at the place I go to, I asked them to have a look at it and tell me what needed doing etc. 

Well, the verdict was all new shocks (fair enough), and some bushes, which are apparently tube things. Trailing arms, and some other bushes (tubes). And the quote? $1600! My eyes still haven’t returned to their normal size.

So. I want to get this sorted. I’m wondering if this non-specialist mob just went with a google-type search. The shocks for Vitaras on searches are some exxy 4WD ultra-shocks called Big Dog, for instance. So I basically want to see if I can come out of all this cheaper. It’s just such a lot of money to find all at once for one issue. 

I guess I’m going to try Pedders although their reputation for up-selling precedes them (one forum member I remember was fulminating, he’d replaced the entire suspension with some new lovely stuff, his wife took the car to Pedders for something, and they recommended a full replacment of all the “worn” suspension). But I’ll try them anyway.

But can anyone recommend a suspension guru I can try?  If I have to spend the money, fine, I’ll spend it. But I just want to see if there’s options for doing it for less… as I still have to stump up for the tyres.   The bushes are worn, you can see them pretty easily and the padding stuff seems to have shrivelled away. I’m not sure what they do, but evidently they’re vital.  and the car bounces a few times if you push down hard on its bum. Plainly it’s ready for a new undercarriage.

What’s Your opinion?


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Recommendations for car suspension work?
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satz 2:47 pm 22 May 15

I can second Capital Steering. Used them a few times. What I like in particular is that he won’t simply do an alignment for sake of earning a few $$. He’s honest enough to say when an alignment is not needed.

I’ve also read good things about Inline, but they’re a bit out of the way.

robcrisp 12:24 pm 28 Jan 15

Capital were great when I sent my wife for a diagnostic. The bloke drove that car IDd the prob and didn’t charge (I then fixed the issue).
Pedders are rubbish, sell you stuff you don’t need and pressure you to get un need work done.

pringa8 11:16 am 28 Jul 11

Inline in queanbeyan if you want it done properly.

joeycaleb 11:00 am 28 Jul 11

STAY AWAY FROM PEDDERS

they advertise well but thats about it. I spent 2.5 grand getting my car fixed and came back with more problems. I talked to Terry at belconnen pedders numerous times, hes rude and knows nothing about cars. I also spent 600 dollars hiring a car for 2 weeks when he said it would be dine in 3 days. My biggest regret.

Went to subaroo in mitchell, he heard the car and knew straight away what the problem was, pedders pretty much did not do a good job and missed very simple things. i mean for a suspension and brake specialist they have no idea what the traction control on a car does. N and D in mitchell are also are good.

ant 11:15 pm 25 Mar 09

Ooh, you’re right! On the bill, they are called KYB. Tons cheaper than the ones originally quoted by the mechanics. Capital reckoned they’d work better on my car, as the body wouldn’t roll. As I don’t slow down for corners and curves (much), that was important.

Lots of things from Choina, including cheap tyes. And Rabbits. Too many rabbits. In Choina. And tyres.

Reprobate 10:21 pm 25 Mar 09

ant said :

And they reckoned that new shocks (they recommended a brand, Ky) would improve things.quote]

The brand of shock recommended would be KYB. KY, on the other hand, smooths out other rides.

Oh and “You can also get new and obscure tyres from places like Choina.” I hear the have a big wall to keep the rabbits out. In Choina.

ant 9:13 pm 25 Mar 09

I ended up going with Capital Steering and Suspension in Wollongong St Fyshwick. Their quote was for the same amount – $1600 – but for different work!

They reckoned they’d tested the bushes and they were fine. The shocks were old and horrible, but the bloke reckoned they were optional to replace as they weren’t actually leaking (that’s not bad for a 4WD that’s done rough work, they are Suzuki ones from 94). But they found the steering ball joint was stuffed and needed fixing ASAP (original mechanics didn’t mention that). And they reckoned that new shocks (they recommended a brand, Ky) would improve things.

They were certainly easy to deal with, explained things properly, did what they said they’d do and in the time frame stated. I’d certainly recommend them.

I also got replacement tyres before getting the suspension done. If anyone’s a bit skint and wants to save money on tyres, give Northwest tyres a try (they even have a web thingy for quotes). Mostly 2nd hand slightly-worn tyres from europe and the middle east. You can also get new and obscure tyres from places like Choina. I got some. They seem OK.

They are over the road from Capital Steering, in Wollongong St. Very easy mob to deal with also, not flash and glitzy, and you can poke the tyres before deciding to buy them.

ant 12:19 pm 10 Mar 09

Thanks, I will give them a go. Thanks for the tip.

realityskin 12:16 pm 10 Mar 09

Try him for a quote at least, they are usually 20% cheaper as he has much less overheads, and with 25 years experience they do great work.

Talk to Michael 02 62914069 ( they don’t work saturdays )

ant 12:10 pm 10 Mar 09

Ah ha. I know Erindale. Hmmm. Another interesting prospect to check out.

realityskin 12:05 pm 10 Mar 09

ant said :

where is Monash? Yes I’m a canberra native but when I was a kid, lyons was “whoop whoop”. Is it Tuggeranong, or Belconnen? It’s no good if it’s Gungalin, my map doesn’t go there.

Tuggeranong, between Erindale and the hyperdome.

caf 9:28 am 10 Mar 09

Dude, you have the internetz now, your maps go everywhere. Plus it will tell you where Monash is.

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