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I just got this '07 sky RL, and it was pleasantly fast on its own, then I installed the canned trifecta tune and she hauls. problem is, the suspension is so firm I'm not confident in the cars handling at anything beyond a straight line. I got her up over 100 in an impromptu d**k measuring contest last night, and I had to back off. It was dark - the car has miserable visibility - the highway was in terrible shape - I could feel the car literally leave the ground and come down pointed in a slightly different direction. Where's this going you ask? here: I'm thinking about taking her to a shop to see if the steering/brakes are performing correctly. the car takes more effort than modern cars. the brakes need a firm foot, and steering is hard. it's fine under speed but you can't 'one-hand' her out of a parking space. Are these known traits or could there be something up with the hydraulics and suspension? the brakes were done prior to the sale and I'm wondering if maybe there's still air in the lines etc. since I don't have anything to compare it to I thought I'd ask you folks.
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I am going to say that you have some things wrong, since most of that does not match my experience.

It is a relatively (to a passenger car)stiff suspension out of the box, so depending on how bad the road really is some of that could be normal.

I suggest a good alignment first, along with a check to see what may have been modified of damaged.
The alignment must include rear caster, since problems there can cause some really bad bump-steer.

There is a weakness in the rear suspension that many of us have cred with a brace called the ProBeam from DDMWorks.
They also sell a chassis stiffener called the backbone that some really like, but that I do not.
 

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As John stated above...you have issues. First being your tires and rims. From the pic, your stance is wider then the factory wheels. From the looks of your pic I would guess you have a+35 offset...factory is +50, thus moving the mounting surface (or dead center) of your wheel further inward. I'm guessing your tires are wider then the factory 245/45/18 tires. Guessing you have 19" or 20" wheels. This is going to over-pronounce any little issue that might have been minor with the factory wheels and tire size. And the feeling of that issue is going to go up exponentially for evey 1" of diameter larger then the OE 18" wheel. This was a HUGE issue for Lincoln when the Navigator went from 18" wheels to 22". To give an example of what I mean by over-pronounce.... I just put 19" wheels with 255/40s on my car. I've never had a problem holding the steering wheel straight at 75mph and the car staying there. Never had any play in the steering wheel. With my new wheels, the car now "dances" back and fourth in the lane. I also have a bit of a "dead spot" (basically a wear spot when moving the steering a touch left/right and the car does nothing) that I now feel in my steering...it's about 1/4" of an inch of steering wheel movement, something I've never had.

Now the next item. How many miles on the car? Chances are it needs shocks. You have to remember, this is a ~12 year old car. Shocks wear...and for most, it's time to replace them. I see this being a common topic next spring/summer on the forums.

I know the feeling you're talking about. It feels like the car just wants to get away from you if you make any sudden movements or hit the brakes at the wrong time. Generally in the dealership, this used to be caused by bad shocks/springs and incorrect alignment. And in extreme cases the power steering rack needed to be replaced. Generally though on cars now days, the rack and pump get replaced together. Good luck, hope you figure out the issues and get it "in tune" so that you can enjoy your car!
 

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Further to John ^

The steering and brakes are both power-assisted and not hard to press/turn, even at parking lot speeds. Obviously not a 'fingertip' turn like an old yank-tank, but easy enough. I suspect you have some issues in your car.
 

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Brake pedals are all about muscle memory as I've learned the last few years. What one person thinks is too much, might not be enough for another person. The Sky/Solstice (kappa) pedal should be pressed about 1/4 of the distance to the floor before it even really started to engage any stopping feeling. Now take a high-end sports car and 1" of pedal travel will lock the wheels. In a kappa 1" of pedal travel turns on your brake lights....lol. The PO may have upgraded the brakes and put Wilwood or Brembos on it. In which case, a much harder pedal would be normal to stop the car. I can't tell from the angle of your picture what calipers you have...

