In search of a strut tower brace for a 2011 cxl

fusion66

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I purchased a 2011 a week ago but the handling is not to my liking: she tends to feel a bit loose and disconnnected over large bumps. Nothing that a stout strut tower bar couldn't rectify. Does anyone know whether such a thing exists and how I may acquire one?
 
422
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43
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Welcome and now for the details on the Lucerne, preformance parts for the Lucerne are pretty much zip, I tried to see even under the DTS group and not much if anything is off the shelf. If you have V6 you are stuck with suspension which is great on the highway but in the corners not so much. A strut tower bar could make a difference, but doesn't exist in a bolt on and when looking in the engine bay it would be a very tight fit with the hood clearance on the 3.8L. A used one off of lesabre with some modes might work, but probably not enough to make a difference, I looked at my 95 Lesabre and gave it a thought then grab another beer and felt that was enough effort on that.

Tires and struts may be the few options, there was lowering springs at one time 1-2 inches drop but the parts are no longer being listed. Eibach was doing them, check out the SEMA show 2006 I think, and another mfg but they were for the V8 CXS models. One thing is what the tire pressure is set at and tire type can make a difference, they are usually set towards the low end of the psi as most people want that living room couch ride, mine are set to "feel" the road. You can see if the front end components are in good condition not knowing the milage some may be getting sloppy. Stabilizer bars bushings seem to be a ware item that may help tighten it up, cheap and easy to do compared to other suspension options.

If only I had gotten a Camaro or a Mustang parts a plenty LOL
 

polarzak

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Ex-Lucerne Owner, Now loving two Chrysler 300s.
I do not recall my 2000 LeSabre having a strut bar. As previously stated, there isn't much, if any, aftermarked suspension parts (or anyting fo rthat matter) for the Lucerne. The car was built for and when new, mostly driven by that segment of the population what has no interest in modifying vehicles, and simply enjoy the land yacht feel. Unless you have wear in the suspension, requiring parts replacement, then the way she rides is the way she rides.
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422
103
43
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
On my 1995 it is stock and on several other GM during that era. When doing some repairs in the rear engine compartment other GM vehicles you need to remove it just get parts out, don't remember which makes or models.

If you want to start tossing in urethane bushings, again not knowing what the milage is, that may help but I am pretty sure there no kits and if it's enough to minimize the roll is unknown. Best thing I can say is look at the front and rear suspension's for items that have excessive ware, check the strut mounts tops and go from there.
 
422
103
43
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Here's a site that has a few options, the brace for the tower seems logical and the Impala style looks a little beefer then the Lesabre. Clearance is the only thing to confirm as it seemed tight with the hood design, never stuck any Play Doh yet to check LOL

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fusion66

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On my 1995 it is stock and on several other GM during that era. When doing some repairs in the rear engine compartment other GM vehicles you need to remove it just get parts out, don't remember which makes or models.

If you want to start tossing in urethane bushings, again not knowing what the milage is, that may help but I am pretty sure there no kits and if it's enough to minimize the roll is unknown. Best thing I can say is look at the front and rear suspension's for items that have excessive ware, check the strut mounts tops and go from there.
I am fairly certain the sway bar bushings and those for the tie rods are in need of replacement as indicated by a distinct "clunk" that is felt and heard when turning the steering wheel rapidly from side to side. I ordered the brace designed for the H bodies (Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, et al) and hopefully I can make it fit. If not, I will consider fabricating something from scrap, although I have no experience with welding. Thanks for your help.
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polarzak

Full Member
954
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Buick Ownership
Ex-Lucerne Owner, Now loving two Chrysler 300s.
I am fairly certain the sway bar bushings and those for the tie rods are in need of replacement as indicated by a distinct "clunk" that is felt and heard when turning the steering wheel rapidly from side to side. I ordered the brace designed for the H bodies (Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, et al) and hopefully I can make it fit. If not, I will consider fabricating something from scrap, although I have no experience with welding. Thanks for your help.
Bad sway bar bushings or bad tie rods won't give you that clunk when turning the steering wheel, but bad strut bearings will. You can check for bad tie rods by lifting the wheels off the ground and with you hands at the 3 and 9 o'clock position, try to move the wheel back and forth. It there is any movement, the rod is bad.
 
