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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So far after 2 months of ownership, I'm liking the Ody. It has nice power, it is quiet (after new motor mounts and installing a VCM tuner II), it has very good brakes for a minivan (after installing a brand new set of pads and rotors), and it is comfortable (our dogs love the roll down windows in the rear, but REALLY hate the slippery leather, anyone know of good grippy seat covers that are decent quality?). However, when comparing it to my old (same era), simple Chrysler T&C base model, the Ody handles like a boat when pushed at anything more than 5/10ths.

I am getting ready to rebuild the rear suspension, not that it is terribly worn, but is does have some noticeable bushing wear upon inspection and camber appears to be a bit off. It does have a pair of brand spanking new KYB rear shocks (1 was leaking upon inspection, and I replaced them both). The fronts seem ok, but I may replace the struts as well.

I do however have a couple of questions about parts choices to improve the handling.

1. In terms of front strut selection, KYB, Sachs, & Monroe OE Spectrum are the primary choices (don't bother recommending OEM Honda to me, I'm not paying $250+ each to get stock). My experience with Monroe OE Spectrum is not bad in other applications (Chevy Malibu and Chrysler T&C), they are pretty close to OEM in those applications. My experience with Sachs is also good, they are an excellent replacement on my Volvo 745T & B5 Passat. KYB so far on the rear seem OK, not as stiff as I would like, but passable. Given the strut selections available for our van, if one were looking for a more controlled ride with stock springs, which would you go for and why (among KYB, Sachs, & OE Spectrum)?

2. I am not willing to go down the H&R springs path, as lowering the van is not in the works (it is already fairly low and I do sometimes go down some pretty rough gravel roads). But I would be interested in hearing from anyone that has swapped the front swaybar (anti roll bar) with the larger Touring model to hear what impression such a swap made in the handling of your non-Touring van.

3. For those that have installed rear air bags, how would you characterize the effect of such air bags upon the handling of your van? I know that bags will massively improve rear behavior particularly when heavily laden (several times a year with 5 adult passengers, 2 dogs and full gear) or when towing (never), but how does it feel when empty and one is running through twisties (this is where I feel this van falls over itself, quick transitions make it feel unstable, even seasick)?

I'm not expecting my van to ever approach my Volvo 745T with IPD swaybars or VW B5 Passat wagon in handling, its just too top heavy and heavy in general. But I would like it to feel at least as well planted and stable in transition as a base Chrysler T&C.
 

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New rear KYB shocks, stiffer rear coils - MOOG Cargo coils, and 245/55/18 tires, all that made a big improvement in handling for my 2010 EX.
I also installed KYB complete front struts, but didn't like them from the very beginning, one strut I had to take apart and reassemble properly. About a year later both strut bearings are making noise now. I am going to replace them with OEM, which are not that expensive. You better get OEM front struts, don't waste your money on aftermarket BS.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the tip on the Moog Cargo Coils, I didn't know about them and they may do a better job for me than the air bags! Have yours held up well? There have been some reports of them sagging, but that may have been just with heavy duty towing. There are also apparently progressive rate springs from AC Delco and Husky, anyone tried these or heard of their use?

I believe that it is a mistake to use quick struts or complete struts. The mounts and springs in most non-OEM quick strut assemblies are just cruddy and are in no way comparable to just using the original spring and mount. I would never use quick strut assemblies, unless they are OEM and the OEM are way too expensive for returning to stock. I'm going to just swap struts only to regain compression and rebound dampening. Stock mounts are good and last well. Stock springs' quality are good and I do not want to lower the car. The question was which strut (Koni, Sachs, or OE Spectrum) would one chose and why.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Corrected above since I believe I was too harsh... Sorry bout that.
 

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Moog Cargo Coils, I didn't know about them and they may do a better job for me than the air bags! Have yours held up well?
Yes, they are a lot stiffer and heavier, made my van about 1 inch taller, also a lot more stable. Didn't notice any sagging. I combined these Moog springs with Timbren HROD2 kit, total cost was about $400 in parts, but a lot less installation headache, compared to airbags. Airbags may start leaking after a while, many reported that problem.