EDIT: one other thing I noticed re-reading your post. Seeing as how your tires are very clost to the fenders, there maybe bumpstops or bumprubbers put into the springs/shocks to keep the wheels from hitting the fender. You might want to look at that if you the car came with those wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As John stated above...you have issues. First being your tires and rims. From the pic, your stance is wider then the factory wheels. From the looks of your pic I would guess you have a+35 offset...factory is +50, thus moving the mounting surface (or dead center) of your wheel further inward. I'm guessing your tires are wider then the factory 245/45/18 tires. Guessing you have 19" or 20" wheels. This is going to over-pronounce any little issue that might have been minor with the factory wheels and tire size. And the feeling of that issue is going to go up exponentially for evey 1" of diameter larger then the OE 18" wheel. This was a HUGE issue for Lincoln when the Navigator went from 18" wheels to 22". To give an example of what I mean by over-pronounce.... I just put 19" wheels with 255/40s on my car. I've never had a problem holding the steering wheel straight at 75mph and the car staying there. Never had any play in the steering wheel. With my new wheels, the car now "dances" back and fourth in the lane. I also have a bit of a "dead spot" (basically a wear spot when moving the steering a touch left/right and the car does nothing) that I now feel in my steering...it's about 1/4" of an inch of steering wheel movement, something I've never had.

Now the next item. How many miles on the car? Chances are it needs shocks. You have to remember, this is a ~12 year old car. Shocks wear...and for most, it's time to replace them. I see this being a common topic next spring/summer on the forums.

I know the feeling you're talking about. It feels like the car just wants to get away from you if you make any sudden movements or hit the brakes at the wrong time. Generally in the dealership, this used to be caused by bad shocks/springs and incorrect alignment. And in extreme cases the power steering rack needed to be replaced. Generally though on cars now days, the rack and pump get replaced together. Good luck, hope you figure out the issues and get it "in tune" so that you can enjoy your car!
Thanks for the reply - I don't think there any play in the steering. She's very stable in a straight line and takes no effort to hold a line. slight moments offer immediate correction but not in an exaggerated way. she does pull slightly to the right so a trip to the alignment show is on my list. I dunno, this all might just me getting used to a rear-wheel-drive car - the difference of being pushed rather than pulled. it could also be that I just haven't gotten comfortable with the way the car handles - I'm coming from a Utility vehicle after all. the low-speed handling could also be tiresize. miles are 30k so I plan on enjoying her for a while =)
 

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Now that I can see the picture better, @The_Ghost is exactly correct, that the wheels and tires are likely to be a lot of your problem. It is also possible that someone "improved" the car with stiffer springs shocks and bars.
 

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I would push the pedal to 125 and find other issues....in the dark of course. Let's see if other members agree!
 

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Very very nice looking car.

I have a Base. And it has an automatic transmission. And it has the 2007 vacuum brakes and OEM dual exhaust.

The first time I drove it I hit a pot hole at 80 and thought WTF??? The car almost jumped off the road!

Before that (and for a while as my beater car) - I had a well maintained Saturn SL2. Monroe structs, cushy 55 profile tires and a super quiet mangna-flow resonator exhaust.

The SL2 was better for visibility. For comfort driving 90+. Way better for hitting pot holes. Way quieter.

The Sky is way better for on-the-spot braking. Accelerating. Handling. Pride of ownership (the Sky looks awesome). It SOUNDS great. Like a HELLA sports car.

I've spent a lot of money making the Sky pleasant to drive. I wouldn't wish that on any new Sky owner.

I installed the DDMWorks bundle. The redline sway bar. Tossed the Goodyear Eagles. And put on much much better G-Comp All-Season Goodrich tires.

I replaced the front struts with new F2s. Replaced the brake pads. Replaced the rotors. Flushed the brake fluid.

On the Sky the brakes are high and solid. One of the things I like most about driving it is how great the brakes are.

The DDMWorks bundle, including installation set me back more than 1,200$. And the tires over 1,000$.

The Base is somewhat heaver than before - and it doesn't jump around so much. I rarely drive over 90 though. It's still not as smooth as the SL2 at 90.

