What is the Difference Between an Electronic Strut and a Passive Strut?
Vehicles that have electronic suspension feature an electronically controlled automatic dampening feature. What this does is make the shock or strut stiffer or softer on the fly depending on road conditions and driving style. If you are driving fast and cornering hard you will need more dampening force than if you were just casually driving around town. So instead of a manufacturer building your vehicle with a soft comfortable suspension (which is unfavorable in performance situations) or with a very stiff performance suspension (which is unfavorable for daily driving conditions) they design the electronic shocks and struts to be able to adjust instantly on the fly to give you the best of both worlds.
We carry 2 different types of struts for vehicles with electronic suspension systems. There are Passive strut kits and Active or O.E.M replacement strut kits. It can be very confusing when shopping for these parts and trying to determine which part is right for you.
Cadillac and other General Motors vehicles, for example, use a shock or strut that contains a ferro-fluid (shock oil that contains iron). When an electric current is applied through the shock oil (ferro-fluid) the oil will instantly change its viscosity (resistance to flow) and become thicker or thinner depending on the amount of voltage applied. The orifices or passages in the shocks internal valve are constant, so it harder to pass a thicker oil through these passages than it is a thinner oil. This allows the shock or strut to stiffen instantly according to road conditions or driving style that sensors in the suspension have detected.
Factory electronic strut and shock systems are excellent at providing a comfortable ride with good performance, but replacing the components can be expensive, over $1,000 per strut on some high end cars and well into the hundreds even on affordable vehicles. Because of the high replacement costs, there are usually two lower-cost options for owners of vehicles with electronic suspension systems. An aftermarket electronic replacement strut will keep the computer-controlled suspension fully operational and uses either OEM quality new parts or rebuilt OEM parts with a full warranty. There are also passive strut and shock conversion kits available for vehicles equipped with electronic suspension.
A passive strut or shock conversion will remove the electronic dampening feature and provide you with a much more reliable suspension system. Your vehicle will handle the same way an identical vehicle with conventional suspension would handle - for example, the Cadillac Escalade handles and rides just like a Chevrolet Tahoe when the electronic to passive suspension conversion is done. Most drivers do not even notice the difference since the electronic dampening is so minute and happens so fast. We have found through our experience that factory electronic shocks and struts tend to fail at the auto dampening feature. This will cause a "service suspension system" or other similar message to appear on the dashboard and in some states can prevent your vehicle from passing state inspection. All electronic conversion kits sold by Shockwarehouse come with instructions for eliminating any dashboard lights or trouble codes. All electronic to passive suspension conversions use OEM quality components and many come with lifetime warranties.
Shockwarehouse has hundreds of electronic to passive strut conversion kits available, with more being developed constantly. If your car, truck or SUV has an electronic suspension and you want to convert it to a passive strut or shock but don't see a kit listed on our site, please call us at 1-800-245-7469 and we may be able to help you.