422
103
43
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
I'll be interested in the outcome of the tower strut if it improves handling, please let me know.

I have a 95 Lesabre 185k and 07 Lucerne 62K, taken both many times on the same roads, same speed, curves, perfect weather, etc and they are different on the approach angle of the curve. The Lesabre is a little more flat while the Lucerne is more feels a bit twitchy. To me it feels like the Lucerne's steering is a little more sensitive, closer ratio maybe, so it's a adjustment, comparing the two the Lesabre is lower and wider while the Lucerne is top heavy. The Lucerne came off the DTS which was a design for pointing straight and slow drivers, ride above handling if you will, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. The CXS and Super had a different suspension system then the CX and CXL V6, but it's like comparing the the HK stereo to the stock stereo null. Take the Lucerne on the highway, point it straight, set the cruse and it can do 80 mph all day long, it's still a great ride and car.
 

polarzak

Full Member
954
7
18
Buick Ownership
Ex-Lucerne Owner, Now loving two Chrysler 300s.
I'll be interested in the outcome of the tower strut if it improves handling, please let me know.

I have a 95 Lesabre 185k and 07 Lucerne 62K, taken both many times on the same roads, same speed, curves, perfect weather, etc and they are different on the approach angle of the curve. The Lesabre is a little more flat while the Lucerne is more feels a bit twitchy. To me it feels like the Lucerne's steering is a little more sensitive, closer ratio maybe, so it's a adjustment, comparing the two the Lesabre is lower and wider while the Lucerne is top heavy. The Lucerne came off the DTS which was a design for pointing straight and slow drivers, ride above handling if you will, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. The CXS and Super had a different suspension system then the CX and CXL V6, but it's like comparing the the HK stereo to the stock stereo null. Take the Lucerne on the highway, point it straight, set the cruse and it can do 80 mph all day long, it's still a great ride and car.
I know this is not going to be much help with this tread, but when GM stopped making the Lucerne for 2012, I was forced to look elsewhere for a large sedan. Looked a a few different vehicles (German and Japanese) and decided on a 13 Chrysler 300. I always thought Chrysler was junk, but wow what a surprise. The handling with a rear wheel drive and stiffer suspension was amazing. The Lucerne probably rode nicer (cushier) on the highway but the 300 is far superior in handling. Still have the 13, and 100k miles and not one problem. Liked it so much, my wife now drives it and last year bought myself a new 17 model. Can't beat Detroit iron (actually they are made in Canada)
 

fusion66

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I know this is not going to be much help with this tread, but when GM stopped making the Lucerne for 2012, I was forced to look elsewhere for a large sedan. Looked a a few different vehicles (German and Japanese) and decided on a 13 Chrysler 300. I always thought Chrysler was junk, but wow what a surprise. The handling with a rear wheel drive and stiffer suspension was amazing. The Lucerne probably rode nicer (cushier) on the highway but the 300 is far superior in handling. Still have the 13, and 100k miles and not one problem. Liked it so much, my wife now drives it and last year bought myself a new 17 model. Can't beat Detroit iron (actually they are made in Canada)
Yes, the 300 is a fantastic car and offers superior handling and performance to the Lucerne, but I didn't buy one because it is beyond my budget. I think I can enjoy my Lucerne if I can resolve (to a degree) the suspension concerns.
Bad sway bar bushings or bad tie rods won't give you that clunk when turning the steering wheel, but bad strut bearings will. You can check for bad tie rods by lifting the wheels off the ground and with you hands at the 3 and 9 o'clock position, try to move the wheel back and forth. It there is any movement, the rod is bad.
Bad sway bar bushings or bad tie rods won't give you that clunk when turning the steering wheel, but bad strut bearings will. You can check for bad tie rods by lifting the wheels off the ground and with you hands at the 3 and 9 o'clock position, try to move the wheel back and forth. It there is any movement, the rod is bad.
Thank you for that information. Is that an expensive or complicated repair?
______________________________
 

polarzak

Full Member
954
7
18
Buick Ownership
Ex-Lucerne Owner, Now loving two Chrysler 300s.
Yes, the 300 is a fantastic car and offers superior handling and performance to the Lucerne, but I didn't buy one because it is beyond my budget. I think I can enjoy my Lucerne if I can resolve (to a degree) the suspension concerns.


