Odd Original Strut Failure

Discussion in 'Workshop Forum' started by Dan Sarandrea (Phila), Oct 15, 2019.

  1. Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

    Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Waitin' On Parts...

    Philadelphia, PA
    My '86 has the original, stock Wayassauto non-gas struts all around.

    Last year the right rear was replaced with a used OEM unit when it started to annoyingly squeak over every bump.

    Recently I noticed unusual suspension behavior. The car seemed to be riding less smoothly with more impact jarring over these criminally horrible local roads. So I started testing, and when placing weight on the right front bumper the car would compress and rebound normally. But when doing that on the left front, there was very little compression.

    So last nite I dropped the front left strut and spring assy and tried to compress it by leaning on it, but it would not budge. By contrast, I still had Mike Eastep's original suspension struts from when he slammed his '79, and I could get those fronts to compress a bit by leaning on them.

    I took apart Mike's old strut (it was a bluish-silver painted KYB GR-2) and after disassembling my original and apparently-locked-solid unit, transferred my spring, perch, and upper mount bits to Mike's old strut.

    Upon assembly and installation, the left front corner now compresses pretty much exactly as the right front and for all intents and purposes operates normally. Road test should happen within a day or two.

    So here's the odd part. After removing the strut original to my car, I started working the operating rod. To my surprise, the rod would slide into the body of the strut but I could not get it to come up and out, regardless of how much force applied. So the strut exhibited an inability to compress on the car, but now off the car it's not able to rebound (come out of the body of the strut).

    It's toast and will be trashed, but the fact that it did one thing on the car and the exact opposite off the car is the puzzling thing.

    PS--Thanks to Mike Eastep for the spare parts!

    PPS--Even though it's not ideal to have a mismatched set of struts on the car overall and even less so on one axle, I think I'll be OK for now as the driving season is winding down. Not sure if I will be doing KYBs all around, or Eurosport's or Henk's replacement struts, or some flavor of coil-over.
    lanciahf and Mechanogeek like this.
  2. carl

    carl True Classic

    You live in the Philly area, how can you say the season is winding down, we are in the prime driving weather on the mid east coast!
    Eastep likes this.
  3. The original hydraulic struts were prone to foot valve failure where the compression or rebound are inhibited. We just replaced front struts on an 86 with the exact issue (no rebound). Makes for very interesting driving when one corner of the front end compresses 2 inches and won't come back up. In terms of failure, that's the better of the two options. When its the compression stroke that's affected, the upper strut mount holes in the body can take a beating in a hurry.
  4. rx1900

    rx1900 1981 X1/9

    Hey Dan. For what it is worth....please dont trash that seized strut. It may be of some use to someone - even yourself - some day.

    The knuckle portion of it would be useful for someone making coilovers using alternate strut tubes. Or the strut tube could be used by modifying it to accept an insert.
  5. Huey

    Huey True Classic

    Xenia, Ohio
    The original set off my '87 were painstakingly disassembled, cleaned, painted, and reassembled with new KYB struts and hardware. Then I bought a set of coil-overs, which I hate because they are much too stiff. The car has a perfect stance now but it drives a little harshly so I was going to put the original set back on. But the movers lost them -- all 4 of them. They never showed up at my new place when I moved from philly to Ohio. All that work :(
  6. Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

    Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Waitin' On Parts...

    Philadelphia, PA
    From what I understand coil overs allow you to select from a wide variety of spring rate values. So maybe the solution to the hard ride is a set of softer springs?

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