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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2005 mdx with 217000 miles. I got it at 175000, and I'm pretty sure it's the original suspension. Since we got it, it has felt uneasy at high speeds in turns; very mushy. And it is disconcerting: makes me feel like the slightest harsh movement will roll it. Maybe I'm just not used to a more luxury ride, as I had an Izuzu Rodeo from birth to 350,000 miles previously. That thing was rock solid and I never felt like it was going to get away from me, and I drove it quite hard.

Before we go on our next big trip in the spring, I'd like to do what it takes to stabilize the feel as much as I can without hardening it up too much. Any suggestions?

Thanks

Tom J
 

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Your MDX should have a tight and controlled ride and steering. I never drove a Rodeo, but I've driven many similar SUVs and pickups and the MDX should feel much better than most true body on frame SUVs.

You almost certainly need struts, and possibly strut top mount and bushing. But worn struts generally let the car bounce repeatedly after going over a single bump so they are easier to identify.

If you don't feel comfortable inspecting your suspension, I'd take it to a good mechanic.

One person on here had their control arm crack. You could need new control arm bushings. If the steering wheel has play when turning, you should have the tie rod ends checked. One person also had the steering shaft joint come apart, which if it is loose enough to cause vague steering it would have probably failed already.

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Definitely get an expert opinion just to make sure there isn't something else causing what you are feeling, but the front struts at that age/mileage are most certainly shot. IMO there is only one way to do struts and that is to replace the entire assembly typically called a quick strut because it comes (in addition to the strut itself) with new springs and strut mounts with bushings. A shop may try to sell you just replacing the strut which requires more labor to disassemble the other components because they want to sell more labor, but once they get it apart they are likely to discover you need to replace either the mounts or bushings anyway. The labor savings vs the parts cost is usually very close to a wash. You'll need an alignment after the strut replacement so make sure the shop checks all of the adjustment components during the initial evaluation so you don't get surprised by the need for other parts.
 

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I personally would never use a quick strut. At least for other SUVs like the Pathfinder (I've been on the NPORA forum for 15 years) they have lasted a fraction of the time that they should. Many YouTube famous mechanics recommend against them, like Scotty Kilmer. Maybe they work better on cars and light duty CUVs.

But I agree best practice is to replace everything in the strut package (except the spring if you are convinced it is still good). If you are doing it yourself, need to be cheap, and don't mind redoing it in short order if necessary, you can inspect each part and make a judgment call.

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Discussion Starter #5
Any yays or nays on Moog components? rockauto has some packages with decent prices
 

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Any yays or nays on Moog components? rockauto has some packages with decent prices
Moog is a good brand. I have also heard bad things about "quick struts" the kind that come assembled with a spring and a new strut mount so all you have to do is unbolt the old one and bolt in the new one, but I have never used one myself so I cannot say they are "bad". That being said if u have a spring compressor and are a little mechanically inclined it is very easy to buy new struts and mounts and reuse your old springs and reassemble yourself. Just takes time... But if your are not comfortable doing that, get the quick struts. Also like some one else said if the struts themselves are bad you could push down on the front or back of the car and when it comes back up it would bounce up and down more than once, but I am sure you know that. IMO at your mileage pretty much everything suspension wise probably needs replacement. Like ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, lower control arms with come with the ball joint. And possibly many other things. Let me know if you have any other concerns, maybe I can help. Or maybe not. Another Idea is just to have a honest mechanic, if you know one, check everything out and tell u what needs to be done. All just my opinion though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Moog is a good brand. I have also heard bad things about "quick struts" the kind that come assembled with a spring and a new strut mount so all you have to do is unbolt the old one and bolt in the new one, but I have never used one myself so I cannot say they are "bad". That being said if u have a spring compressor and are a little mechanically inclined it is very easy to buy new struts and mounts and reuse your old springs and reassemble yourself. Just takes time... But if your are not comfortable doing that, get the quick struts. Also like some one else said if the struts themselves are bad you could push down on the front or back of the car and when it comes back up it would bounce up and down more than once, but I am sure you know that. IMO at your mileage pretty much everything suspension wise probably needs replacement. Like ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, lower control arms with come with the ball joint. And possibly many other things. Let me know if you have any other concerns, maybe I can help. Or maybe not. Another Idea is just to have a honest mechanic, if you know one, check everything out and tell u what needs to be done. All just my opinion though.
I do my own work, and replaced suspension before, so that's no problem. I do know I will never go with separate control-arm/ball joints ever again! more work than it's worth. i'm tempted to go with the fully assembled strut, though... moog has a package on rockauto for that as well, with rear shocks included. their other package has all the front-end parts for another 200.
 

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I do my own work, and replaced suspension before, so that's no problem. I do know I will never go with separate control-arm/ball joints ever again! more work than it's worth. i'm tempted to go with the fully assembled strut, though... moog has a package on rockauto for that as well, with rear shocks included. their other package has all the front-end parts for another 200.
Yeah agreed on the ball joints, sounds like you have a good plan. Since you are capable better to buy the struts and mounts separate and do it yourself IMO. I know it is tempting to buy the whole kit though because I think its cheaper and everything is ready to bolt in, its a toss up I mean with the mileage you (and me) have maybe the quick struts will last plenty long enough, lol
 

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The suspension kit I see on rock auto that has the 2 front strut assemblies and rear shocks is FCS brand. I never heard of them, probably made by someone else. Looks good to me
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The suspension kit I see on rock auto that has the 2 front strut assemblies and rear shocks is FCS brand. I never heard of them, probably made by someone else. Looks good to me
oops. yes, was looking at too much at once. FCS is listed under rock auto's 'original quality' category.
 

