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#545732 - 11/04/03 10:53 PM Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
tadaima Offline

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 323
Loc: California
Got a Camry LE 2000 and want to make it ride like an ES300 or even an LS400, I know some lexus has Air suspension systems, and they dont make adjustable shocks for the camry. Does anyone know what to do to make a ride softer, besides getting better tires or lower the psi?


#545733 - 11/05/03 02:32 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
jetfishn Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 34
Loc: Northern California
I would highly recommend Bilstein shocks, I just replaced my Rancho 5000 shocks with Bilsteins, wow, what a difference, cushy ride, course my vehicle is a
88 Toy 4X4 PU W/IFS but I have heard lots of good comments on other forums on this brand of shock with different vehicles.

#545734 - 11/05/03 03:27 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
JohnBrowning Offline

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 9448
Loc: USA
Is this a sick joke? You really want to soften the ride? It already has a soft ride! If you want ES300 type ride you might ask bilstein if they have the same dimensions and just different valveing. If it is just valveing ask for the softer of the two!

I want to do just the opposite. I want to put firmer struts on, stiffer progressive rate coils and stiffer anti-sway bars front and rear. I am even going to build sub-frame conectors.

I also have the LE it is my daily driver. I decided against leting the wife and kids drive this one.

The Camry is based on the ES300.

#545735 - 11/05/03 09:56 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
TheTanSedan Offline

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 1882
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
The automakers call it N-V-H: noise, vibration, harmonics.

Soft ride is only relative in a quiet, motionless-feeling car .

I think of it as attacking the problem from a different angle. Consider removing the seats, carpet, headliner, etc (or have an audio shop do it) and have them install extra insulation.

Get the very best tires that you can, spare no expense, and have them "Road-Force" balanced on a HUNTER GSP-9700 Balancer. Tire Rack reviews (on cars just like yours) indicate that the 205/65-15 MICHELIN Harmony is a quiet, soft rider. (As a note, the old near-6000# Imperials of the mid-late 1960's ran 15" wheels with 78-series tires of 31" height at 24-psi. Soft ride means a LOT of sidewall at low-pressure.)

Get KONI struts/shocks or the best equivalent.

Play with tire pressure, but keep them as factory sez (as in, 32 front, 34 rear) as to psi balance.
You won't gain anything in dropping past 28#.

Lose the rear antisway bar, and just drive more slowly.

Look into a ROHO seat cushion, or OREGON AERO (aircraft supply) as these can be moved from car-to-car. Maybe 1" shepskin covers, as well.

Keep some extra weight in the trunk, do all the things that start to negate fuel mileage and handling/braking (not entirely kidding; you WILL have to slow down).

I'd just do the tires and struts/shocks as well as the ROHO cushion.

[ November 06, 2003, 02:29 AM: Message edited by: TheTanSedan ]

#545736 - 11/05/03 10:03 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
tadaima Offline

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 323
Loc: California
Yea I know the ES300 and Camry have the same frame but suspension can sometime differ and insulation (dampening materials). I remember Lexus struts are from Belstein, but not sure if the camry were. I'll give them a call though...I notice the ride is pretty bumpy. In terms of an accord and camry on the freeway it's about the same. I did get a ride in my friends new 04 accord and its much better than my 00 camry, though so is the new camry...well hey got my car..cant sell it at a decent price in this economy, so I figure I can just do the best i can...or buy an old LS400 from 91-94 they run around 5-8K

#545737 - 11/06/03 08:51 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
Dr. T Offline

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 2480
Isn't the ride already soft in a Camry. I mean, it's not a BMW or Corvette!

Do you have aftermarket wheels/tires? Bigger wheels add to NVH. Remove these. Lower air pressure to manuf. recommended (on door jam)...not the max. pressure on the sidewalls. Get good quality BRAND NAME Michelin, etc. with lowest speed rating required. No-season/touring tires will be quieter than high perf. tires.

#545738 - 11/05/03 10:25 PM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
Jimbo Offline

Registered: 02/13/03
Posts: 1357
Loc: California, USA
Do not go for the expensive Michelin tires. They actually firmed up the ride in my dad's '99 Camry. The stock Goodyears rode much softer. Lack of sound insulation, especially in the rear, does give the sensation of a harsh ride. The rear suspension design is not very good and is not well isolated from the body structure, giving a "booming" sound when the pavement is not smooth.

If you want a relatively cheap car with a boaty ride, trade it in on a Crown Vic or Marquis.

#545739 - 11/05/03 10:41 PM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
ikeepmychevytoo Offline

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 661
Loc: Istanbul, Turkey
Seriously, get rid of the Camry and buy a Buick if that Lexus is too expensive...

When you tamper a suspension for smoothness it might be unsafe... Suspension is basic dynamics (and kinematics). When getting out of the recommended specs you are not using the built in engineering any more. Besides even with the shock replacement and low tire pressures I bet they won't make a huge world of difference.

By the way, if memory serves correctly 67~69 Impala's 60-0 stopping distance should be about 39 meters according to the Moto&Track tests. This bright measurement gives out either the tire techonology didn't paced at all during the last 30 years or suspension technology is indeed going backwards.

My point is, if suspension (and steering) 'designed' with ride quality in mind it can far exceed the roadholding ever required for a daily driver, including the emergencies. And suspension is not only roadholding. So you need a quality suspension that is up to the task, won't tire you at the end of a six hour travel and will grip the road, won't eat tires, won't require continious attention for directional stability,even on rough roads, wont' take the steering form you on the bumps, and this goes on...

#545740 - 11/05/03 11:55 PM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
tadaima Offline

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 323
Loc: California
Well I have been driving near-luxury and luxury cars over the last year just for experience, and most likely it's just envy and getting spoiled in those cars. Possibly I just need to go riding some near crap cars, and old geo metro, or vw bug should do it. Though I do own a motorcycle so that should clear the pallet for me when I get back on my camry, but I still notice that it's noisy.

Well It came with Cheap General tires, I switched to YOKOHAMA AVID TOURING...MUCH BETTER!! Quieter and and the darn vibration at 65mph + went away...and no it wasnt balancing, one of the general tires was out of round.

Well I was thinking of adding some B-quiet LCOMP on the floor and doors to see if that makes me feel any better. I will try to lower the psi down to 28(min) again and see if it is significantly better. Currently it is at its peak 32psi.

#545741 - 11/06/03 01:29 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
cousincletus Offline

Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 2513
Loc: Richmond, VA
I saw an older Mercedes that had an air ride seat. Thought that was pretty cool. [Cheers!]

#545742 - 11/06/03 07:08 AM Re: Best suspension setup for a plush soft ride
tadaima Offline

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 323
Loc: California
Yea air ride seat would take the bumps off the body, but it doesnt keep the steering wheel from jigging your around.