SUS­PEN­SION AND STEER­ING

Performance Vauxhall - - TECH -

Koni dam­pers and matched low­er­ing springs were stan­dard ST200 equip­ment, al­though we’d be sur­prised if fac­tory parts re­main in place on the car you’re look­ing at. If they are, we dread to think what con­di­tion they’ll be in, so fac­tor in the cost of buy­ing new dam­pers and springs when hag­gling on price. Shock and spring com­bi­na­tions from Bil­sten and Eibach have proved pop­u­lar in re­cent years, while GAZ of­fers a com­plete coilover sus­pen­sion so­lu­tion for the Vectra B.

The ST200’s orig­i­nal ride was suit­ably firm. That said, if re­plac­ing springs, we’d rec­om­mend a drop of no more than 40mm front and back to lower the car’s cen­tre of grav­ity and elim­i­nate any ‘wal­lowy’ han­dling you might de­tect be­ing pro­duced by stock-spec parts. GAZ ad­justable coilovers will be of use if you’re plan­ning track time, where bump, re­bound and ride height set­tings can be ad­justed to suit the driv­ing con­di­tions and sur­face you find your­self tack­ling.

Else­where, stan­dard Vectra B V6 sup­port­ing com­po­nents and steer­ing equip­ment are in use, in­clud­ing bushes, balljoints, track rod ends, in­ner arms and strut top mounts. These items are all prone to wear over time. Anti-roll bar drop links can fail too, caus­ing clunk­ing over rough road and en­cour­ag­ing vague steer­ing. Pow­er­flex polyurethane bushes will stiffen the chas­sis, and dou­ble up as a true ‘fit and for­get’ so­lu­tion. Fur­ther­more, they can be or­dered in op­tions to suit race or road. Of course, stan­dard rub­ber bushes are in plen­ti­ful sup­ply from the afore­men­tioned re­tail­ers for those of you who like the idea of stay­ing true to fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

ST200 steer­ing racks are noth­ing special. They’re stan­dard-is­sue parts prone to leaks around banjo bolt seals. Check for ev­i­dence of what looks like red power steer­ing fluid around the base of the rack and along the power steer­ing pipework. Also check for whines or groans when the steer­ing is turned full lock. This may in­di­cate low fluid lev­els, which, in turn, may in­di­cate a leak is present. New seals are cheap, but re­plac­ing them is time con­sum­ing.

Wear and tear in steer­ing com­po­nen­try should be ex­pected of a decades-old used car, but check for play in the steer­ing and knock­ing from the base of the steer­ing col­umn any­way. Rock the steer­ing wheel from side to side. Knock­ing might sug­gest a loose or worn uni­ver­sal joint.

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