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Hi, first off let me say thanks to this forum, you have helped me as a lurker many times!!

I have an 06 with just over 100k miles, with the 4.7. It's getting downright scary to drive the thing over bumpy roads, especially if there's any sort of curves involved.

By searching this forum, I have determined that my front struts are a life-of-vehicle product, and unless there are obvious signs of failure, they should be ok. Tell me if I'm wrong here. Since there are no obvious signs of failure, I'm going to focus elsewhere.

I've gathered that replacing the rear shocks and front sway bar bushings is the way to go.

But further reading tells me that mixing and matching the fronts and rear shocks will cause other problems as they will be out of balance. Assuming the rears are just along for the ride at this point, is it still a possibility I will make things worse by replacing them? Do I have to do all 4 at the same time for this reason, even if the fronts are good?

Is there anything else I should be looking at?

Thanks in advance.

Mike
 

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Check the front struts anyway - jump on the front bumper and see it it stops moving in one to 1 1/2 bounces.
 

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You front struts are shot
 

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Thanks Thance, I have no doubt an OME kit would take care of the problem. The problem is my kid has just figured out how to climb into the car on her own, that would set her back 6 months!

I'll check the fronts - I've heard the bounce test can be misleading - this post from Robby is what I dredged up on the topic.
http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13033


She'll be taller in 6 months! Kids grow fast! Lol!
 

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Do you have the tow package on your commander? If not I think the tow package came with heavy duty springs. If you replace them with stock you may want to look into it. It may give you the stiffer ride your looking for. The ome lift won't make to high by itself. Its when you add larger tires and the lift you get the hight. Maybe someone here has the ome lift with stock tires that can give you a measurement.
 

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I'm at 136,000 with the stock front struts and rear coils. Only replaced the rear shocks (at 130k-ish), and it definitely has tightened up back there a bit. Doesn't make me feel unsafe though.
 

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Struts are "lifetime of the vehicle" items? Never heard that before? I think most modern vehicles, front struts can last 100k miles or more without degrading to the point of being UNSAFE, which is the life of the vehicle for some people, that might be why some people have stated that. But, unless you have a good source for that info, I call BS, even if Chrysler is stating it themselves.

The "old" bounce test was to tell if your shocks were UNSAFE, and back in the old days the cheap shocks wore out quickly and became unsafe in 30k or 50k miles, if NOT less.

Still do the bounce test, because if your modern strut/shock fails that test, IT IS UNSAFE and without a doubt needs to be replaced. BUT, if it passes, it doesn't mean it isn't degraded and the ride won't improve with a new set of shocks. As well, the OEM are pretty high quality struts/shocks, while there are a lot of cheap aftermarket replacements that are NOT as high quality or long lasting.

If you can't afford new struts, or keeping the vehicle ride and handling up to top performance is NOT a priority for you, and many drivers its NOT, then yes, if it passes the bounce test, its NOT unsafe, you don't have to spend the money if you don't want to. If it fails the bounce test, you need to spend the money, you're asking for an accident if you don't. With modern struts, that might be 250k miles before it gets to that point.

Ride is subjective, feeling bouncy on a rough road? Just how rough is the road, maybe a brand new Commander would feel just as bouncy? Maybe you're expecting your Commander to handle like a sports car? Some people, sometimes innocently, don't realize they are being unreasonable in their expectations. And although shock performance can be imperically measured, it takes tools and understanding well past most professional mechanics, let alone amateur vehicle owners.

How rough the usage is a big factor as well, someone that has done nothing but drive on smooth highways vs someone that drives off road and rough roads, lots of speed bumps, etc will see a noticeable difference in the strut/shock performance after a lot of miles.

But, my guess is, you're being reasonable in your assesments, and you can tell your Commanders ride and handling is NOT as fresh as it once used to be, and if you've got more than a 100k miles on the vehicle, I'm "betting" (because I don't know for sure, just guessing from the assumption you're being reasonable in your assesment) you would see a noticeable improvement with a fresh set of front struts (provided you get a quality set). Don't forget to replace the upper strut mounts with the struts, they degrade as well and need replacing and affect the ride and handling as well (NOT to mention you have to remove and replace them to get the spring on/off the strut, so its cheaper and easier to replace them with the strut).

As well, inspect the whole front suspension and make sure nothing is worn out, but usually worn out ball joints, link ends and bushings make clunks, pops, jars or wobbles as you go over rough roads and hard turns.
 
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