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Just bought another wagon, few questions.

torres7

Full Member
105
5
18
Lincoln Nebraska
Buick Ownership
Buick RMW
Hi everyone. I was a member of the site a few years ago, now I'm back.
I used to have a 93 Roadmaster wagon, I wrecked it about 3 years ago. I missed the thing so much I went and bought another one. I found a 96 wagon, 188,000 miles, supposedly collector's edition, blue/wood grain exterior, beige interior (which I hate by the way). It has the locking rear end, not sure if posi-trac or limited slip, but it has the G80 axle code and it does lock both wheels when requested. It has aftermarket rims and brand new tires, tinted windows, interior is great other than rips on the headliner and cracks on the driver's seat and arm rest. Exterior wise, well, it has some rust since it's a Nebraska vehicle and road salt rusts about anything it touches, but it's not terrible for the age of the car.
Everything seems to work, no engine codes, it runs awesome but it needs shocks really bad. Has new front rotors, new drums, pads, calipers, etc. Has plenty of power to embarrass some newer cars out there.
So I paid $1,100 for it and the crazy wife drove 2 hours home, she really likes it and the rug rats love the third row seat.
I'm debating on which shocks I should get for it, I don't want the air socks because I'm not sure if the compressor works, I'm looking for some aftermarket regular shocks. I don't really want it too soft since we do 50% gravel road driving, I'm aiming for something a little stiffer without compromising the smooth highway ride, I know I might sound picky or dumb but that's why I want some opinions.
I was looking at the KYB shocks, which are decently priced and supposedly good, or the bilsteins ones which are quite pricier.
We were displaced by the recent flood so we're driving back and forth at least 3 times a week, about 3 hours round-trip from our house in the city to our cabin in the country trying to get it all fixed up after it got flooded, so we needed something that rides comfortable, decent mileage and a lot of room for us, the kids, tools, etc. so we went with a wagon again.
Anyway, sorry for making this long, so what's your advice and opinions on shocks? I know they're just shocks, budget is tight but I'm willing to spend the extra money if I have to. Thanks a lot everyone.
 

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kiltedscotsman

Full Member
624
6
18
Calgary, Alberta
Buick Ownership
Roadmaster Wagon Limited
Well I'm no expert, but I would get a mechanic to take a look at it front to back with a fine toothcomb. If many of the parts are still OEM, they are getting ooooollllld. Springs could be worn out, as well as the shocks. I cant recall the exact brands but my 95 springs were getting a bit saggy when I bought her, still servicable but I don't cut corners in servicing so I had my mechanic put in heavy duty progressive rate truck springs, and 4 new shocks. The old airbag system was totally taken out as it always leaked and was more trouble than it was worth.

He asked me if I wanted econo, mid range or good quality so I said quality. So there was an option of shocks with coil overs so I went with that. The difference in handling is night and day between OEM and coil overs. Still cushy floaty ride, but controlled, and brake nose dive controlled also. I'm sorry but for the life of me I can't recall the make for certain. On rock auto though, the coil over ones I think are KYB so I guess likely those...

Also, I had big mudflaps installed on mine as here in Alberta Canada they love to use pea gravel in the winter and they miss a lot of it cleaning up in the spring. Since you drive on gravel roads, a good set of heavy rubber rally flaps are probably essential to minimise the amount of rocks getting kicked up into the rear overhangs and the front areas.
I wish I used rallyarmor but didnt know about them back then... Rally Armor

Also if yours is going to be a DD and a heavily used working car, esp on dirty muddy, gravel filled roads, perhaps lower rocker panel/lower door protection is in order? XPEL makes this sacrificial vinyl type roll that folk normally use on lower door/rocker panels on tricks?

Maybe see what Scotty Kilmer the mechanic thinks about shock brands on youtube. Dude is in his 60s, in Houston(?) been fixing cars for 45 years plus.... seems to know what hes talking about. I like him lol. Seems like he would be a cool Grandpa haha.
 
Last edited:

Rebmob_7577

New member
24
3
3
Buick Ownership
Roadmaster Estate (1996)
Well I'm no expert, but I would get a mechanic to take a look at it front to back with a fine toothcomb. If many of the parts are still OEM, they are getting ooooollllld. Springs could be worn out, as well as the shocks. I cant recall the exact brands but my 95 springs were getting a bit saggy when I bought her, still servicable but I don't cut corners in servicing so I had my mechanic put in heavy duty progressive rate truck springs, and 4 new shocks. The old airbag system was totally taken out as it always leaked and was more trouble than it was worth.

