Please help! Do I have the right suspension components?

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by Amos, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Amos

    Amos Junior Member

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    Hello! I really hope someone here is able to help me, as I'm getting really frustrated.... I need this car for a new job starting Tuesday, so any help would be very, very much appreciated!

    I have a 2007 Chevy cobalt, I'm just an owner, not an enthusiast, and this is a base model, stock car. My inspection is approaching, and I asked my mechanic at the last oil change if he saw any reason it wouldn't pass. He said I have a leaking strut, and needed a new one. He said I should do both sides, and the sway bar links as well. Well, money is a little tight for me right now, and changing the strut out *looked* like an easy DIY job, so I am trying to change the struts myself.

    The first thing I did was fire up the Autozone website (there is a retail store right near me), and the site prompted me to enter my year, make, model, and engine size. I entered 2007, Chevy, Cobalt, 2.2L, I then went to the suspension parts, and there the website showed me a Duralast brand strut assembly, and the website indicated it would fit my cobalt. I thought great, and ordered one for each side.

    Duralast part numbers: LS34-84721L and LS34-84721R

    My plan was to save and resuse the old sway bar links, looked easy enough on YouTube..... Well, I learned what most of you probably already know, which is that those bolts on the sway bar links are GARBAGE on their best day. They are apparently notorious for rusting solid, known to be a real problem to remove, and my Cobalt was a prime example of this. After a day and a half of messing with it and inventing entirely new curse words, I finally cut the sway bar link out with a rip saw, and ground the rest of the bottom bolt off with a Dremel and a grinder attachment my neighbor let me borrow. Once that last sway bar link bolt was out, the old strut assembly came out no problem, and the new one seemed to go in just as easily as a YouTube video :)

    However, now I need new sway bar links. Although my old one was cut in half to remove it, I held it together and held it in its position, and realized quickly that it would in no way fit. In other words, had I been able to easily remove the sway bar link and actually wanted to resue it as planed, there was no way it was lining up with the new strut, it would be a good two inches too long.

    I went in person this time to my local Autozone, and the clerk asked me which suspension system I had. I said I don't know, it's just a basic Cobalt, nothing fancy. He said that when he looks up the sway bar links in his system, it tells him that there is lets say a base and a performance suspension version. He calls a local dealership and someone there ran my VIN number and it was determined that I do not have the performance suspension, I believe we were told it's an FX1 suspension, maybe?

    So he finds a set of sway bar links for the non-performance suspension, and shows them to me. I had the old one with me, and the new one is exactly the same length; no way it will fit, it's just too long. Stumped, I asked him if I maybe got the wrong struts to begin with, though the Autozone website said it would fit my car. He said he didn't know because sometimes the online parts and retail store parts are not the same (apparently, he didn't have my part number in his system, though I bought them from Autozone). On a hunch, I asked to see the sway bar links for the performance suspension, and sure enough they appeared to be a couple inches shorter. I asked the guy if these fit my struts, would it be safe to use, and he said he didn't know. I decided to buy the new, shorter links, I have them home now and I have not yet tried to install them, but I'm holding one in place and its fit is much, much closer, but still looks to be off by about a half inch or so. It's possible it would actually fit, but just looking at it I got nervous....

    And that's where I am now. I don't know if I have the right struts, I don't know what sway bar links to use, and above all I don't know what's safe. Am I just not installing something correctly? Yes, I do have the RIGHT strut installed on the RIGHT (passenger) side of the car, it seems to fit well, but the saw bar link mounting points is just not lining up. What am I doing wrong?

    I want to be clear, I don't really care about the quality of the ride, stiff, loose, etc., I just want the car to be safe and legal :)

    I'm really hoping someone here is able to help me, I need this car on the road by Tuesday. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!

    -Amos
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  2. greggn

    greggn Junior Member

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    I did my 2007 Cobalt LT last fall. It is a 4 door sedan with the soft ride standard suspension ( lower control arm is pressed steel} The struts will be need to be exchanged and the correct sway bar links ordered as well. I got Munroes 182179L and 182179R from Rockauto. I would recommend replacing the wheel hubs as well it they are not new. Save you a lot of time . When you go to Rockauto's site there is a column where you enter trim LS ,LT ,LTZ SS , amazon does the same.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  3. Amos

    Amos Junior Member

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    Hello! Thank you for your reply! The struts I ordered from the Autozone website (which asks the same info about the vehicle that RockAuto and Amazon also asks) are perfectly suited to my car, as was confirmed by a mechanic and a different parts specialist a day or so after I posted this thread. I used the Duralast struts I listed above, as well as the shorter links. A professional mechanic told me it was alright to push/move the sway bar a little bit with a breaker bar, or even a 2x4, to help it align with the mounting holes on the links. Not being familiar with this kind of repair, I was nervous to do that, and beginning to second guess the parts I had purchased when I made this post, but after checking with the mechanic and the other parts guy, I felt confident that I was doing the right thing. I have been running the car this way ever since (about 2 weeks), and so far everything seems fine. I have to get it back in for the state inspection by the end of this month, and I'll have my regular mechanic double check my work at that time, just to be extra safe. But so far so good :)

    Thank you again for your reply!

    -Amos
     

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