I believe that it is a mistake to use quick struts or complete struts.
Yes it was a mistake, of course. I only went for complete struts because of the KYB name on them. It is supposedly the same company that makes Honda OEM struts. Well, company maybe is the same, but production line absolutely isn't. I wish I knew this before. Later I might try to replace strut mounts and bearings to OEM. Or, will get the complete OEM struts, to save time.. Haven't decided yet.
Van drives perfectly right now, way way better than before, making turns very well, stable, almost as good as my sedans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Did you do both the Timbren kit and the Moog springs at the same time or incrementally? I'm definitely leaning away from air bags, I don't tow and I'm a big fan of install and forget that springs permit. I'm going with the Moog springs (just placed the order) and see if it is enough for me. Stiffer, even if it is taller, would be a big bonus as the rear is so clearly undersprung and underdamped.

KYB's rep, particularly for mounts, is pretty horrid. I have not heard good things about any quick strut's springs, excepting OEM. Were your mounts shot on your original strut assemblies? I'm hoping to just reuse my original Honda mounts to save a few bucks, with my limited visuals they appear OK and there is utterly no noise so keeping my fingers crossed... My bet is that your KYB struts are OK, but the mounts and springs are underwhelming.
 

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Did you do both the Timbren kit and the Moog springs at the same time or incrementally? I
Installed about at the same time. Timbren kit doesn't really make any difference, unless van loaded heavy.

Were your mounts shot on your original strut assemblies?
They were rusty, that's all. Probably still OK to use. I should have kept them.
 

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So far after 2 months of ownership, I'm liking the Ody. It has nice power, it is quiet (after new motor mounts and installing a VCM tuner II), it has very good brakes for a minivan (after installing a brand new set of pads and rotors), and it is comfortable (our dogs love the roll down windows in the rear, but REALLY hate the slippery leather, anyone know of good grippy seat covers that are decent quality?). However, when comparing it to my old (same era), simple Chrysler T&C base model, the Ody handles like a boat when pushed at anything more than 5/10ths.

I am getting ready to rebuild the rear suspension, not that it is terribly worn, but is does have some noticeable bushing wear upon inspection and camber appears to be a bit off. It does have a pair of brand spanking new KYB rear shocks (1 was leaking upon inspection, and I replaced them both). The fronts seem ok, but I may replace the struts as well.

I do however have a couple of questions about parts choices to improve the handling.

1. In terms of front strut selection, KYB, Sachs, & Monroe OE Spectrum are the primary choices (don't bother recommending OEM Honda to me, I'm not paying $250+ each to get stock). My experience with Monroe OE Spectrum is not bad in other applications (Chevy Malibu and Chrysler T&C), they are pretty close to OEM in those applications. My experience with Sachs is also good, they are an excellent replacement on my Volvo 745T & B5 Passat. KYB so far on the rear seem OK, not as stiff as I would like, but passable. Given the strut selections available for our van, if one were looking for a more controlled ride with stock springs, which would you go for and why (among KYB, Sachs, & OE Spectrum)?

2. I am not willing to go down the H&R springs path, as lowering the van is not in the works (it is already fairly low and I do sometimes go down some pretty rough gravel roads). But I would be interested in hearing from anyone that has swapped the front swaybar (anti roll bar) with the larger Touring model to hear what impression such a swap made in the handling of your non-Touring van.

3. For those that have installed rear air bags, how would you characterize the effect of such air bags upon the handling of your van? I know that bags will massively improve rear behavior particularly when heavily laden (several times a year with 5 adult passengers, 2 dogs and full gear) or when towing (never), but how does it feel when empty and one is running through twisties (this is where I feel this van falls over itself, quick transitions make it feel unstable, even seasick)?

I'm not expecting my van to ever approach my Volvo 745T with IPD swaybars or VW B5 Passat wagon in handling, its just too top heavy and heavy in general. But I would like it to feel at least as well planted and stable in transition as a base Chrysler T&C.
Interesting to hear this, since I found the handling of my 2007 EX-L to be much better than a Toyota Sienna when I was shopping around. I never expected it to handle like a German sedan but it was still fun to drive.

