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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2011 Soul, 2.0 Automatic that I purchased new with only about 22 miles; it now is within about 200 miles of having 160,000 miles. It has been a reasonably good vehicle; not the best but not the worst either. My question is about the suspension, but here is some background. The only repairs the suspension has had includes the Strut bearings replaced under warranty at the dealer with about 40,000 miles for a creaking noise and sway bar links replaced by myself with aftermarket parts at about 100,000, also because of creaking issues. There is now a lot of creaking (not as predominate at the prior issues) noises coming from the front end and some from the rear especially when its cold plus some kind of knocking noise when going over speed bumps from the right front.
As you all know the first generation is not known for having good ride quality. I think the vehicle is in need of new struts and strut bearings plus rear shocks. My main question is, are there any Strut/Spring combinations that give a better ride either aftermarket of possibly some kind of oem parts swap from a newer or different model kia.
Thanks
 

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The knocking noise is most likely the sway links. You can check them by pulling on the link, really hard or you can just put a box end wrench on the bottom nut of the link and try to yank it, if you feel a little click that is the culprit. Also check the ball joint as it can cause the same type of clunk. The factory struts are fantastic, they rarely fail as evidenced by your 160k on the originals. I am not aware of any after market that hold up as well save for Bilstein which I am not even sure are available for the Soul. Creaking is usually caused by bushings which are made of a sort of rubber so it gets worse in really cold temps and may not even be there when it gets warm out. Even new bushings will sometimes make some creaking noise in the extreme cold.
I believe that most Kia dealers offer an MPI (multi point inspection) with their oil change, I know the one I work at does and we check all those suspension items free of charge along with your lights, wipers,filters, any oil leaks etc... It is a good idea to mention to the service writer that you heard something so that at that point they may have a mechanic look over it rather than just the lube tech even though the lube tech should be trained on this anyhow. That may just be a good option for you to have it diagnosed this way if you don't have access to a hoist to take a good solid look under there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As you mentioned the creaking noises mostly go away when it warms up, I’m in southern Arizona so cold for us is when it gets into the low 30s. The sway bar link could be a problem, I may try removing the right side completely and go for a short drive to see if the noise goes away. I was mainly hoping for some alternative to gain a better ride by using aftermarket or some kind of parts swap possibly from a newer model?
 

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It would appear from the lack of response that there is no alternative in parts availability regarding ride. Which is fine; I’ve driven this vehicle for 10 years now this way so, it is what it is. I have added a larger size tire mainly for the appearance (225/55 16) which did help ride somewhat, and for intown driving I have run about 30 pounds of air which again helped a little bit also, but there is a fine line there otherwise the TPMS light comes on, please note I do air the tires up to about 35 pounds for highway driving. Also as mentioned the Kia suspension is pretty strong; in my 160,000 miles I have hit about four large potholes very hard that were about one foot around or more and maybe four inches or more deep which should have at least bent suspension parts or even blown the front suspension apart but it has only needed an alignment
 

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You can click on rockauto to see what brands are available but I can't possibly tell you that any of them give you a better ride. A short wheelbase car is never going to be ultra cushy as it's a physics thing.
 

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Sorry AZ I have no answers to your issues; am glad that you have posted your suspension issues here as a heads up as to what I will be seeing.

I have the 2010 Plus I bought new and now it only has 65K miles on it; so far, pleasantly surprised - no issues except the batteries in the tire pressure sending units failing and that little rattle in the rear suspension links. Am happy that bwdz participates in the forum - priceless. I wasn't expecting much considering that I paid 16.5K for it and had in the back of my mind the phrase 'You get what you pay for.' Also, got great stability in some horrendous wind/rain storms on my retirement trips to Florida - rode like it was on a rail.

Did all my own maintenance - Mobil 1 oil, KIA filters, transmission drain and fill at 50K and cooling system drain and fill at 50K with KIA branded fluids. Will make decisions as the K miles build up as to how much I will want to sink into the suspension. If I make it to 100K as it is now, I will be happy.
 

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Sorry AZ I have no answers to your issues; am glad that you have posted your suspension issues here as a heads up as to what I will be seeing.

I have the 2010 Plus I bought new and now it only has 65K miles on it; so far, pleasantly surprised - no issues except the batteries in the tire pressure sending units failing and that little rattle in the rear suspension links. Am happy that bwdz participates in the forum - priceless. I wasn't expecting much considering that I paid 16.5K for it and had in the back of my mind the phrase 'You get what you pay for.' Also, got great stability in some horrendous wind/rain storms on my retirement trips to Florida - rode like it was on a rail.

Did all my own maintenance - Mobil 1 oil, KIA filters, transmission drain and fill at 50K and cooling system drain and fill at 50K with KIA branded fluids. Will make decisions as the K miles build up as to how much I will want to sink into the suspension. If I make it to 100K as it is now, I will be happy.
You'll make it to 100K no problem. I have a 2010 plus as well and I'm at 204,300 miles :) I'm in need of suspension replacements but not exactly sure what I need.
 

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I have a 2011 Soul, 2.0 Automatic that I purchased new with only about 22 miles; it now is within about 200 miles of having 160,000 miles. It has been a reasonably good vehicle; not the best but not the worst either. My question is about the suspension, but here is some background. The only repairs the suspension has had includes the Strut bearings replaced under warranty at the dealer with about 40,000 miles for a creaking noise and sway bar links replaced by myself with aftermarket parts at about 100,000, also because of creaking issues. There is now a lot of creaking (not as predominate at the prior issues) noises coming from the front end and some from the rear especially when its cold plus some kind of knocking noise when going over speed bumps from the right front.
As you all know the first generation is not known for having good ride quality. I think the vehicle is in need of new struts and strut bearings plus rear shocks. My main question is, are there any Strut/Spring combinations that give a better ride either aftermarket of possibly some kind of oem parts swap from a newer or different model kia.
Thanks
I've been hearing the creaking noise for a while now. Front left, not at all rear. 2010 plus. 204,300Miles
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I will likely choose the OEM struts as advised. I did jack up the vehicle and try to move the suspension around but everything seems tight. The ride for smaller cars is typically harder and or harsher. This is the direction the manufactures have been going for some time now. The benefit I have observed is vehicles now including the smaller lower priced vehicles handle as good or better than the best older vehicles from the 60s and 70s. that being said back in my younger days I was a body shop lot attendant for a Ford dealer and I had to take a Ford Fiesta, I think a mid or later 80s vehicle for some kind of sublet work and I was amazed how good the ride was especially for a very small car, I don’t think Ford actually built these cars, but a good ride is possible
 

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If you have no play in any of the suspension pieces I wouldn't rush to replace them as there may not be much benefit. Did you get a good look at the control arm bushings to see if they're giving up, stick a pry bar in there and see if they're moving around a lot on the bushings? One other simple way to check for the clunk , think I mentioned this already maybe in another thread, turn your wheel all the way and have someone rock the car side to side by pushing hard on the roof, grab the sway link with your hand and see if you feel the clicking. You might just need some links and be good to go for a while. If you see no leaks on your struts and do the bounce test on each corner and they rebound and settle properly you won't need to replace them as the new ones will do the exact same thing.
 
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