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7th Generation (1993-1997) Specific discussion of the 7th generation

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Old 06-27-2009, 08:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I replaced my rear struts. See pictures

Thank you everyone for helping me out. This is the first time I ever done anything like this and it turned out pretty good. Here are a few pictures and key steps with some tips that I learned and could help the next person doing it. In my case, I only replaced the strut because my budget is limited. If you have money, this would be a good time to replace other components too such as the coil spring, the rubber seat, the strut bearing and sway bar link.

1- If you are in Canada, go to Canadian Tire and get their spring compressor. They will loan to you for 48 hours. You pay $90 for the tool and when you return it, they refund your deposit so it is free. I did not even buy the struts from them.

2- Once the car is on jack stands and the wheels taken off. Tackle the sway bar link first that is attached to the strut. It is pretty hard to remove. You have to use a 14 mm wrench and restraint the center bolt from turning using a 5mm allen key socket. It was so hard, I ended up stripping the allen key hole so ended up using a vise grip and grab the bolt from behind by pushing away the rubber boot.

3- next, loosen the two big bolts using a breaker bar and 17mm socket. You might need another one on the other side to prevent the bolt from turning. Even if I use super penetrating lubricant and let it sit for an hour, these bolts were very hard. I tried my electric impact wrench but no luck. It took me almost and hour to get these two bolts out.



4- brake line bracket: there is a tab similar to a C-clip that holds the brake line fitting to the strut bracket. Use a pair of plier and pull out on the clip. The factory bracket on the strut that holds the brake line is not slotted. You either have the choice of unbolting the brake line fitting and having to bleed the line afterward or you can take the easy way by cutting a slot in the old strut bracket with a hack saw and use a pair of pliers to bend away the bracket to free up the brake line


5- Unscrew the three nuts that holds the upper strut mount (behind the rear seat back), using 12mm socket. DO NOT UNSCREW THE CENTER BOLT OF THE UPPER STRUT AT THIS TIME. After you remove the 3 nuts, the whole strut assembly can now be pulled down through the strut well.

6- Use the spring compressor to compress the coil spring. Note that I took a black marker and made some marks on the upper coil and the strut mount to line up later. When the spring is sufficiently compressed, test to see if the the upper strut mount is unloaded and free to rotate before removing the center nut.



7- This is the coil spring alone, compressed state


8- Re-assemble the new strut: in my case, I reused the lower rubber spring seat, it was still good. I put a new accordeon boot over the new strut. Then inserted the coil spring over the new strut, lined up the lower end correctly so it sits in the recess part of the seat correctly. Finally, install the upper strut mount and center nut. Slowly release the coil spring evenly on each side and make sure the spring seats properly on the bottom and on top, use the pen mark made earlier to help align.

9- Re-install the assemby in the well: use a floor jack to help position the assembly and to line up the two bolts. Tighten them to specs and put back the three nuts that hold the upper strut.


10- the last step is to re-install the sway bar link and the brake line bracket. The bracket on the new strut is not slotted so I cut a slot and bend away the bracket to insert the brake line. Once the line is re-inserted, bend back the bracket and re-insert the clip.



This is the brake line re-installed through the slotted bracket and with the retaining clip. Easy, no need to disassemble the brake line and deal with bleeding the line.

Last edited by hungt1999; 06-27-2009 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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great advice on bypassing the brake line issues, i'll have to use that in the future.
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good job!!!! You learned a little about your car and saved some cash!!! Win anyway you slice it!!

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Old 06-28-2009, 08:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice pics. That's the autozone compresser. I would recomend some loctite too just out of paranoia. And torque the bolts (if not already implied).

Now if the bolts were really that hard, then don't even try to tackle the fronts until you get a better wrench. My rears were very easy to loosen. I got a 1/2" ratcheting torque wrench (Mountain 24"). Piece of cake
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I suffered a lot in this project trying to remove the bolts.

