Does anyone know what changed in 97 vs other years on the Aurora? I am currently in a '97 Park Avenue Ultra that shares the '97 part number with the Aurora, but I'm not sure why as '97 is right in the middle of the 1st gen Aurora.
A quick compare on RockAuto puts the '97 Park Avenue part number the same as '97 Auroras and Rivieras, and the 98+ P/N the same as Rivieras. The '97 struts are harder to find and more expensive, and I can't get quick struts, so in order to use a quick strut I'm wondering if some other suspension component changed for this year only.
Quite a bit of different things actually. Mostly all of it haha. Some is only '97 specific as you have found.
In '97 the control arms changed from stamped steel to aluminum. Still had the same bushing setup as the '95-'96 though. One horizontal and one vertical bushing. There are no control arms for the '97 or bushings. No available '95-96 control arms but bushings are available. The steering knuckle is changed from 95-96 cast iron to aluminum in '97 but differs from the '98-99 with two horizontal bushings. The '97 gets larger front brakes and rotors than 95-96. Different hub from 95-96 to 97-99. Larger diameter sway bar. The difference in the struts and coil springs I have that information but it's not handy right now. Different spring rates and loads, but no specifics. Other than that 98+ have different mounts/strut tower holes. Things got marginally better suspension wise in 98-99 over the '97. The '95-96 have the worst of braking and suspension. Just development of the platform I suppose.
I have parts for a hybrid setup for my '96 in the garage, so most of this is fresh in my memory.
1996 - 115k - Too Many Mods To Mention. Ask or search! 1998 - Pretty Much Stock Beater / Experimental / Parts SOLD 2003 Cadillac CTS - 80k - Some Mods
Sounds like there was a lot going on under the hood in development of the platform as the years went by. Really, what I'm looking to do here is use 98+ quick struts on my '97, but I may be reaching too far trying to cross platforms into the Aurora, since the 98-99 Aurora doesn't seem to share the same struts as the 98-99 Riviera even though prior to 97 it appears they did. The 97 and 98+ struts appear the same visually for my car, but the overall length shrunk in the later years. I may be best to just start swapping anything that looks different onto my '97 from a newer Park Ave.
It sounds like that's a better way to go. There were two things I was looking to accomplish here, the first being the ease of replacement in a quick strut, and the second being that I was hoping to soften up my spring rate by getting a quick strut that would presumably be softer than my firm ride Gran Touring Suspension. More research seems to point toward the aftermarket springs being especially stiff, so I'm probably better off getting used soft ride springs off a wrecked car and pairing them with the KYBs. Thanks for the information.