crashbandit wrote:I was also wondering about the ride with the 15 in. rims. I am ready to do just about anything to improve the harsh ride of my Vibe. I already put on Monroe OEspectrum shocks and the ride is the same if not worse.
Crashbandit: The Vibe's ride is harsh. The tires with more sidewall hardly help. If you want to go that route anyway consider 15" rims and tires with a larger diameter than the originals; narrower than original should help as well. But you will give up some of the good cornering.
Unless you find softer springs and struts with more travel you will not be satisfied with the ride comfort of the Vibe. I researched and found that the rear struts provide only about 5" of travel. Our Ford Contour has about 9" of travel. It also has a multi-link rear suspension and the Vibe has a torsion beam rear suspension. Travel on the front is comparable with other cars of that weight.
The Chevy Cavalier has a torsion beam rear suspension and struts with a little more travel, about 6 3/8". Of course by adapting a strut that was not intended for the Vibe you and I would go into experimentation. Experiments can go wrong. Unless somebody tries it no one will know if the softer springs and struts will compromise the ride height and the road holding. Who knows, the brake lines may be to short to handle the longer travel, or the beam gets twisted to much in corners. Considering the money and time involved I am not ready to do this experiment.
There are also Tokico struts. The problem is I cannot find any hard data on the ride they provide. Only opinions. Some found them way to soft which makes me think they could be a step in the right direction. But then a lot of people combine them with lowering springs. I do not know how this affects the available travel. If they provide the same amount of travel then there will be more negative travel which allows the wheel to drop further into a pot hole but it will have less positive travel to soak up a speed bump for example. For comfort it is also important how fast the struts react to road imperfections. I think this is were the Tokico may help.
It is not what you wanted to hear: in terms of ride comfort we bought the wrong car. On some roads I cringe and live with it. I hope my wife's Contour or my son's Mazda Protege conk out. That way the Vibe can stay in the family and I can get something more comfy. Actually, I may succumb to the pressure and get a S
ehicle. A Mazda6 wagon would be cool, but they have Ford 6 cylinder engines and a host of other issues. Oh well.