I assume you inspected the suspension components for wear, if not I would start there, and also check the alignment. Then I would experiment with tire pressure. Go to 40psi for example, and see how you like it.

You did not mention what tires are on the van. Tires make a huge difference in handling, and I would look at those next. You might then want to go "one-plus" with a wider tire and shorter sidewall and consider 17" or even 18" aftermarket wheels. This may upset the factory setup though. The factory spends a lot of effort dialing in the suspension so make sure you are happy with any deviation you make. You might want to be very methodical, making one change at a time until you dial it to your satisfaction.

Let us know how it goes, both the good and bad (if any). I am curious to hear your impressions.

I never considered a T&C, Chrysler products are simply too unreliable for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Funny, my 2005 Chrysler T&C base model has been a paragon of reliability. Nearing 194k now, it’s had 1 alternator, 2 batteries, a few sets of brakes, a few PS fluid reservoirs (filters clog), typical tie rod ends, and some AC work in the 150k that I have put on it. I would gladly buy another if I could find a decent one with lower miles in good shape. But all the ones round here are are extreme upper 100’s (like mine) or way over 200k. No way I’m selling mine even though it has some rust (originally it was a Wisconsin car).

The Ody has already cost me nearly as much in 2 months as my Chrysler cost in 11 years. In my experience, what you are speaking of is a myth. My original owner perfectly maintained 92 Honda Civic was the most expensive and lowest mileage car i have ever owned (Chevys, Chrysler’s, BMWs, Volvos, VWs, Subies, MGs, AHs, etc one with over 600k and many over 300k) and that Civic was easy triple the cost per mile of any car in my stable and left me stranded 6x in its first 100k, more than all my other cars combined in 40 years. I’m actually taking a huge risk on Honda based upon my experience. Honda for me is the least reliable and highest cost car brand that I have ever owned.

I’m hoping that the Ody is just close to as good as my Chrysler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This does not mean that the Ody doesn't have its good features. It is a fair amount larger than my T&C (a VERY good thing when carrying 5 adults, 2 dogs + stuff on a 2K mile trip) and has MUCH better brakes (not that any minivan brakes are super when stock, but it is far better than the front disc/rear drum setup on the base T&C). It is lower in step in and ride height (a plus in my book, but a negative if you travel down very rough roads). It is more powerful with similar mileage. It is way more luxurious and quieter. None of this is a big surprise when comparing the base, short wheelbase model T&C to a near top of the line Ody. And like any near or top of the line car, all that extra stuff breaks and needs $$$ and time (see motor mounts which are insanely pricey, regularly failing auto doors, foolish VCM, etc).

The T&C's handling limits I'm sure are lower than that of the Ody (both understeer like mad), but the T&C is not under sprung like the Ody overall (particularly the Ody rear is under sprung IMHO). While I like the Ody and hope to keep it for many years, it is a bit softly sprung for those coming from even same era Chryslers, not to mention BMWs or Volvos or VWs or Subies or...

My first choice of minivans of this era would be a 2007 Chrysler T&C LX with the 3.3L motor and cloth seats. But unsurprisingly these are very hard to find in decent shape as relatively few were made (everyone wanted the bigger 3.8L motor with just a few more hp, that was way less reliable, burned oil etc) and the 3.3L was not available in the higher speced models, and those that purchased them, keep them until they die. The Ody appears to be a good minivan, more luxury car-like than many other minivans, and that is seen in the low ride height, moderate suspension travel, and soft overall setup.

I'll see how stiffer rear springs impact overall handling, particularly in transition, I may be able to get the springs in over the weekend. But I've gotta get a new radiator and tranny cooler in the Ody as well as other weekend chores + other car maintenance (VW door actuator replacement on 2 doors is on the books). So later is more likely.

I am very surprised that no one has any experience with a Touring front sway bar on a non-Touring van, surely someone has done this simple mod and could comment upon it...
 

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When I saw this post was thinking the same as @christos. Before my '07 Odyssey which I've owned since it was almost new (6 months and <6000 miles), I came from a 2001 T&C and before that a '94 T&C, and always liked the way the Odyssey handled much better than either of those did.

