I had a lot of noises coming from the rear suspension on my '92 Cam when going over bumps and swells in the road. Creaking rubber-on-rubber noises on the swells, and clunking on the washboards. So I replaced the strut mounts and the sway bar bushings. The bushings didn't seem bad; nice and tight, but I figured for the 8 bucks they cost, I'd replace 'em while I was in there. I didn't find a DIY thread for the rear struts so I thought I'd make one. I bought the KYB mounts from Rockauto.com. About $90 with shipping.
To access the strut mounts, most of the rear seat needs to come out. First, remove the rear seat cushion (the part you sit on) by pulling upwards on the front edge, and then pull it forward. There are fairly strong spring clips holding it down, so you have to yank up pretty hard. Then remove the side bolsters by removing the bolt shown below (12 mm socket) and then lifting upward on it. Sorry for the poor picture quality in some of these first few shots, I didn't notice I had the flash turned off. Also, most of these pictures are showing the passenger side.
Then remove the side panels around the trunk opening by pulling forward on them; there are a couple of plastic snap-in fasteners holding them which might break due to age.
Then remove two phillips screws just above the trunk opening holding the rear deck in place; there are plastic caps snapped over them.
Remove the highmount brake light cover by pushing it rearward, then lifting on it. Then remove the two bolts (10 mm) holding the lamp assembly in place.
Pull the rear deck towards the front while feeding the lamp assy thru the hole. You could unplug it instead, but I often break those plastic electrical connectors because they've gotten so brittle with age. The rear deck has clips that snap into the holes circled below.
Now you can see the strut mounting bolts! Remove the plastic cap and loosen the center nut (22 mm) and the three smaller ones (12 mm). DO NOT remove them yet. You'll need a deep 12 mm socket because the studs protrude so far (or use a wrench, of course).
Now jack up the rear and remove the tires. Jack up both sides equally so the torsion bar does not have any load on it. This means the parking brake will not keep the car from moving, so block the front wheels SECURELY!!! And use jackstands because you're going to be reefing on the strut bolts HARD. With the tire off, remove the three nuts circled below. From left to right; the torsion bar link (14 mm), the brake line (12 mm), and the ABS cable if so equipped(10 mm).
Note that the torsion bar link has a hex hole in the center. Use a 5 mm hex key to keep it from spinning while unscrewing the nut...
With all that done, take some deep breaths and stretch your muscles, because these 2 strut bolts are tight! I highly recommend you use a breaker bar. Go buy one if you don't have one. Nuts and bolts are 19 mm. Before you pull the bolts out, use a jack to lift up on the suspension a little bit; just enough to take the load off the bolts.
Edit: If your Camry has ABS, it's possible to damage the sensor cables in the next steps. With the strut removed, the suspension can drop farther, and possibly pull on the cable too hard and break the wires internally. The safest thing to do here is to disconnect them and pull some thru. The connector is inside the car, behind the rear seat.
With the strut bolts out, go back inside and remove the 3 small nuts holding the strut up. Now let the jack down holding up the suspension. Pull outward on the brake assembly while pushing inward on the strut. It might be a bit snug. When you get it free as shown in the picture below...
...rotate the bottom of the strut 90 degrees and pull it towards the rear. Note this picture is showing the driver's side (I neglected to take this shot on the passenger's side.) The strut will come completely out at this point.
I replaced the sway bar bushings at this time. There are two bolts to remove (12 mm). Pull the steel bracket downwards and then remove the bushing from the swaybar. I put some white lithium grease in the new bushings before installing them.
Decision time. You can either take the strut to a shop and have them compress the spring and disassemble and replace things. Or you can buy a set of spring compressors and DIY, which is what I did.
WARNING: THIS CAN BE DANGEROUS IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL. THE SPRING EXERTS A LOT OF FORCE, AND IF IT BREAKS FREE CAN DO SERIOUS BODILY HARM. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
Put the strut in a vise. I prefer working on it upright; makes reassembly easier. I got the spring compressors at Harbor Freight for $10.
Use the safety clamps!!!...
Compress the spring by tightening the clamps in alternating fashion. Do them evenly to avoid cocking the spring to one side and risking the clamps letting loose. Stop when the spring becomes loose on each end. IMPORTANT: Note how the upper mount is oriented relative to the bottom end. See how the mount's flange is tilted in the pic below? THIS MUST BE ORIENTED PROPERLY OR THE STRUT WILL NOT GO BACK IN PLACE!!! Take a picture before taking it apart. With all that said, remove the center nut and remove the mount. For me, the shaft wanted to spin, so I used a visegrip on it (way up high on the shaft where it never goes into the strut body). I still used a chunk of rubber from an old innertube to try to protect the shaft.
Another important point: See the slot in the under side of the mount below?...
...This MUST be installed so it engages properly with the flats on the strut shaft show here...
I played around with it a bit, and found it was impossible to tell by "feel" if it was mounted properly or not. There's not much room for error. So I placed it on top of the strut shaft WITHOUT the spring so I could easily tell that slot/flats were properly engaged, and then measured how deep the end of the strut shaft was from the top of the mount; see pic below. In my case, it was about 4 mm. You wouldn't have to use a caliper for this, because the difference between correct and incorrect installation is about 2 mm. You could lay a straight edge across the mount, and then use a small ruler to check the depth.
With that measurement made, put the spring and mount in place and install the nut. Be sure to orient the bottom of the spring so the end is in the pocket as shown in the pic below. Also be sure the rubber is in place properly. Check the shaft measurement as explained above. If it's not right, try again until it is.
Tighten the center nut and completely loosen the spring compressor. Be careful not to let the spring rotate out of position while doing this.
Reinstallation is the reverse.
My squeaks and clunks are gone now. The rubber in the old mounts was hard as rock. I didn't see any cracks or tears in them. The squeaking I think was coming from the passenger side strut. If you go back and look at the pic of the strut in the vise, you can see the rubber bellows is shredded. Part of it got in between the bottoming-out bumper and the strut shaft. It made very familiar squeaking noises when I was taking it apart. I cut off the remnants of the bellows. In hindsight, I wish I had ordered the upper and lower spring rubber mounts.