I would like the ride better if I had 17" rims and a 55 profile tire. But I like how the aluminum wheels look - so getting new wheels isn't on my todo list.

To summarize. You can put a lot of money into your car to make it a more pleasant ride. But It's a lot of money. And no matter what you do it may still not have the smooth ride of other cars.

In the upcoming months I'm replacing the rear shocks with F2 shocks. And I'm replacing the rear brake pads (although the pads on there now have only about 20K on them).
 

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I haven't experienced any badness with steering. Ah, I did flush the power steering fluid though - but didn't notice a difference.

And if you have the budget for it - you can get a pioneer head unit with rear and side cameras and that'll help with the blind spot.

The "air" sound when you hit the brakes is vacuum assisted brakes. Not air in the brake lines. It's supposed to sound like that.

My car handles pot holes at high speeds okay now. It does jump off the ground - like when I hit a bridge incline at 85+ - but it's smooth. Kinda fun. Like Bullitt.

Even with the mods no one would confuse driving my Sky with driving a Cadillac CTS.

Oh. Yeah. When I purchased my car it pulled to the right when I hit the brakes. The problem went away when I put on new tires.
 

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These guys have covered all the items I'd be looking at in great detail. I will tell you now though that finding an alignment shop that can do rear castor is not easy and shops have tried to tell me I don't have rear castor because I don't have flour wheel steering. Trust us. You most certainly have a rear castor adjustment. Find a shop...even a Chevy dealer if you must...who has the tool to set up rear castor on a C7 Corvette. If they don't know what the tool is or claims their equipment can do any adjustment, move on to another shop.

I'd also follow the above advice on tires and wheels as well as getting some new shocks (shocks from the base model are different than those in your car...valving and all that jazz lol) if those are still original.

If you have never drove a sporty rear wheel drive car, this car will feel very twitchy and responsive.

Also, if the brakes are stock OEM pads, I would suggest getting some Hawk pads for the car. The stock brakes are fine for most people but they can fade if using the stock pads. Upgraded pads are fine for 90% of the folks out there.
 

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Nice looking ride and you do have the fastest color too.

An 07 RL model with 30k on the odometer. Plus you are coming from
a utility model with front wheel drive to a stiffer suspension in the RL
rear wheel drive is the difference. Brakes and steering shouldn't be a problem.
However- the suspension might be. Bushings, shocks, alignment with the newer
tires/rims not in the same range as the factory tires/rims.

Bump steer, wheel hop over uneven road surfaces-expansion joints, the odd pot
hole, neglected road repairs in your state happens. The RL has a stiffer suspension
than the base N/A model does. The shocks might be ok with 30k on them but this is
a 12 year old plus car here. Bushings could be worn out with the age factor.
Non 4 wheel alignment after new tires/rims installed after letting the car settle maybe
500 miles or so with balancing would be my first suggestion. Bushings would be next.
Shocks last with an over view to the steering rack/brake package as a bench mark to
their current condition.

Leaving the ground- a Sky pilot has been known to happen before- you're not the only
one here that has happened too- just stay'n.

It was dark - the car has miserable visibility - the highway was in terrible shape
AND a d*ck measuring contest too at over 100 mph- yeah I know the feeling.
This car sits low, has limited visibility- looking up at the under side of deer
let alone having someone in a giant SUV backing out of a spot at the local Wal-Mart is common.
Body flex can be controlled with the addition of the backbone brace or the Pro-beam can
help, stiffens up even more to ride quality or lack thereof for you.