Thank you for that information. Is that an expensive or complicated repair?
Are you asking about the strut bearing? If so, you can buy the bearing separate, and a shop can replace it. But is is expensive. When mine went, I bought two pre-aassembled new struts with new bearings. and replaced them myself. If I recall they were about $200 a piece. I found them easy to install. Three nuts on top, two lower bolts, and about an hour per side. No need to have an alignment after. Definitely got rid of the noise and there was a definite ride improvement, as I was replacing the original struts with close to 200k on them. Monroe Quick Strut Assembly was the brand I used.
 

fusion66

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Are you asking about the strut bearing? If so, you can buy the bearing separate, and a shop can replace it. But is is expensive. When mine went, I bought two pre-aassembled new struts with new bearings. and replaced them myself. If I recall they were about $200 a piece. I found them easy to install. Three nuts on top, two lower bolts, and about an hour per side. No need to have an alignment after. Definitely got rid of the noise and there was a definite ride improvement, as I was replacing the original struts with close to 200k on them. Monroe Quick Strut Assembly was the brand I used.
Interesting. My car has 70k miles and I believe the struts are worn. I am amazed that your car did not require an alignment after you replaced your struts. I will certainly do as you have done. Did you select Monroe based upon price or performance?
 

polarzak

Full Member
954
7
18
Buick Ownership
Ex-Lucerne Owner, Now loving two Chrysler 300s.
Interesting. My car has 70k miles and I believe the struts are worn. I am amazed that your car did not require an alignment after you replaced your struts. I will certainly do as you have done. Did you select Monroe based upon price or performance?
Initially I was going to replace just the bearing, but having to compress the spring kinda scared me off doing it myself. Years ago I had to compress the springs on a little sports car I had, and it was a scary venture working with a homemade spring compressor. I asked about having a garage do it,and the price was fairly hefty. I just happened to be looking at the weekend sales flyer that come to the house, and saw these Quick Srut assemblies on sale. They were Monroe, a good name I thought, so I bought a pair. So, the decision wasn't based on any research, they were available, and on sale.
As for not needing an alignment, the tie rod ends are left intact, and the strut mounting holes are exactly drilled to fit, so the caster and camber remain unchanged. If you are mechanically inclined, have a decent tool inventory, and a torque wrench, it really is an easy job. One thing to note, the two large main bolts have a spline section and do not turn. Once the nut is off, the bolt needs to be gently tapped out.
 
422
103
43
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
A word of caution on struts, if you check on the forum on other models, including Lucerne, there seems to be issues coming up on the quick struts type. Some installs are seeing a 1-2 inch rise which is not settling after a month or so.

A Lesabre post this last month had 2 part different numbers from Monroe, one was a corrected replacement(?) and it was still to high.

Best logic is the manufacturer(s) are making some one size fits most, so as a example if it's a CXS with a V8 or a CXL with a V6 they may list the same quick struts for both. The spring diameter and number of windings are also what can be different, smaller diameter wire and a extra winding to compensate.

There's some real junk out there, Amazon and Ebay both have pairs of quick struts type around $120.00, yes for a pair, which I expect they will last as long as it took to ship them. Great if you are dumping the car shortly but if you plan on driving it longer than 30 days move on.

I will ask shops about which ones they may use as they don't want to get returns, most will be honest and let you know what works on a regular basis. Country of origin is also important as the OEM struts may come from one country and the OEM style replacement come from another and turn out to be junk.