At nearly 170K miles now, the only suspension work I had to have done was replacing the rear shocks (1 was leaking). I can't compare because I didn't own either T&C as long or have as many miles, but I've found my Odyssey to be relatively trouble free.
 

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So far after 2 months of ownership, I'm liking the Ody. It has nice power, it is quiet (after new motor mounts and installing a VCM tuner II), it has very good brakes for a minivan (after installing a brand new set of pads and rotors), and it is comfortable (our dogs love the roll down windows in the rear, but REALLY hate the slippery leather, anyone know of good grippy seat covers that are decent quality?). However, when comparing it to my old (same era), simple Chrysler T&C base model, the Ody handles like a boat when pushed at anything more than 5/10ths.

I am getting ready to rebuild the rear suspension, not that it is terribly worn, but is does have some noticeable bushing wear upon inspection and camber appears to be a bit off. It does have a pair of brand spanking new KYB rear shocks (1 was leaking upon inspection, and I replaced them both). The fronts seem ok, but I may replace the struts as well.

I do however have a couple of questions about parts choices to improve the handling.

1. In terms of front strut selection, KYB, Sachs, & Monroe OE Spectrum are the primary choices (don't bother recommending OEM Honda to me, I'm not paying $250+ each to get stock). My experience with Monroe OE Spectrum is not bad in other applications (Chevy Malibu and Chrysler T&C), they are pretty close to OEM in those applications. My experience with Sachs is also good, they are an excellent replacement on my Volvo 745T & B5 Passat. KYB so far on the rear seem OK, not as stiff as I would like, but passable. Given the strut selections available for our van, if one were looking for a more controlled ride with stock springs, which would you go for and why (among KYB, Sachs, & OE Spectrum)?

2. I am not willing to go down the H&R springs path, as lowering the van is not in the works (it is already fairly low and I do sometimes go down some pretty rough gravel roads). But I would be interested in hearing from anyone that has swapped the front swaybar (anti roll bar) with the larger Touring model to hear what impression such a swap made in the handling of your non-Touring van.

3. For those that have installed rear air bags, how would you characterize the effect of such air bags upon the handling of your van? I know that bags will massively improve rear behavior particularly when heavily laden (several times a year with 5 adult passengers, 2 dogs and full gear) or when towing (never), but how does it feel when empty and one is running through twisties (this is where I feel this van falls over itself, quick transitions make it feel unstable, even seasick)?

I'm not expecting my van to ever approach my Volvo 745T with IPD swaybars or VW B5 Passat wagon in handling, its just too top heavy and heavy in general. But I would like it to feel at least as well planted and stable in transition as a base Chrysler T&C.
I am so happy to see your post for several reasons: (a) you want improved handling :) (b) no one retorted w/ "It's just a minivan!" :confused: (c) Volvo 745T with IPD sway-bars 😍!!!

I've owned several IPD suspension modded 740/745T, including going to a track day event w/ one of them 😃. Despite the Volvos being in the lower 3,300 lb. range and the Ody being around being OVER 2,000 lbs. HEAVIER (it feel ridiculous typing these figures 😅), IMO, the Ody handles great 🚐💨🍃

So here's what I've done, that I've been very happy w/, and the context I've done it under. 2005 EX-L w/ 230,000 miles on it and improvement mods under a very tight budget.

1. H&R springs in the front (yes, I read you didn't want to go this route, but this gets offset w/ larger dia. tires)

2. KYB strut inserts in the front and KYB shocks in the back. (I purchased the H&R's used for $100, which included the strut assembly. The KYB's are very affordable on Amazon.)

3. The top and bottom coil of the rear springs are encased with nylon reinforced heater hose from the hardware store. (about $10). This is a Camaro trick and requires about 14" of hose for each of the top/bottom coils. A water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly is going to be needed. Soap might work, but you'll need a friend to get the hose onto the coils. Lube the hose, place it as far into the coil as possible, clamp down on it ... but not too hard w/ a Vise-Grip, and have your friend hammer the tool. Each knock of the hammer will get your hose deeper around the coil. The goal is one full revolution. This mod is more affordable and reliable than the air bag insert mod since many owners report having the air bag rupture, sometimes during trips heavily loaded while on vacation. This mod is fool-proof and I've had over a 1,000 lbs. of gravel and other supplies in the van w/ very little sagging.

