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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, I got a question. My Malibu has these springs that are visible that wedged between these arms (control arms) on the rear, yet on my old Taurus, I never saw anything like these. I just kind of assumed the spring went around the struts on the Taurus. My question is, what makes these visible springs different than other cars where you don't see them positioned there? And also, where are the struts on the rear? I took a quick look around but I couldn't see them. I admit I am a novice about all things suspension so forgive me if this is a dumb question.



 

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You have a 4 link independent rear suspension- no struts. The Ford has a independent quadralink rear suspension w/struts. The springs on the 'Bu replace the struts.
 

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Simple coil rear suspension is the cheaper way out. That isn't to say it is bad, depending on application, but the benefit of having struts as well as springs is better damping. That is, coil springs supress the impact of an object that strikes the wheel, from the body of the vehicle (the strength of this supression is called "bound"). The only problem is they also bounce back at a similar rate (rebound). The downside of springs is...well, they are springy and tend to bounce more than once. Increasing the spring (or bound) rate, improves body roll in corners but comes at a cost of more bouncing. Add a strut and because of they are pushing a piston against fluid, the mass of the fluid slows the response of the spring. This ensures that when a wheel hits an object, it doesn't bounce as fast, therefore returning to the road earlier and staying there, aiding grip.

You will find that if you hit a bump mid corner under brakes (with your coil independent rear) you may lose some rear end grip (the tail may slide slightly).

It could be worse. This effect is amplified on a coil suspended live rear axle because the bouncing is transferred between both rear wheels. The result of this is major deterioration of rear end grip through both rear tyres. This is known as power off oversteer. This trait is quite common in FWD cars because under brakes all the weight is shifted to the front. Obviously with the rear not holding its ground, you can end up facing the wrong way. Then again, it is quite useful when trying to avoid something, as you can correct the problem by flooring it. Because all the weight all at the front, you have plenty of grip to get the power down. Keep in mind however, that you can get into some serious trouble/fun if you are in a RWD car. Essentially that is how some drifters (read: those that don't have enough power) break traction from the rear of the car, to get the wheels spinning. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I guess that is good and bad. Good being that when the time comes to replace suspension parts, it will be cheaper without rear struts. Bad being that it is inferior. Wouldn't this theoretically give a more isolated ride since there is one less component (struts) transmitting road feel to the body?
 

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LOL of course you have dampers if you didn't have dampers that car would bounce off the ground repeatedly and you'd wind up in the ditch

Your Taurus must have had what they call "MacPherson strut" type design, this is a spring and the damper made as one piece. It is cheap, saves space... generally not well liked for a performance application but works good on a passenger car.

You have a regular spring and shock absorber, the advantage it is much cheaper and easier to replace the shock when it wears out, probably takes a bit less trunk space also which is the probable reason GM used this...

I suggest you jack up the car and remove one of the rear wheels... you will see the shock right away (cylindrical tube) and the spring and you'll be able to figure out how the system works



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100% on everything said here but what Mik said.

The rear coil suspension isnt the cheap way to go out. Strut suspension tends to be cheaper to produce overall, no upper control arms.
the set up in your Malibu used a multi link with a upper and lower control arms with a coil spring and shock set up. The same set up can be found on many vehicles today that are in the same class as the Malibu.
 
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