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jeffnpigs

Suspension Probem: 04 Es330

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I love my 2004 ES330. :rolleyes: Yes, I knew it had a soft suspension when I bought it. But it was perfect for the commute which I had when I bought it. Two months later my office chaned locations (I know it was coming, but not the exact consequences). For those of you in the Washington, D.C. area, I now drive north/south through the area known as the "mixing bowl," which will probably be under construction until men land on Mars. (I give hats off to LA for their quick recovery after the earthquake - don't know how they did it). The new terrain is a series of high speed rush hour curves of an irregular angle, with lots of fun interstate trucks. The steering just doesn't have the feel of the turns, and the car seems to float. :(

I hate to do modifications on a new car. I also know very little about suspensions. But I would like to get the car under better control. Hopefully just minor changes - if I would have wanted a G35 I would have bought one. I didn't. I know the warranty may be impacted - I just don't want it to be me that is impacted.

I would appreciate any suggestions which the folks on the forum may have. :cheers:

JeffK

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Hey Jeff. good to see you again! I was thinking about you just the other day...

What PSI are the tires aired up to? The inflation of the tires greatly improves steering response and removes that "float" with the tradeoff being in ride. I'd air the tires up to 35PSI or so and see what that does for me before I made any suspension upgrades.

If thats not enough, plenty of relatively easy things you can do that wont void the warranty, stiffer sway bars, stiffer struts etc, but I think the tire inflation will help you. I had an ES330 as a loaner with the tires aired to about 36 PSI (I run mine at 29) and I was very impressed by the difference, I prefer mine but the 330 with the higher infated tires was much more precise with the steering. In actuality the ES is a pretty stiff car with fairly firm springs and sway bars, it even has a stock strut tower brace which is pretty rare. A lot of the ride characteristics come from the tires.

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yeah, what he said...

also on the subject of tires, if the above doesn't help, you could go up a size in wheels and get lower profile tires. a tire with a narrower sidewall will increase handling precision, but again, the ride will be noticeably stiffer.

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as stated in my responce to your similar thread in the General Discussion section,

a 17" or 18" tire may help you handling, but you will also increase your chance of damaging the new wheels due to the construction condition of the roads in that area. Larger tires mean less sidewall which leave you open for more chances to bend a nice rim on whatever may be in the road.

I struggle with this and my 18" wheels every time I venture to Boston and the famed "Big Dig".

steviej

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Thanks for the rapid input, which was needed (and thanks for the welcome back, SWO3ES). I think that I'll start with increased tire pressure, and I'll let you know what that does (I have the Michelins). I hesitate to go to larger wheels/tires, because of concern that this change may totally destroy the ride under normal conditions.

Again thanks, Jeff

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Jeff, As a test I aired mine up to 36 PSI today and the handling was much crisper and the car felt much lighter. Increase in ride harshness wasn't that bad actually...

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The advice on increasing air pressure in the tires (a software rather than a hardware fix) seems to be the way to go for the time being. The steering is just a bit crisper, the float factor is down, and the ride is not substantially degraded. Now I just have to keep it in the lines as the 16 wheelers go by in the mixing bowl.

Jeff

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Glad it helped Jeff, what did you air them up to?

Another possible future fix is to switch to a harder Ultra High Performance tire maybe with a Z speed raring vs the Michelin Touring tires you've got.

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Steve:

Right now I have the tires at 38psi. It is higher than the standard Lexus recommendation, but well within the Michelin maximum stated on the sidewall (44 psi).

I am getting a slightly firmer ride, which is OK, and better handling. :D When I recover from the down payment, etc. I may look at 17" rims and the type of firmer tires which you are discussing. I look to the manufacturer to give choices at the outset to avoid this. The option (variable suspension) is there, but as we discuss on a different topic here, it is unavailable. :censored: Even though the reviews say that there are only 2 discernable settings on the option, the firmer setting might have solved my problem at miminal cost. I asked for it, it wasn't there. :chairshot: But we'll get it solved.

Hopefuly iammickey will keep us posted on his research on this subject. :)

Jeff

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A stiffer tire even on your stock 16 inch rims will make a big difference. The Michelins are Grand Touring tires and are very soft. Some V or Z rated Ultra High Perfomance tires like the Continental ContiExtremeContact or some P-Zeros or something on the 16 inch rims will make a big difference.

All the reviews of the AVS say it doesn't help that much with the shock damping, tends to make the ride firmer but not really help turn in and whatnot.

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