4. I found that BMW X5 (and Acura MDX) wheels fit and are affordable ... often around $200/set.

4a. Here's the specs on your stock tires & wheels:
= mounting flange type
ET = positive offset figure in mm
2005-2010 Honda Odyssey
235/65R16 7jx16 ET50
PCD 5x120 (bolt pattern)
center bore 64.1mm & lug size M14x1.5

4b. Here's the specs on the BMW's:
X5 E53 (1st generation 1999-2006) = PCD 5x120, centre bore 72.5mm and M14x1.5 bolt thread. ET 40-45
(!) 72.5mm OD x 64.1mm ID
“Honda Odyssey USDM center bore (wheel hub) 64.1mm
lug size M14 x 1.5”
[The size of the ring has to be 64.1 ID x 73 OD. Also do not use OEM lugs. Use conical lugs.
]
14 x 1.5 conical style lug nuts are needed
BMW LA wheel, star spoke 69
81/2JX18 ET:48 = 27.8 lb

5. I'm running 255/55R18 tires and have zero rubbing even w/ full lock w/ 5mm spacers. This tire size is approx. >1" diameter. This means the Ody is 1/2" higher now, which in turn compensate for the 1.5" H&R front springs being lower. This tire size adds up to over 1,000 of increase load capacity and an increase in tire diameter is the only way that I am aware of to increase tire patch contact size (as other mods such as wider wheels only change the contact shape, but not size).

I used my van as a work vehicle and find it much more useful and safer w/ these mods. I hope this helps and it isn't too much information.

A slightly more modded example 😁👉
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Wow, some great info!

I'm desperately trying to avoid going down the modding rabbit hole. I am certainly prone to going that route, '85 745T (manual tranny, original family owner, the very first one on the east coast) with IPD bars, Turbo+, and progressive rear springs is one of my least modded cars. I did have a daily/track day '85 BMW 535i 5-speed that was seriously modded (full Korman suspension, 540i brakes, welded reinforced strut brackets, 3.46 diff, M30B35 motor & computer, Metric Mechanic exhaust, MAF, front & rear strut tower bars, etc & etc) with 80+ track days, ran down most every E36 & E46 M3 on the track (back in the day when I was a competitive kart racer). Unfortunately that wonderful BMW was taken out in a deer strike with ~600K on clock. RIP an absolutely superb sports sedan, doggone hard to get one today in decent shape without paying through the nose. My E34 535i 5-speed is just not the same car, its a bit too refined. Well put together and still fun, but feels heavier and is quieter and less involving as a starting point, but this is off topic...

My in-laws passed this van onto us and with kids in college, keeping costs down is a high priority. The tires on the Ody are pretty new, so despite the allure of the Pilot brake mods and the HR springs mod, I'm going to restrain myself from moving into 17"+ rim sizes, the tire costs go up as well as the additional rim costs. If I had some worn out tires, larger rims would probably be a serious consideration, particularly to get the Pilot front brakes. Wouldn't using tire height to offset your spring choice induce a pretty big effective ratio change (in the wrong way for performance) and a decent speedo offset as well? Lower ride height in this particular van (that is already fairly low) would not be good for our use, we do go down some sketchy dirt/poorly maintained roads when fully loaded.

I did get the Moog Cargo Coil springs into the rear for a quick test drive (about an hour of time required from start to finish) before ripping out my radiator and breaking rusty parts while doing so (so the Ody is sitting in the driveway disassembled at the moment). I forgot to measure rear height before I did the change, but it does appear that the rear is ~1/2" higher in ride height now (purely subjective since I did not measure). The Moogs are a noticeable improvement over the stock springs. Ride quality is very good, far less floaty but still quite cushy. Before the Moogs the rear always felt a bit disconnected from the front when turning at speed particularly with the suspension being utilized due to road irregularities, now that feeling has mostly disappeared. I'll give this simple and inexpensive upgrade a 2-thumbs up. Just over $100 in parts, simple to install, and a good improvement with no downsides. Shout out to Odyssey.owner to this suggestion, it is spot on!
 
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