LAC
 

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I just got this '07 sky RL, and it was pleasantly fast on its own, then I installed the canned trifecta tune and she hauls. problem is, the suspension is so firm I'm not confident in the cars handling at anything beyond a straight line. I got her up over 100 in an impromptu d**k measuring contest last night, and I had to back off. It was dark - the car has miserable visibility - the highway was in terrible shape - I could feel the car literally leave the ground and come down pointed in a slightly different direction. Where's this going you ask? here: I'm thinking about taking her to a shop to see if the steering/brakes are performing correctly. the car takes more effort than modern cars. the brakes need a firm foot, and steering is hard. it's fine under speed but you can't 'one-hand' her out of a parking space. Are these known traits or could there be something up with the hydraulics and suspension? the brakes were done prior to the sale and I'm wondering if maybe there's still air in the lines etc. since I don't have anything to compare it to I thought I'd ask you folks.
It looks like everyone here is getting you "steered" in the right direction!
My biggest feedback would be tires. For some reason these are always under appreciated as being a major part of how the car rides and handles. I see from your picture that you have an aftermarket setup. This most likely means you have a shorter and stiffer sidewall to compliment those wheels. This alone will make bumps feel bigger in the road. The compound the rubber is made of can also make a big difference in gripping and cornering. And the overall weight of the tires/wheels can affect your braking performance. Coming from years in the Jeep market, which believe it or not are extremely finicky when it comes to their steering geometry, even the smallest issues can cause issues like uncontrollable "death wobble" aka bump steer. Just like our Skys, Jeeps are fairly light vehicles with a short wheel base and having poor or bad tires if not the problem, can also exacerbate an issue.

I once had a death wobble so bad not long after getting new tires on my Jeep that I couldn't physically drive the vehicle over 45 mph without fear the vehicle would shake off the road. After spending weeks of time and money rebalancing tires, replacing bushings, bearings, steering dampeners, etc. I took it back to Discount Tire and had them dynamically balance the tires on the vehicle. This still didn't resolve the issue and I finally grabbed the guy from the desk and had him do a ride along with me, as I had ruled everything else out as the culprit, and he couldn't believe how bad it was. Reluctantly he swapped all 4 tires and the issue was gone. He said all the tires were within spec and couldn't understand how they had caused that issue. Moral of the story even though there shouldn't have been something wrong on paper, there was enough of an issue to wreak havoc.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It looks like everyone here is getting you "steered" in the right direction!
My biggest feedback would be tires. For some reason these are always under appreciated as being a major part of how the car rides and handles. I see from your picture that you have an aftermarket setup. This most likely means you have a shorter and stiffer sidewall to compliment those wheels. This alone will make bumps feel bigger in the road. The compound the rubber is made of can also make a big difference in gripping and cornering. And the overall weight of the tires/wheels can affect your braking performance. Coming from years in the Jeep market, which believe it or not are extremely finicky when it comes to their steering geometry, even the smallest issues can cause issues like uncontrollable "death wobble" aka bump steer. Just like our Skys, Jeeps are fairly light vehicles with a short wheel base and having poor or bad tires if not the problem, can also exacerbate an issue.

I once had a death wobble so bad not long after getting new tires on my Jeep that I couldn't physically drive the vehicle over 45 mph without fear the vehicle would shake off the road. After spending weeks of time and money rebalancing tires, replacing bushings, bearings, steering dampeners, etc. I took it back to Discount Tire and had them dynamically balance the tires on the vehicle. This still didn't resolve the issue and I finally grabbed the guy from the desk and had him do a ride along with me, as I had ruled everything else out as the culprit, and he couldn't believe how bad it was. Reluctantly he swapped all 4 tires and the issue was gone. He said all the tires were within spec and couldn't understand how they had caused that issue. Moral of the story even though there shouldn't have been something wrong on paper, there was enough of an issue to wreak havoc.
Owned a couple of jeeps - CJ-8 and a couple TJs - and recall the death wobble quite well. frightening. Would never drive a jeep over 70mph, though I see folks with the new ones doing it constantly.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for your opinions, everyone! Checked the tires - Conti Extreme contact 245/35 ZR 20 95Y. I'm thinking at least some of this is the product of these low profile wide-ass tires. I'm also curious about the suspension and whether she was lowered. I was told the brake pads and rotors were replaced - the rotors are flawless and there's plenty of pad - so I was suspecting a poor bleed. drove her into work this morning and passed a Solstice. gave him a honk and a wave =) Think I'll take the top down on my way home...
 