He asked me if I wanted econo, mid range or good quality so I said quality. So there was an option of shocks with coil overs so I went with that. The difference in handling is night and day between OEM and coil overs. Still cushy floaty ride, but controlled, and brake nose dive controlled also. I'm sorry but for the life of me I can't recall the make for certain. On rock auto though, the coil over ones I think are KYB so I guess likely those...

Also, I had big mudflaps installed on mine as here in Alberta Canada they love to use pea gravel in the winter and they miss a lot of it cleaning up in the spring. Since you drive on gravel roads, a good set of heavy rubber rally flaps are probably essential to minimise the amount of rocks getting kicked up into the rear overhangs and the front areas.
I wish I used rallyarmor but didnt know about them back then... Rally Armor

Also if yours is going to be a DD and a heavily used working car, esp on dirty muddy, gravel filled roads, perhaps lower rocker panel/lower door protection is in order? XPEL makes this sacrificial vinyl type roll that folk normally use on lower door/rocker panels on tricks?

Maybe see what Scotty Kilmer the mechanic thinks about shock brands on youtube. Dude is in his 60s, in Houston(?) been fixing cars for 45 years plus.... seems to know what hes talking about. I like him lol. Seems like he would be a cool Grandpa haha.
My car has MOOG coilovers, and boy oh boy does thing try to handle like it’s a little hatchback. But it also lowered the car by about 2 inches. I’d look into LineX for the lower areas, that stuff is nearly indestructible (as long as it’s applied correctly). Not to mention you can get it in all sorts of colors!
 

torres7

Full Member
105
5
18
Lincoln Nebraska
Buick Ownership
Buick RMW
I don't want it too low since I need the ground clearance out here, I prefer the original height or a little taller if possible, at least in the rear end. I haven't ordered the coil springs yet, I order the KYB shocks 2 weeks ago and FedEx lost them so we're dealing with that right now. I'm gonna put shocks on (whenever FedEx figures there s**t out) and see how it rides, then decide if I need coil springs or not. I was gonna pack the family in the wagon and take them to the water park in KC but since the shocks didn't show up that's been postponed for now.
______________________________
 

torres7

Full Member
105
5
18
Lincoln Nebraska
Buick Ownership
Buick RMW
Well I finally got my shocks and installed them today, rear ones were a really pain back there but car rides 100% better. I think I'm gonna go ahead and order the coil springs next, it rides awesome the way it is but I think the springs are tired.
I found out the car had the original air shocks, so I have another question. Do I have to plug the air lines, take the fuse out for the compressor or just leave it?
There was some air in them when I unplugged the lines but not much.
 

Rebmob_7577

New member
24
3
3
Buick Ownership
Roadmaster Estate (1996)
I’d keep the compressor, and just take the fuse out, and then use the compressor for an air horn later on 😉
 

HotZ28

Full Member
7,062
326
83
Buick Ownership
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
I’d keep the compressor, and just take the fuse out, and then use the compressor for an air horn later on 😉
If you take the fuse out of the compressor, it will not work for air horns, unless you reinstall the fuse and have a fulling working compressor. Then if it has leaks in the fittings, or the compressor is dying/dead, it will not work!!
______________________________
 

Rebmob_7577

New member
24
3
3
Buick Ownership
Roadmaster Estate (1996)
That’s exactly right, you’d have to not only reinstall the fuse, you’d have to reroute the air lines to the horn install location, and make sure there are zero leaks, let alone some wiring changes (like the turn on wire now coming from the horn relay)

And oh man can it sound super obnoxious. I’ve not done this, nor have I seen it done with a RMW/RML, but I DID do this with the load leveler kit’s compressor in an old Cadillac I had. Had one of those fake low-pressure train horns installed. It was glorious
 

torres7

Full Member
105
5
18
Lincoln Nebraska
Buick Ownership
Buick RMW
Lol. Even though I like the idea I don't want to be scaring people with the horn and getting in trouble (I know me).
I haven't done anything yet since I don't think the compressor runs when the car is running or not, so I assume it's probably bad or someone already removed the fuse or relay for it.
 

torres7

Full Member
105
5
18
Lincoln Nebraska
Buick Ownership
Buick RMW
By the way I just replaced the original rear coil springs with the variable rate whatever springs from Moog, they seem to work good with the KYB shocks I put in it. The car sits about 2" higher in the rear which is what I was looking for and it rides a lot better too. I think it wants front ones also but I'm gonna have to wait for a month or so before I can get to it.
 
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