My only advice on these is to research before you buy, going with a strut and rebuild around you original spring is another option. New quick struts will lift the car slightly and settle down once weight is on them, but there are some have turned into nightmares for there owners.
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Bad sway bar bushings or bad tie rods won't give you that clunk when turning the steering wheel, but bad strut bearings will. You can check for bad tie rods by lifting the wheels off the ground and with you hands at the 3 and 9 o'clock position, try to move the wheel back and forth. It there is any movement, the rod is bad.
I conducted this test and my tie rod are still intact and have some life left apparently. However I will replace the sway bar bushings with polyurethane units as the handling is just too flaccid for my liking. Prices for quick strut replacements range from $400 per pair for Monroe and Duralast (Pep Boys) to $300 per pair for SenSen and KYB. Another matter has cropped up recently: a muted weeping sound from the steering during low-speed maneuvers. Air in the power steering lines? Leaking rack-and-pinion unit? Help me. Thank you.
 
422
103
43
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
On the 2006 models there was a issue, I believe it was on the V8 only(?), where the pump hose was leaking. Other than that not much else other than case by case problems, rack and pinion seems to be the most common, but who knows what occurred for replacement. It's in that category of "I've been driving with my oil light on for two days and now my car won't start, what's wrong?" not knowing all the history it's hard to know what is the root cause, manufacturer defect or owner defect lol.

Power steering fluid rarely gets changed, if ever, it can degrade over time and if contamination gets in the fluid it will over time wear on the other steering components. There are degrees of 30K to never needed recommend intervals, so it's up to each owner to sort make their own decisions.

If you have a good or new serpentine belt, the power fluid level is at the proper level, clean not brown or metallic appering and no leaks it could just be air in the lines if you hear it at low speed or the pump may be in question.

A cheap, not the best, flush is use a turkey baster and empty out the pump reservoir, it's will get about 1/3 out and refill with new fluid or Lucas makes a decent power steering additive. Hear if it goes away, best idea of what to try as a quick fix. If you want to do a full flush, Google has information on that.
 
954
7
18
Buick Ownership
Ex-Lucerne Owner, Now loving two Chrysler 300s.
Good information from 2007LucerneCXL except for the Google part. It, and all of the Google sub software (Chrome and the such) are basically viruses. data miners, and intrusive. Give it another 100 years and it will be the Skynet of the Terminator movies. Google is NOT your friend. I woukld not have it, and anything related to it, on any of my electronics. There are plenty of other search engines out there that do not track your activities, do not try to sell you something, and most notability, delete your search history. Even Yahoo search is preferable to Google. Google rant over.
 
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On the 2006 models there was a issue, I believe it was on the V8 only(?), where the pump hose was leaking. Other than that not much else other than case by case problems, rack and pinion seems to be the most common, but who knows what occurred for replacement. It's in that category of "I've been driving with my oil light on for two days and now my car won't start, what's wrong?" not knowing all the history it's hard to know what is the root cause, manufacturer defect or owner defect lol.

Power steering fluid rarely gets changed, if ever, it can degrade over time and if contamination gets in the fluid it will over time wear on the other steering components. There are degrees of 30K to never needed recommend intervals, so it's up to each owner to sort make their own decisions.

If you have a good or new serpentine belt, the power fluid level is at the proper level, clean not brown or metallic appering and no leaks it could just be air in the lines if you hear it at low speed or the pump may be in question.

A cheap, not the best, flush is use a turkey baster and empty out the pump reservoir, it's will get about 1/3 out and refill with new fluid or Lucas makes a decent power steering additive. Hear if it goes away, best idea of what to try as a quick fix. If you want to do a full flush, Google has information on that.
Thank you. A flush and fluid change are certainly in order (the present fluid is brown). Thankfully, the steering does not bind at lock. The strut tower brace should arrive tomorrow and I know fitment will be challenging because the application is for another platform. I pray that there is sufficient clearance and that I can find an adequate mounting point for the screws.
 
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