Info Regarding Broken Rear Springs

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Info Regarding Broken Rear Springs

Post by elvin315 on 11/5/2014, 16:57

I've been spending some time on the Omega Owners Forum of late and picked up info regarding the Catera's penchant for breaking its rear springs. They've confirmed, from the description of the Catera, that it's based heavily on the Omega Elite. That model has the self leveling rear suspension and they've told me that in order for that system to work, the springs are softer (weaker) than on the non-self leveling models.

per chrisgixer (OOF)
Where some fall foul with self leveling (sl), is when the sl shocks fail. Then fitting standard shocks with the original sl springs on the Elite. Elite suspension is soft. Very soft. So the springs are soft (and therefore weak and prone to break) and the rears rely on the self levelling air bladders to hold them up. Take the sl shocks away from the sl springs and the ride height drops, the car drags its arse on the road and rolls around all over the place, as there's no ride adjustment to hold the sl springs up. So, if you want to keep sl. Just change the springs. If you want to bin sl, change both shocks and springs. And pull the relay. (Look to fit the same type of springs on the front at some stage too)

Normally on non-leveling cars the springs support the full weight of the car and the shocks just dampen the impacts from bumps and pot holes. On cars with air-shocks the weight is split between the shocks' air bladders and the springs. According to OOF when the air shocks start to fail they quit supporting their share of the weight and the springs have to handle more than they were designed to which causes the fractures. In addition, with the shocks working below par the springs are overworked. Makes sense to me. Cadillac obviously didn't know what went into building a Sport Sedan and relied on their tried and true formula of pillowy ride and vague handling hence the soft springs.

My suggestion is the same as chrisgixer's. When you replace the springs, also replace the rear shocks. We don't have the variety of replacement springs they do though. We're limited to Catera springs which, new or used, are weak to start with, or 2004-2006 GTO springs, which are stiffer, stronger (being a non-air rear suspension), and lower the Catera an inch. I put GTO springs on my car when a spring broke and am very pleased with the results. She rides nicely, and doesn't wallow in the turns. They are close to the originals in terms of ride quality and improve the handling at the same time. Win-Win. There are also aftermarket GTO springs that are probably too stiff for our cars, and come in different lowering heights (huge oxymoron there).

Luckily there are a bunch of shock absorbers, from firm to firmer, to choose from. You can find them below. I chose to disable the self leveling and used Koni Sport shocks but any quality shocks wiil work. If you want to keep the SL then the choices are OEM ACDelco replacement shocks (both Standard & Sport), or Monroe Max-Airs.

http://cateraowners.forumotion.com/t108-catera-suspension-upgrades-overview#410
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elvin315

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