My electric impact wrench was helpless so I have 2 questions:

1- if I want to invest in an air tool, what is the mininum compressor spec do I need? and how about what kind of impact wrench? I don't want a huge air tank either, something reasonable

2- question about heating stuck bolts: what kind of torch do I need to buy? how long do I need to heat the bolt? do I direct the flame directly on the bolt and unscrew right away before it cools off?
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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well to be honest to run a good air impact you'll need atleast a 20 gallon tank which is getting large to most home mechanics. 90psi minimum but in reality you want to run the tank upto 120ish and then regulate it down (or don't). ATLEAST a 2hp motor and you'll want it on its own 20amp breaker.

as for impacts, pretty much anything in the 400lb/ft range and twin hammer should get the strut bolts apart without heating. infact those are hardened steel and should not be heated when possible.
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Talking

recently i changed mines with KYB's, i did not have to saw the stuff to fit the brake line, it was there already, KYB are OEM.
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Old 06-28-2009, 05:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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How much did the struct cost. I am in Canada too, where did u buy them, and what is your experience now, better car handling.....
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Old 06-28-2009, 06:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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try ebay. They may have canada vendors that sell kyb or tokico.

As for the front bolts at 200+ ftlbs, the key to high torque is length Get a 26" long, 1/2" bar and I gaurantee you will be able to produce 250ftlbs yourself.

I have this and it's worth every penny:



edit: or just use a cheater bar on your breaker bar to extend it a foot.
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Last edited by kevmac; 06-28-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atifkm View Post
How much did the struct cost. I am in Canada too, where did u buy them, and what is your experience now, better car handling.....
I paid $90 each for Monroe Matic Plus at Bernie Auto parts in Montreal. The ride is much improved now, smooth handling, less body roll, no more loud bang noise when I hit bumps and potholes. My old struts were originals and after 200,000 km the rear struts were pretty much finished, they were leaking and I could push on the piston with no resistance at all. The front stuts are still good though. I am surprised. I intend to change the front struts soon anyway, in a couple of paychecks when my finance will allow it.

One thing I learned was the price varies alot from one store to the next. You should make alot of phone calls and buy the least expensive ones. It was explained to me from one of the store owner that there are only a few manufacturers of those struts (KYB, Monroe, etc.) a lot of vendors buy them from those manufacturers and repackaged under different names and sold with different warranty flavors and the price generally reflects the warranty time for the same product essentially.

When I was calling around, here are a few price quotes I got

Canadian Tire: $175 each (Monroe), lifetime warranty
NAPA: $150 to $190 depends on warranty
Toyota dealer: $250 each, lifetime warranty
Most independent auto parts: $120 to $150 each

I looked at ebay but did not find any sellers in Canada. There are a lot of sellers in the USA but they only ships with UPS and the shipping cost + brokerage fee from UPS is too much.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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good stuff
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hungt1999 View Post
I suffered a lot in this project trying to remove the bolts.

My electric impact wrench was helpless so I have 2 questions:

1- if I want to invest in an air tool, what is the mininum compressor spec do I need? and how about what kind of impact wrench? I don't want a huge air tank either, something reasonable

2- question about heating stuck bolts: what kind of torch do I need to buy? how long do I need to heat the bolt? do I direct the flame directly on the bolt and unscrew right away before it cools off?
great write up man, very helpful pics U may wanna look around online for some good electric or cordless impact wrenches. as stated before anything less than a 20 gallon would prolly be insufficeint for running a good impact. i would even say 26 gal or higher. i spoke to some of the guys at sears and they recommend at least the 26 gal cuz some of those air impacts use alot of cfm under high torque loads and u wont be able to run the tool very long with a small size tank. i got a couple of electric and cordless tools that do the job fine. Milwaukee has a very good electric impact with 300 ft lbs or torque and i got a 3/8 drive ingersoll rand cordless impact which is REALLY good. look around online before u invest in buy a compressor, u may be able to get by on electric or cordless tools. I never had to use heat to loosen a fastener, PB Blaster has brought me much success
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I have to give you props on notchng the brake line bracket. I have done the job dozens of times yet have been too oblivious to even think of just doing it that way.
I just bought a full set of gabriel struts for 240us shipped. The Bilsteins were 320 shipped and the kyb's 280 shipped on ebay.


As for impacts, I recommend Ingersoll Rand's 1/2" guns. They produce big numbers out of a small package. There are a few 1/2" guns from them that are around or over 1000 ft lbs in reverse. Great guns and built very well, the only air gun you will ever need, and they don't demand a ton of air. With a smaller tank your better off with a stronger gun as with short bursts you can easily crack a bolt with powerful impact.
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Last edited by 1jzdreamer; 06-30-2009 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 1jzdreamer View Post
I just bought a full set of gabriel struts for 240us shipped. The Bilsteins were 320 shipped and the kyb's 280 shipped on ebay.
Where did you find them for so cheap if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Why isn't this in the DIY sticky?
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