Well my 2009 Camry with 110K miles got a nasty clunk in the rear about a week or so ago as if the strut was about to fall out. The noise only happened at neighborhood speeds of up to around 45 mph. Before buying a new set of struts, springs, and mounts I decided to check google for similiar issues and found a guy who fixed his by insulating the strut. I ended up doing the same thing and for approximately 50 cents and my time she is all fixed. Let us begin.
Disclaimer: Myself or Toyotanation are not responsible for any damage or injury that may result from use of the DIY. Automotive maintenance and repair should be performed by qualified technicians. This DIY is for informational purposes, use it at your own risk.
Tools and Parts needed: Could do with less if you are more creative
1/2 inch or 3/8 inch drive 10mm socket
1/2 inch or 3/8 inch drive 12mm socket
1/2 inch or 3/8 inch drive 14mm socket
14mm wrench (if not using air compressor)
1/2 inch or 3/8 inch drive ratchet
1/2 inch or 3/8 inch drive 3 and 9 inch extensions
Impact gun (if you have an air compressor)
1/2 inch drive breaker bar (if not using air compressor)
1/2 inch drive 21mm impact socket
1/2 drive 19mm or 3/4 inch impact socket
19mm wrench (if not using impact gun)
Torque wrench (at least up to 100 ft lbs)
5mm allen wrench (if your car is rusty or not using an impact gun)
Jack Stands (2)
2 pieces of 9" x 12" craft felt or any material of your choosing
Scissors or cutting device to cut the material to shape
Note: Most of this was done on the RH (passenger) side of the car but is identical for the drivers side. The felt insulator fit both struts exactly the same. While I did this by myself, having a helper is highly recommended.
1. Park car on a level surface and set the parking brake. If you have no air compressor this would be a good time to loosen the lug nuts for the rear wheels using your 21mm socket and breaker bar.
2. Jack up the rear of the car using the center jack porting between the exhaust and sub frame and lower the vehicle onto jack stands (I place them under the pinch welds).
3. Remove the lug nuts and rear wheels using your impact gun and 21mm socket and set them aside.
4. Remove the sway bar end link from the strut assembly. If you are using an impact gun this is cake. Simply blast it off with a 14mm socket on the end of an impact gun. If not using an air compressor you will need to use the 5mm allen wrench to hold the allen center of the sway bar end link stud and using the 14mm wrench remove the nut securing the end link to the strut assembly.
5. Remove the brake hose and speed sensor wire from the strut assembly. Remove the one 12mm bolt and 1 10mm bolt using your socket and ratchet and remove the hose and wire from the strut. Reinstall the bolt into the strut or set them aside for safe keeping.
6. Remove the rear seat bottom. Open the rear door and pry up at the seat bottom near the floor at around center level of the outside passengers. This will release the seat from it's holder and you can set it aside. It may be tight so don't be afraid to tug a bit. Don't mind the mess it is the wifes car.
7. Remove the rear side rest. Locate the 12mm bolt on the bottom of the side rest. Using your 12mm socket, extension, and ratchet remove the bolt and set it aside. Lift up and pull out to remove the side rest.
8. Remove the 2 nuts and bolts securing the strut assembly to the rear knuckle assembly. Using either your 19mm socket and impact gun or 19mm socket and 19mm wrench loosen the nuts securing the strut to the knuckle. Remove both bolts from the knuckle and set them aside. You may have to pry, hammer, or wiggle to get the bolts out.
9. Remove the strut assembly from the car. Locate the 3 12mm strut mount nuts on the sides where you removed the side rest. They are located on each side of the rear package tray. Remove 2 nuts completely using your 12mm socket and ratchet (I recommend the rear 2 nuts first) and then remove the 3rd nut. After the last nut is removed the strut will fall out of the car (it's ok as it will only move a few inches and hit the knuckle).
10. Remove the rear strut assembly from the car by manuevering it around the knuckle, wire, and brake hose (I found removing it from the rear side of the car was easiest).
11. Install your new insulator over the strut mount. Measure the holes and opening and cut out the pattern in your new insulator material. Install the new material over the existing mount (I used 2 layers of craft felt per strut).
12. Reinstall the strut into the car. First line up the 3 studs from the strut mount with the holes in the body. This is where it helps to have a partner. What I did was install the strut in the holes and then place a hammer underneath it to keep it elevated enough to install the nuts. Having a helper install the nuts of using another method works too. Install all 3 nuts hand tight.
13. Reinstall the bolts and nuts that secure the strut to the knuckle. Install the bottom bolt first ensuring the to head of the bolt is facing the rear of the car and the threads of the bolt face the front of the car. This can be tricky and will require wiggling and pushing simulatenously to install. Line up the bottom hole, push the bolt in, push the knuckle in towards the top, line up the hole, push the bolt in.
14. Reinstall the brake hose and speed sensor wire onto the strut assembly using your ratchet and sockets.
15. Reinstall the sway bar end link into the strut. This is just like removal and if you have an impact hit it on quickly and if not using the 5mm allen and 14mm wrench to install. Tighen to spec.
16. Tighten the strut mount nuts inside the car. No torque spec I just used my hand torque. Try not to break the studs.
17. Tighten the strut to knuckle bolts and nuts. These have to be very tight. I blasted them on with my impact like I normally do. You can also use your 19mm wrench and socket.
18. Recheck all your bolts are properly tightened.
19. Reinstall the rear side rest. This can be tricky especially on the driver side but just ensure that the guide on the side rest is outside the center guide of the trunk opening. Push the side rest in and lock the hook of the side rest into the slot of the car body by going from top to down. Install the one 12mm bolt securing the side rest.
20. Reinstall the rear seat bottom. Line up the seat bottom ensuring the seat belts are not caught underneath it. Line the seat bottom holder into the slot and push down until you hear a click that it is installed. Pull up slightly to verify it is installed correctly. Before installing it wouldn't be a bad idea to vacuum any left over food items.
21. Reinstall the rear wheel. Install the wheel and tighten the lug nuts hand tight.
22. Lower the vehicle off of jack stands. Raise up the vehicle from the jack point listed earlier and remove the jack stands. Then lower the car off the jack.
23. Torque the rear wheels to 76 lb ft using your torque wrench and 21mm socket.
24. Go for a test drive and verify your fix worked. Mine works like a charm.
25. Be proud of yourself for your accomplishment. I paid 23 cents for each piece of felt and since this requires two this job cost me about 50 cents.
Hope this helps.