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I'm a little late to the party, but I'll chime in with my experience.

Moog is a great manufacturer - you won't go wrong.

Quick struts are OK, but you can get more value with a bare strut and re-using the original spring. You also won't accidentally change the ride height (the quick struts I used on my Audi recently resulted in a 1" ride height increase in the front).

With the miles on that MDX, I'd suggest just replacing "everything" and then getting one alignment (as opposed to doing it piecemeal and getting an alignment after each step). That would include the strut, strut mount, lower control arms (which include ball joints on the MDX LCAs), inner and outer tie rods (make sure you get the tool to do the inner), tie rod ends, and rear shocks (since they're cheap and easy).

The way I always look at it is that I'd rather replace everything that MIGHT need replacement over the projected period I own the vehicle. That way, I get the benefit of the "new stuff" the entire time and don't worry about the 90% worn out bits wearing out causing future problems.
 

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Ditto on the suspension parts replacement. Might also check the sway bar bushings. One note on Moog LCAs, that I purchased is that the arm is thinner at the large compliance bushing end so that the bushing outer metal ring sticks out of the arm about 1/8" on one side and 1/16" on the other. OEMs are flush. I usually replace only the ball joints and large bushings so I'll see how it goes with the Moog and post once they get some miles on them.

I've used FCS and Monroe pre-assembled struts with no problems on other cars but have not tried them on the X. With mixed feedback on the forum for pre-assembled units, I will prob have the indy tire shop I use for alignments replace the shock. If I remove the strut assembly, he charges $20-$30 per strut. (I don't like compressing the spring.)

One other thing to consider is your tires. The load rating on our 2006 calls for 103T tires. I tried Yokohama tires once and the ride was so poor, esp going around corners would pitch a lot. I ended up replacing them early and went with Michelin XLTs with a 104T rating. When we bought the X new, it had Michelin all terrain tires but they were discontinued so the XLTs were the closest Michelins I could find. Happy with these. I suspect the "K and c" of the shocks/struts are designed for use with heavier duty tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ditto on the suspension parts replacement. Might also check the sway bar bushings. One note on Moog LCAs, that I purchased is that the arm is thinner at the large compliance bushing end so that the bushing outer metal ring sticks out of the arm about 1/8" on one side and 1/16" on the other. OEMs are flush. I usually replace only the ball joints and large bushings so I'll see how it goes with the Moog and post once they get some miles on them.

I've used FCS and Monroe pre-assembled struts with no problems on other cars but have not tried them on the X. With mixed feedback on the forum for pre-assembled units, I will prob have the indy tire shop I use for alignments replace the shock. If I remove the strut assembly, he charges $20-$30 per strut. (I don't like compressing the spring.)

One other thing to consider is your tires. The load rating on our 2006 calls for 103T tires. I tried Yokohama tires once and the ride was so poor, esp going around corners would pitch a lot. I ended up replacing them early and went with Michelin XLTs with a 104T rating. When we bought the X new, it had Michelin all terrain tires but they were discontinued so the XLTs were the closest Michelins I could find. Happy with these. I suspect the "K and c" of the shocks/struts are designed for use with heavier duty tires.
I haven't thought about the tires. i'll check that tonight.

i think i'm going to replace everything at once and go with the ready-to-go struts. we'll see how long they last....

thanks for all the input everybody. i'm hoping to get this done during the holidays sometime
 

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I just did this on my 2005 MDX w/194000 miles. Went with the Monroe quick struts and Moog front end package from RockAuto. This, plus new tires, were a huge improvement. FYI, i found it much simpler to replace each item separately. On the passenger side, I basically removed the Control arm and Tie rods all at once and it was a real bear getting everything back together. Be sure to get the tool for the tie rods. No way to loosen/tighten the inner tie rod without it. I got it on loan from AutoZone. For the Driver's side I did each piece individually and it was much simpler. The strut assembly was actually easiest, but you'll probably need an extra pair of hands to start the nuts on top - the assembly is too heavy to hold up from below and reach over with one hand. The control arm is pretty difficult no matter what - I just couldn't get the right angle for everything to fit together while the car was jacked up. I also did the front brakes - pads and discs - just because I only wanted to tear everything apart once. I really hope to make the next 20,000 - 30,000 miles without having to crawl under it again.

Don't forget to do the Transmission fluid too. Supposed to be very important and it's real close to where you'll be working on the suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just did this on my 2005 MDX w/194000 miles. Went with the Monroe quick struts and Moog front end package from RockAuto. This, plus new tires, were a huge improvement. FYI, i found it much simpler to replace each item separately. On the passenger side, I basically removed the Control arm and Tie rods all at once and it was a real bear getting everything back together. Be sure to get the tool for the tie rods. No way to loosen/tighten the inner tie rod without it. I got it on loan from AutoZone. For the Driver's side I did each piece individually and it was much simpler. The strut assembly was actually easiest, but you'll probably need an extra pair of hands to start the nuts on top - the assembly is too heavy to hold up from below and reach over with one hand. The control arm is pretty difficult no matter what - I just couldn't get the right angle for everything to fit together while the car was jacked up. I also did the front brakes - pads and discs - just because I only wanted to tear everything apart once. I really hope to make the next 20,000 - 30,000 miles without having to crawl under it again.

Don't forget to do the Transmission fluid too. Supposed to be very important and it's real close to where you'll be working on the suspension.
Sounds good. I do my transmission fluid about every 10k miles (3x drain/fill), so I'm good on that. Over the summer I put in a by-pass atf cooler, too, so I don't have to worry about the radiator problem that some 1st gens develop. What tires did you get?
 
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