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Thanks for your opinions, everyone! Checked the tires - Conti Extreme contact 245/35 ZR 20 95Y. I'm thinking at least some of this is the product of these low profile wide-ass tires. I'm also curious about the suspension and whether she was lowered. I was told the brake pads and rotors were replaced - the rotors are flawless and there's plenty of pad - so I was suspecting a poor bleed. drove her into work this morning and passed a Solstice. gave him a honk and a wave =) Think I'll take the top down on my way home...
The stock tires are 245/45-18, so yours are normal width, but on +2 wheels. As @The_Ghost mentioned, your wheel offset is likely wrong, widening the track and doing bad things to the steering. Can you measure the backspacing of one of them? That is the easiest thing to measure, and will tell you how far out of spec you are. I would be looking for new (stock) wheels and tires.

20-inch tires and wheels are also generally heavier than stock, resulting in a harsher ride due to the greater unsprung weight, another reason i would be looking at replacing them.

Your car doesn't look especially low in the picture, what is the measurement from the jacking point behind the front wheel to the ground?

I have actually never heard of air in the brake lines causing increased pedal force. Travel yes, force no.

Where are you located? There should be a member somewher near you that would drive your car, and let you drive theirs. Maybe you need to befriend the driver of the Solstice that you saw.
 
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Very very nice looking car.

I have a Base. And it has an automatic transmission. And it has the 2007 vacuum brakes and OEM dual exhaust.

The first time I drove it I hit a pot hole at 80 and thought WTF??? The car almost jumped off the road!

Before that (and for a while as my beater car) - I had a well maintained Saturn SL2. Monroe structs, cushy 55 profile tires and a super quiet mangna-flow resonator exhaust.

The SL2 was better for visibility. For comfort driving 90+. Way better for hitting pot holes. Way quieter.

The Sky is way better for on-the-spot braking. Accelerating. Handling. Pride of ownership (the Sky looks awesome). It SOUNDS great. Like a HELLA sports car.

I've spent a lot of money making the Sky pleasant to drive. I wouldn't wish that on any new Sky owner.

I installed the DDMWorks bundle. The redline sway bar. Tossed the Goodyear Eagles. And put on much much better G-Comp All-Season Goodrich tires.

I replaced the front struts with new F2s. Replaced the brake pads. Replaced the rotors. Flushed the brake fluid.

On the Sky the brakes are high and solid. One of the things I like most about driving it is how great the brakes are.

The DDMWorks bundle, including installation set me back more than 1,200$. And the tires over 1,000$.

The Base is somewhat heaver than before - and it doesn't jump around so much. I rarely drive over 90 though. It's still not as smooth as the SL2 at 90.

I would like the ride better if I had 17" rims and a 55 profile tire. But I like how the aluminum wheels look - so getting new wheels isn't on my todo list.

To summarize. You can put a lot of money into your car to make it a more pleasant ride. But It's a lot of money. And no matter what you do it may still not have the smooth ride of other cars.

In the upcoming months I'm replacing the rear shocks with F2 shocks. And I'm replacing the rear brake pads (although the pads on there now have only about 20K on them).
IF YOU PAID $1200 FOR A BRACE KIT PLUS INSTALL, SOMEONE TOOK YOU TO THE CLEANERS!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The stock tires are 245/45-18, so yours are normal width, but on +2 wheels. As @The_Ghost mentioned, your wheel offset is likely wrong, widening the track and doing bad things to the steering. Can you measure the backspacing of one of them? That is the easiest thing to measure, and will tell you how far out of spec you are. I would be looking for new (stock) wheels and tires.

20-inch tires and wheels are also generally heavier than stock, resulting in a harsher ride due to the greater unsprung weight, another reason i would be looking at replacing them.

Your car doesn't look especially low in the picture, what is the measurement from the jacking point behind the front wheel to the ground?

I have actually never heard of air in the brake lines causing increased pedal force. Travel yes, force no.

Where are you located? There should be a member somewher near you that would drive your car, and let you drive theirs. Maybe you need to befriend the driver of the Solstice that you saw.

Say, were the stock shocks Bilsteins?
 
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