So what's the latest status?
I've had my car back after having all 4 corners changed.
No noises from any corner
Rear does not compress excessively when you sit in the rear
Cornering and handling more confident and has improved noticeably
Front end bouncing has gone. More composed over uneven freeways and other roads. This was the original complaint.
Seems to be a little quieter and smoother
Car tracks straight now. Had begun to pull strongly right after having had a small tendency to drift slightly left. I haven't done an alignment.
Still a little bit of front end movement when braking
Front is higher than spec, so looks a little strange. And feels a little strange when sitting inside. But headlight aim has improved!
Left rear sitting lower than right rear and is below spec. I suspect something else is at fault here because I measured this issue on the oem
strut assemblies with which I otherwise had no complaint with. However, it was the out of spec measurement on the oem's that prompted me to change out the rears as well.
Overall, I have a couple of other observations.
The rear pinch bolts were changed but the old ones looked fine. This 2004 has always been in CA, 70k and garaged over the last 6 years.
No noises or issues with other suspension components. Old strut assemblies are largely rust free. I think that the advice to change struts at 50k and to consider changing strut assemblies before you get to 100k is sound in that it prevents wear and damage to other components and tires. This car got to 70k before the front struts failed but I suspect my front tires wearing faster than expected might have been related to slowly wearing OEM
struts. In general, this car has not had adults and / or excessive amounts of luggage in the rear, so I think that's why my rears were fine (my right rear was spot on the target ride height).
However, I'm glad I've changed the rears out as the 4 struts seem to be working together well from a handling point of view, and the firmer rears seem to make sense for better ride and handling, as well as longevity of other suspension components.
With the left rear sitting a little low, and the right rear pretty much on spec, the fact that the fronts sitting a little high, makes it look a little strange. But perhaps it will settle.
At this point I give it an 8/10. Having purchased all 4 for $260 after rebate was a great result.
It's also nice to know that there is a lifetime warranty on the strut assemblies.