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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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2008 LT Sedan- FE5 Suspension Conversion

Hey, I know I don't really post here often, what can I say, life's crazy. Here's my intro post if anyone's curious.

I was recently employed at a Cadillac dealership as a lube and tire tech, so I have access to OE and aftermarket parts at very good prices thanks to an employee discount. This job also gives me access to a hoist and tools on weekends and after hours. Since my front struts are starting to give out and I need to replace some steering parts anyways, I figure this is the perfect time to upgrade my suspension to FE5 components.

I'll be submitting a list of part numbers later this week to get a quote, but in the meantime I did have a couple questions.

Is there any particular downsides to only swapping the front suspension with FE5 components, leaving the rear springs and shocks stock? I might not be able/want to spend on doing it all at once and I wouldn't mind the front being lower than the back, but I'd be worried about negative effects on handling, especially in the snow.

How much/what kind of an improvement would I get from the FE5 lower control arms? I've got enough miles on the car that I'd like to replace them if I can, and even if they perform the same I'd still do it for the weight savings and not having to worry about rust. Just wondered how much of an impact they'd have on handling, if anyone has experience.

Thanks a lot for reading this, I'll update this thread as I do the conversion!
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 04:34 AM
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Honestly, the rear shocks are so incredibly cheap, I'd just wait until you can do it all at once.

Having a much softer rear end is going to introduce some very strange handling characteristics into your car - body roll at the rear, but none in the front.

The FE5 control arms are a bit stiffer (being cast aluminum versus stamped/welded steel), weigh a lot less and add a little bit of built-in camber to the car. If you have the funds, I'd recommend them - just make sure you only get SS/SC or SS/NA (FE3 control arms are the same as FE5) control arms - SS/TC has a different knuckle design and will not fit with your knuckle.

If you can swing it - I'd pick up the Powell YYZ springs instead of stock SS/TC springs - they are by far the best-handling springs out there, and do not drop the car much, if at all.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

Makes sense, and I should be able to afford the rear shocks & springs too if I'm waiting another month to order them (which is likely at this point). Just wondered if it was an option. If I can get the money together, I'll definitely get the FE5 control arms too, just a matter of what numbers I'm looking at on my next pay stub...

I was looking at the YYZ's on Crate Engine Depot, but the description says "Note: Version X. Just the latest build," and lower down gives drop heights compared to the YYZ v1's but not total overall drop heights. I'm worried that they may have too extreme of a drop for me- I'm not the only one driving this car, and I also intend to continue using it through the winter.

I've also been looking for good rims to go with the new suspension setup- I like the look of the MSR 091's, but I don't know the first thing about ordering aftermarket wheels or where best to do so. If I can't afford those I might settle for whatever I can find on ebay that looks alright, or getting some from Discount Tire. Craigslist has turned up nothing good- everyone's probably looking for new wheels this time of year.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 04:56 PM
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The YYZs barely have any drop over the stock SS/SC springs. @rrob5382 has them on his car, and he lives up in the Thumb.

I drove mine on SSC springs (which are about a 1.5-2" drop) through a couple Michigan winters as well. So I wouldn't worry too much.

MSRs are good affordable wheels. I have the 045s, which are a very popular choice on Cobalts. I guess it depends what size you want to go with, what design, etc.

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, great. I'll pick the YYZ's up too then if I can squeeze another couple hundred or so. It would be more tempting if I didn't have a discount on the stock FE5's, but I'll see where the budget lies before I make that decision.

The 045's are nice, but I prefer five-spoke wheels. Looks like the 091's are the same 17x7" as the 045. Where'd you order yours from, any recommendations on a retailer?
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 07:28 PM
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I got mine on Amazon.

My 045s are 18s, by the way. I have MSR 013s on my wife's Cruze, and those are 17s.

So the 091s have the proper offset, so I think those would work for ya.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 08:09 PM
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The yyz springs are amazing, and John Powell is a great guy too. I would recommend absolutely anything he makes. Like mp81 said, drop isn't too extreme. I actually measured it and don't remember exactly but it was between 1.5 and 2 inches lower than stock base model suspension

---------- Post added at 11:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:51 PM ----------

here we go..
stock

yyz

about an inch drop total although it did settle probably another quarter inch or so after i actually drove it around a bit

---------- Post added at 11:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:05 PM ----------

does just fine in snow as long as you don't leave the summer tires on haha
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Got my quote today from the parts department- interesting how some of the parts have increased drastically in price. The front struts, for example, are $200 a piece even with my employee discount, and the front springs have been discontinued entirely- can't get them from our dealership at all. Bearings and mounts are $74 and $124 each, respectively. I'll get all those parts elsewhere.So far it's looking like amazon has better prices on a lot of the big-ticket items, despite my discount.

Unfortunately, the control arms are $238 apiece as well, significantly more expensive than crate engine depot's $178. I was wondering if anyone's tried any of the non-OEM arms, like the Dorman ones, as those seem to be even cheaper at about $100 each. I'm not sure if I can justify spending $360 just to upgrade the control arms, but $200 would be easier to stomach.

I'm leaving this Sunday to New Mexico for a couple weeks, so I'll sort out the specifics and start buying parts when I get back. Based on the lack of availability of the FE5 front springs, and the $63.00 price of each rear spring, I'm probably going to get the YYZs.

So now it's just a matter of figuring out where I'm buying each part, sourcing some wheels and tires, ordering it all, and slapping it in there.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 01:16 PM
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The best prices are usually either amazon or rockauto, watch for some to pop up in the warehouse deals to get them for even cheaper

---------- Post added at 04:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:04 PM ----------

Although crate engine depot has a package deal for all 4 shocks and struts for 355 or it comes out to about 300 if you order them on Amazon

---------- Post added at 04:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:11 PM ----------

Also, you can probably get away with reusing your stock mounts, I just swapped mine over
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 02:16 PM
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I never replaced my mounts - just swapped the stock ones over.

Yeah, sounds like Amazon, CED or Rock Auto would be cheaper.
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1986 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z - Wrecked/Sold
1998 Chevrolet Cavalier - Wrecked/Donated
2007 Chevrolet Cobalt LT - M62 Supercharger, Ported Throttle Body, 42 lb/hr Injectors, Intense 2.9" Pulley, Cobra Heat Exchanger, SS/TC Exhaust, TTR Engine and Trans Mounts, Trifecta Tune, ZZP Header and Downpipe, '08+ FE5 Struts/Shocks, SSC Springs, FE5 Control Arms, SS/SC Front Swaybar, Powell Hardcore Rear Swaybar, 18" MSR 045s, Dunlop ZIIs, Nightshaded Tails/Side Markers, Shorty Antenna, Black Bowties, Black Grilles, Black Headlights, Dual JL 12" w1v2 Subs, A/D/S Front/Rear Speakers, Pioneer 7" Touchscreen, G85 Recaros, Leather Rear Seats, 160 MPH Cluster.
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel - 17" MSR 013s, Black Bowties, Black Tails, UR Rear Lower Bar
1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 - JVC Ribbon Tweeters, SEAS Mids, Pyle Woofers, Kenwood Tape Deck, Zapco Amp/Equilizer, Ceramic-Coated Longtubes, 2.5" Pypes Stainless Exhaust, Bilstein B6 Shocks, GW U/L Control Arms, Hotchkis Springs Sway Bars, DD HDX Cluster
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